Golden Horn

Golden Horn: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

1. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

Take a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus Strait to see the European as well as Asian half of Istanbul. Jump aboard a luxury yacht from Kabatas and keep your cameras ready as you cross mosques, palaces, and seafront villas. Learn about the city’s centuries-long history through your guide. Start the tour at Kabatas Pier aboard an elegant yacht, drinking traditional Turkish drinks, and nibbling on canapés and fruit from tastefully arranged platters. Glide by palaces and minarets as you sail along the Bosphorus.  When dusk sets in, feel the soothing breeze from the Sea of Marmara on your skin as the sky puts on a colorful show, tinted with shades of orange and rose. Few places in the world are as mesmerizing as Istanbul in the setting sun. Hear the muezzin's call from a towering minaret. Cruise past majestic palaces and villas along the strait’s banks. Breathe in the legacy of ancient Byzantium, Constantinople, and the mighty Ottoman Empire with each breath of fresh salty air. Kick back and ride gentle waves in the comfort of a yacht. Watch the city and its iconic landmarks pass by, which is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. End the experience at Karakoy Pier.

Istanbul: Bosphorus and Golden Horn Cruise with Audio Guide

2. Istanbul: Bosphorus and Golden Horn Cruise with Audio Guide

Hop on a sightseeing cruise to tour the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. Get a fresh look at Istanbul on this boat tour with an audio guide to tell you all the top tales as you glide by Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden's Tower, and Galata Tower. Sail as far south to see the Bosphorus Bridge. Meet your host on the other side of Hagia Sophia and walk down to the pier behind the grand mosque. Jump on board to discover the Golden Horn, considered to be the world’s largest natural harbor. Sail through the magnificent Bosphorus strait forming the continental boundary between Asia and Europe. On your way, come across cultural and historical emblems of Istanbul like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden's Tower, and Galata Tower. Learn about the city’s rich heritage with an audio guide. Admire the Bosphorus coastline on the European side from the cruise, and see a string of villages, each with its own individual character and attractions. Glide past Dolmabahçe Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, and the Bosphorus Bridge, among others. Be sure to keep an eye out for ancient castles, famous parks, and spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. Capture stunning pictures of the vibrant city of Istanbul along the water on this scenic cruise.

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

3. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

Discover the Topkapi Palace on a guided tour. Learn about Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of the Sultan's family in the harem.  Meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide take you to Topkapi Palace. Explore the splendor of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Discover the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise, Bus Tour, and Cable Car Ride

4. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise, Bus Tour, and Cable Car Ride

Explore Istanbul by land, sea, and air on this unique tour. Enjoy sights like the Eyup Sultan Mosque by bus, admire the city from the Bosphorus Strait on a scenic cruise, and take in the views from Pierre Loti Hill with a cable car ride.  Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from centrally-located hotels in Istanbul. Relax in an airconditioned bus on your way to the departure point for your cruise on the Bosphorus Strait. Hop aboard a comfortable ship and admire the city from the water. Take in unobstructed views of the Golden horn, the Topkapı palace, the Dolma Bahçe palace, the Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Maiden’s Tower, Galata Tower, the Blue mosque, and the Ortakoy mosque. Gaze out at the two bridges that connect Europe and Asia. Get back on the spacious bus and drive to the 19th century Eyup Sultan Mosque where Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (a friend to the Islamic prophet Muhammad) is thought to have been laid to rest. Pass by historical wooden houses, churches, synagogues, mosques and the remains of the Roman Wall. Drive up the Pierre Loti Hill to capture pictures of views of the city and the Golden horn. Enjoy the views on the way down with a thrilling cable car ride. Return to your hotel at the end of your tour.

Sapanca Lake and Masukiye Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

5. Sapanca Lake and Masukiye Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

Enjoy a full-day tour away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul on a day trip to the Gulf of Izmit and the freshwater lake of Lake Sapanca. Following a pick-up from your hotels in the city center, transfer to Lake Sapanca for a walk in nature. Located on a tectonic hole, between Izmit Bay and the Adapazari Meadow, Lake Sapanca is known for its scenic beauty. Continue to the picturesque village of Masukiye to enjoy lunch under a canopy of trees. Then, drive to a waterfall before climbing Kartepe Mountain. Hike in the mountains, or take the ski lift if you prefer. Discover a popular area for picnics in summer and ski breaks in the winter. Transfer back to your hotel in Istanbul for the end of tour services.

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

6. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

7. Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

After finishing your busy day of sightseeing around Istanbul, you can relax on this 2-hour Golden Horn and Bosphoros cruise. You will meet your guide across from the Hagia Sophia, from where you will go together down to the pier behind the building. From there you will discover the Golden Horn, including the 32-kilometer-long Bosphorus which separates Europe and Asia. You will be able to see Istanbul’s main attractions, including magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and famous hills and parks, as well as spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. All of this sightseeing will of course include your passing under Istanbul's many famous bridges. You will pass by Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will also get to see some historical landmarks from a distance, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden Tower, and Galata Tower. 

Istanbul: Tourist Pass with Over 75 Attractions & Services

8. Istanbul: Tourist Pass with Over 75 Attractions & Services

Save time and money with a convenient 2, 3, 5 or 7-day passport to Istanbul. The Istanbul Tourist Pass is an online city Pass that provides access to some of the city’s top sights, during the days you choose. It is the only city pass available that allows you to enjoy Istanbul in a simple, convenient, and fun way. All the passes include a chat service during available hours with professional guides over WhatsApp. By presenting your GetYourGuide voucher at the entrance, gain access to: • Hagia Sophia Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Topkapi Palace Museum Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Basilica Cistern Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Dolmabahçe Palace Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Blue Mosque Guided Tour (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Grand Bazar Guided Tour (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Hagia Irene Museum in English (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Tiled Pavilion Museum (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Museum of the Ancient Orient (check meeting point and tour schedule) • Photoshoot in Ottoman attire (1 per/pass, not per/person) • Şerefiye Cistern Guided Tour • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum • SEA Life Aquarium • Sapphire Observation Deck with 4D Skyride Simulation • Museum of Illusions • Hop-on hop-off Bosphorus boat cruise (1-ring or 1-day, Bosphorus Strait or Golden Horn) • Bosphorus boat tour • Princes’ Islands boat trip • LEGOLand (adults cannot enter without a child) • Xtrem Aventures • Pera Museum • Dialogue in the Silence • Istanbul Airport Shuttle (One way) • Jungle & Dungeon & Safari • Sakıp Sabancı Museum • Upside Down House Photo Experience • Jungle & Dungeon & Safari (cannot be visited without children) • The Museum of Selfies • Dialogue in the Silence • Bursa Day trip • Sapanca Lake & Maşukiye Daily Tour • Istanbul Segway Tour • Emaar Aquarium and Underwater Zoo • Istanbul Toy Museum By making reservations in advance and presenting your GetYourGuide voucher, get access to the following:• Discounted 1-way airport transfer. You are allowed to choose the direction • Whirling dervishes ceremony (requires a reservation in advance) • Bosphorus dinner cruise. Dinner and shows included (requires a reservation in advance) • Dialogue in the Dark • Combined Miniaturk Park Istanbul and Eyup Sultan Mosque and Pierre Loti Tour • Discounted COVID PCR Test • Discounted unlimited Wi-Fi device

Istanbul: Asian Side Walking Tour with Ferry Ride

9. Istanbul: Asian Side Walking Tour with Ferry Ride

Meet your group and tour guide in front of the famous Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) located in Eminönü and get ready for your tour. You will walk together to the ferry station and your guide will pay your ferry ticket to go to the Asian side. On your way to Kadıköy, you will enjoy the most stunning Istanbul historical peninsula view from the sea and take amazing pictures of the Galata Bridge, Golden Horn, Galata Tower, Galata Port, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Maiden's Tower. After a 20 mins intercontinental ferry ride, you will set foot on the Asian side central district Kadıköy. You will explore the famous local food market of Kadıköy, learn about Turkish entertainment and food culture, explore backstreets of a local residential neighbourhood where you get to walk through thematic streets such as the Antiques Street, locally famous bar streets, pedestrian shopping avenue with nostalgic tram line, colorful umbrella street and much more. You will immerse yourself in local Istanbulian daily life, learn about local food and drinking culture, and see the contrast between two continents. You'll get insider tips and recommendations on the best restaurants, bars and markets from your local guide who lives on the Asian side and knows the neighbourhood street by street. Watch and take breath-taking photos of the incredible sunset over the historical peninsula which can only be seen from the Asian side. Notes: - This tour includes a one-way ticket to the Asian side with ferry, but not the return ticket. One way ferry ticket to return currently costs 15 liras (less than 1 euro). Istanbulkart works on the ferry as well and costs the same as tram or subway. - Tour starts on the European side, ends on the Asian side (Kadıköy). Your guide will explain you how to go back. Ferries operate back to the European side until 1 am past midnight and there are also other public transport options such as subway. - Tour lasts 1,5 hrs. Ferry ride with boarding and docking lasts about 30 mins (20 mins on the sea). Walking Tour on the Asian side last 1 hour. - Find your guide with the red "Istanbul Welcome Card" flag.

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

10. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

Explore Istanbul on a guided tour. Choose from a 1-day tour to top attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or a 2-day tour with a cruise on the Bosphorus straight and a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Street. Pick from a walking tour or a driving tour.  Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The excursion starts with a pick-up from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still holds the position for the 4th largest dome. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Move on to the Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque’s striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years.  Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. Visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column, the 3 remaining monuments from the original building. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Complete your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. Day 2 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, Taksim The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there.  The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus and there are magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name, in Turkish, Dolma means 'filled' or 'stuffed,' and bahce means 'garden'. Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

Other Sightseeing Options in Golden Horn

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What people are saying about Golden Horn

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,426 reviews

Excelente experiencia, el yate estaba súper bonito y aunque había más personas, podías tener tu espacio privado, nosotros nos acomodamos en la popa y estuvo excelente, las vistas son bellísimas, las bebidas complementarias y los snacks son buenos

Our guide was very knowledgeable about this fascinating palace complex. She provided a well-paced and thoughtful tour, with enough time at each section of the palace for us to have a good look. Loved the small group of just 8 people!

Very much enjoyed the small/ cosy boat (fits maybe 15 people), knowledgeable and vivacious guide, watching the sunset while seated on the cushions at the front of the boat. Ideal October weather also helped.

Good guide, but a long wait at the start when his electronic ticket didn’t work! Afterwards he kindly helped us find a cab during a horrible traffic jam when cabbies actually refused to take us to our hotel.

Great value for the price. Seeing the city from the water was one of the highlights of my trip to Istanbul