Run day Monday: Bosphorus 6km

Bebek run on the Bosphorus: 6km

Bosphorus 6km

Bosphorus 6km

Map courtesy of Route 530118.

Continuing a theme of finding waterways to run along, this month I’m taking a cross-Balkan holiday and my first stop is the truly incomparable city of Istanbul*. What’s a girl to do but run along the iconic, historic, and fabulously beautiful Bosphorus?

I chose a 6km route along the upmarket area of Bebek.  The path becomes narrow and crowded away from the waterfront, so while villages like Bebek and neighbouring Arnavutköy are well set-up for runners, much of the rest of the coast road is just plain road running. If you’re in the mood for a short run with no hassle, a waterfront 6km is perfect here.

Start on the curve as the road comes round from Arnavutköy to get the benefit of the view of this little bay with its pretty boats and the span of the bridge in the background. Stay on the waterfront and you’ll share the way with cyclists, people fishing, other joggers and families out for a stroll. It’s busy but very, very pleasant and you’ll be in the company of numerous other runners.

Other than a 500 metre stint in the centre of Bebek village where restaurants hang out on to the waterfront and you’ll need to go up on to the main road, it’s possible to run almost entirely on the waterfront to within about 100 metres of the bridge, where the road takes a turn inland and over a hill. In the late evening this will allow you to get the benefit of the pinkish glow the setting sun casts over the rolling greenery and impressive palaces of the Asian side of the Bosphorus.

As you approach the end of the little bay, you’ll also get to take in Rumeli hisarı, or Rumelian castle, a 15th century fortress known as the ‘strait cutter’, standing on the European side opposite the 14th century Anatolian castle on the Asian side. You’ll also run past some impressive modern (relatively speaking) buildings, and some of the most expensive real estate in the city.

At the bridge, turn around and run back to your starting point. Enjoy the view!

*For the pedants out there, I’m aware Istanbul is nowhere near the Balkans – this is just the start of the journey.


Alternative routes

It would be easy to run much further than 6km just following the coast road, which you could start at the Dolmabahce palace. Another challenge might be a bridge-to-bridge run between the two huge bridges which span the Bosphorus. It’s just under 6km from the first bridge to the second, so a round 11.8km there and back.

The links

Rumelian fortress Wikipedia information:

Rumelian fortress drone video:

Bosphorus from the hill

Bosphorus from the hill


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