Istanbul Stories and Tips

From Europe to Asia Down the Bosporus

View of the Bosporus Photo, Istanbul, Turkey

We had planned a boat trip on the Bosporus and tried to select a day when the weather was warmer. The ferry called the Eminonu – Kavaklar Bosporus Special Touristic Excursion leaves from the Bogaz Hatti dock at Eminonu every day at 10.35. However if you want a good seat then it is advisable to get there at least half an hour early as everyone just rushes on and the seats with views are limited. Indeed even if you get a good seat people seem to walk almost on top of you when they want to take a photo. The trip is a real bargain at 12.50 Turkish lira per person return for a trip which takes an hour and three quarters each way.This is a ferry which carries passengers not just tourists but it has become very much more popular and busy because tourists use this reasonably cheap way of travelling up the Bosporus.

On the way the ferry stops at Besiktas, Kanlica, Yenikoy, Sariyer, Rumeli Kavagi and finally Anadolu Kavagi (in Asia) which is the turnaround point. If you decide to get off at any of the places on the way then you’ll need to buy a new ticket to go onwards – you can of course return with a return ticket. Initially the ferry was packed but as we continued on to the turnaround point it became less crowded and we were able to enjoy the views without people walking over us and standing inches in front of where we were sitting, thus totally blocking our view.

On the way waiters bring coffee, tea, Turkish bread, yogurt and other temptations which you are able to buy from them. The poor young lads spent their entire time walking between the crowds of tourists balancing trays full of various offerings. Initially the ferry was packed and these waiters were walking over and under arms and legs to bring people the food and drink. The Turkish bread was delicious but we didn't try the other offerings, coffee was too strong and the yoghurt didn't appeal.

We stayed on till the last stop as we wanted to visit the Asian side of Istanbul. We didn’t get there until about 12.30 and as soon as we got off at Anadolu Kavagi we found ourselves amongst a multitude of wonderful fish restaurants. We chose one was right at the water’s edge.

Once again we decided to start with a meze but this time it was all seafood – smoked octopus was my favourite dish. The main courses were all different types of fish or seafood and so fresh and tasty. There were several cats hanging around and they did try and jump on the table but I’m afraid they were firmly pushed away by our table and most of the other diners too.

After lunch we walked up the hill Yoros Kalesi which was extremely steep and i could feel the calories being burned off as we walked up to the ruined castle. The main reason for the mammoth effort walking up is to be rewarded with a view of Russia over the wonderful blue water of the Black Sea. We had a few minutes at the top for photos and to recover our breath and thenhad to come down again to catch the ferry which left at 3pm. Coming down I found much harder on my knees and we developed an interesting zigzag walk across the path which seemed to ease the pressure on the knees.

The return journey on the ferry was very warm and sunny so we sat on the front deck on the floor. Everybody else also had the same idea but it didn’t stop a group of local men playing music on their mobile phones and clapping and dancing which provided free entertainment for the rest of us.

The views as we approached the city of Istanbul were lovely with a skyline of mosques with their minarets. As the sun went down we were walking back to our hotel quite tired after our day on the boat and the hike up the mountain to look at Russia. A really great day out with something different to see at every turn, a nice sunny day and delicious fresh fish and seafood for lunch; what more could anyone want?

I would thoroughly recommend this trip as it is not expensive and you get to see a great variety of places on the way. You also get a peep at Russia and can visit a part of Istanbul which is officially Asia as opposed to Europe.,

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