Ferries in Istanbul

The city of Istanbul is at a geographic crossroads, straddling Europe and Asia Minor, and is divided by a sea lane called the Bosphorus Strait, which joins the Black Sea in the northeast and the Marmara Sea in the southwest. This strait has played a key role in the history of the city.

Commuter ferries have been operating on the Bosphorus since 1851.[1]

Operator CompaniesEdit

Istanbul Sea BusesEdit

The city's largest ferry operator, Istanbul Sea Buses (İstanbul Deniz Otobusleri, İDO), runs a combination of all-passenger and car-and-passenger ferries to ports on both sides of the Bosphorus, as far as the Black Sea.,[2][3] with additional destinations around the Sea of Marmara. Until it was privatized in April 2011, İDO ran the largest municipal ferry operation in the world.[4]


Another smaller ferry company, Turyol, provides frequent services on routes from Eminönü, Kabataş, Beyoğlu and Karaköy to ports at Üsküdar, Haydarpaşa and Kadıköy, among others.


Boats have traversed the waters of the Bosphorus for millennia and until the opening of the first Bosphorus bridge in 1973, were the only mode of transport between the European and Asian halves of Istanbul. They continue to serve as a key public transport link for many thousands of commuters, tourists and vehicles per day.

The first private steam ferries (called vapur in Turkish[5]), crossed the Bosphorus in 1837. The first ferries were wooden paddle boats and were later replaced by iron and steel screw ships. The city authorities took over the fleet and formed a Şirket-i Hayriye (boat company) in 1945.

Several generations of ferries have served the city since and are now powered by fuel-burning engines. Many were built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Glasgow, Scotland, and have sailed the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus for decades. These white, black and green boats have gone on to become iconic in the modern popular culture of the city. One was featured in the James Bond film From Russia with Love, while more recently a new-generation and therefore historically inaccurate ferry appeared momentarily in the 2012 film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which was set in the 1970s. The last steam-powered ferry ran until 2003. A new generation of boats, designed by Fairfield but built in Istanbul, came into operation in the 2000s, gradually replacing the decades-old fleet.

In the past few decades, the ferries have been partially replaced by the two Bosphorus bridges, the Marmaray rail tunnel, fast catamarans and water taxis.

Passenger FerriesEdit

Passenger Ferry (Conventional Passenger Boat / Vapur) Fleet (Updated January 28, 2009)
Number in fleet Passenger Capacity Description
3 600 Utilization in Golden Horn Lines. The names are Sütlüce, Kasımpaşa, Hasköy.
5 1800 The newest conventional passenger boat; it is chosen by the İstanbul citizens. The names are Fatih, Beyoğlu, Sarıyer, Beykoz and Kadıköy.
6 2100 Names Prof.Dr.Aykut Barka/Emin Kul/A.Hulusi Yıldırım/Barış Manço/Maltepe/Fahri S.Korutürk
1 1500-1700 Name is Paşabahçe. The oldest commuter ferry.
18 1500 Names Şehit Adem Yavuz/Aydın Güler/Beşiktaş-1/Caddebostan/Şehit Caner Gönyeli/Hamdi Karahasan/İsmail Hakkı Durusu/Şehit İlker Karter/Kalamış/Şehit Karaoğlanoğlu/Şehit Metin Sülüş/Moda/Şehit Mustafa Aydoğdu/N.Alpdoğan/Şehit Necati Gürkaya/İstanbul-9/Şehit Sami Akbulut/Şehit Temel Şimşir
6 750 Names Anadolu Feneri/Büyükada/Mehmet Akif Ersoy/Kızıltoprak/K.Gündüz Aybay/Zübeyde Hanım
  • Total number of passenger boats is 38.
  • On average, the boats are at least 20 years old.
City Boat Lines Trip Time Notes Fares
Kadıköy-Haydarpaşa-Karaköy From Karaköy, 15 min to Haydarpaşa; 20 min to Kadıköy In peak hours 20 minutes between two trips. In weekends half an hour between two trips Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

Kadıköy-Eminönü 20 min In peak hours 20 minutes between two trips. Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

Kadıköy-Kabataş 25 min Half hour between two trips in peak hours. Only in weekdays. Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

Kadıköy-Beşiktaş 25 min Half an hour between two trips in peak hours Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

Bosphorus Line Unknown Eminönü-Beşiktaş-Kanlıca-Sarıyer-Rumeli Kavağı-Anadolu Kavağı 10 TL for short trip, 15 for one-way long trip and 25 for round trip.
Sarıyer-Rumeli Kavağı-Anadolu Kavağı 10-20 min By smaller boats or commuter boats Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

Beşiktaş-Küçüksu 30 min By smaller boats. Only in weekdays Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

İstinye-Çengelköy 45 min By smaller boats Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85

Kabataş-Kadıköy-Bostancı-Prince's Islands 95 min Token 2,80

Normal 1,85 Discount 1,75

Maltepe-Büyükada-Heybeliada 40 min Token 2,80

Normal 1,85 Discount 1,75

Üsküdar-Karaköy-Eminönü-Eyüp 55 min By smaller boats Token 1,40

Normal 1,30 Discount 0,85


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Çelik, Zeynep (1993). The Remaking of Istanbul: Portrait of an Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-520-08239-7.
  2. ^ "Interactive Map of Timetables | Inner-City Lines". İDO. Archived from the original on 8 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Interactive Map of Timetables | Inter-City Lines". İDO. Archived from the original on 8 April 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  4. ^ Grytsenko, Sergiy (26 September 2011). "EBRD Supports Privatisation of Ferry Operations in Istanbul". The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  5. ^ tr:Vapur

Additional sourcesEdit

External linksEdit