One of the best ways to get a feel for Istanbul is to take a cruise on the legendary Bosphorus. Begin the tour with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar, one of Istanbul's most colorful and bustling attractions. Then hop aboard your ferry for a cruise along the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From your cruise boat, you can view the dramatic sights lining the Bosphorus' wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world's longest, the massive Rumelihisar fortress, the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultan's fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges.
Built in 1660 with the taxes collected from the trade of Egyptian herbs and spices, the exotically domed Egyptian bazaar is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint and thyme. Browse the stalls and compare the prices! The Rumelihisar Fortress was built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus in order to isolate the city of Istanbul, prior to its invasion in 1453. The Sadberk Hanim Museum is an art collection originally collected by an Armenian civil servant. It fills two charming 19th-century wooden villas. The museum has recently expanded to include a new collection of archeological exhibits, including ancient statues, artifacts, clothing and jewelry.