After hotel pickup in Istanbul, travel by air-conditioned vehicle to the Bosphorus Strait, the waterway that separates Europe and Asia.
Here, step onto a traditional sightseeing boat, settling on the outer deck to enjoy unobstructed views as you cruise between the two continents past Istanbul’s scenic European and Asian shores.
Listen to the live onboard commentary, sail under the Bosphorus Bridge, and glide by highlights such as the Ortaköy Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace and Rumeli Fortress, the latter built by Sultan Mehmed II in 1452.
After about two hours, disembark and enjoy a 3-course lunch at a local seafood restaurant. Then, hop into an air-conditioned minivan and enjoy the stunning views on a drive across the Bosphorus Bridge to Istanbul’s Asian side.
Admire the Ottoman-era ‘yali’ (mansions) along the waterfront, hearing how it was possible for these grand houses to be built so close to the water. Then, take in the ornate Beylerbeyi Palace, once a summer residence of Ottoman sultans, and other landmarks as you work your way to Çamlıca Hill, a highpoint commanding spectacular views over the city.
Absorb the panoramas over drinks (own expense) at the cafe, and then finish your tour with a hotel drop-off.