Current promotion on our first departure morning Bosphorus cruise.
You’ll always get the best price for “Zoe Yacht” owner-direct on this website, no-where else.
Enjoy free pick-up and drop-off at your European-side city-center hotel or cruiseship.
Morning Promotion – 50 € OFF!
A popular alternative for those wanting a relaxing cruise in comfort. Glide by the most famous shore-front sites, such as the Bosphorus Bridge and stunning Beylerbeyi, Ciragan and Dolmabahce Palaces, aboard a well-maintained and crewed motor-yacht to yourselves.
Spend a half-day soaking up breathtaking views of Istanbul & the Bosphorus Strait traveling to the picturesque fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi, near the mouth of the Black Sea. Step onto the Asian Side for lunch or a stroll here. This full-circle Bosphorus cruising voyage is a fabulous day out…
This is a unique foodie cruise combining fine dining in Istanbul with the best view as a Bosphorus yachting experience. Feast on crudites and mezes, or specially selected Turkish food and wine while relaxing with friends or family, surrounded by panoramic views of Istanbul’s waterfront…
Start a special evening with a cocktail cruise at sunset time and drop off at your favorite Istanbul restaurant to continue a wonderful evening. This is our most popular tour of Istanbul and offers an ideal way to celebrate a special occasion, birthday or propose marriage.
Looking to celebrate a special occasion, party, reunion, marriage proposal, wedding, anniversary or birthday in Istanbul? Let us help you celebrate!
Enhance your private Bosphorus tour on Zoe Yacht with a range of optional extras including drinks, snacks, cakes and flowers available during online booking.
We have a fleet of reputable motor-boats in Istanbul ready to offer you for all occasions and group sizes.
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Introducing Zoe Yacht
Welcome to Zoe Yacht Bosphorus Cruises in Istanbul, Turkey. We’re a locally owned and managed spacious Turkish flybridge motor-yacht, 17-meters/55-feet long, ready to take you out on a deluxe harbor cruise of Istanbul, the Bosphorus Strait, Golden Horn, Princes’ Islands, Marmara or Black Sea.
Our private cruises depart every day with pick up from your hotel, pier or dock, taking up to 12 guests with ease. These river cruises are ideal for couples, families and small groups including tourists, visitors and cruise ship passengers.
From the deck of your private motor-yacht, discover the best of Istanbul by sea. With a private boat rental, you can enjoy a two continents tour of Asia and Europe and under the Bosphorus bridge, travel to the Princes’ Islands (Swimming Cruise) or Black Sea.
We’ll collect you from almost any neighborhood on Istanbul’s European side center, including from Sultanahmet, Taksim, Kabatas, Ortakoy, Besiktas, Karakoy and more pick up areas here.
Treat yourself to a private Bosphorus cruise day trip on Zoe Yacht for a special lunch, brunch, dinner or drinks at sunset time. For more exciting things to do in Istanbul, please browse our site to view our luxury cruises, which can be booked online securely and owner-direct with us today.
The Bosphorus Strait is a 32 km long strait winding between two continents, the European & Asian sides of Istanbul. Due to its unique geopraphy and history it offers unparalleled sightseeing from the water, for example:
Relax and take your time while having a well-maintained and crewed motor-yacht to yourselves. Cruise in comfort and style in a relaxing environment to explore the best of this picturesque riviera by day or illuminated by night. Admire a magnificent Istanbul sunset, passing vessels of all shapes and sizes: sailing, fishing and ferry boats, tankers and ships. Enjoy an unbeatable morning, evening or afternoon Bosphorus day trip, a romantic dinner cruise on the Bosphorus for two, celebrate a family occasion, birthday party, business dinner or wedding anniversary, or throw a private party for a small group of friends. The list goes on.
In any Istanbul tour, it is essential to include a city boat cruise, for the Bosphorus and its shores are by far the most beautiful part of Istanbul, a “garland of waters” bounding and dividing the city and offering incomparable views, nature, geography, history and sightseeing. There are many types of tours possible depending on your budget and preferences from the basic turyol and sehir hatlari ferries to our own private yacht tours.
The Bosphorus has been described in many beautiful ways throughout history by poets, travellers, royals and diplomats. Here’s a few of them:
“A garland of waters” – Byzantine historian Procopius (AD 500-565)
“Istanbul is a magical seal, which unites Europe and Asia since the ancient times. Without a doubt, Istanbul is certainly the most beautiful place of the world”. Gerard De Nerval
“Life can’t be all that bad,’ i’d think from time to time. ‘Whatever happens, i can always take a long walk along the Bosphorus.”― Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories and the City
To understand Istanbul is to understand how its maritime nature and unusual geography has influenced its character and history to shape how it is today. And to cruise Istanbul by boat includes some of the best things to see and do in Istanbul:
Alighting your boat from any of several piers, your typical Bosphorus Cruise will take you on a loop of Istanbul’s most striking monuments through the Bosporus Strait. At over 30 meters long, you can cover almost half of the strait in a short-circle cruise (2 hours), or all of it in a full-circle or long cruise (4-6 hours). Depending on your starting point, you may enter and exit this sightseeing loop at any point and take a cruise past the following touristic places:
In the lower Bosphorus, close to Sultanahmet Old City and the downtown center is Kabataş, a bustling transfer hub for land and sea. Just beyond is the Dolmabahce Mosque and its baroque clocktower, dating from the 1850s and designed by the Balyan Brothers, famous Amenian architects of the period.
This is followed by the Dolmabahce Palace, or “Filled In Garden”, taking its name form its small inlet which was filled in to create this imperial palace and which later replaced Topkapi Palace as the Sultans’ preferred residence. Built in the 19th century it is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world and has a white marble façade of over 280 meters along the seafront.
Further on is Beşiktaş or “Cradle Stone” a busy town bursting with students and ferry landing port, followed by Ciragan Palace. Built for Sultan Abdul Aziz in 1874, he died here soon after being deposed and the palace housed his successors in a virtual prison for the next thirty years. It later served a brief stint as the place of Turkish Parliament in 1908, until it was burnt down in a fire and restored into one of the most luxury Istanbul hotels.
Passing the next village of Ortakoy, or Middle Village, look out for Ortakoy Mosque, a distinctive mosque in a mix of baroque and other styles jutting out on a promontory at the water’s edge, built by the Balyan brothers in 1854. Little cafes and a street market surround it making for a relaxing half day trip another day.
Marvel at the graceful Bosphorus Bridge, the fourth largest suspension bridge in the world and built in the early seventies. It is 1,074 m (3,524 ft) long and was completed in 1973. This is one of the locals’ hidden places to make a wedding proposal in Istanbul, with a laser able to project personal messages for boat-goers under the bridge for a surprise. By night the bridge is lit in a rainbow of colors with beautiful reflections on the water.
Cruising on to Arnavutköy, this is a pretty Albanian village and one of the quaintest quays along the shore. Its seafront is lined with yalıs (wooden mansions from the Ottoman era), moored with fishing boats of every shape and size and numerous restaurants (including several of the best fish restaurants for seafood dining in Istanbul). Off Arnavutköy is the deepest point of the strait at 100 meters, at the cape called Akıntı Burnu.
Rounding this cape, you’ll enter the calm waters of Bebek Bay, backed by verdant rolling hills, umbrella pines and cypresses, and home to some of Istanbul’s society and celebrities. Here yachts and mega-yachts abound. Gaze at the attractive Egyptian Embassy building with boats bobbing at the landing stage at the entrance of the village park. Up on the Northern ward hills are the Bosphorus University buildings, reputable as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in Turkey.
The cruise sweeps the bay and heads towards Rumeli Hisari Fortress, dominated by turrets and steep walls to keep out invaders. Situated at the narrowest point with 660 meters of the Bosporus strait, just opposite of the Anadolu Hisarı on the Anatolian side, another Ottoman fortress, which was built between 1393 and 1394. Known as “Boğaz-kesen” or cutthroat, it was not only used as a prison but as the perfect location for Sultan Mehmet to launch his conquest of Istanbul, cutting off the city’s communication beyond.
If you’re on a full-day or long Bosphorus Cruise, then you’ll also continue to Sariyer, a fishing village especially for catches from the Black Sea and Buyuk Lıman, a shallow and tranquil bay with a golden sandy beach surrounded by an acacia groved valley. This makes for an ideal stop in the summer for day trips and swimming tours.
Crossing to the Asiatic shore of the Middle Bosphorus at some point in your boat tour, you’ll glide under the the Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Bosphorus II) Bridge, ever famous in history as the location where King Darius of Persia constructed a bridge of boats from which to launch an attack in 512 BC and cross to the Asian Side. It is 1,090 m (3,576 ft) long, and was completed in 1988 about 5 km (3 mi) north of the first bridge. It forms part of the Trans-European Motorway.
Near the Northern end of the Bosphorus and entrance to the Black Sea, is Anadolu Kavagi village, a traditional fishing village. Perched on the hilltop above it is Yoros Castle, the Genoese ruins of fortifications from the 1780s, offering a superb viewpoint of almost the entire course of the Bosphorus from end to end, Marmara Sea to Black Sea. At 200 meters, this is the second highest hill on the Bosphorus, known today as “Joshua Hill”, or anciently as “Hercules Hill” or the “Giant’s Grave“, due to a twelve-meter long hollow in the hill, and as in Byron’s poems:
“Tis a grand sight from off the Giant’s Grave
To watch the progress of those rolling seas
Between the Bosphorus…”
(from a poem by G.G.N.Byron)
After a break hop on your Bosphorus boat cruise again and sail by the Bay of Beykoz or “Prince Walnut”, a calm bay and popular for swimming if you’re on a swimming cruise. In the past this was also a favorite location for catching swordfish using a traditional “Dalyan“, a kind of wooden structure on stilts over the water with one man posted above to lookout for and heard any approaching swordfish into set fishing nets.
Cruise on Southwards to Kanlıca, an un-spoilt village with a square of plane trees, a famous stop for travellers throughout the ages for its local yogurt. En route you’ll see another hilltop landmark, a charming Art-Nouveau style palace with huge tower belonging to the Viceroy of Egypt from 1900, now a restored hotel with handsome gardens.
Around here you may notice an usual building on stilts in the water – Currently under restoration, this was once the beautiful front room of an exquisite yalı, dating from 1698, with elaborate design, including spectacular floral and geometric paneling and motifs.
Next up is the Anadolu Hısarı or Anatolian Fortress, right opposite the Rumeli Fortress. Built in 1390 by Beyazit the Thunderbolt it has a keep and three towers and was known locally as “Güzelce”, or “Pretty One.”
Now lookout for the mouth of the “Sweet Waters of Asia“, two little streams called the “Göksu” (Sky Stream) and the Küçüksü (Little Stream) separated by a meadow and the Kucuksu Palace.
The seaside Kucuksu Palace was once an imperial residence for the Sultans dating from the 1850s and used as a base for hunting day trips or visiting signatories. Today it’s a museum.
Next to the palace is one of the largest yalıs of the Bosphorus, the Kıbrıslı Mustafa Emin Paşa Yalısı dating from 1760. With mostly one story and a façade over 60 meters long, it is one of the grandest yalıs with massive ball room, marble pool and fountain and its own harem.
Moving on, you’ll cruise by Kandilli, where the most beautiful series of Yalıs on the Bosphorus can be found, such as the Count Ostorog Yalı of 1790. Watch out for these and the pretty village of Çengelköy, its square surrounded by plane trees with a baroque fountain.
Continuing on our cruise, you’ll approach the Bosphorus Bridge again. Near its base is the village of Beylerbeyi and Beylerbeyi Mosque, a baroque style mosque from the 1770s, followed by Beylerbeyi Palace itself, dating from the later 1800’s and built by the Balyan brothers. This was a sumptuous lodge to house visiting Royals, including the Shah of Persia and Emperors & Empresses from Europe.
Next look out for an attractive yalı that is at the pretty village of Kuzcuncuk, followed by the modern town and bustling ferry port at Uskudar. Just beyond here you’ll see a small man-made island in the sea, known as Maiden’s Tower, Leander’s Tower or Kız Kulesi, a major photo backdrop of the city and one of the best spots to see the sunset over Istanbul by boat.
This completes your sightseeing of the major landmarks and historical monuments during your scenic Bosphorus cruise.
The world’s narrowest strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea).
The strait is 31 km (17 nautical miles) long, with a width of 3,329 m (1.798 nautical miles).
Its maximum width is 3,420 m (1.85 nautical miles) between Umuryeri and Büyükdere Limanı.
The depth of the Bosphorus varies from 36 to 124 m (118 to 407 ft). The deepest location is between Kandilli and Bebek with 110 m (360 ft).
It is called the Bosphorus Strait rather than the Bosphorus River, as rivers don’t usually connect two seas or divide two continents.
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I would recommend this experience to anyone looking for an exclusive and impressive way to discover the Bosphorus.
A truly magical experience… it was certainly the perfect way for friends to celebrate a special occasion. Thank you for all the lovely details, like the flowers and your staff’s helpfulness.