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If you are looking for an outstanding experience of a private motor-yacht cruise on the superb waters of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, to view the magnificent skyline of the city, then look no further.
Our private tour of Bosphorus cruise invites you to sail around the glorious Golden Horn and Bosphorus on a luxurious motor-yacht to embrace the magical meeting place of where the east meets the west, where you can take in the highlights of Istanbul and all the fantastic sights, smells and sounds it has to offer.
The Bosphorus Strait cuts through the city so you can see first-hand the many Ottoman mansions, palaces, and fortresses that dot the shoreline from the vantage point of your private yacht.
With history, art, and architecture in this historical city with a serious ‘wow’ factor, your lavish cruise yacht will enable you to take in the real Istanbul sights from the comfort of your motor-yacht over a 2 hours duration.
This is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to marvel at the majestic skyline of one of the world’s oldest cities while enjoying the sensational sights from a unique vantage place –from the waters of the Bosphorus at a leisurely pace.
Seeing the city from the water is the quintessential Istanbul experience, especially if you’re fortunate enough to witness the dolphins that very occasionally like to accompany you through the clear blue waters.
You’ll get the memorable chance to view some of the sumptuous palaces, mosques, bridges, parks, and the ornate timber mansions on both the European as well as Asian shores, as the strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara joining Europe to Asia.
Having been inspired by the waters of the Bosphorus cruise, our first visit on this memorable trip will be to the most glamourous palace in the world–the lavish Dolmabahce Palace.
Dolmabahce Palace is located in an area that was the scene of many shipping activities in previous eras as one of the bays of Bosphorus that attracted rulers since the Byzantine period and therefore was the perfect location for such a magnificent palace to be built in honor of the royal family.
Dating back to the 19-century, this is the top choice elegant palace for visitors in the Bosphorus suburbs because of its neoclassical exterior and its excessively OTT interiors –this was the last, most prominent, and most expensive royal residence of the sultans and the imperial family of the Ottoman Empire.
With over 365 rooms, 22 saloons, and four and a half tons of chandelier (one of which is one of the most significant chandeliers in the world), you certainly won’t run out of unique and beautiful things to see!
Full of priceless treasures, you can see marble statues, intricate mosaics, and that’s just for starters in this old but ‘modern’ construction.
Set within beautiful gardens, the palace is divided into three sections: the Selamlik, Harem, and Veliaht Dairesi (the apartments of the Crown Princes). It is within these walls you can see precious objects from the collections of the palace.
If you’d like to learn more about how a Turkish sultan lived in pure extravagance, then this is the go-to place for you in this fantastic city.
Many people also flock to experience the colors and aromas of the spectacular spice bazaar, which is close to the edges of the Bosphorus Strait.
Also known as the Egyptian Market, as originally taxes had to be paid on goods imported from Egypt, the bazaar was the last stop for the camel caravans on Silk Road, and the building still encompasses the history and feel of yesteryear.
Erected in the 1660s, the spice bazaar has initially been part of the New Mosque so you can feel the calm and majestic ambiance in the very structure of this market place.
You’ll notice the very air of the bazaar is filled with enticing aromas of every herb and spice imaginable from cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, and thyme –covering medicinal and culinary uses.
The smells, sounds, and tastes of the bazaar will enrich you with many incredible memories as very few places offer so many aromatic treats in one place.
There are brightly colored spices that are displayed like jewels of every color and style. The hundreds of spice stalls sell everything from caviar, dried herbs, nuts, honey, and dried fruits to trinkets and souvenirs.
The aroma of Turkish coffee pervades the bazaar and its spices, and the hubbub of the bustling day-to-day lives of the people adds to the excitement of this tour of such a spectacular sight.
Just above the bazaar and up a steep flight of stairs is ‘Pandeli’ –a historical restaurant with three dining halls that you might want to visit or book your table for dinner after some refreshment at the hotel.
Cheeses and other superb foodstuffs can be purchased within the spice bazaar –there is something for everyone here –a real Aladdin’s Cave for foodies!
Perhaps the spice bazaar will tempt you to visit the iconic Grand Bazaar, where you can find a lot of handicrafts and souvenirs.
In addition to the great highlights of the tour listed above and depending on the route you preferred, you may get to see the Galata Tower, Ortakoy Mosque, Beylerbeyi Palace, Kucuksu Pavilion, Rumeli Fortress, and Anadolu Kavagi as well.
There are many docks that we select depending on several factors, such as the previous tour location of the yacht, your hotel, and the highlights we will be covering on the day.
If you are enjoying some other highlights on an Asian side tour, for example, you can disembark there and continue by land. Or, if you would like to see the Maiden’s Tower, you can disembark there for a coffee break and continue with a shuttle boat to get back to a pier where your private vehicle will be waiting for you.
Other than that, you can also ask for full day (8 hours), half day (4 hours) tour options if you are interested to get to the nearby shores of the Black Sea or to Prince’s Islands.
Any of the options will work as kids love the boats anyway. However, they might appreciate the towers of Rumeli Fortress, Maiden’s Tower, and Galata Tower more than the other sights.
If it is summer, consider a late morning before noon, or a sunset cruise before dinner time and 2 hours would work the best.
Since the traffic on Bosphorus is pretty much live throughout the entire day, it would be better to prefer a time that is off the working hours and the rush hours after work.
As Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Monday, and since weekends will be somewhat busier with Istanbulites traveling around the city, the best days of the week remain as Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and early morning or late afternoon.
Daytime is better since you can recognize the historical landmarks and mansions much easier compared to night time. Some people also prefer the dinner cruise, but we find this rather touristy with less value-added.
If you are planning a cruise on New Year’s Eve, last-minute bookings may not be welcomed, and it also totally worth it to watch the fireworks and the whole city lit in different colors. If you would not like to spend the entire time on the boat and instead prefer a cocktail time before disembarking at your seaside restaurant or club for the night, it will also work perfectly with the bonus of avoiding the heavy traffic on the road.
Our guided tours are a great way of seeing the real Istanbul, and you won’t have to queue for a ticket.
Most importantly, Istanbul is not just made of the old city and Bosphorus; there is a lot more to learn from a professional guide who will take away all the pain of history, getting around, picking the right place for lunch, all the insider tips and many more.
And if you fancy something spicier then have a look at some of the other fantastic tours we can offer you in and around this fabulous city.
There is so much more to Istanbul and Turkey than just beaches and hotels, so discover the real Istanbul by joining us on one of our watery motor yacht cruises and perhaps combine it with a few of the guided tours we offer, to make your Istanbul experience one you’ll never forget.
Most of the yachts offer an indoor space for different weather conditions, but if it is not summer, you can bring a windbreaker jacket with you as on some days, it may be windy on the water.
Catering services are available at extra charges that we can send you menus for a gathering, celebration, meetings, etc. This service needs booking in advance and depends on availability.
Beverages are also available onboard at extra charge, but it is always best to check if you have a specific label you would like to enjoy.
At the end of the experience, if you enjoyed the service, it is always a nice gesture to leave a tip for the crew. We do recommend anything starting from 15-20$ total for the cruise, and if you receive any food or beverage services, you can increase the amount at your judgment.