THE PRINCES’ ISLANDS…By Tony Bar

Princes Islands Istanbul

Princes’ Islands are an archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara to the south-east of Istanbul. Not all of them are inhabited and your boat will probably stop in the two largest, Buyukada and Heybeliada. 

Enjoy a priceless calm as cars and motor vehicles are prohibited. The only means of transport are bicycles, coaches and your feet.

Princes or members of the imperial family and aristocrats were imprisoned in monasteries on the island during the Byzantine period, hence their name today. According to the legend their eyes were gouged out so that they could not return to Istanbul. The Ottomans also got rid of stray dogs on the islands but apparently did not blind them and many of them did return to Istanbul.

With its 5.36 km ² Buyukada is the largest of the islands and home to beautiful houses. You can take a charming carriage ride but the island is somewhat industrialized and the routes lose much of their quietude because of the carriages heavy traffic.

To explore the island you also have the possibility to hire bikes. We, your friendly companions, advise you to walk, to move away from the beaten track and established trails, and climb up the island for views full of beauty, ancient monasteries or amazing abandoned buildings.

Breathe in the calm of these islands and thoroughly enjoy Istanbul, one of the few destinations offering you sun, a great river, a great culture and history and, for the icing on the cake, these beautiful small islands nearby.

To reach the islands you can take a Vapür (reckon on 5 TL for this one hour and forty-five minutes journey) or hovercraft (45 minute trips for 10 TL). Plan to get there early enough and check schedules in advance on the website of the public company which organises the trips (www.ido.com.tr).

When purchasing your token do not worry if you see the word ” adalar ” displayed , it is the name of the district comprising these islands and the boat will stop on the two main islands Buyukada and Heybeliada. 

Prepare a picnic of your favourite turkish delicacies as the food on the islands is forgettable. We recommend that you visit during the week rather than at weekends : it is quieter and more enjoyable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *