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Okay, let’s get something clear. One can’t come to Istanbul and NOT sail on the Bosphorus, the city’s iconic waterway that divides the European and Asian sides of Turkey’s largest metropolitan area. Sure, Istanbul is breathtakingly striking from just about any spot since a city as old and historic as she, not to mention a city coveted by countless empires and nations, will have that effect. Here are 10 reasons why you should take a private Bosphorus cruise during a trip to Istanbul.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “I’ve been on so many sightseeing cruises-along the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris, and they’ve all been overcrowded and entirely forgettable,” then this is where I recommend taking a private cruise on the Bosphorus. If you need convincing as to why you should do something so completely decadent, or “Harry and Meghan-esque,” well here are ten reasons why you should.
1.) Istanbul is truly best seen from the water
2.) You will get very close to the shore
3.) You see see the most beautiful Ottoman-era architecture
4.) You will have a bird’s eye view of both sides of Istanbul-the Asian and the European
5.) Other boats passing by will think you’re some posh celebrity
6.) You can go above deck, return to below deck, and never risk “losing” your seat unlike on overcrowded, cattle-style sightseeing boats
7.) You’ll get picked and returned to your hotel which means you don’t have to get to the dock on your own or have a potentially nightmarish taxi experience
8.) It’s will be some of the best euros you’ve ever spent (even though Turkey’s currency is the lira, most travel/sightseeing activities charge in euros since the Turkish Lira is valued so low)
9.) You will literally sail by castles (which make for the prettiest photos)
10.) You will get to take the wheel (or at least pretend to for a photo opp)
And not necessarily a good reason-you will be forever spoiled if you have to do a peon sightseeing cruise at some point in the future. And a paying it forward reason-tell any friends or family traveling to Istanbul those 10 reasons why you should take a private Bosphorus cruise
Note: I booked my private sightseeing yacht with Zoe Yacht Cruises. It was 349 euros for the 2 hour private sightseeing cruise along with pick-up and drop-off from your place of choice (obviously it’s most cost effective the more people you have). My only critique is that a tour guide was extra (someone to provide you with a complete and thorough history of what you were seeing) . One of the workers answered questions but her English was quite limited so it was a bit difficult at times.