Golden Horn Tours

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Thank the natural harbor of the Golden Horn for the rise of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. The inlet separates Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district from Beyoglu, and is spanned by the Ataturk, Halic, and Galata bridges. An ages-old thoroughfare, ferries ply the Golden Horn to historical neighborhoods including Fener, Balat, and Eyup.

The Basics
Istanbul’s historical prominence throughout many centuries is thanks partially to the Golden Horn, the natural protective harbor off of the Bosphorus Strait. Its military and economic benefits allowed empires to thrive. Today the vibrant neighborhoods along the Golden Horn draw visitors to their many museums, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other attractions.

Many private and small-group Istanbul city tours explore the areas around the Golden Horn and stop at the Chora Church (Kariye Museum), Miniaturk, the Walls of Constantinople, Pierre Loti Hill, and more. Sightseeing cruises abound as well—there are even rowing tours of the Golden Horn’s waters. Some tours provide round-trip transportation.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Golden Horn area is a must-see for all first-time visitors to Istanbul, especially history buffs.
  • The green parks that line the banks of the Golden Horn are popular with locals.
  • Watch the light change at sunset from one of the Golden Horn’s atmospheric bridges.
 
How to Get There
The Golden Horn passes the transit hub of Eminonu Square and spans the length of the old city peninsula. The mouth of the Golden Horn is accessible by ferries, buses, and trams at Eminonu and Karakoy. The Halic metro stops directly over the Golden Horn.

When to Get There
Fener, Balat, Eyupm and other neighborhoods along the Golden Horn are popular with locals and travelers, and get crowded in the afternoon. Arrive earlier in the day to beat the crowds. Though museums close in the evening, come at night to get a sense of local life along the Golden Horn.

History Along the Golden Horn
The neighborhood of Fener contains the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the striking Fener Greek Orthodox College—known locally as the Red School—as well as various churches that date to Byzantine times. Stroll farther up the Golden Horn to Balat, a traditionally Jewish neighborhood that still contains synagogues. Then continue on to Eyup, a bustling Muslim neighborhood known for the Eyup Sultan Mosque.


Location
Address: Galata Bridge, Istanbul 34357, Turkey
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Admission: Free
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30 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Bosphorus Full-Day Sightseeing Tour: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Cruise, Spice Bazaar, Camlica Hill and Dolmabahce Palace

Cruise the stunning Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn and experience three of the best Istanbul sights on this adventure-filled full-day sightseeing tour. This tour take you on a 2.5-hour boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait to savor spectacular sights of bridges, palaces, mosques and fortresses. You will stop at Dolmabahçe Palace for a guided tour and explore the alluring scents and colors of the Spice Bazaar. Visit Rüstem Pasha Mosque on top of Camlica Hill and capture wide views of the skyline. Plus, this tour comes with a delicious 3-course meal along the beautiful shoreline.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$80.82
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$80.82

Afternoon Bosphorus Tour including Cruise, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Cable Car Ride

See Istanbul from three different vantage points on this 3.5-hour tour including a sightseeing cruise, panoramic tour and cable car ride. Take a scenic 1.5-hour cruise on the Bosphorus and admire top Istanbul attractions such as the Bosphorus Bridge and Rumeli Fortress from the water. Then, take a coach drive around the Golden Horn districts to see the former Jewish quarter, old city walls, iron-built St Stephens and other lesser-known treasures. Lastly, catch the cable car up Pierre Loti Hill to witness the stellar city views from its hilltop café.
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.41
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  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.41

Istanbul Tour with Bosphorus Cruise and Dolmabahce Palace

Admire beautiful architecture and capture stunning views of illustrious palaces during a full-day tour in Istanbul including a Bosphorus cruise. Aboard a cozy coach explore the highlights of Istanbul including the Walls of Constantinople, views of the Golden Horn and witness the lively Spice Bazaar on foot. You will then experience a must-do in Istanbul, a Bosphorus Strait sightseeing cruise. The cruise concludes with a visit to the beautiful Dolmabahce Palace where Istanbul’s late sultans once resided. Plus, you will gaze over this east-meets-west city for eye-popping views at Yeditepe or Çamlıca Hill.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$75.05
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$75.05

Golden Horn Half Day Morning Tour in Istanbul

See Istanbul on a half-day tour that includes a boat cruise on the Bosphorous River, and a cable car ride up Pierre Loti Hill. You'll also learn about the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires as you take in the walls of Constantinople, Chora Church, Topkapi Palace, and Yedikule Fortress (Fortress of Seven Towers).
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.41
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  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.41

Bosphorus Cruise and Golden Horn Tour with Cable Car from Istanbul

Explore Istanbul on a half-day tour that features the Golden Horn and Bosphorus River. Your knowledgeable guide shows you landmarks including Church of St Stephen of the Bulgars, the Old Jewish Hospital, Ecumencial Orthodox Patriarchate and the Old City Walls of Constantinople. Take a ferry on the Bosphorous River and stop at Eyup Sultan Mosque where the Ayyub al-Ansari Mausoleum is a top attraction. Finally, hop on a cable car that whisks you uphill to Pierre Loti Cafe for panoramic views over the Golden Horn.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$31.17
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$31.17

Traditional Boat Trip and Fener-Balat Areas Walking Tour

Explore Istanbul like generations of Turks — by boat and on foot — with a 6-hour tour of two historic, atmospheric neighborhoods. Navigate the Golden Horn on a 30-minute trip from Karaköy to Fener in a fishing boat, and take sweeping views of the the city from the water. Follow your guide through Fener and Balat’s colorful streets, and see narrow lanes lined with traditional houses. Visit Orthodox sites, a classic local coffee house and see the Byzantine art at the Chora Museum before returning to your hotel.
  • Duration: 6 hours
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US$130.00
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  • Duration: 6 hours
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US$130.00

Istanbul Food and Culture Walking Tour

Sample your way through Istanbul on this small-group food and culture tour. Stroll the city’s historic streets with an expert guide, dipping into local markets and cafes along the way. Taste foods from typical streets vendors and patisseries (own expense), and peruse some local shops as well. This tour offers a great overview of Istanbul’s lively food scene. Group size is limited to 15 people to ensure a quality experience.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$45.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$45.00

Morning Bosphorus and Golden Horn Cruise

Experience a beautiful boat ride along the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn and wander the Spice Bazaar on this 3.5-hour guided tour in Istanbul. On this tour, you will discover the colorful Spice Bazaar and elegant Rüstem Pasha Mosque before spending the rest of the day sightseeing on the Bosphorus, a must-do in Istanbul. Explore the inlet to the Golden Horn which separates European Istanbul and capture amazing sights of Rumeli Fortress, Bosphorus bridge and Dolmabahçe Palace. With serene coastal views of the Old City it’s no wonder people can’t seem to put their camera down as they cruise the Bosphorus Strait.
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.41
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  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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US$40.41

Istanbul City Tour with Bosphorus Strait Sightseeing Cruise

Gaze over land and sea on this 3-hour guided Istanbul city tour with a Bosphorus Strait sightseeing cruise. Aboard a comfy coach discover the lively neighborhoods of Fener and Balat and drive along the Golden Horn for spectacular views. With your expert guide experience the vibrant Spice Bazaar and then board a charming sightseeing cruise to traverse the Bosphorus viewing highlights like the Bosphorus Bridge and Rumeli Fortress.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$41.56
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$41.56

Full-Day Tour of 2 Continents with Bosphorus Cruise Included and Beylerbeyi Palace

Seize the unique opportunity to visit two continents in one day as you explore both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul on this full-day tour, including lunch. Tour the lavish Beylerbeyi Palace, stroll around the vibrant Spice Bazaar, and enjoy a scenic 1.5-hour cruise along the Bosphorus, passing landmarks like the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$69.27
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$69.27

SPECIAL OFFER

Istanbul Super Saver: Bosphorus Sightseeing Tour plus Istanbul by Night Turkish Food Tour

Discover the vibrant meeting point of East and West and experience Istanbul through all five senses with this action-packed Super Saver, combining two of Istanbul’s best-selling tours into one great-value package. First, enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour, including lunch, a 2.5-hour cruise along the Golden Horn and Bosphorus, and visits to the Spice Bazaar, Dolmabahçe Palace and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque. Next, savor the tastes of Istanbul on an evening food tasting tour and tuck into mezes, simit and kebabs, accompanied by live Turkish music.
  • Duration: 12 hours
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US$150.09
US$161.64  US$11.55 savings
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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US$150.09
US$161.64  US$11.55 savings

Full-Day Istanbul Tour with Bosphorus Cruise, Spice Bazaar, and Shopping

Visit a traditional spice bazaar, cruise the Bosphorus Strait, then take a shopping tour of Istanbul’s distinctive handicrafts on a 7-hour city tour that includes round-trip transfer from your hotel or port. This guided tour offers an overview of the city sights, with all entrance fees included, and transport on an air-conditioned coach.
  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$94.71
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  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$94.71

Eyup, Pierre Loti Hill, and Kariye Museum: Guided Day Tour from Istanbul

Enjoy a full-day Istanbul tour that takes in important sites around the Eyüp District, Pierre Loti Hill, the Golden Horn and more. See the Eyüp Sultan Mosque, the Chora Church (Kariye Museum), the Ecumencial Orthodox Patriarchate (aka Church of St George) and Suleymaniye Mosque as your informative guide shares the history of these Byzantine and Ottoman era monuments. Take in views of the Golden Horn from Pierre Loti Hill, and walk through the historic Fener and Balat districts, before ending the day at the Egyptian Spice Bazaar.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$100.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$100.00

Constantinople Tour of Istanbul: Discovering the Byzantine Empire

Realize the true impact of the Byzantine Empire on Turkey during this 3-hour guided history of Constantinople tour in Istanbul. Step back in time almost 1700 years and discover how Istanbul’s famous religious architecture and monuments took shape during this age of Christianity. Explore prime examples such as the Holy Virgin at the Church of St Mary of Blachernae, the Walls of Constantinople, and the ruins of Blachernae Palace. The legacy created by the Byzantine empire is uncovered on this tour.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$40.41
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$40.41

Golden Horn and Miniaturk Park Tour in Istanbul

Venture to the Miniatürk model park and see views of the Golden Horn during this 3-hour guided tour of Istanbul’s European side. You will explore the famous Eyüp Sultan Mosque and cruise up to Pierre Loti Café on board a vintage cable car. With your expert guide, discover the beautiful natural harbor of the Golden Horn and marvel at the intricate models of Turkey’s iconic monuments at Miniatürk.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$40.41
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$40.41

Bosphorus and Golden Horn Full Day Tour in Istanbul

See top attractions in Istanbul by land and boat on a full-day tour. See ancient Byzantine walls, Chora Church, Topkapi Gate, and Yedikule Fortress (Fortress of Seven Towers). Then cruise along the Bosphorous River and around the Golden Horn, taking in sweeping views of this historic city and waterway.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$57.73
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$57.73

Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage

Uncover the rich history of Jewish culture during this privately guided tour in Istanbul. Explore old Jewish synagogues such as the Etz Ahayim Synagogue and Ashkenazi Synagogue and learn about Istanbul’s vast Jewish heritage. Enjoy visits to famous sites like Galata Tower and the Jewish Museum of Turkey (referred to as the Zülfaris Synagogue) to grasp the depth of Jewish people’s history from ancient times through Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires to present day.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$68.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$68.00

Byzantine Istanbul Tour Along the Golden Horn

Delve into Istanbul’s Byzantine history on this 8-hour tour of the Golden Horn from Istanbul. Beginning with a ferry ride that covers both sides of the legendary waterway, straddled by the famous Galata Bridge, you'll stroll beside what remains of the 4th-century Walls of Constantinople, visit the hilltop perch of the mighty Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, and marvel at the Church of Cora, a magnificent example of early Christian architecture. See, too, the historic districts of Balat and Fener. Small-group tour limited to eight participants.
  • Duration: 6 hours
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US$75.00
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  • Duration: 6 hours
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US$75.00

Dolmabahce Palace Half Day Tour Istanbul

Explore the final home of the Ottoman Sultans on a 4-hour, guided tour of Dolmabahce Palace that includes round-trip transport from Istanbul and all entrance fees. Discover the highlights of the vast complex, where manicured gardens, antiquities, and ornate architecture overlook the Bosphorus Strait.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$82.71
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$82.71

Full-Day Istanbul City Tour From Cruise Port

Make the most of a day’s cruise stop in Istanbul with this 7-hour city highlights tour. Visit the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, charting Istanbul’s history as a Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman capital, and the importance of its location straddling Europe and Asia. Plus, punctuate your visits with time at the Hippodrome, where chariot races were held, and the Grand Bazaar, a souvenir-hunter’s dream. Air-conditioned minivan transport and entrance fees included.
  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$101.85
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  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$101.85

Classical Turkey Trip - SemiPrivate Tour in Istanbul Cappadocia Pamukkale Ephesus

This small group journey is unlocking the secrets of Turkey. You will discover the most popular and favourite destinations of Turkey. All the hotel accommodations, transportations, daily tours, lunches, entrance fees of the ruins and museums, domestic flights are included on this trip plan.
  • Duration: 7 days
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US$1,390.00
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  • Duration: 7 days
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US$1,390.00

Istanbul Muslim Districts Private Half-Day Tour

Discover Istanbul’s spiritual heart and learn how the cosmopolitan city has been shaped by its many religions on this 4-hour private tour of the historic Muslim districts. Visit the Suleymaniye Mosque, an architectural masterpiece and the largest in the city, then admire the Iznik tile work of the Rustem Pasha Mosque and see the Mausoleum of the Sahabe Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. You’ll also have chance to ride the cable car to the summit of Pierre Loti Hill in Eyup for a thrilling view over the Golden Horn.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$139.70
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$139.70

Istanbul Tour with Bosphorus Cruise, Asian Side, and Dolmabahce Palace

Experience the many faces of Istanbul in one day on this small-group tour. Explore the Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans, visit the Asian side for panoramic city views from Camlica Hill, and enjoy a 1.5-hour cruise between the continents on a Bosphorus cruise. Plus, visit other attractions often missed off itineraries, including the Fener Greek Patriarchate and Spice Market. Transport, lunch, and Sultanahmet and Taksim hotel pickup and drop-off included.
  • Duration: 1 day
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US$163.95
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  • Duration: 1 day
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US$163.95

Istanbul Half Day Morning Bosphorus Cruise Tour

ISTANBUL CITY WALLS The first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$132.77
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$132.77


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