The archipelago off the coast of Istanbul with the attracting historical and natural beauties, which are only 30-40 minutes away by ferry, are known as the backyard of Istanbul.
Differently named for centuries, these islands are mostly known as “Prince Islands” or “Princes’ Islands” in plural since they were the islands where nobles, princes, patriarchs even emperors were exiled.
Büyükada (big Island)
The biggest of nine islands Büyükada is the major destination for the foreign tourists with its old houses, mansions, greenery, beaches. Civil motor vehicles are prohibited in the island where the phaetons (fayton) are the most important means of transport. Also with restaurants, cafes, Büyükada is one of the best place where you can enjoy the time.
What to do; Having dinner at the fish restaurants on the left side of the quay with the fabulous views of Istanbul; Sightseeing the island by phaeton; Having lunch at a restaurant up the hill next to the Hagia Yorgi church; Biking and taking photos;
Heybeliada (saddlebag Island)
Heybeliada is the second largest island which is composed of four hills. It is named for the “saddlebag” since the island resembles to a saddlebag when remote viewed. Heybeliada is pleasant not only with its arming nature, clean air and beauties but also with its Naval Military College, Sanatorium, and The Theological School of Halki.
What to do; Have a picnic; Having a phaeton (fayton) tour;
Burgazada (Fortress Island)
The destination for whom seek peace and serenity… Burgazada is the third largest island of the archipelago with only one hill. Its coast, climate, pine trees, finest mansions make Burgazada one of the most attracting place of Istanbul. The chirpy square, mini bazaar, streets and cafes arouse a feeling of you are in a paradise. Kaşık adası (Spoon Island) located by the eastern part of Burgazada looking like a spoon lying face-down on a table enriches the view of Burgazada.
What to do; Eating delicious ice-cream opposite the quay; Phaeton tour; Dining during the sunset in Kalpazankaya at the back coast of the island; Biking and taking photos,
Kınalıada (henna Island)
This fourth biggest island has two hills. Since the land has reddish colour from the iron and copper that was mined, it is named as “Henna Island”. It is the least forested island because of being cliffy; and the closest to Istanbul. It is the only ısland without phaeton. The Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogones is known to have been exiled in the monastery of the Transfiguration on Hristo peak of the ısland.
What to do; Having five o’clock tea with pastries at “Bahar Pastanesi”. Dining at “Mimoza” or “Jash Restaurant”; Biking;
sedefadası (Mother-of-pearl Island)
Sedefadası is the smallest island of the group located east of Büyükada, and opened to settlement. It is also known as “Tavşanadası” (Rabbit Island) because of its rabbits. The island is also famous for its wind; nature with various types of trees such as pine and cypress etc. Transportation to the island is not available.