Spanning the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s Galata Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Turkey. The bridge has been a symbolic link between the old city center, with its imperial palaces and religious structures, and the more commercial neighborhoods that were populated by foreign merchants and diplomats. It also appears frequently in Turkish literature, poetry and theater.
While a bridge has stood in the same location since 1845, the current structure dates back only to 1994. The previous bridge (the fourth), was damaged in a fire in 1992 and moved further up the Golden Horn. Stretching from Karakoy to Eminonu, the present-day bridge is actually the fifth Galata Bridge to stand on those shores. At 42 meters wide, it has 3 lanes for traffic and one walkway in each direction.
The lower level of the bridge is now lined with lively cafes and restaurants offering a magnificent view of the Golden Horn and the old city.
No matter where you are staying in Istanbul, the Galata Bridge is easy to reach. Indeed, if you take a city tour, you are almost guaranteed to cross it at some point. Visiting on your own, the Karakoy tram station sits on one end of the bridge, while the Eminonu station is just a bit further inland on the other end. A downhill walk from Istiklal Street will also lead you to the bridge, as will the Tunel funicular. Dozens of ferries dock at either Karakoy or Eminonu and are the best way to get to the bridge from the Asian side of Istanbul.