By Justin Mays:
Have you ever heard of the Princes' Islands? We are sure that yes because it is one of the most popular destinations near Istanbul. First of all, it is worth knowing that this archipelago is made up of nine islands: Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kınalıada, Sedef, Yassıada, Tavşan, Kaşık and Sivriada. The largest island in this archipelago is Büyükada, which has an area of about five square kilometers.
It is a true paradise, in which one can find many green areas, traditional wooden houses, and dozens of quiet streets to walk through. As if that were not enough, the Princes' Islands also have a large number of coves with spectacular views.
Located in the middle of the Marmara Sea, during the Byzantine Empire, these islands were used as a place of exile and prison. Thus, it used to host princes and aristocrats who were forced to escape from society. But they were not always used for these purposes. After a few years, the Princes' Islands began to become a place of refuge and rest for people with high purchasing power, who decided to buy beautiful summer houses by the sea and found the ideal place to do so in this archipelago. And that is how it continues to be today: a summer and disconnection paradise.
How to get to the archipelago
The Princes' Islands are an hour and a half by ferry from Istanbul. There are several ways to access them, but the fastest and cheapest is to do it from the Kabatas dock, in Beşiktaş. But if you prefer, you can also leave from the Kadiköy, Bostanci, or Eminönü docks.
Although the archipelago is made up of nine islands, only four of these are accessible by ferry from Istanbul: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burguzada, and Kinaliada. But even so, keep in mind that you can visit the rest of the islands once you are on one of the four accessible islands. However, it is worth mentioning that the other five islands do not have such a high tourist interest, hence the access is practically private, designed mainly for the owners.
Best beaches in Princes’ Islands
In summer, many of the residents of Istanbul take advantage of the weekend and the good weather to go to the Princes' Islands and enjoy its wonderful beaches. Imagine it: the sea breeze, the hot sun, the sand touching your feet... The island of Büyükada, being the largest, is the one with the most attractive spaces. In fact, in addition to beautiful beaches, it also has churches and monasteries with a lot of history.
But back to the beaches. If you are one of those who enjoy a good bath in the sea, you cannot miss the following beaches in Büyükada:
Eskibag beach is about 25 minutes by boat from the port.
Halik Koyu beach is the largest and cleanest beach on the island.
Aya Nikola beach is one of the beaches with fewer waves on the island.
Prenses Koyu beach, the private beach of the Prenses Boutique Hotel.
Naki Bey beach is a family beach with a buffet restaurant.
Yoruk Ali beach is the sandiest beach on the island.
Best restaurants Princes’ Islands
And after an intense day at the beach and walks, what you want most is to end the night with a good dinner in a good restaurant. Being an archipelago, it is not surprising that the most popular dish is fresh fish. To try it, we can find several specialized restaurants in Büyükada.
If you want to eat good fish, we recommend you do it at the Prinkipo Meyhanesi restaurant, located a few minutes from the port of Büyükada. This restaurant is popular for its atmosphere, as during the weekend it usually offers live music. In addition to eating fresh fish, in this restaurant, you can also find traditional appetizers.
In case you feel like eating in a restaurant with a view, we recommend you do it in Yücetepe Kır Gazinosu, a restaurant located on Aya Yorgi hill, right next to the monastery. On the other hand, you can also go to the Eskibağ Teras restaurant, which is located on a cliff, and also offers spectacular views.
We do not doubt that your visit to the Princes' Islands will be a memory for a lifetime. And it is not surprising, because their charm is capable of dazzling anyone who visits them. Although the best time to visit them is during the summer, it is worth mentioning that, during the coldest months of the year, they also have their charm. We hope you like them!
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