After pickup from your central Istanbul hotel, travel to the portside at Kabataş for your full-day cruise. Step onto your sightseeing boat and after a safety briefing, find a spot on deck. Then, soak up the views as you sail north along the Bosphorus Strait, the stretch of water that divides Asia and Europe.
Enjoy the complimentary onboard snacks and beverages, and take snaps of the passing mosques and landmarks as you cruise to your first stop of Ortaköy.
Set on Istanbul’s European shores, this picturesque district of neo-baroque buildings and cobbled lanes is filled with arty shops, galleries, markets and cafes. Enjoy free time to stroll, and then return to your boat and cross the Bosphorus to Istanbul’s Asian banks.
Here, enjoy a guided tour of the Küçüksu Palace, an Ottoman-era imperial hunting lodge built in the 1800s. Small enough to fall below the tourist radar, this ornate residence is more than opulent enough to entrance visitors. Behold the rooms adorned with gold, marble and crystal, and hear how the sultans relaxed here after hunting expeditions.
Cruise back over the water and pay a visit to Rumeli Hisari Fortress, once used to control traffic on the Bosphorus. See the ramparts and towers with your guide, and then enjoy lunch back on deck on your boat.
The menu may vary, but expect dishes such as grilled chicken and meze accompanied by sodas, with other drinks (own expense) available from the bar.
After lunch, cruise further up the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea. Take in the views and dock at Poyrazköy, a pretty village nestled between wooded hills and lined by a sandy bay.
Get free time to use as you wish, perhaps to swim in the sea or take a seaside stroll. If you wish to swim, remember to bring your bathing suit and towel! If the weather isn’t conducive to swimming, dock at Anadolu Kavağı instead, and enjoy time to visit its ruined hilltop castle.
Afterward, cruise back to Kabataş and finish your tour in the early evening with a hotel drop-off.
Please note: Küçüksu Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays, and Rumeli Fortress is closed on Wednesdays. On these days, your visits will be substituted by a visit to the Maiden’s Tower, a medieval island tower that starred in the James Bond movie The World is Not Enough.