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Istanbul by Ferry

Crisscross the Bosphorus for a Europe-meets-Asia adventure.

Considering their panoramic views and economical cost (from $1.10 per ride with the purchase of an ­Istanbulkart), the port city’s 600-to-2,100-passenger ferries are still the most popular way for both locals and tourists to traverse the nineteen-mile strait. The S¸ehir Hatları commuter line (sehir­hatlari.com.tr/en) offers 25-minute cross-Bosphorus jaunts as well as daylong cruises ($14) that take you to the edge of the Black Sea and back. ­Istanbul’s European half is the more enticing place to stay at the moment, thanks to an influx of new designer hotels. The 186-room Shangri-La (from $455; shangri-la.com/istanbul), complete with two hammams, launches next month in a former tobacco factory near the Bes¸iktas¸ ferry terminal. In the cosmopolitan Beyog˘lu district, the first Mama Shelter outside France (from $89; mamashelter.com) opened in March with 81 Philippe Starck–­designed rooms and a Franco-Turkish restaurant. Stop at multimedia art space Salt (136 I˙stiklal Caddesi; saltonline.org) before heading to nearby Çukurcuma, a neighborhood known for its antiques stores and year-old Museum of Innocence ($14 admission; Firuzag˘a Mahallesi, 24 Çukurcuma Caddesi; masumiyetmuzesi.org). Founded by Nobel laureate and native son Orhan Pamuk, the museum is basically his namesake novel brought to life (on display: doorknobs, matchsticks, and other quotidian objects from Istanbul arranged within 83 display cases, each corresponding to a different chapter of the book). Eating-wise, don’t miss local food blog Istanbul Eats’ new six-hour Two Markets, Two Continents ­culinary tour ($125 per person, including food; istanbuleats.com). After stopping everywhere from fruit carts (for, say, green almonds and sour plums) to an Ottoman-era caravanserai for tea in Karaköy, on the northern side of historic Galata Bridge, you’ll be whisked by ferry to Kadıköy market, in Asian Istanbul, to sample regional treats like ­lahmacun (flatbread with spiced, minced meat).

The thrill-o-meter: Minor buzz.


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