Not the most exciting attraction in Istanbul, but a very unique one that most visitors try to see during their stay.
It’s a very long suspension bridge that spans the Bosphorus Strait between the neighborhoods of Ortakoy on one side and Beylerbeyi on the other. The bridge is remarkable because that means one end is in Europe and the other is in Asia. The entire city is split between the continents, but the bridge is what stands out as the symbol for that divide.
Even aside from its geographical uniqueness, it’s a spectacular bridge in its own right. It’s one of the longest suspension bridges in the world (the 13th, at the moment), and looks even prettier when it’s lit up at night. Built in 1973, the Bosphorus Bridge is still a major 6-lane highway across the city. Unfortunately, there are no pedestrian walkways so you’ll have to drive over if you want to cross. Marathons are often scheduled to include the bridge, so there are a few times a year when people can enjoy the views on foot.
The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is about 5km to the north, and also crosses from Asia to Europe. But its the Bosphorus Bridge that is best known for this feat.
Plan your sight-seeing to at least see the bridge and take a few pictures, or have a drive over it when heading from one end of the city to the other. It’s a vital part of experiencing Istanbul. Not to mention it’s just neat to be able to say you drove from Europe to Asia in an afternoon.
Visiting the Bosphorus Bridge:
Location: Over the strait, between Ortakoy and Beylerbei
Cost: Toll of 4 Lira, paid with an automatic card (no cash)