The Bosphorus, separating Europe and Asia, was and still is one of the most important maritime routes in the world. Straddled by the city of Constantinople—or Istanbul, as it is known today—the Bosphorus Straits lies between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, and has always been of great commercial and strategic importance.
Today, apart from the hundreds of tankers that sail by and ferries that transport local folk from one continent to the other, tourists from all over the world flock to the strait for a ride on its waters.
Home to some of the most beautiful structures boasting tranquil waterside gardens, mosques, and landing jetties, the Bosphorus is considered the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation.
The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardenelles Strait to the southwest collectively form the Turkish Straits. The Bosphorus, however, plays a significant role in its location as it connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara—which in turn connects the Dardenelles to the Aegean Sea and finally empties itself into the Mediterranean Sea.
Sailing the Bosphorus is a must on any visit to Istanbul. You can either take a cruise by heading over to the docks on your own, or enjoy a worry-free planned excursion through a pre-arranged tour. Whichever option you take, the ride is truly panoramic. Lined with scenic buildings, parks, and religious structures, the banks of the Bosphorus are rich in history and culture.