İstanbul – the meeting point of Asia and Europe – takes centre stage in cruise tourism with Galataport İstanbul, the city’s unique port facility. The renovated historical pier in Karaköy brings İstanbul into the global spotlight as a marquee destination for this rapidly growing travel segment.
With more than eight thousand kilometres of coastline, Türkiye is home to exceptionally beautiful travel stops and the favourite ports of the Mediterranean basin. As one of Türkiye’s major centres for cruise tourism, İstanbul and its main port Galataport İstanbul, attracts the attention of travellers looking for special and diverse travel experiences – from gastronomy to shopping, from arts and culture to history, to name of few.
Host to nearly 150 ships and 350,000 passengers and crew last year, Galataport İstanbul brings together an array of distinctive experiences that appeal to all tastes. Demonstrating its rise in cruise tourism, İstanbul has been designated a homeport by many cruise lines and different capacity ships.
As a homeport, Galataport İstanbul has brought a great boost to cruise tourism in a wide geography from the Mediterranean basin to the Black Sea, making a significant contribution to the tourism and economy of the region and the country. While the main port operation was 15% in 2014 when the port area was taken over, the proportion of ships using Galataport Istanbul as their home port has now increased to 50%, and efforts are underway to further increase this figure.
The First Underground Cruise Terminal Inspired by Istanbul Antique Cisterns
Inspiring similar projects around the world, Galataport İstanbul features 29,000 m² of underground cruise terminal, promising a comfortable and seamless travel experience to cruise tourists. Red Dot Design awarded underground cruise terminal impresses with a design which modernity and cultural heritage go hand in hand. The interior features rounded column margins referencing the historical architecture and character of İstanbul’s old cisterns that date back to Roman and Byzantine empires.
Extraordinary Experiences in the Heart of The Bosphorus
Designed to accommodate all types of cruise ships and profiles, Galataport İstanbul presents a promenade in the heart of Karaköy, complemented by the area’s historical and cultural texture. In addition, the expansive complex offers upscale shopping and Turkish and international restaurants, as well as art centres and indoor and outdoor exhibitions. Activations along with special offers for cruise passengers and crew to experience local brands up close make a difference for the cruise guests.
Set in the vibrant Karaköy neighbourhood, Galataport İstanbul is within walking distance of the Historical Peninsula, where iconic structures such as the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace and the Basilica Cistern are located. The Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, Galata Tower, Taksim and Dolmabahçe are also close to the port.
The Galataport İstanbul complex also houses the İstanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and the new İstanbul Modern, which will start to welcome guests again this year. Both museums are renowned for their outstanding collections of Turkish and international artworks.
The Tophane Clock Tower, erected by Sultan Abdülmecid in the 19th century and restored within the scope of the Galataport İstanbul project, is the centrepiece of a plaza representing the power of time and transformation. The 14,000 m² Clock Tower Square also hosts live performances, special open-air exhibitions, cultural events and international festivals such as the Beyoğlu Culture Route Festival throughout the year.