The only city in the world that encompasses both Asia and Europe, Istanbul also straddles the ancient and modern worlds. The ghosts of marauding Crusaders and marching janissaries haunt the city’s historic alleyways—but this is no museum: the Bosporus is still a buzzing artery for maritime trade, and the sounds of building construction play a constant counterpoint to the shouts of street hawkers and the call of the muezzin. The skyline here is a glittering ribbon of palaces, mosques, and minarets, but also of sleek skyscrapers, where the sybaritic restaurant and nightclub scene easily rivals New York’s or London’s.
The panoramic view of the city from Mikla, the rooftop restaurant at the Marmara Pera hotel (you can go up for a look even if you’re not a guest or a diner).
The ordinary ferries, not the tourist cruise boats. Go anywhere: It’s the ride, not the destination.
Grilled fish sandwiches sold from the backs of the boats near the Galata Bridge. Heap them up with lemon, salt, raw onions, and pickles.