Exploring the Beautiful Princes Islands in Istanbul (2023)

Stepping foot on the Princes Islands feels like stepping into a different world! Known as ‘Adalar’ in Turkish, the Princes Islands are a cluster of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul 🌍 [2].

Let’s take a virtual tour together, shall we? 🚶‍♀️

History of Princes Islands 📜

view of princes islands in Istanbul Turkey on a sunny day

The Princes Islands have a fascinating history dating back centuries. They were initially used as a place of exile for princes and other royals during the Byzantine era, hence the name “Princes Islands” [2].

So, if you ever feel like a royal, these islands are the perfect retreat! 😉

Over the years, the islands have preserved their unique charm and history, making them a beautiful mix of the past and present.

They’ve seen many empires rise and fall, each leaving behind cultural imprints and architectural wonders that add to the islands’ allure.

Princes Islands Today: A Blend of Cultures and Traditions 🌐

A tourist with a backpack walks and looks at the streetscape with old historical colorful houses on a summer day in the old town. Princes Islands Istanbul Turkey.

Today, the Princes Islands are a vibrant blend of different cultures and traditions. From quaint Greek Orthodox churches to historic Ottoman era mansions, the islands are a living testament to the various civilizations that have called them home [2].

And let’s not forget the food! The islands are home to some lip smacking local delicacies. Seafood, in particular, is a crowd favorite. 🐟🍴

The Islands’ Unique Environment 🌳

Princes Islands in Marmara Sea, istanbul, Turkey.

What sets the Princes Islands apart is their commitment to preserving the environment. Cars are banned on the islands, making them a haven of tranquility amid the bustling city of Istanbul [5].

Instead, you’ll find electric golf cars and bicycles, providing an old world charm to the islands. So, you can enjoy a peaceful stroll, a leisurely bike ride, or a fun electric golf cars as you explore these islands. 🚲

Note: In Princes Islands, horse drawn carriages were previously used. However, Istanbul Municipality banned the use of horses. Horse owners couldn’t take good care of them and overworked them. That’s why electric golf cars are now used on the islands. You can ride these vehicles with your Istanbulkart.

Things to Do on Princes Islands 🎒

The big white house in the middle of the fork in the road in princes islands istanbul

The Princes Islands have something for everyone. Love history? Explore the Byzantine era monasteries and Ottoman mansions.

For nature lovers, there are beautiful pine forests and beaches where you can relax and soak in the sun. And let’s not forget the breathtaking views from the hilltops! 🌄

Water sports are also popular here. You can try everything from swimming to sailing, making the islands a perfect destination for adventure enthusiasts.

And after a day full of activities, you can unwind at one of the local cafes or restaurants, savoring delicious Turkish cuisine with stunning sea views. 🏊‍♀️⛵️🍽️

Exploring the Main Islands 🏖️

White wooden house with open window in princes islands

Out of the nine islands, four are open to the public: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kınalıada [1]. Each island has its unique charm and attractions.

  • Büyükada: It is the largest and the most popular among the Princes Islands. The island boasts beautiful Ottoman era wooden houses, a bustling marketplace, and several historic buildings. A must visit is the Aya Yorgi Church, located at the highest point of the island. After a leisurely hike, you can take in the breathtaking panoramic view of Istanbul from here. 🌆 [1]
  • Heybeliada: This island is home to the famous Heybeliada Sanatorium (Turkey’s first pandemic hospital) and the historic Naval High School. The island’s lush landscapes and tranquil beaches make it a perfect place for nature lovers. 🌳🏖️
  • Burgazada: Known for its cozy ambiance, Burgazada is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. The island is home to the Greek Orthodox Church of Hagios Ioannis Prodromos and a few lovely beaches. Don’t forget to try some local ice cream while you’re here! 🍦
  • Kınalıada: This island is the smallest of the four and is known for its beautiful summer houses and clear waters. It’s the perfect place for a quick swim or a picnic by the beach. 🏊‍♂️🍉

When to Visit Princes Islands 📅

Old wooden houses but restored. An orange and a blue house next to each other in princes islands

The Princes Islands are beautiful all year round. However, the best time to visit is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November).

The weather is pleasant, and the islands are less crowded during these months. So, you can explore the islands at your leisure and enjoy all they have to offer. ☀️🌸

How to Get to Princes Islands 🚢

A ferry to Princes Islands. Seagulls fly above it and the red life buoys of the ferry stand out.

Getting to the Princes Islands is an adventure in itself! Ferries run regularly from various points in Istanbul, including Kabataş, Bostancı, and Kadıköy, to the islands.

The ferry ride offers stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline, making it a memorable experience even before you reach the islands. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic ride! 🌊 [3]


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