After pickup from your centrally located Istanbul hotel or Istanbul cruise port, travel by air-conditioned minivan to the Spice Market in the Eminönü quarter.
Also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, this colorful market is housed in a 17th-century hall, making it Istanbul’s second-oldest covered bazaar after the Grand Bazaar. Stroll down the corridors, absorbing the aromas and colors. Peruse the brightly hued spices, herbs and wares, and perhaps purchase some goodies.
Next, continue to the waterfront and board a shared boat for your cruise. Settle in the comfortable saloon or on the open deck, and admire the views as you cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. This waterway connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, and divides Europe and Asia, making Istanbul the world’s only city to straddle two continents.
Pass the Dolmabahce Palace, home to the Ottoman sultans during the 19th century, and see the Beylerbeyi Palace, an imperial residence on the Asian banks. Glide by other landmarks including the Ciragan Palace and 15th-century towers of the Rumeli Fortress, and take in views of the wooden Ottoman villas, markets, and Bospohorus Bridge.
After roughly 1.5 hours, return ashore and finish your tour back at the original start point.