Princes’ Islands, Istanbul

Princes’ Islands, Istanbul

only do Uber fares add up, but being environmentally conscious is at
the top of our radar when it comes to travel this summer. These
nine islands (four of which are open to visitors) are completely
car-free, meaning you can explore without adding to your carbon
footprint. Rent a bike to make your way around or, if you feel like
testing out the islands’ other most popular mode of transportation,
hop on a horse-drawn carriage.

The islands are a welcome respite from the hectic streets and
bazaars of Istanbul, making them an ideal stop-off for a few days
during a city break. Pedal down tranquil streets with stone walls
dripping in bougainvillea, have a seaside lunch completely
undisturbed and snap photos of blue-shuttered clapboard houses that
don’t require acrobatic attempts to crop out throngs of

Don’t miss

The four main islands include Kinaliada, Burgaz, Heybeliada and
Büyükada, and were once places of exile for certain members of
Byzantine and Ottoman dynasties, hence their name. All four are
spectacular, and the rustic hillside villas tucked away between
mimosa trees and clip-clap of horses trotting down narrow winding
streets make the islands feel like a snapshot of 19th-century

Büyükada, which was once home to monks in addition to exiled
princes, is the largest of the islands, and has two peaks upon
which are perched Byzantine monasteries that are well worth the
climb. Heybeliada, the second largest island, is perhaps our
favourite of the archipelago. Home to lush pine forests and
quasi-private promenades, it also has a sheltered horseshoe bay
that is ideal for a sun-bleached stroll and a leisurely lunch on
one of the area’s waterfront terraces.

Who to take with you

This charming getaway is ideal for peaceful tête-à-têtes.

When to go

Summer for ambient boating temperatures.

Most likely to bump into

Istanbulites seeking refuge from their hectic daily commute.

Essentials to bring with you

A vintage camera for capturing the architecture.

How to get there

The only way to reach the islands is by boat. Catch the ferry in
Istanbul’s Kadikoy neighbourhood to reach any of the four publicly
accessible islands.

Discover More
City Guide: Istanbul, Turkey