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Golden Horn (Haliç)
Golden Horn (Haliç)

Golden Horn (Haliç)

Galata Bridge, Istanbul, 34357

The Basics

Istanbul’s historical prominence throughout many centuries is thanks partially to the Golden Horn, the natural protective harbor off of the Bosphorus Strait. Its military and economic benefits allowed empires to thrive. Today the vibrant neighborhoods along the Golden Horn draw visitors to their many museums, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other attractions.

Many private and small-group Istanbul city tours explore the areas around the Golden Horn and stop at the Chora Church (Kariye Museum), Miniaturk, the Walls of Constantinople, Pierre Loti Hill, and more. Sightseeing cruises abound as well—there are even rowing tours of the Golden Horn’s waters. Some tours provide round-trip transportation.

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Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise Tour, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Pierre Loti Tour
Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise Tour, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Pierre Loti Tour
$39.96 per adult
Traveler Favorite
A great professional for a great experience
The human factor chosen in Istanbul was the great difference between good and superb. Emel Davutoglu, our guide to be, was in touch with us since the day before to the trip and from first hour in the morning of the excursion she was adapting teh shcedule of coleection from the hotels to the needs of her clients. Afterwards, she was well informed and answered our questions on a great deal of topics, with happiness and knowledge. A great professional for agreat experience. The trip, in three different tyes of vehicles (funicular, boat and minivan) is well planned and shows you very difffernt perspectives on very diverse attractions of a magical city.
Jose_I, Sep 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Istanbul

star-5
Colorful Experience
Sara_G, Oct 2020
Fener - Balat- Piere Lotti and Golden Horn Experience
Had a great time on this tour. I was the only one, so it turned out to be a private tour. I don’t think I would have explored these neighborhoods so really happy I chose this particular experience. There was a lot of walking so be prepared. Also, it is not leisurely enough for full photography. Got some great shots though.
star-4
Cruise and cable car
Elizabeth_W, Mar 2020
Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise Tour, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Pierre Loti Tour
We got picked up and the traffic was bad it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to the pier from our hotel..The tour itself was good, the cruise was a nice optional view of the city. The cable was a nice short ride. We got dropped off .9 of a mile from our hotel they said in the old city you would be dropped off as close as they could. I do believe we could have been dropped off much closer as big tour buses went on our street daily.
star-5
Beautiful tour
Salah_B, Oct 2019
Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise Tour, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Pierre Loti Tour
This tour was very interesting very friendly and skilled staff and very brave driver to deal with a mad traffic. I really enjoyed my day out. It was a good history lecture which I am glad to live the golden past history time. I love Turkey which is rich of history and the top of civilisation who brought a lot of knowledge to the dark ages Europe that time. .
star-5
Short cruise and Istanbul tour
Les P, Sep 2019
Bosphorus Cruise & Golden Horn Sightseeing Morning Tour
This trip was very good as the cruise down the Bosphorus was not too long and the information provided by the young tour guide was superb, with lots of info on the area, history, culture and general traditions. Good value for money.
star-5
Excellent tour to beautiful Bosphorus
Panagiotis_A, Jun 2019
Bosphorus Cruise & Golden Horn Sightseeing Morning Tour
The tour was very well organized in two parts: one part was a panoramic bus ride along the western coast of the Golden Horn, the second part was the boat trip along the Bosphorus. Besides it being a beautiful day, our guide Diana was intelligent, very well informed and flexible in offering various suggestions to look at sites which were not on the program. We (a family of three) thoroughly enjoyed it.
star-4
Awesome views
Awasone, Sep 2019
Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise Tour, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Pierre Loti Tour
I took this tour to relax and enjoy the views. It was so wonderful, you can even buy drinks and some food at the boat. If you want a detailed explanation of the different sites you have to take a waking tour. Our tour guide was always very attentive. Highly recommended.
star-5
Excellent tour
Frances_B, May 2019
Bosphorus Cruise & Golden Horn Sightseeing Morning Tour
Our guide was charming and very well informed - nothing was too much trouble and we had an excellent introductory drive followed by a detailed cruise by water
star-5
Bosphorus Tour
Lakpriya_H, Dec 2018
Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise Tour, Golden Horn Coach Tour and Pierre Loti Tour
The tour guide is amazing and explained very well. Though it was a short trip able to see most of the places.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Golden Horn area is a must-see for all first-time visitors to Istanbul, especially history buffs.

  • The green parks that line the banks of the Golden Horn are popular with locals.

  • Watch the light change at sunset from one of the Golden Horn’s atmospheric bridges.

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How to Get There

The Golden Horn passes the transit hub of Eminonu Square and spans the length of the old city peninsula. The mouth of the Golden Horn is accessible by ferries, buses, and trams at Eminonu and Karakoy. The Halic metro stops directly over the Golden Horn.

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Trip ideas

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When to Get There

Fener, Balat, Eyupm and other neighborhoods along the Golden Horn are popular with locals and travelers, and get crowded in the afternoon. Arrive earlier in the day to beat the crowds. Though museums close in the evening, come at night to get a sense of local life along the Golden Horn.

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History Along the Golden Horn

The neighborhood of Fener contains the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the striking Fener Greek Orthodox College—known locally as the Red School—as well as various churches that date to Byzantine times. Stroll farther up the Golden Horn to Balat, a traditionally Jewish neighborhood that still contains synagogues. Then continue on to Eyup, a bustling Muslim neighborhood known for the Eyup Sultan Mosque.

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