A stay in Istanbul is not complete without a traditional and unforgetable boat excursion up the Bosphorus, which winding strait and separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of pas and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. Modern hotels stand next to yali (shore front wooden villas), marble palaces, rustic stone fortresses and elegant compounds neighbor small fishing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the passenger boats that regulary zigzag along the shores. You embark at Eminn and stop alternate on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round-trip excursion, very reasonably priced, takes abour six hours. If you wish a private voyage, there are agencies that specialize in organizing day or night mini cruises.
The beautiful Beylerbeyi Palace lies just past the bridge on the Asian side. Behind the palace rises Camlica Hill, the higest point of Istanbul. You can also drive here to admire a magnificent panaroma as well as the beautiful landscaped gardens. On the opposite shore, the wooden Ottoman villas of Arnavutkoy create a contrast with the luxurious modern apartments of neighboring Bebek. A few kilometers farther along stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisari (Rumeli Fortress), and Anadolu Hisari facing each other across the straits like sentries guarding the city. The Goksu Palace, sometimes known as Kucuksu Palace, graces the Asian shore next to the Anadolu Hisari. The second link between two continents, The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge straddles the waterway just past the two fortresses.
Kanlica is a fishing village that is now favored suburb for wealthy Istanbulities. Crowds gather in the Restaurants and cafes along its shores to sample its famous yogurt. Shortly after Kanlica and Cubuklu is the Beykoz Korusu (Ibrahim Pacha Woods), a popular retreat. In the cafes and restaurants there you can enjoy the delightful scenery and clear, fresh air.