Asian Side of Istanbul Tour with Bosphorus Boatride

Cross the Bosphorus with a historian
From US$385 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Bosphorus Ferry
  • Asian side
  • Bosphorus Strait
  • Kuzguncuk Neighborhood
  • Uskudar Neighborhood
Photos & Highlights
  • Explore the off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods of Istanbul
  • Cross the mighty Bosphorus via public ferry with a local expert
Select a date
Tour Description
Escape from the bustle of the touristy city center, and explore the most vibrant and off-the-beaten-track area of Istanbul: the cozy and multi-ethnic Asian side. Separated from Europe by the mighty Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul’s Asian side often feels like its own distinct city. 

Guided by a historian or architect with deep local knowledge of the area, you will begin this exploration by taking one of the public ferries across the Bosphorus, enjoying some of the best and most iconic views of Istanbul. During the 15-minute long ride, your guide will explain how the city developed around this body of water throughout the centuries, and the role of the strait in trade, politics, and history of the city. 

Life on the Asian side is significantly distinct from the European side: it revolves around weekly markets, intimate neighborhoods, and local traditions. Explore two of the former villages—now neighborhoods of Istanbul—on the Asian side: Uskudar and Kuzguncuk. Uskudar is the conservative part of town, dotted with mosques of a beauty that rivals those on the European side. Colorful Kuzguncuk originated as a small fishing village where Ottoman viziers and notables built their villas. Today, it maintains its original calm village charm and pace, while simultaneously hosting some of the most diverse and cosmopolitan traditions. For centuries, Jews, Greeks, and Armenians have coexisted in Kuzguncuk, forming the dense multi-ethnic fabric that you can see today.

By venturing into this off-the-beaten-path journey, you will gain an in-depth understanding of the cultural layers of traditions, architecture, and community that are intertwined with Istanbul's rich history. 

  • You want to feel like a local and board the public ferry to the Asian Side with a local expert as your guide. 
  • You're tired of the noise and bustle of Istanbul's tourist districts and want to discover the beauty of the city's off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods.
  • You are interested in learning about the multicultural traditions of Istanbul.

  • Bosphorus Strait
  • Asian side
  • Kuzguncuk Neighborhood
  • Uskudar Neighborhood


There are no pre-purchased tickets included in this tour, but there may be nominal site entrance costs or other fees to pay on-site. It is a good idea to have some local currency on hand for these.

Additional Trip-Planning Resources

  • For more information on planning your travels to Istanbul, take a read through our Context Stories.
  • If you are looking to learn more about Istanbul prior to a visit, check out our online lectures at Context Learning.

Is there a dress code for your tours in Istanbul?
Yes, sites visited on this tour are considered holy places. Shoulders and knees must be covered. Dresses and shorts must be below knee level, and shoulders must be covered (zip-on jackets or scarves are acceptable). We recommend bringing along scarfs or shawls to be able to cover those body parts. These rules may seem unduly strict, but remember, you are a guest visiting sites that are regarded as a religious sanctuary. 
Is this tour wheelchair-friendly?
We do cover extensive territory on this tour and the streets in Istanbul tend not to be the easiest for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues or wheelchairs due to the hills and cobblestones. If you have mobility concerns, please feel free to contact us before booking, and we can discuss modifications to the route if necessary.

Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
(4.2) 124 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

We had a great day with Rayen! She is very knowledgeable and very lovely. We learned a lot of the history of Turkey while seeing a different side of the city.
This tour was fun and insightful. It toured a more intimate and relaxed area of Istanbul that showcased a lot of daily life instead of tourist attractions.
Suleyman was great - provided historical perspectives, current political context, and good cultural understanding.