Updated August 2018. The views from the Istanbul Pierre Loti Cafe at Eyup Istanbul are Panoramic. Sitting at the base of the hill is the Eyup Sultan Istanbul Mosque – a mosque that holds a special place in the hearts of Istanbulites.
I recommend arriving by ferry from Eminonu, ascending the hill via Eyup Gondola and taking tea at Pierre Loti Cafe, before descending through the delightful hill-side Eyup cemetery to the Eyup Sultan Istanbul Mosque.
This is one of my favourite Istanbul ferry trips (another being the Kadikoy Ferry).
What You Will Find in This Post
Pierre Loti Istanbul viewing platform overlooks the Golden Horn waterway and city.
Eight reasons to take the Golden Horn Ferry to Eyup Istanbul.
I spent my childhood hanging around the Ferry Terminal where Dad was manager, so I find the smell of engine oil, diesel and salt water irresistible. But if your Dad wasn’t a Ferry Fleet Manager here are some rather compelling reasons.
- Budget Friendly
- Food and Drink is available on board
- Family Friendly
- Easy to move around taking photos, etc.
- Shelter from the sun and/rain
- Offers a different View of Istanbul.
- Hassle Free
How to get to Eyup Sultan Istanbul Mosque from Sultanahmet.
Eyup Sultan Mosque is in Eyüp District of Istanbul, on the Golden Horn (Haliç in Turkish) water way.
The best way to get to Eyup is by Ferry on the Halic Hatti Line.
First of all make your way from Sultanahmet to Eminonu as shown below.
To find the correct jetty walk upstream from Galata Bridge, through the bus station to the far side, then turn right on the path by a double storey car park. Turn right again at the river to find the ferry terminal and jetty for the Eminonu to Eyup Ferry.
Stop Press: OCTOBER 2017 UPDATE. In Winter the Eyup ferry bypasses this jetty and Karakoy jetty. It is necessary to first catch a ferry from Eminonu to Uskudur and then catch the Eyup ferry from there. See time table here. Winter is Mid-September to May.
Looking across the Golden Horn Istanbul from Eminonu Estuary Jetty we could see Galata Tower jutting out on the skyline, where our Airbnb apartment was located.
The ferry squeezes beneath the bridges.
Leave the ferry at the Eyup Ferry Terminal and walk toward the Gondola Station and Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
Although you could go directly to the mosque, it is better to take the Eyup Gondola to the top of the hill first. It’s a 5 minute walk from Eyup Ferry Terminal (EyüpVapur Iskelesi) to the Gondola bottom terminal (Eyüp Teleferik). At the top visit the Viewpoint and Cafe before walking down Idris Köskü Cd. to the mosque and town.
If you wish to visit the mosque first turn left when walking from the ferry. Shown as Eyüp Sultan Camii on the below map.
Looking to the top of Pierre Loti Hill from the bottom Gondola Station.
At the top go to the viewing platform for panoramic views. This one looking back toward Eminonu.
Pierre Loti Cafe/Pierre Loti Kahvesi.
Pierre Loti was a french novelist who loved visiting Istanbul and was a great supporter of Turkey. His first visit was in 1876. He supported the Turkish War of Independence and was made an honorary citizen in 1920.
As well as the Cafe and Hill there is a street named after Loti and in Sultanahmet the Pierre Loti Istanbul hotel. The hotel gets good reviews and is currently (October 2017) offering 25% off with a free airport transfer.
There’s no better way to enjoy the view from Pierre Loti hill, than finding an outer edge cafe table and ordering a glass of tea. It will cost twice as much as anywhere else, but is still affordable and anyway it’s all about the experience. You can also pick up a tosta (turkish toasted sandwich) or turkish coffee here also. Turkish coffee is an acquired taste!
Looking over the Golden Horn from the Cafe.
Table view from Pierre Loti Cafe.
After a leisurely break, follow the pathway, past stalls selling ice-cream and gifts, down through the cemetery. It’s a beautiful walk, shaded by trees and frequented by a myriad of cats, who appear to be healthy. Eyup Cemetery is the oldest and largest cemetery for Muslims in Istanbul. Every day citizens are buried side by side with Ottoman Sultans and their Grand Viziers, Artists and Poets and high ranking officials. It is the kind of place where locals go for a family stroll while enjoying an ice-cream, but it’s best not to visit after dark.
View of the mosque from the cemetery.
Eyüp Sultan Istanbul Mosque.
The fourth most sacred mosque in the world, behind Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
Abu Ayyub (Eyüp) al-Ansari, friend and standard bearer of prophet Muhammad is buried in a tomb within the mosque grounds. The tomb is not always open, but it’s covered in beautiful Iznik tiles, so check it out if you can.
Eyup Cemetery is a desirable place to be buried, due solely to it’s close proximity to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s tomb.
Male Circumcision. It is possible that you, like us, will see young boys dressed in elaborate white satin suits, trimmed in blue and crowned by a peaked cap and matching cape at the mosque. This is the dress code for boys celebrating circumcision. The circumcision itself will have been performed in hospital several weeks before the celebration. The boys can also be seen sitting regally in horse drawn carriages, preceded by vans blasting out music. The big day culminates in a huge no-expense spared, extended family and friends party.
Open 9 am to 6pm. Free.
The streets that surround the mosque are pedestrianised and the atmosphere is happy and festive. All in all this is a lovely day out in Istanbul.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Can I get to Eyup by Bus?
Yes – Bus 399 B,C,D – but if the traffic is gridlocked – so are you. I’ve read horror stories of it taking 90 minutes to go 5km.
Istanbul transport costs?
Ferry/bus to Eyup: 4 tl (2.30 tl using Istanbulkart)
Gondola Cost: 4 tl (2.30 tl using Istanbulkart)
Eyup Sultan Mosque Cost: Free
Costs at Pierre Loti: One small glass of tea 5 tl.
Istanbulkart: Costs a refundable 6 tl then you can charge it with credit. It is also valid on buses, funicular, LRT, Subway, Commuter Trains and Trams. One card is valid for up to 5 people (just pass it back in the queue). They can be purchased from machines at major transport hubs (both airports) where you will be given credit in lieu of change. Can also be purchased from booths/news-stands (there is one near the main Eminonu Ferry Square) where you can load different amounts of credit. Read more about it here.
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