• Hire your own speedboat to take you around the hottest spots along the Bosphorus
  • Enjoy the excellent grilled fish and exhaustive wine list at a lovely waterfront restaurant

The Bosphorus, one of the world’s busiest waterways, is lined with beautiful yalıs (waterfront villas), baroque palaces, and seaside villages. Although the ferry schedules can be maddeningly hard to decipher, the busy commuter boats are a more authentic experience than a cheesy tourist cruise. Better still, hire your own speedboat via Locally Istanbul, whose savvy guides are up to speed with all the hottest spots. They’ll pick you up from Beşiktaş pier, a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Set off at sunset and coast past bohemian Ortaköy, quaint Arnavutköy, chichi Bebek, and Rumeli Hisarı—a giant fortress built in four months—all the way to Anadolu Kavağı, where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea. Ask your skipper to drop you off at Park Fora, a fancy seafood restaurant in Kuruçeşme. It’s worth paying a premium for the excellent grilled fish, exhaustive wine list, and lovely setting in a waterfront park.

Rent your own speedboat at Locally Istanbul, located at the roundabout of Ataşehir Bulvarı and Turgut Özal Bulvarı. They’ll pick you up from Beşiktaş pier, which is a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Hop off the boat in Kuruçeşme for seafood at Park Fora. It’s on Muallim Naci Caddesi and easy to spot.

LOCALLY ISTANBUL:; three-hour cruise €600, including a guide and a bottle of wine

PARK FORA: Muallim Naci Caddesi, Topuzlu Parkı İçi No:54/A; +90-(0)212-265-5063;