Istanbul, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations with its modernity, mystic energy, and entertainment, is undoubtedly the city to be seen. You can run into different works of art or architectural structures in every street of Istanbul. This is what makes visiting Istanbul attractive.
In addition to the city center, there are many destinations around Istanbul that are worth seeing and you can miss out on many beauties if you don’t go.
In this blog, you will see 10 of the best islands near Istanbul you can visit. What can be better than enjoying magnificent nature together with stunning sea views. Besides that, the islands in Istanbul are located closely to Istanbul, they let you escape the atmosphere of the busy city.
1. Marmara Island
Let’s start with Marmara Island, which is the largest island in the Marmara region. It is named after the Marmara region where it is located. If you enjoy seeing the traditional village life, nature, and the sea, Marmara Island is the ideal location for you.
We have two different beach suggestions for sea lovers. Kole Beach, which is among the central beaches of Marmara Island, is one of the most lively and crowded spots on the island. The beachside is wide, the sea is clear and calm. For those looking for a quieter spot, Aba Beach will be a better choice.
Another suggestion that you can visit on Marmara Island is the central villages and settlements of the island. Çınarlı Village and Gündoğdu Village are among the most preferred places for accommodation and are ideal for those who want to see the village life closely.
In addition, for those who love nature sports and hiking, Marmara Island can be included in your travel plan.
Istanbul Marmara Island Ferry
It is possible to reach Marmara Island directly from Istanbul. You can reach Marmara Island with IDO (Istanbul Sea Buses) ferries. Marmara Island IDO piers are located in Bostancı and Yenikapı. Marmara Island ferry services, which are divided into winter and summer periods, are usually organised 2 times on certain days in winter and 3 times on certain days during summer months due to the increase in demand.
You can take a look at IDO‘s own website to examine the ferry service days and hours in more detail.
2. Avşa Island
Avşa Island is located in the Sea of Marmara. Its proximity to Istanbul makes it one of the most preferred popular places for summer tourism.
Among the places to see, Avşa Bazaar is one of the first places that come to mind. It has become a great walking path as cars are prohibited here. The bazaar, where you can buy all you need, is located just behind the beaches.
Altınkum, the most famous beach of the island, is of course among our recommendations. The beach, which you can reach after a 10–15 minute journey with the beach minibusses departing from the center, is famous for its yellow sands. The sea is quite clean and resembles an aquarium with its ice blue color.
The Princes’ Islands consist of 9 islands. Only 5 islands are inhabited. But since 1 of them (Kaşık Island) is private property, we can say that the other 4 islands are touristic areas.
The Prince Islands you can visit are: Büyükada, Kınalıada, Heybeliada , Burgazada and Sedef Island.
Büyükada, a center among the islands, has wonderful forests, Aya Yorgi Church, and a unique view. Some think Büyükada is the best island in Istanbul.
Transportation in Büyükada is provided by bicycle, and the use of motor vehicles is prohibited except for official vehicles. That’s why we definitely recommend that you rent a bike and cycle around the unique streets of the island.
In addition, Yücetepe, the hill that covers the area where the Aya Yorgi Church is located, is definitely one of the places to be seen. You have to climb a 1 m slope to reach it. But no matter how hard this journey is, once you reach the top you will realize that it was worth it.
Büyükada is a perfect destination for a one-day trip. In this blog, you will find all the necessary information about Büyükada’s must-sees.
Prince Islands Ferry
It is possible to come directly to Büyükada from Beşiktaş, Kabataş, Kadıköy and Bostancı by ferryboats. Also, note that only the Istanbul kart is accepted on ferries.
You can buy the Istanbul kart at the small kiosks or vending machines around the ferry port or online.
Pricing: After getting an Istanbul card, the ferry charges 21.90 TL. Do not forget that you will also pay a certain card fee when buying an Istanbul kart!
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Kınalıada is the second smallest island among the other Princes’ Islands. You can still find lots of activities to do. First, the Monastery of the Transfiguration, located on Hristo Peak, is among the historical places that should be visited on Kınalıada.
Since it is located on a hill, it also reveals the view of other islands.
You can also see the historical houses up close while you go down to the pier and wander around the coast. You can take a peaceful walk with the sea on your right and the white island mansions on your left.
Heybeliada, the second largest of the Prince Islands, is known for its nature with every shade of green, pine forests, colourful redbuds, and historical mansions.
As in other Princes’ Islands, Heybeliada beaches are also ideal for those who like to swim. Besides swimming, rowing and sailing are among the most popular activities in Heybeliada. If you like water sports, you can add this activity to your travel plan when you come to Heybeliada.
For those who want to relax, Çam Liman Bay, which is known as the calmest bay of the island, would be the right choice. This bay is famous for its view from the Değirmen Hill.
Burgazada, the third-largest island of the Princes’ Islands, is distinguished from other islands by its round shape. Burgazada, which is constantly visited in summer and winter, is a paradise with its natural beauties as well as its historical buildings.
If you go to Burgazada, the first place you can visit is the Sait Faik Abasıyanık Museum. This is the house where Sait Faik Abasıyanık, one of the important writers of Contemporary Turkish Literature, lived in Burgazada for many years. Since its opening, it has become one of the most visited museum houses in Türkiye. We highly recommend adding it to your itinerary.
Our next recommendation is for those who want to get away from the crowds. Düşler Beach is one of the hidden places of the island. The beach, which sees Kınalıada, has a fascinating view. Unknown to most, it also has a pristine nature.
7. Sedef Island
Sedef Island, which is the smallest of the Princes’ Islands, is generally preferred for its fascinating scenery and clean sea. However, it has fewer places to visit than other islands.
The island has three beaches, namely Sedef Island Beach, Elio Sedef Beach, and Club Ada Sedef, and its name means mother-of-pearl.
Free motorboats are available from Büyükada to Sedef Island. You can reach Büyükada by ferry boats departing from Bostancı, Kadıköy, Eminönü, Kabataş or Beşiktaş.
8. Tavşan Island
Tavşan Island or Balıkçı Island is the smallest island in Istanbul and of the Princes’ Archipelago. There is no settlement on the island due to its small size and barrenness. Because of the large number of rabbits, the people called this island Tavşan (Rabbit) Island.
9. Kaşık Island
Kaşık Island is located across the Burgazada. It is given this name because it resembles a spoon (kaşık). There is no ferry service to the island as it is privately owned.
This island, which is about a few hundred meters in length, was also used as a place of exile in the past.
Democracy and Freedom Island, also known as Yassıada, is located in the Marmara Sea. Yassıada means “flat island” and is one of the islands of the Princes’ Archipelago.
Those who come to visit the island have the chance to feel the historical texture closely by visiting the museums, open-air works, and the library in the company of guides.
The Island of Democracy and Freedom, which was opened to visitors in 2021, attracted great attention from the citizens.
In case you are looking for more indoor activities after examining the beautiful sea views of Istanbul and the islands, you can check out our plan, which will convince you that Istanbul museums are nothing but fun!