Prince's Islands Istanbul
Starting in spring but especially during summer months, Prince's Islands are a piece of Mediterranean life in Istanbul. They are a group of islands close to the shores of Istanbul. Of this island group four of the bigger are Buyukada (biggest), Heybeliada, Kinaliada and Burgaz.
Buyukada is the biggest one of the Princes' Islands, the others being Kinaliada, Burgazada, Sedefadasi and Heybeliada. There is no motor vehicle traffic in Buyukada and it seems so far away from the crowds of Istanbul if only you can make it on weekdays. These islands were in fact exile places for the royal Byzantians and now they host gorgeous summer houses, hotels, private clubs, some beaches and restaurants. There are people living on these islands all year long as the ferry service of Istanbul city also cover these Islands although it is less frequent compared to other main lines in Istanbul.
WHAT TO DO IN PRINCE'S ISLANDS
If you have time to visit only one island, Buyukada it should be. Since the islands are a part of the Greek culture of Istanbul, the main attraction on Buyukada is Ayayorgi (St.George) monastery which stands on top of a hill that takes about half an hour of a hike. You can also get a horse carriage or rent a bicycle in your free time until the end of this tour. There are beaches in both coasts the one facing Istanbul and the other facing towards to Marmara Sea.
In the Islands, you can taste sea food, fried mussels or kokorec. Buyukadasi is suggested over the other islands if you have limited time. You can do a tour of the island with horse buggies.
You can rent a bike, or a horse buggy and do a small tour (kucuk tur) or big tour (buyuk tur) of the Buyukada island.
HOW TO GO TO PRINCE'S ISLANDS
You can go the Prince's islands from Eminonu, Kabatas (down from Taksim by funiculaire), Kadikoy and Bostanci, being the closest point to the islands among them. There are seabuses (fast ferries) and regular boats (Sehir hatlari) and also privately operated boats from Bostanci at the same prices as regular boats. You can see ferry timetables below:
Istanbul Municipality ferry (Sehirhatlari) timetable for classic beautiful Istanbul boats.
Seabuses/ Fast ferries for faster boats with no outdoor area.