Istanbul, the gateway to Europe and Asia, is a city steeped in history and a popular destination for cruise enthusiasts. From short cruises from Istanbul to the neighboring Greek islands to longer cruises from Turkey exploring the Mediterranean and beyond, the options are limitless. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best cruises and Galataport in Istanbul, providing you with everything you need to know to plan your dream cruise vacation in 2023.

Galataport: A World-Class Cruise Terminal in Turkey

Galataport, located in the heart of Istanbul, is a state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal designed to revitalize cruise tourism in the region. As the world’s first underground cruise ship terminal, it features a groundbreaking hatch system that separates customs and security areas when no ships are docked, keeping the promenade open to the public. Galataport is not only a cruise terminal, but also a lively hub filled with shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Galataport Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00.


Istanbul for Cruisers: Guided Tours from GalataPort

Discover the wonders of Istanbul with convenient guided tours from GalataPort, tailored for cruisers seeking an immersive city experience. These tours include pickup and transfer services from GalataPort, allowing you to effortlessly explore Istanbul’s iconic landmarks and hidden treasures without worrying about logistics.

Exploring Istanbul from Galataport: Top Attractions and Activities

Galataport’s prime location makes it an ideal starting point for discovering Istanbul’s diverse attractions and vibrant neighborhoods. Here are some must-see sights and activities to enjoy while visiting Istanbul from Galataport:

Shop and Dine in Galataport

Galataport itself offers an impressive array of shopping and dining options. Browse luxury retail stores, savor delectable international cuisine at high-end restaurants, or simply enjoy a leisurely drink by the waterfront.

Read also: Galataport in Istanbul: Things to Do & Buy, Eat and How to Get (2023)

Visit Taksim Area

Taksim Square, the heart of modern Istanbul, is just a short ride away from Galataport. To get there, head to Kabatas Tram Station and take the Funicular F1, a convenient one-stop public transportation option. Once in Taksim, you can explore bustling shopping streets, dine at trendy cafes, and experience Istanbul’s vibrant nightlife.

Read our guide: Public Transport for Tourists in Istanbul

Explore Galata District

The historic Galata district, home to the iconic Galata Tower, is easily accessible from Galataport. Simply walk southwest to Karakoy district and either stroll up to the tower or take the Funicular F2, a one-stop underground vehicle. In Galata, you’ll find a blend of historic charm and contemporary culture, with art galleries, boutique shops, and lively cafes lining its narrow streets.

Discover Besiktas District


Besiktas, a bustling district along the Bosphorus, is known for its lively atmosphere, beautiful parks, and cultural attractions. Don’t miss the chance to stroll along the picturesque waterfront, sample delicious street food, or catch a football match at Vodafone Park. Read more…

Uncover the Majesty of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace, a stunning example of Ottoman opulence, is just a short walk from Galataport. Head northeast from the port, passing Findikli Tram Station, and continue to Kabatas Tram Station, the last stop of Tram T1. From there, Dolmabahce Palace is only a 5-minute walk away.

Dolmabahce Palace

Wander Through Karakoy Square

Karakoy Square, a lively hub connecting the Galata Bridge and Galata Tower, is a perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture. Admire street art, grab a Turkish coffee from a local vendor, and watch the world go by in this vibrant corner of Istanbul. Read more…

Cross the Galata Bridge

The iconic Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn, connecting the neighborhoods of Karakoy and Eminonu. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge to enjoy panoramic views of the city and witness local fishermen in action.

Marvel at Sultanahmet’s Historic Treasures

The historic Sultanahmet district, home to world-famous attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, is just a short tram ride away from Galataport. Hop on Tram T1 in the direction of “Bagcilar” from either Findikli or Tophane stations, and you’ll reach Sultanahmet Tram Station in about 15 minutes.

Read Also: T1: the Best Tram Line for Tourists in Istanbul: Route, Fare, Iconic Stops and Landmarks (2023)

Don’t Miss The Best Tours and Cruises in Istanbul

Istanbul’s Magic: Short Bosphorus Cruises for Time-Savvy Travelers

Discover the enchanting beauty of Istanbul’s famous waterway with Bosphorus cruises departing from near Galataport. Embark on a memorable journey from Kabataş Pier, conveniently located near the bustling Galataport area, or set sail from the majestic Dolmabahçe Palace to experience unparalleled views of the city’s historic and modern marvels.

Exquisite Cruises from Istanbul to Europe and more in 2023

Below is a selection of top cruises from Istanbul to suit every traveler’s preference:

MSC Cruises: Luxury Voyages to Europe and Beyond

  • Aegean & Adriatic from Istanbul with MSC Splendida 2023: Explore the azure waters of the Aegean and Adriatic seas on this luxurious MSC cruise. Visit picturesque Greek islands, historic Italian ports, and the stunning Croatian coastline.
  • Aegean & Mediterranean from Istanbul with MSC Poesia 2023: Embark on a journey through the Mediterranean’s most captivating destinations, from sun-drenched Greek isles to the enchanting cities of Spain and France.

Short Cruises from Istanbul to Greece: Discover the Treasures of the Aegean

  • 4 Nights | Eastern Mediterranean | Celestyal Cruises: Celestyal Journey: Experience the legendary beauty of the Aegean with this short cruise from Istanbul to Greece, featuring stops in Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens.

Cruise Europe: Embrace the Charm of the Old Continent

  • 7 Night Europe with Costa Cruises: Set sail from Istanbul to Venice on this unforgettable Costa cruise, stopping at dreamy Mediterranean ports like Mykonos, Dubrovnik, and Kotor.


Istanbul’s unique position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a truly exceptional destination for cruise enthusiasts. With its world-class cruise terminal, Galataport, and an array of cruise options ranging from short trips to the Greek islands to longer voyages exploring the Mediterranean and beyond, Istanbul has something to offer every traveler. Whether you’re interested in MSC Cruises, Celestyal Cruises, or Costa Cruises, the enchanting waters of Istanbul await you in 2023.

FAQ – Istanbul Cruises

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I find cruises from Istanbul to Greece in 2022 and 2023?

Yes, there are numerous cruises from Istanbul to Greece in both 2022 and 2023, including options with MSC Cruises and Celestyal Cruises.

Are there cruises from Athens to Istanbul?

Absolutely! Several cruise lines offer itineraries from Athens to Istanbul, giving you the opportunity to explore both of these historic cities and the stunning destinations in between.

Are there cruises from Barcelona or Venice to Istanbul?

Yes, there are cruises from both Barcelona and Venice to Istanbul, providing travelers with the chance to experience the charm of these European cities before venturing to the crossroads of continents in Istanbul.

What is the best cruise in Istanbul for first-time visitors?

The best cruise for first-time visitors to Istanbul depends on individual preferences and interests. Some may prefer short cruises from Istanbul to nearby destinations like the Greek islands, while others might opt for a longer cruise exploring the Mediterranean and Europe.

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Don’t Miss The Best Tours and Cruises in Istanbul

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