Cruising the Bosphorus River | Istanbul, Turkey ~ A Photo Essay.

By Posted in - Photos & Turkey on November 9th, 2011

[google1] When Beth and Brooke, of Brooke vs. the World, decided they wanted to take the Bosphorus River Cruise offered by Get Your Guide, I said, “sure, let’s do it” and then went back to the tedious task of cleaning out my email inbox. At one point, I think Beth read aloud the details of the tour, but, apparently, I wasn’t listening. So, I was a bit surprised (in a good way) when I found out at the start of our four hour adventure that the tour was actually broken into two parts: a trip to the famed spice market and then the river cruise. However, since we took took the tour on Turkey’s Republic Day–October 29–and the spice market was closed, we got the alternate tour, a guided bus journey through Istanbul before embarking on the two hour river cruise. Because we had already visited the spice market the day before, I was okay with our alternative tour. (If you are booking any Istanbul tour that involves the spice market, keep in mind that it is closed on Sunday and holidays.) As we traversed Old Istanbul around the Gold Horn Bay in our modern bus, we received a lot of information about the city, including historical details and fun facts. For instance, do you know how many people cross between Istanbul Asia into Istanbul Europe on a daily basis? Three million! Apparently, the Asian side is more residential, “cleaner and greener,” while the European area contains much of Istanbul’s historic attractions and is where a lot of commerce takes place. Istanbul is also the only city built on two continents, and guess what divides the continents? If you said the Bosphorus Strait, you would be 100 percent right! It stretches 20 miles from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea cutting Istanbul in half.

*     *     *

Motoring up the Bosphorus revealed a side of Istanbul that I didn’t notice on land: it’s pretty dang hilly. In fact, according to our tour guide, there are seven major hills in Istanbul, each one playing its own role in the cityscape. On board, we bounced freely from the upper open-air deck to the much warmer lower enclosed deck taking photos and gawking at the scenery. Turkish flags, tiny to huge, were hung throughout the city to commemorate the holiday, adding splashes of red and white to an already colorful backdrop. The cruise starts just south of the Bosphorus Bridge (First Bosphorus Bridge) and takes a u-turn under the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge). Motoring under the magnificent suspension bridges is a treat within itself, but the city really out did itself by hanging gigantic Turkish flags from each bridge. Just like the bus tour, the river cruise is also narrated by your tour guide. The first part of the tour takes place along Istanbul Europe, while the second part (after the aforementioned u-turn) travels along the Asian side.

Know Before You Go

* Wind got you down? Wait until after the u-turn at the second bridge to avoid windy conditions in the open areas of the boat, because the boat starts heading downwind on its way back to port. * Sticker shock? You can buy drinks and snacks on board, but you will pay a higher price. Coffee was about $2.50 and a beer was $5. * Sea Sick? We didn’t have any issues with getting sea sick, and the river was pretty rough, but if you are prone to motion sickness you may want to take precautions. A Note From Beth: I loved this cruise. It was really relaxing and easy going and a nice way to learn about the city and see it from a different perspective. There’s just something nice about being on a boat that makes you slow down and enjoy life. Then there’s the photos – shooting on the boat was awesome. There were so many flags and other boats going by – it was definitely a romantic tour in that sense. It wasn’t just me feeling the vibe either – several couples cuddled and kissed on deck. If you like the look of these photos I want to point out I shot them with my new Lensbaby lens! I really fell in love with this lens in Turkey and the pictures always remind me of far off memories. I was actually given an entire kit from the good folks at Lensbaby and I’ll be giving a full review of it in an upcoming post and then I will also post a photo essay of Lensbaby shots around Europe so be sure to stay tuned. We want to also be sure to thank GetYourGuide.com for providing us with this awesome tour. If you’re headed to a new place be sure to check out what they have on offer for tours. We’ll be taking a few more with them in the upcoming days and will give a full report. Hope you like the photos! Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, TurkeyBosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, TurkeyBosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul, Turkey *Get the first glimpse of our new travel photos & posts! Subscribe by email and get new travel articles delivered straight to your inbox:

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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website, Nariko’ s Nest Weddings & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(28) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Sarahsomewhere -

    November 9, 2011 at 6:47 am

    This brings back memories… But we took the regular ferry to the other side. My strongest memory is of the birds (seagulls or something like them) flying along with the boat. At that stage my boyfriend was obsessed with taking photos of animals, so we got plenty of the seagulls, nothing like your beautiful shots! Great city hey? Also hanging out with the fishermen on the Galata Bridge made for some nice photos.

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Yes the bridge is awesome for photos too. Istanbul is like a fairytale for photographers! @Sarahsomewhere,

  • Patricia GW -

    November 9, 2011 at 7:05 am

    How interesting Istanbul straddles both Europe and Asia. The cruise sounds so lovely. I love the black and white photo the best, but I found most of them hard to enjoy because of the sharp contrast between the focused zoom/blur.

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      It was actually pretty cool learning about Istanbul on the tour.

      Sorry to hear you didn’t like the effect of the lens though. I have some other options to try out with it maybe I can find a better solution. 🙂 @Patricia GW,

  • Seattle Dredge -

    November 9, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Love it! I went on a Bosphorus cruise awhile ago and keep meaning to post photos… your beautiful shots have reminded me :]

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Seattle, I’m glad you like them – it’s a great cruise and Istanbul is pretty amazing huh?

      @Seattle Dredge,

  • ehalvey -

    November 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Looks like you had just as beautiful weather for your cruise that I had a month earlier! Did yours go all the way up to the Black Sea? We took an hour and a half to 2 hour tour on a Sunday, and it was gorgeous.

    I have to say, I like the idea for your Lensbaby lens, but the contrast made my astigmatic eyes hurt. The portraits are absolutely stunning though!

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      Our cruise did go up there. It was beautiful! We loved it. Sorry that the photos are hurting your eyes! 🙁 I used the same lens for every photo so it must be certain angles are worse than others. @ehalvey,

  • Denise -

    November 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I must admit that this time I’m not so keen on this blur effect…it ‘hides’ too much.

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Oh what a bummer! I love it. It reminds me of a memory from long ago…@Denise,

      • Denise -

        November 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

        @Bethany, Well, let me explain. usually, I look at a beautiful photo for quite a while, to appreciate the details. With this lense, I can manage two seconds and then I have to look away because my eyes hurt

        • Bethany -

          November 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

          A couple other people said the same thing. It seems it affects some people but not others. I’ll try to see if I can use a different optic with it to make it easier for everyone. I’ve become a bit addicted to it though! @Denise,

  • Emily S. -

    November 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I love those photos, especially the two of the Turkish flag. Awesome shots!

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks Emily – glad you like them!

      @Emily S.,

  • Alan -

    November 10, 2011 at 4:03 am

    iconic trip and evocative photos – really good post.

    • Bethany -

      November 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Allen, thanks for commenting! @Alan,

  • Sarah Wu -

    November 13, 2011 at 12:25 am

    You take such beautiful photos! Spice Market and a cruise in Istanbul sounds so fun. If I visit Turkey next time I would love to check the tour out.

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic -

    November 13, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Super cool photos! They also make my eyes hurt (I think it might be that astigmatism like others have mentioned), but I think the blur makes them look really cool. It’s a neat effect that I haven’t seen before, so I just wish my eyes could catch up with my brain! 😛

    I really like river cruises (one of these days I’m going to take a multi-day cruise around Europe via the rivers… one of these days!), so when we head to Istanbul I’ll check this out.

  • Kieu ~ GQ trippin -

    November 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Really wished we had more time when we were there. We didn’t get a chance to cruise down the Bosphorus. 🙁 Great photos as always!

  • Julie McElroy -

    November 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Great photos. I have not been to Turkey, but it seems to keep coming up as a place to visit. I have just started playing with the blur option on my camera. It is a decent point and click, but the blur option is not manual. I like it for certain shots. I would definitely have to take Dramamine before getting on a boat that small – thanks for the heads up!

  • Andrea -

    November 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

    These shots certainly capture the wind! I like the blur effect -something different. I enjoyed our Bosphorus cruise…Turkey is just so incredibly huge!

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam -

    November 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I have to admit, I am not a fan of the blur effects. It makes me queasy. And I’d rather save the seasickness for that awesome cruise. 🙂

  • Sophie -

    November 22, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I really enjoyed looking at the partly blurred photos; they give a sense of time warp that I find oddly appealing.

  • James Cook -

    November 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Great photos I worked on a ship that used to go through the Bosphorus when I was younger!

  • Michael Hodson -

    November 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I hate how good you are. Damn it. 😉

    Come shoot with me somewhere!!

  • Shani -

    December 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Love the picts! We weren’t able to go on the Bosphorus cruise when we were in Turkey in October – we had some bad weather on the days we had planned to go with wind and rain! Figured it wouldn’t be fun on a boat. Great to see you picts though!

  • […] I was inspired to buy a Lensbaby lens by Beth over at Beers and Beans, who often posts absolutely beautiful photos taken with Lensbabies. I must say, I’m not entirely disappointed with my first efforts. […]

  • Andrew Darwitan -

    October 14, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Great pics. I had the chance to cruise in Bosphorus too, and it was a fantastic experience. It’s a travel photographer’s heaven; every single building & marble palace in Istanbul as seen through the river is just begging for their own snapshots.