Archipelago in the Sea of Marmara
I was glad we made this day-trip happen. I did not know beforehand these islands existed two months before we went here. Thanks to Youtube videos from some of my favourite photographers, Roman Fox and Faizal Westcott, I realized I needed to go here and explore. The Princes Islands, or simply The Islands (Adalar) as locals call them, are an archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara of which only four are inhabited and open to visitors: Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Büyükada. Since cars and motorbikes are not allowed on any of them, the Princes Islands provide a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of busy Istanbul. I highly recommend people to visit Princes’ Islands as a part of your Istanbul trip as a mean of relaxing escape from the city.
The journey embarks from Asian/Anatolian side of Istanbul, from Kadikoy ferry terminal very early in the morning. Here you’ll find the entrance to Princes’ Islands line which you can see easily. On the day we went, there were a lot of people queuing for the next ferry so there was no issue finding the platform. We decided to drop off the last island which is Büyükada, the largest island here. The journey took around 1 hour and 20 minutes after few quick stops at other islands first. The ferry ride and the view were worth it!
Arriving in Büyükada, we were surprised to see the place was more crowded than we initially anticipated. It was already buzzing with locals from main land and tourists alike. You will be astounded by many beautiful Victorian style wooden mansions and buildings which is nothing like city center Istanbul.
Since Büyükada is one large island, we decided to explore it by renting a bike. There were many booths to rent it from in the town center. You can ride your bike up the hill to the highest point of the island and the view was quite surreal up there. Few years back, Princes’ Islands were well known for their horse-drawn carriages, which were the main mode of transportation and attraction. However it was put into a halt since there was a Glanders disease outbreak that killed many horses and also they were mistreated.