Island Getaway: Princes’ Islands of Istanbul

Born and raised Istanbulite. Keeping an eye on the opportunity to explore this ancient city even more. Trying to do the best for nature.

Princes’ Islands of Istanbul is the name given to the archipelago off the Istanbul coast. It consists of 9 islands; four of which are inhabited (Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kınalıada) and five (Sedefadası, Tavşanadası, Sivriada, Kaşıkadası and Yassiada) of which are uninhabited.

The Princes’ Islands can easily be reached by ferry services from Istanbul and are a great place to swim in the sea, breathe in the island air, get away from the crowds and spend a quiet day – especially in spring and summer. Buyukada and Heybeliada are the most touristy islands among the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul, and they can be reached by ferry from Besiktas, Kadikoy, Bostanci, and Eminonu.

Buyukada, rich in culture and history, is home to the historically important Hagia Yorgi Church and also boasts many beaches. But if you’re in search of some peace and quiet, our advice is to stay away from Büyükada and instead head for Kınalıada. If you have the time and energy, you can visit Büyükada at an early hour and then move on to other islands.

But first, you will nee tickets to get to Princes’ Islands. Purchasing a round-trip ticket to Princes’ Islands is a good idea so you can enjoy your trip worriless.


Büyükada, the largest of the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul, carries cultural traces among its blue sea and green trees. The trip to Büyükada begins when the ferry docks. The Ottoman Neo-Classical movement is evident in İskele Square, the cafes and restaurants along the coast and the Clock Tower. You can explore the island on foot, by bike, and you can also dine while enjoying the view of the island, famous for its historical and natural beauty, by going to Yüce Tepe. A walk around the streets of Büyükada is highly recommended too.

Another good way to explore Buyukada is to do it on a scooter. It is a fast and practical way to see all the beauty of the island.

1. Pavilions

Built at the end of the 2nd and early 20th centuries, the kiosks are a synthesis of western architecture and Turkish architecture. Many pavilions in Art Nouveau style can be seen by following the Small Tour path.

2. Hamidiye Mosque

Hamidiye Mosque started to be built in 1895 under instruction of Abdülhamid II. The mihrab and the imitation of tiles on the walls are of particular interest.

3. Nizam Mosque, Hacı Havva Özen Mosque and Kumsal Mosque

These recent mosques were built according to the needs of the island.

4. Aya Yorgi Church and Monastery

Aya Yorgi Church was built in 1751. The great Marmara sea view from the top will appeal to your eyes.

5. Greek Orphanage

The orphanage, the largest wooden structure in Europe and the second-largest in the world, has not been used since 1964 but still maintains its grandeur.


Heybeliada consists of four hills each with a maximum height of 140 metres. There are many places to visit around these hills, and if you go to Çam Harbor, you will reach Sanatorium. The island is suitable for cycling and trekking.

1. Hagia Yorgi Cliff Church

Located on a high cliff, the church attracts attention due to its pink colour. It’s located on the southern coast of the island surrounded by pines, and other trees.

2. Heybeliada Sanatorium

The centre was opened in 1924 and it was used for tuberculosis treatment during this period due to the island’s pine forests and the therapeutic effect of the island climate.

3. Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar House

One of the architectural beauties, prince’s island Istanbul is the house where Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar lived between 1912-1944 is used as a museum today. The house, where some of the author’s books and personal belongings are on display, can be visited free of charge.



Next to Burgazada Pier, you’ll find tea gardens and cafes. Sait Faik Abasıyanık’s house has a special place among the historical houses of the island, which is one of Istanbul’s favourite summer resorts. With its beautiful natural landscapes and historical churches, Burgazada is waiting to welcome you to the pier of prince’s island Istanbul.

One of the essential things at the beach is a bag that will fit all the necessary things you wish to take with you and keep it safe from the sand to fully enjoy summer resorts.

1. Sait Faik Abasıyanık Museum

Sait Faik Abasıyanık, one of the most important writers of contemporary Turkish literature, spent a significant part of his life on this island. In the mansion where he lived between 1906 and 1954, you can see his personal belongings, library and notes.

2. Aya Yani Church

The church, which attracts attention with its dome placed on a high roller, was built in 1899. Its rich craftsmanship makes it one of the most important historical monuments the prince’s island Istanbul has to offer.



Kınalıada Mosque was built in 1964. Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Church, Transformation Monastery, Christos Monastery and Church, Greek Orthodox Panayia Church, and mansions are all close to each other and can be visited on foot.

Sedef Island

As the islands get smaller, they become increasingly secluded. Due to the fact that three-quarters of Sedef Island are private property, there’s not much to visit here. The advantage is that it’s a very calm island. There’s a square at the exit of the pier, a restaurant, and a beach.

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