#1 Thing To Do In Istanbul: Get Out On The Water

In Istanbul, get out on the water...for the freshness of the sea air, the unimaginably glassy blue surfaces, and to get the proper perspective on this ancient imperial capital.

The Bosphorus was the main drag for centuries and it’s still the best way to appreciate the sprawling, hilly city.

It’s also the only way to truly enjoy the Ottoman grandeur of the mansions built along its banks.

Bypass expensive (and noisy) group tour boats and surrender instead to local color and rhythm.

Try an ultra-cheap commuter ferry at one of many docks and spend a day lazily hopping from village to village, crisscrossing the Strait, and back again over steaming tea and sesame-covered bread in the shape of a life-preserver.

Ferries heading to the bustling Asian town of Kadikoy afford priceless views of Topkapi Palace, the Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the historic district.

Or take a quieter one-hour upper Bosphorus tour that embarks from the artisan street market and tea garden district of Ortakoy, and for less than five dollars drift past Mehmet the Conqueror’s 15th century fortress festooned with wisteria.

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These  tips appeared in Journeywoman newsletter and various other travel publications.