Along the Bosphorus is preferred when refering to the areas on the bank of Bosphorus, rather than the Bosphorus itself), the strait that lies between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, and separating Europe and Asia, lies a number of neighborhoods each with a different character (possibly due to the fact that they all started as seperate fishing villages and some are still physically seperated from each other by lush woodlands), palaces of the late Ottoman period, and parks. This is quite easily one of the most scenic—yet largely overlooked by travellers—parts of Istanbul, which reaches its zenith during late spring (especially in early May), when the Judas trees (Turkish: Erguvan, Latin: Cercis siliquastrum), which are some sort of symbol of the Bosphorus and dotting the hills along the Bosphorus, are in full bloom of their deep-pink flowers that engulf both shores of the strait.
Ortaköy Mosque—one of the symbols of the city
This article concentrates on European bank of Bosphorus, with the southern tip including much of the Beşiktaş and Ortaköy neighbourhoods. For the Asian bank, see Istanbul/Asian Side
Akaretler Street (Akaretler Caddesi), (just south of central Beşiktaş). Akaretler Caddesi, or officially Süleyman Seba Caddesi features upscale garment boutiques, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés housed in recently renovated late Ottoman era rowhouses initially built for the state elite, given their proximity to Dolmabahçe Palace, imperial headquarters then. edit
Arnavutköy, (north of Ortaköy, south of Bebek). The neighbourhood of Arnavutköy (literally "Albanian village", paying homage to its founders in 1500s) features impressive 4-storey wooden mansions which line the waterfront, all bearing significant artwork on their facades. edit
Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı), Dolmabahçe Cad., Beşiktaş, ☎ +90 212 236 90 00 (fax: +90 212 236 35 77), . Tu-We/Fr-Su 9AM-3PM. It's the Ottoman Palace centered close to Taksim at the Dolmabahçe shore. Build on 110,000 meter square ground with 285 rooms and 43 halls where the Ottoman empire was administered in the last 150 years. Visits only in guided tours (45 min) in major spoken languages. Extra fee for Harem, the part of the palace the residents lived, expect waiting some time for another guided tour there. Within the grounds are also; a clock museum, a glass pavillion and an exhibition of paintings. The Dolmabahce Palace is definitely not as nice as one would expect for the hefty cost of 40TL per person as of April 2015. No photography is allowed inside the palace. The ceremonial room is spectacular. Also important note, especially for photographers with large bags/backpacks: you may be asked to leave your backpack in the cloakroom, even though you're not supposed to know it before you stand in a 40 minute line to the ticket office. 30 TL for 'Selamlık', 20 TL for 'Harem', 40 TL for both. Reduced admission price for students. edit
Emirgan Park (Emirgan Parkı), (about 20 min on foot away from main waterfront avenue). Situated on the gentle hill overlooking the neighbourhood of Emirgan and the Bosphorus, Emirgan Park was for long the only place in the city where Istanbulites can admire the beauty of tulips. Having lost that distinction in the last decade as tulips are now everywhere, this is still a beautiful park with artificial ponds, small waterfalls, and impressive views of Bosphorus. There are also cafes with open-air sections housed in pleasant former imperial hunting manors. Squirrels are there, too, in the middle of this metropolis of 15+ million people, though you may have to look a bit deeper (or a bit upper on the branches!) to spot them. Free. edit
Maçka Park (Maçka Parkı), (between Dolmabahçe Palace and that high-rise of Ritz Carlton). This is a park occupying two sides of a valley of this hilly city, with an avenue inbetween. Sides of the valley are connected to each other by a 4-person gondola lift line offering a shortcut when walking to Taksim Square as well as nice views of Bosphorus (access to northern station from Maçka Caddesi/Eytam Caddesi, every 5 minutes 8AM-8PM, 1.50 TL pp one-way), and by a wooden bridge over the bisecting avenue if you prefer to take a stroll along nice footpaths of the park. Free. edit
Ortaköy, (north of Beşiktaş). A neighbourhood on the bank of Bosphorus with the Ortaköy Mosque—the baroque mosque under the Bosphorus Bridge, combination of which are one of the most iconic images of Istanbul. This artsy neighbourhood is filled with nice cafes, some of which offer kumpir—a baked potato with various fillings such as mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, sweetcorn, sausage slices, carrots, mushrooms, Russian salad among others—which the neighbourhood is well-known for, and a perfect view crowded and fun. The way from Beşiktaş takes around 25 minutes on foot and is along an avenue shaded by huge plane trees, though the usually-heavy traffic may take some of its peacefulness away. edit
Rumeli Citadel (Rumeli Hisarı), (on the waterfront, right next to the main avenue). Built in first half of 1400s, this is the large medieval castle under the Second Bosphorus Bridge. Its former name Boğazkesen (Turkish)/Laimokopia (Greek) means both "strait-blocker" and "throat-cutter" in both languages and denotes the reason of its building—to shut the supply routes from the Black Sea in the north into the slowly falling apart Byzantine Empire through the Bosphorus. Rumeli, literally "Roman land", was the name of the European half of Ottoman Empire, and as is usual with some other structures and villages along the Bosphorus, used as a prefix to differentiate Rumeli Hisarı from its counterpart in Asian Side, the much smaller Anadolu Hisarı, located just across the Bosphorus. edit
Sadberk Hanım Museum (Sadberk Hanım Müzesi), Büyükdere Piyasa Caddesi 27-29, Sarıyer (on the waterfront, just south of Sarıyer), ☎ +90 212 242-38-13 (email@example.com, fax: +90 212 242-03-65), . Th-T 10AM-5PM. A private museum housed in a yalı, traditional wooden waterfront mansions that lie along the banks of Bosphorus. Exhibition includes a number of archaeological and ethnographical artifacts from the collection of Koç Family, though just seeing the interior of a yalı is worth entering. edit
Sakip Sabanci Museum (Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi), Sakıp Sabancı Caddesi 42, Emirgan (Buses: 40, 40T from Taksim; 22, 22RE, 25E from Kabataş. Get off at Çınaraltı stop), ☎ +90 212 277 22 00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +90 212 229 49 14), . Tu, Th, F, Su 10AM-6PM; W, Sa 10AM-10PM. Museum with a rich collection of calligraphy and paintings. It also hosts temporary exhibitions of works by some world-class artists such as Pablo Picasso from time to time. 10 TL (3 TL students).