The Bosphorus Bridge is one of two bridges that spans the Bosphorus Strait, connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. It stretches from Ortakoy on the European side to Beylerbeyi on the Asian side and is sometimes referred to as the First Bosphorus Bridge.
At 1560 meters long, the Bosphorus Bridge was the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1973 and was the first bridge to connect Europe and Asia since a bridge spanning the Dardanelles in 480 B.C. Today, it is the 21st longest suspension bridge in the world. In 2007, an LED lighting system was installed to illuminate the bridge at night and the computerized system is now used to create a colorful light show every evening.
While the bridge is typically closed to pedestrians, it opens each October for the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon – the only marathon that crosses from one continent to another.
The Bosphorus Bridge is closed to pedestrian traffic, so unless you are running the marathon or participating in one of the related fun runs, you won’t have a chance to cross it on foot. For the best views of the structure, book a Bosphorus cruise that will likely pass under it twice. At night, you can take in the light show on the bridge from a cruise or a waterfront restaurant.
If you plan to rent a car while in Istanbul, note that the Bosphorus Bridge is a toll bridge and the toll can only be paid with a smartcard purchased in advance, not in cash. If you cross the bridge by taxi, your driver will add the cost of the toll to your fare.