Changing Views: Cruisin’ Between Europe and Asia, Bosphorus, Istanbul

The Beautiful Ortakoy Mosque on the Europen part can be seen along the Bospohorus Strait, Istanbul

One of the things that I couldn’t pass up was at least getting a glimpse of Istanbul’s side of Asia. You see, Istanbul is geographically located in both Europe and Asia, separated by the Bosphorus. But visiting both continents within our limited time was almost impossible. There’s so much to see and do at the European side alone that it’s really quite amazing to fit another day to see the other continent it’s in.

2601The Old City as seen from the Bosphorus Strait

Conveniently, there’s a ferry that cruises along the Bosphorus. It’s said to be great and the way to see both continents.

Consequence of tardiness.

We were supposed to take the first ferry, but instead we rushed and still managed to miss the 2nd one. We gave it a rest and ended up with the 3rd (and last) one. It was a bummer but oversleeping and poor time management had its consequences.

Moving forward, appreciating the view.

The weather didn’t help with how annoyed I felt. Half of the gloomy day had passed until we were finally able to cruise. My hopes were high. Strategically, we sat at the top deck of the boat, at the back, in the middle, in order for us to easily sway from left to right and view both continents at the same time. Wrong move. I was distracted by others who are doing the same thing and wasn’t really able to appreciate “the moment” of having “the view”. Add the fact that the timely announcements (aka “tour guide”) are barely understandable and nonchalant (can I say, “unnecessary to the point that it’s useless?”). Was it just me who felt this? Or did everyone else who’s in the same area felt the same?

2602Cloudy day, Dolmabahce Palace at the European part of Bosphorus Strait

During this cruise, we passed by some notable sights such as the Dolmabahce Palace and Ortakoy Mosque, both of which could be found at Europe, and Beylerbeyi Palace, which is in Asia. It was during this time that I was “swaying” and made me quite restless and irritated.

I finally gave it a rest and settled in facing just the Asian side and figured, Europe would be our focus on our way back.

The view of the Asian side of the Bosphorus Strait.

Asia looked more laid back and less populated compared to Europe. There were fewer houses too, or maybe it just isn’t that obvious from my line of site.

2605 besiktas (1280x804)2604 2605260626072609Anadolu Kavagi

2 hours and 5 stops later, we arrived at Anadolu Kavagi (Asia) where we would then spend our next 3 hours exploring and eating before taking the last ferry of the day en route back to where we came from (Eminonu).

It was during our return route when we decided to sit outside, just facing the side of Europe. I was so over that “being in the middle and see the big picture” thing. I didn’t want to have that “blocked view”again. And, focusing on two things from opposite sides at once doesn’t help either. Lastly, the indoor ambiance made us feel bored.

Surprisingly, being seated outside was really refreshing. Seeing unfiltered and unblocked views, being surrounded by migratory (I assumed that they were) birds and having them fly by our side while hoping to dodge the quite threatening bird poo, and feeling the cool breeze with a sprinkle of water, it was the opposite of boring. And the sun managed to give a late afternoon shine before it finds it way to set again. It wasn’t exciting, but it was relaxing.

The view of the European side of the Bosphorus Strait

Here’s the rest of the photos from the European part of Istanbul.

2610261126132614Lots of birds flying along as we sailed back

2616Beautiful houses

2617A More Humble Home2618 2619Rumelihisari26202621Bosphorus Bridge

East Meets West

Overall, the so-called Bosphorus cruise to see where “East Meets West” and “Europe and Asia” is boring if you’re just going to sit and wait for things to happen. But I guess, if we didn’t experience that boredom, we won’t result to change it up a bit and consciously miss out the unintelligible voice-over of the “guided tour” on our way back. Because of that, we had more appreciation of the rest of our return trip. Maybe because we have a basis of comparison? Or was it really circumstantial?

If you decide to take this so-called ferry (aka Bosphorus Tour), you can’t solely rely on what they say, that “it’s a great way to see both sides” and expect for it to be great when you board the boat. Once there, you have to find out what works for you and not let your judgment be clouded with your expectations based on your guidebook. If it didn’t work the first time, then change it up next time. And if there are other things you could do, then do it.

Lastly, your expectations–it’s normal to have one. But if you base your expectations on the things you read, then that defeats the purpose of you going there to experience it for yourself and responding/acting on what’s presented to you. And then I go back to the part where I say that you have to find out what works for you. 🙂


Quick Tips:

1. Although being at the back area of the top deck allows you to see both continents at the same time, your much needed focus will be split from time to time if you want to see the different sights that are located on opposite sides. Choose one side and stick with it. Just choose the other one on your way back.

The best area to be seated (for me), is the one outside, just behind the railings where they’ve placed benches for passengers to sit comfortably. Unless the ferry swerves or makes a fast turn, then it’s not dangerous. I’m not really particular about this though, as I have an average-to-low security standards (my bad!).

2, There are only 3 round trip ferry rides for the Bosphorus tour. Manage your time wisely.

3. Since this is an unguided tour (although there’s a timely announcement of the sights’ names), it is better if you are knowledgeable of the sights that you’re about to see. You can’t depend on the so-called guide. A guidebook is nice, but remember that it’s nicer to just relax while you cruise along. 😀

4. The last stop, Anadolu Kavagi, is worth checking out. I’ll share my thoughts on it on a separate post. 😀

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5 thoughts on “Changing Views: Cruisin’ Between Europe and Asia, Bosphorus, Istanbul

  1. hi,

    istanbul is truly a spectacular city to photograph.
    love your photos.

    best regards,

    1. hi kap,

      indeed it is. thank you! 🙂


  2. your pictures are beautiful!! 🙂

  3. […] taken the Bosphorus Tour, we were given an ample time to wander around its last stop, Anadolu Kavagi, before heading back […]

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