Bosphorus: Between Europe and Asia


When it comes to Istanbul, one of the most important and well-known landmarks has to be the splendid Bosphorus. It is the reason Istanbul is known as the “the city between two continents.” Here is some facts and details about the infamous Bosphorus that you might enjoy.


What is the Bosphorus?

Let us start with some general knowledge. The Bosphorus Strait is a natural waterway that runs through Istanbul, dividing the city into two continents. The Bosphorus connects Europe and Asia via the Sea of Marmara. If you care for some numbers, the Bosphorus Strait is 31 50 km long and its width is between 200 m to 1.4 km. The deepest point of the Bosphorus is 240 m.

There are three bridges to cross the Bosphorus, connecting the European side of Istanbul with Asia: The Bosphorus Bridge, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. The latter two bridges are named after two of the greatest Ottoman sultans. The bridges are not the only means to pass the Bosphorus, there are various ferries that run back and forth across the strait throughout the day. It takes about twenty minutes for a ferry to reach its destination on the other side of the strait. Not to mention, the best way to explore the Bosphorus: The Bosphorus dinner cruises that will show you the beautiful Istanbul at night, sailing along the Bosphorus and allowing you to enjoy the amazing views with the companionship exceptional food selection and professional dance shows.


Where does the name Bosphorus come from?

The Bosphorus name originally comes from the Greek language. The word Bosphorus means “ox ford” meaning the way that the oxen walk through. The legend has it the name comes from the story of Io, the girl who Zeus had an affair with. According to the story, when Hera, wife of Zeus find our about this affair, Zeus turns Io into an ox in order to protect her from Hera’s rage. Io tries to cross the Bosphorus by swimming as an ox, this is why this waterway is named as the Bosphorus.


Where is the Bosphorus located?

The Bosphorus, as we mentioned before,  is a strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It runs between  Europe and Asia continents, creates the sealine boundaries for Istanbul. During the day, many private boats or cruise boats travel on the waterway. You can always hop on to one of them and enjoy the amazing Istanbul views from the sea side. And at night, when the bridges are shining with colorful light shows, you can join to a Bosphorus dinner night cruise for an exceptional experience.




What to see and do on the Bosphorus Strait?

Istanbul has no shortage of landmarks to see, places to discover, views to admire… And the Bosphorus is no exception. Here are some tips from Istanbul locals to see and do on the Bosphorus Strait:

  • Take a cruise, where you can admire deeply and learn more about the Bosphorus. While there are a variety of cruises available to tourists, some of the most popular include dinner cruises, fishing trips, and sightseeing excursions. For the best dinner cruise in town, with the best menu and best shows, visit check out our regular or private Bosphorus Dinner Cruise options.
  • Watch the sunset while you relax on board, be mesmerized by the magical views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Off the record, you can take amazing golden hour selfies while the Bosphorus shining bright like a diamond on sunset.
  • Explore local nightlife hotspots along both sides of Bosphorus. For an unforgettable night out, you can visit one or two of the most popular night clubs, restaurants, etc… and enjoy some live music or dance the night away.


When should I visit the Bosphorus?

The Bosphorus is an all year-round destination. It’s one of the busiest waterways in the world, and cruises are available in all seasons. So, feel free to pay a visit anytime, when you are in Istanbul. It is for sure, you will find it amusing.

And at night, Bosphorus dinner cruises are also available four seasons. There is no right or wrong time to experience this extraordinary tour.


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