The Golden Horn (Haliç) is an inlet of the Bosphorus with two rivers draining into it at the far end.

It is considered to be the world’s largest natural harbor and separates the European shore of Istanbul into two.

The best places to observe the Golden Horn’s activity and grace are the Galata Bridge if you want ringside seats, and the Topkapi Palace or Pierre Loti Cafe you prefer a bird’s-eye view.

Where To Find The Golden Horn Cruises

Before the pandemic, there used to be other cruises that sail on the Golden Horn for touristic purposes, but now there are only public passenger boats that operate frequently on all the days of the week. The name of the company is Sehir Hatlari and the cruise is called the Golden Horn Line. It departs from Uskudar, which is the only pier located in the Asian Side for this journey. The convenient quay to take the Golden Horn Cruise for tourists is Karakoy. Karakoy is somewhat close to both, the old city and the Taksim Square. The cruise follows the route; Kasimpasa, Fener, Balat, Haskoy, Ayvansaray, Sutluce and arrives at Eyup, which is the final destination. The cruise is not roundtrip, however, you may get the very same boat for return if you are not interested in visiting the sites around the piers.

As stated earlier, the most popular districts to visit are Fener, Balat, and Eyupsultan neighborhoods. Also, we strongly recommend you to check the Rahmi Koc Museum which is just by the Haskoy stop. You may get the cable car to Pierre Loti Hill to experience the Golden Horn view from above while enjoying your cup of Turkish coffee. Then, walking down the historical cemetery to Eyup Mosque is easy to access, after visiting the mosque, you may get the boat to the Balat neighborhood. Please keep in mind that the boats leave almost every hour and it is better to check the departure times not to wait for long.

Highlights of this Cruise Tour:

  • Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
  • St. Stephen Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Balat
  • Phanar Greek Orthodox College
  • Church of St. Mary of Blachernae  / Ayvansaray
  • Theodosian Walls of Constantinople
  • Feshane  (Old Fez Factory)
  • Eyup Sultan Mosque and Mausoleum
  • Santral Istanbul Museum of Energy (Old Silahtaraga Power Plant)
  • Miniaturk (Miniature Park of Turkey)
  • Boat Cruise on Golden Horn
  • Galata Bridge
  • New Mother Mosque
  • Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar)
  • Rustem Pasha Mosque
  • Golden Horn Metro Bridge
  • Kadir Has University (Old Cibali Tobacco Factory)