If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, the Prince Islands are the perfect destination. Located just a short ferry ride away from the city, these islands offer a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the Prince Islands, including how to get there, what to do, and what to see.
Getting to the Prince Islands
The Prince Islands are a group of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara, located just off the coast of Istanbul. The most popular islands for visitors are Büyükada, Heybeliada, and Kınalıada. To reach the islands, you’ll need to take a ferry from Istanbul. The ferries depart from several locations, including Kabataş, Eminönü, and Kadıköy. Depending on your starting point, the journey can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
What to Do on the Prince Islands
Once you arrive on the Prince Islands, there are plenty of things to see and do. One of the most popular activities is to rent a bike and explore the islands at your own pace. Büyükada, the largest of the islands, is a great place to start. The island is home to several historic landmarks, including the Aya Yorgi Church and Monastery, which offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding islands.
Another popular activity on the islands is to take a horse-drawn carriage tour. This is a great way to see the sights while enjoying a leisurely ride through the streets of the islands. The carriages are available for hire at the ferry ports, and the tours can last from one to two hours.
If you’re looking for a more active adventure, you can try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding. The calm waters around the islands are perfect for these activities, and there are several rental shops available on Büyükada and Heybeliada.
What to See on the Prince Islands
The Prince Islands are steeped in history and culture, and there are several landmarks and attractions that are worth a visit. One of the most iconic sights on the islands is the Büyükada Clock Tower, which was built in 1897 and stands at the highest point on the island. The tower offers panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding islands.
Another must-see attraction is the Hagia Yorgi Church and Monastery on Büyükada. The church dates back to the Byzantine era and is dedicated to Saint George. The monastery is located on the top of the island’s highest hill and offers breathtaking views of the sea.
If you’re interested in Ottoman history, you should visit the Hristos Monastery on Heybeliada. The monastery was built in the 19th century and was once a popular destination for Ottoman sultans.
Where to Eat on the Prince Islands
The Prince Islands are known for their fresh seafood and traditional Turkish cuisine. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes on the islands, offering everything from meze platters to grilled fish. One of the most popular restaurants on Büyükada is Ada Kapı, which serves delicious seafood dishes in a picturesque setting.
If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, you can try one of the street food vendors on the islands. You’ll find everything from simit (a type of Turkish bagel) to gözleme (a savory Turkish pancake) being sold from carts and stalls throughout the islands.
The Prince Islands are a hidden gem near Istanbul, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the city or an active adventure, there’s something for everyone on the islands. So why not take a ferry ride and explore the wonders of the Prince Islands for yourself?