Travel from Europe to Asia on the first bridge to connect the two continents, admire the bridge from below during a cruise and visit centuries-old buildings.
The Bosphorus Bridge is a 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) long suspension bridge that crosses the Bosphorus Strait. It stretches between Istanbul’s Ortaköy and Beylerbeyi districts. Opened in 1973, it was the first bridge to connect the continents of Europe and Asia.
Jump on a public bus or a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour to travel across the bridge and between the two continents. If possible, sit on the upper deck of a bus and take in the views of the Bosphorus Strait and the Prince’s Islands. At night the bridge is lit up spectacularly, presenting a good photo opportunity.
Each October there is a chance to cross the bridge on foot so you can claim to have sprinted from Asia to Europe. Sign up for the “fun run," which is part of the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasian Marathon, and join thousands of participants. Visit the marathon’s official website for further details.
An alternative and enjoyable way to see the bridge is on a cruise of the Bosphorus Strait. Passenger ferries and private tours depart from various docks around the city, including Eminönü, Kadiköy and Üsküdar. Ferries pass beneath the bridge, allowing you to appreciate its size. The cruises also offer views of historical mosques and palaces. Some cruises will even go as far as the Black Sea.
Don’t miss the attractions situated on each end of the bridge. Dominating the European side is the Baroque-style Ortaköy Mosque, built in 1853 and decorated with white marble and intricate mosaics. Take your time wandering the cobblestone streets of the Ortaköy district, which are lined with bars and cafés, galleries and handicraft stalls. Go to the Asian side of the bridge to visit Beylerbeyi Palace, a former summer residence of Ottoman sultans. You can enjoy uninterrupted views of the bridge from the palace’s gardens.
The Bosphorus Bridge is a 15-minute drive from Istanbul’s historic center. Public buses provide easy access; otherwise it is a 1-hour walk.