Istanbul Princes’ Islands: how to get, things to do, see, places to eat, drink

The Princes’ Islands (Prens Adalari, or Adalar, in Turkish) is one of the best-preserved natural regions and tourist attractions in Istanbul. If you’re looking for a unique sea and island experience in Istanbul, be sure to visit Princes’ Islands, one of the best places to visit in Istanbul. The islands are also one of the greatest weekend getaways and Istanbul escapes for both tourists and local. Here’s everything you need to know about the Princes’ Islands, getting there, top things to do, see, places to eat, drink and stay with ease!

Princes’ islands were named after the banished Princes during the Byzantine period. There are 9 islands located across the shores of Maltepe and Kartal districts, on the Asian coasts, Marmara Sea, extremely near each other.

The primary Princes’ Islands include Buyukada, Heybeliada, Kinaliada, Burgazada, Kasikadasi, and Sedefadasi. The majority of the islands’ inhabitants are Greek, Armenian, Jewish, and a few Syrian Christians. The most popular is Buyukada and Heybeliada, which provide numerous attractions and scenery for tourists.

Things to Do & See at the Princes’ Islands

Princes’ Islands is a favorite weekend destination for Istanbulites, especially during the summer, to enjoy the beach and other activities. Guests visit the islands to explore and appreciate the islands’ natural beauty, electric car excursions, seafood restaurants, and hiking and swimming possibilities.

On weekends, the islands resemble a carnival with happy crowds. Keep in mind that if you wish to visit the islands on a tranquil and uncrowded day, you should plan your day excursion to Princes’ Islands during the week or in the spring or fall seasons.

Automobiles are not permitted on the island, making it an ideal destination for anyone seeking a calm day and night out. Electric cars may be used to navigate the island, or you can hire a bike and explore the island independently.

Buyukada

Buyukada is the largest island and the administrative headquarters of the Adalar (meaning “islands”). The Buyukada’s main attractions and sites include:

  • Touring the island by electric vehicle or bicycle.
  • Enjoying the benefits of the beaches.
  • Going to Aya Yorgi Church (the Church of St. George)
  • Visiting the Museum of the Islands.
  • Dining at the seafood restaurants along the beach.

Touring in Electric Vehicles

One of the most popular attractions is riding an electric car around the Princes’ islands. You will appreciate the natural beauty of the islands and the views of Istanbul.

After the old horse-drawn carriage transportation was banned, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of horses, electric vehicle services began throughout the whole Princes’ Islands in August 2020.

Tour by Bike

One of the most popular activities is biking around the Princes’ islands. You’ll appreciate the stunning countryside, wooden homes, gardens, and views of Istanbul. You may simply rent a bike and go on a 2-hour island tour.

Happy woman on bicycle,summer background with tropical trees and flowers

Aya Yorgi Church & the Hilltop

The most visited attraction on the Princes’ Islands is the Aya Yorgi Church (the Church of St. George). This Orthodox church, located on the highest peak of the Buyukada, is a really rare and quiet spot. The church was constructed in 1905.

The Aya Yorgi Church is also well-known for people putting their wishes on paper and placing them in a box or burning candles for their desires. Of course, these are seen in every church around the world. Meanwhile, the Aya Yorgi Church has unique days on which it is thought that if you visit the church on April 23rd and September 24th, your desires will be granted, and you will be healed. If the wishes come true, tourists will return to the church with sugar and olive oil.

The monastery of St. George or Aya Yorgi Church on Buyukada which is the biggest island of the Princes’ Islands near Istanbul and sitting cat in front of it

A nice restaurant with amazing views of the coastlines and the city is also located near the Aya Yorgi Church. Make the most of your time here by eating, drinking, and taking photographs.

Heybeliada

Heybeliada is the second most populous and well-known of the Princes’ Islands. The following are the main attractions and sites of the Heybeliada:

  • Tour the island by electric vehicle or bicycle.
  • Take advantage of the beaches.
  • Pay a visit to Aya Yorgi Cliff Church (Saint George)
  • The Heybeliada Greek Boys’ High School should be visited (dating back to the 1200s)
  • Visit the Priests’ School.

Burgazada

Burgazada is the third most populous and well-known of the Princes’ Islands. Dine at the beach restaurants. The major attraction and views on the Burgazada include an electric vehicle or bike tour of the island.

  • Take advantage of the beaches.
  • Visit the historically significant Burgazada Mosque and the Hristos Monastery and Church.
  • Madam Martha cove, enjoy the view at Bayraktepe hill.
  • Visiting the Princes Islands Water Sports Association

Kinaliada

Kinaliada (one of the Prince Islands) view from the sea, Istanbul.

The smallest of the Princes’ Islands is Kinaliada. You can walk the entire island in 20-25 minutes. Kinaliada’s main attractions and sites include:

  • Walking or biking tour around the island.
  • Take in the landscape of Cinar, Tesvikiye, and Hristo hills.
  • Visit the ancient Hristo Monastery and Church.
  • Take advantage of the beaches.
  • Dine at the beach restaurants.

Top-Rated Princes’ Islands Tours

You can feel free to book one of these top selling tours for Princes’ Islands. They all have excellent traveler ratings. If you change your mind, you can also make free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance.

How to Get to the Princes’ Islands?

Public Ferries (Sehir Hatlari) or Private Boats are used for typical Princes’ Islands (Adalar) tours. The ferry or boat ride to Princes’ Islands takes around 90 minutes (from Eminonu, Kabatas, or Besiktas).

Public Ferry Lines to the Princes’ Islands (Adalar)

The ferry docks at Besiktas, Kabatas, Eminonu, and Bostanci provide easy access to the Princes’ Islands.

Private Boats to the Princes’ Islands (Adalar)

Motorboats may readily reach the Princes’ Islands from Karakoy, Eminonu, and Kadikoy.

Round-trip ferry ticket to Princes’ Island and audio guide

The boat trip to the Princes’ Island, Buyukada, will take approximately 75 minutes. While on the Bosphorus, you may see Istanbul’s stunning skyline from the open-air deck. Grab snacks from the shop or listen to stories about the Bosphorus on your smartphone with the audio guide app.

Covers a round-trip ticket to Princes’ Islands, Fast track boat admission from the online ticket window, and Bosphorus audio tour app for IOS and Android in ten languages: English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, and Chinese

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