PrinceS’ Islands – Istanbul’s Stunning Archipelago
Located in the Sea of Marmara, the Princes’ Islands exist as a natural haven within the city, a place away from the regular hustle and bustle, one where the beauty and tranquillity of nature can be properly appreciated and you can rest your feet and relax as the hours pass by like molasses.
In the past, these islands were a favourite weekend getaway destination for the Ottoman aristocracy which is how they earned their name. There are four main islands that make up this beautiful archipelago, these are Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kinaliada, all of which are accessible by ferry from either the European or Asian side of the region.
One of the reasons why the Princes’ Islands are blessed with such a peaceful atmosphere is the fact that motorized vehicles are prohibited. If you want to get around the islands, you’ll need to pick between horse-drawn carriages or bicycles. If you wish for a more personalized pace of traversal through the islands, then the latter might suit you more, though, the novelty of riding a horse-drawn carriage can also be a memorable experience. You can travel between the islands via ferries which are free to ride.
The island of Buyukada offers a plethora of activities that you can partake in from its famous Çankaya street which is lined with wooden houses to the stunning Orthodox Monastery Aya Yorgi, a sight that is cited to be the island’s main attraction and offers incredible views of the archipelago and Instanbul due to being situated on top of the highest hill in the island.
Another popular attraction is the large wooden structure atop Histro hill which used to serve as an orphanage in the past. The serene environment that encapsulates the island of Buyukada will offer you numerous little treasures in your exploration of it. Though you could spend your entire vacation just on this one island, don’t forget that there’s still three more that the Princes’ islands have to offer.
This piece of water surrounded land is the second largest one in the Princes’ islands and probably the most attune with nature when it comes to its environment. The lush vegetation is a sight to behold but there’s also a number of sites of the Orthodox faith scattered around to see like the Halki Institute and, similar to BÜYÜKADA, a Greek Orthodox Monastery.
This island, known as Antigoni in Greek, is the third largest of the Princes’ islands. It offers a similar quaint and relaxing atmosphere to the islands with its main attraction being the Sait Faik Abasiyanik Museum which is named after one of the great pioneers of modern Turkish story writing.
The museum exhibits numerous belongings of Sait Faik which include his letters, manuscripts, photographs and many other such documents. It is one of Turkey’s most visited museums and serves as an amazing testament to the life of this incredible author by allowing you to take a captivating journey through his life.
The smallest of the Princes’ islands, Kinaliada doesn’t quite have as much to see as its counterparts but is still a beautiful destination to stop by and see, maybe even go for a swim if you so desire.