Navigating the Sea of Marmara: Istanbul’s Ferry System

Istanbul is a beautiful city that boasts a rich history and culture. There are many ways to explore this vibrant city, but one of the most unique and exciting ways is using the Ferry Istanbul System. The system provides an efficient, affordable, and picturesque way to navigate Istanbul’s waterways while enjoying stunning city views. This blog post will take you through the Ferry Istanbul System. We will help you understand what it is and why you should choose it as your mode of transportation.

Istanbul is a city that straddles Europe and Asia, connected by the Bosphorus Strait. The ferry system is a famous English mode of transportation for locals and tourists, offering stunning views of Istanbul’s historical monuments and palaces, such as the Dolmabahce. Commuting from Europe to Asia takes just 20 minutes on one of the dozen ferries that crisscross the Bosphorus all day. With 22 ferry routes across the Bosphorus, it’s easy to explore both sides of the Istanbul ferry while enjoying the scenic ride.

Istanbul’s Ferry System


Navigating Istanbul’s busy streets can be daunting, especially for tourists. The Ferry Istanbul System (sehir hatlari) offers a solution that is both affordable and convenient. With various types of ferries available, such as local, express, and sea buses, the system caters to different travel needs. Plus, the regular schedule with frequent departures makes it easy to plan your trip. Whether commuting to work or exploring the city’s famous landmarks from the water on a Bosphorus tour, the ferry is an excellent option. Remember to check schedules and routes in advance, as they may change due to weather or special events.

Why Ferry?

The ferry provides the best way to explore the city’s many attractions. Its scenic rides offer stunning views of the city’s skyline, allowing passengers to see Istanbul’s famous landmarks from the water. Compared to other transportation options, using the ferry can save time and money, making it an ideal choice for travelers who want to maximize their experience while minimizing costs. Additionally, the system is easy to navigate thanks to clear signage and helpful staff, ensuring a stress-free journey for all passengers.

Ferry rides are a great way to take a short trip to Istanbul. IDO is the market leader, offering quick and comfortable transportation between the European and Asian shores or the Princes Islands. The ride is almost as comfortable as a flight and affordable too. The Bosphorus line also offers short trips for those who want to enjoy the scenic views of Istanbul from the crossing sea.

Ferry Routes in Istanbul

Ferry Routes

Photo Credit: @sehirhatlari

Exploring Istanbul’s popular ferry routes is a must-do activity for any visitor to the city. From the picturesque Bosphorus Strait, connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, to the serene Prince Islands, there are plenty of options. The Kadikoy to Karakoy route is particularly popular among tourists, offering stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline. Alternatively, the Besiktas to Uskudar route takes you past historical landmarks such as the Maiden’s Tower and Dolmabahce Palace, providing an excellent opportunity to learn more about Istanbul’s rich history. With frequent departures throughout the day, navigating the city via Istanbul’s reliable and affordable ferry system is easy.

Sirkeci Harem Ferry

The Sirkeci Harem Ferry is a popular mode of transportation in Istanbul, Turkey that offers its passengers a unique and scenic experience. This ferry ride takes you from the historic Sirkeci district to the Asian side of Istanbul in Harem and vice versa. The ride also is a great way to take in the beautiful views of the city skyline and iconic landmarks like the Bosphorus Bridge and Maiden’s Tower. The ferry also provides a convenient mode of transportation for locals and tourists alike, with multiple departure times throughout the day. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the city, consider taking a Bosphorus cruise on the Sirkeci Harem Ferry.

Ferries to the Princes’ Islands

Princes Island Istanbul

The Princes’ Islands, a group of nine small islands in the Sea of Marmara, including princes’ islands, are a must-visit destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. With stunning beaches, historic landmarks, and traditional Turkish cuisine, these islands are the perfect place to relax and unwind. Ferries to the Princes’ Islands offer a scenic and relaxing way to get there. It’s important to note that ferry schedules vary by season, so it’s always best to check before planning your trip.

Eminonu to Kadikoy Ferry

The Eminonu to Kadikoy ferry is one of the most popular routes in Istanbul, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline and the Bosphorus Strait. The 20-minute ride is a quick and convenient way to travel between these vibrant districts. With its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and historic landmarks, Kadikoy is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the Asian side of Istanbul. Meanwhile, Eminonu on the European side boasts a rich cultural heritage with iconic attractions such as the Spice Bazaar and Galata Bridge. Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, taking a ferry from Eminonu to Kadikoy is an experience not to be missed.

Karakoy to Uskudar Ferry


The Karakoy to Uskudar Ferry is a popular way to cross the Bosphorus Strait. It offers passengers stunning city skyline views and iconic landmarks like the Galata Tower and Maiden’s Tower. With frequent services throughout the day, it is a convenient option for locals and tourists. Onboard amenities such as cafes and seating areas add to the comfort of the journey, which takes about 20 minutes each way. Whether heading to work or exploring Istanbul, the Karakoy to Uskudar Ferry provides a quick and scenic way to travel between two bustling districts.

Kabatas to Kadikoy Ferry

The Kabatas to Kadikoy ferry route is a must-try for anyone visiting Istanbul. It’s an excellent way to cross the Bosphorus Strait and enjoy breathtaking city skyline views. The trail connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul and allows passengers to explore both neighborhoods. Kadikoy, located on the Asian side, is famous for its bustling markets and vibrant nightlife, including kadıköy. In contrast, Kabatas on the European side is home to several historical sites such as Dolmabahce Palace and Taksim Square. With frequent daily sailings, comfortable seating arrangements, and affordable ticket prices, taking the Kabatas to Kadikoy ferry route promises a memorable experience for all visitors.

Kadikoy Ferry Timetables


Kadikoy Ferry Timetables are essential for anyone traveling by ferry in Istanbul. The timetables provide detailed information about the schedules, including departure and arrival times, frequency of service, and the different routes available. Whether commuting to work or exploring the city as a tourist, the Timetables can help you plan your journey more efficiently. With multiple ferries departing daily, you can choose the most convenient time and route that suits your needs. So check the Kadikoy Ferry Timetables before you embark on your next ferry ride in Istanbul!

Besiktas to Uskudar Ferry

The Besiktas to Uskudar Ferry is a must-try for anyone visiting Istanbul. This route offers breathtaking views of the Bosphorus Strait and the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Maiden’s Tower and Galata Tower. Commuters and tourists alike can enjoy this quick and convenient mode of transportation between these two bustling districts. With frequent ferry services operating throughout the day and night, visitors have ample opportunities to explore both sides of Istanbul’s stunning waterfront. Onboard amenities such as comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, and refreshments make for a comfortable and enjoyable ride on the Besiktas to Uskudar Ferry.

Uskudar to Beylerbeyi Ferry

beylerbeyi palace

The Uskudar to Beylerbeyi Ferry is a popular and frequent route in Istanbul that offers breathtaking views of the Bosphorus and the historic Beylerbeyi Palace. This ride takes around 20 minutes each way, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery while enjoying onboard refreshments and snacks. The ferry also provides a convenient mode of transportation for reaching popular attractions such as the Maiden’s Tower and exploring the Asian side of Istanbul. You can purchase tickets either at the ferry terminal or online in advance for this memorable experience.

How to Navigate with Funicular

Navigating the ferry system in Istanbul is a breeze, thanks to the convenient Funicular system. This system connects various districts on both european and asian sides of the Istanbul and provides a quick, efficient way to travel around town. To use the Funicular, simply purchase an Istanbulkart at any metro station or kiosk, load it with credit, and then swipe it at the gate before boarding your chosen ferry. With affordable fares and frequent services running throughout the day, the Funicular is the go-to choice for commuters and travelers.

Where to Purchase Ferry Tickets

Visitors can purchase ferry tickets at kiosks near terminals or online through the official website or mobile app. Travelers should plan their routes and check their schedules to avoid long wait times or missed connections. Some ferries offer additional amenities like food and drinks for purchase, while others may have limited facilities. It’s wise to keep your ticket handy as staff may check it during the journey.

Ferries are an affordable and convenient way to travel in Istanbul, with tickets costing as little as 16 Turkish Lira when using the inner-city ferry lines. The Bosphorus tour offers stunning views of the city skyline, Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque. It’s also cost-effective, with tickets starting at just 16 TL (less than $1). Remember to use an Istanbulkart for even more savings on your ferry trips.


turyol istanbul tour

Photo Credit: @turyol

Turyol is a leading ferry service provider in Istanbul, Turkey. The company offers comfortable and reliable transportation for commuters and tourists alike. With Turyol, you can enjoy scenic views of the Bosphorus Strait while traveling between Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. The ferry service is available throughout the day, with frequent departures from multiple locations on both sides of the city. Whether you’re looking to explore Istanbul’s historical landmarks or need to cross the Bosphorus for work or school, Turyol is the perfect choice for safe and efficient travel.

Top Recommendations for a Memorable Ferry Route

Enjoy the Scenic Views of the Bosphorus

istanbul turkish night

Taking a ferry ride along the Bosphorus Strait offers breathtaking views of Istanbul’s iconic landmarks from a unique perspective. As the ferry glides, passengers witness stunning scenery, including Ottoman-era palaces, ancient fortresses, and picturesque neighborhoods. The European and Asian sides of Istanbul are visible simultaneously, providing an unforgettable experience. Passengers can relish onboard amenities like cafes and observation decks while taking in the sights. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful scenery as it unfolds before your eyes.

Take a Cruise Along the Golden Horn

golden horn

Cruising along the Golden Horn is a quintessential Istanbul experience that should not be missed. The natural harbor and estuary offer stunning views of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Galata Tower and the historic mansions that dot its shores. Several ferry companies offer Golden Horn cruises, ranging from basic sightseeing tours to more elaborate dinner cruises, making it easy to find an option that suits your interests and schedule. As you glide past Istanbul’s bustling waterfront, take in the sights while enjoying onboard amenities such as cafes and observation decks. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, cruising along the Golden Horn is an unforgettable experience.

Visit the Historic Galata Bridge

The Galata Bridge is a historic landmark in Istanbul and an excellent way to experience the city’s rich culture. Spanning the Golden Horn, it offers stunning views of the city skyline and is a popular spot for fishing and strolling. A visit to the bridge provides an opportunity to view some of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, from a different perspective. Additionally, several restaurants are located on the bridge where visitors can enjoy delicious meals while enjoying the breathtaking views. The convenient location of Galata Bridge near many ferry docks makes it easy to access different parts of the city.

Take a Guided Tour of Istanbul’s Islands

Exploring Istanbul’s Islands is an experience that should not be missed. With lush greenery and stunning sea vistas, these islands offer a unique perspective on the city’s history and culture. A guided tour can provide insight into the islands’ fascinating past as places of exile and quarantine. Visitors can also enjoy stops at several islands, each with its character and attractions. The island’s natural beauty and rich history make for a truly unforgettable experience that will give visitors a deeper understanding of Istanbul’s cultural heritage.

Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht

luxurious yacht

A Sunset Cruise on a Luxury Yacht is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Istanbul. You can sit back and relax as you sail along the Bosphorus Strait, taking in the stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline as the sun sets over the city. The luxury yacht has all modern amenities, including air conditioning, comfortable seating, and a bar serving drinks and snacks. This experience is perfect for couples looking for a romantic evening or group of friends wanting to enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience while watching the breathtaking sunset.

IstanbulKart for Ferry Rides

istanbul kart

IstanbulKart simplifies ferry travel for those unfamiliar with the area. This smart card is the key to discounted fares and seamless access to public transportation, including ferries. To use IstanbulKart on ferries, tap your card on the designated reader before boarding and disembarking. Not only does IstanbulKart save money, but it also eliminates the need to purchase individual tickets for each ride. Refilling your IstanbulKart is easy at kiosks, metro stations, and ferry terminals. Remember to plan your trip by checking the schedule and route of the ferry before tapping your IstanbulKart.

Other Transportation Options in Istanbul

While the Istanbul system is a great way to explore the city, it’s not the only option available.

  • The Istanbul Metro is a popular alternative, providing an efficient and affordable way to travel around the city. With its extensive network comprising six lines and 90 stations, you can quickly get anywhere in Istanbul.
  • Another popular mode of transportation is the Istanbul Tramway, which serves the historic district and connects significant tourist destinations such as Sultanahmet, Eminonu, and Taksim Square.
  • If you prefer private transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are widely available in Istanbul. Make sure to check must have apps in Istanbul for more information!

However, they may be more expensive than public transportation and may not always be the most convenient option due to traffic congestion. When selecting your mode of transportation in Istanbul, consider factors such as cost, convenience, and the areas you want to visit for a hassle-free commute.

The ferry is an essential mode of public transport that has been used for centuries. It continues to serve as a critical link for commuters, tourists, and vehicles per day. The Istanbul kart is the card required to ride the ferries or any other public transport in Istanbul. It is an easy and cost-effective way to travel around the city. With its stunning views of the Bosphorus, taking a ferry ride can also be a great way to see Istanbul from a different perspective.


Ferries affordability and convenience make it a great way to explore the city. Whether you’re interested in exploring the Princes’ Islands or want to take in the beautiful views of the Bosphorus, there’s a ferry ride for everyone. And with our guide on where to purchase tickets, how to use IstanbulKart and recommendations for top ferry tours and activities, you’ll be sure to make the most of your time on board. So why wait? Start planning your next adventure on the ferry today!


What are travelers saying?

Travelers who have experienced the ferry ride in Istanbul have praised it for its stunning views and comfortable seating arrangements. They say it's a unique way to explore the city and provides an opportunity to see some of Istanbul's most iconic landmarks from a different perspective. The ferries run frequently and are affordable, making them an excellent option for travelers on a budget. Additionally, many travelers appreciate the convenience of quickly accessing different parts of the city via the ferry system. Overall, the ferry ride in Istanbul is highly recommended by those who have tried it.

Which ferry company is cost reliable for a fast and comfortable journey?

To determine which ferry company is considered the most reliable for a fast and comfortable journey, it is essential to consider factors such as the route, frequency of service, onboard amenities, and overall customer satisfaction.

Are there ferries in Istanbul?

There are ferries to Istanbul. The city is located on both the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus strait, and numerous ferry services operate between Istanbul and other cities in Turkey, as well as international destinations such as Greece and Italy. Some popular ferry routes include Istanbul to Bursa, Istanbul to Yalova, and Istanbul to Bandirma. Ferries can be a great way to see the city from a different perspective and avoid traffic on the busy streets.

What time is the ferry to Bosphorus Istanbul?

You can check the schedule of ferry services to Bosphorus Istanbul by visiting the official website of the ferry operator or contacting their customer service hotline. It is also good to arrive at the ferry terminal beforehand to ensure you don't miss don't schedule departure.
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Eylül Ayköse

Likes to travel and loves to eat even more. Always happy to explore!
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