Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Trip Log: Christmas in Istanbul

While Christmas (on December 25th) isn't really a holiday here, there are plenty of ways to celebrate it if you find yourself in Istanbul.  You can take a tour of the alleys behind the Egyptian (spice) bazaar looking at holiday decorations and dancing Santas.  You can go gift shopping on Istiklal and while you are at it check the times for Christmas day services at one of the Catholic churches.  Or, you can do what we did: take a ferry ride up the Bosphorus.

A view of the Galata Bridge from the ferry
There are a number of boats that do "tours" of the Bosphorus, but the one most frequently recommended is the public ferry.  This boat leaves from a dock on the Bosphorus side of the Galata Bridge and currently costs 25 TL for a round trip ticket to the Black Sea and back.

Rumeli fortress built by the Ottomans in 1452

The trip is definitely worth doing on a day when the weather is nice as you get great panoramic views of the city as well as of the colorful houses and the Ottoman and Byzantine ruins that climb the steep hillsides on either side of the strait.  For us, the weather was perfect.  It was warm enough to go without a coat, even out on the edck and the skies were blue (if a little hazy).

Anadolu Kavagi

The ferry's last stop is the town of Anadolu Kavagi, within view of the Black sea.  The remains of a Byzantine fortress "Yuros Castle" lie on a hill high above the town.  The streets are lined with fish restaraunts and souvenir shops for visitors as they wait for the Ferry to make the return trip to the Golden Horn. 
Yuros Castle
the sun setting beyond Istanbul.
There really isn't a more relaxing way to spend a day in Istanbul than this!

Merry Christmas Everyone!


  1. Whose cat? Just one that you met on the street? Your parents can't seem to get away from the kitties! Did you listen to any good orchestra music? Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!


  2. Many cats here are extremely friendly, this one was no exception - he's just a random Tom Cat in Anadolu Kavagi who thought my camera wanted to make friends.