We had read that a Bosphorus Cruise was a must-do, but since we only had 2 days in Istanbul, we opted to do the 1.5 hour cruise (offered by Turyol) instead of the more popular half-day or full-day cruises. Maybe it is more of a summer attraction because I don’t think I would have wanted to be on that boat any more than 1.5 hours. It was too cold and windy for my liking.

The water was a clear, beautiful blue color, so uncharacteristic of most rivers I’ve seen, and there were jellyfish everywhere. We went up river for 45 minutes hugging the European side and then came back hugging the Asian side. The homes, palaces, mosques, and hotels along the river are great, bringing in a new element from the water than what we’re used to from land. If it were warmer I might think otherwise, but for me the Bosphorus Cruise in one word… okay.

The Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan Mosque

The Dolmabahçe Palace was finished in 1856, becoming the new headquarters for Turkey’s administrative and royal affairs during the Ottoman Empire (replacing the Topkapi Palace).

The Ortaköy Mosque of the 18th century.

The Beylerbeyi Palace  was built in the 1860’s as a summer residence on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.