In addition to sightseeing places such as museums, palaces, gardens, and ancient and historical monuments, the tourist city of Istanbul also includes very spectacular and memorable islands that can be easily visited by cruise ships.
Among the islands that we will focus on below, the Prince Islands are the most famous ones in the coastal city of Istanbul, and most tourists put visiting this area, exploring it, and buying souvenirs in these islands as a priority in their tourism ist and spend their holidays until late at night on these islands, and at the end, they move to Istanbul harbor with the same ships that are anchored on the coast and return to the hustle and bustle of the city.
The tranquility of the islands and the green and untouched nature, the endless sea, watching cruise ships and speedboats passing by, hearing the sound of horseshoes while moving, watching the one-story houses that are located among the cobbled streets of the island, each is a unique experience in its own right. In the following, we will give a brief description of the legendary islands of the tourist city of Istanbul and the characteristics of each.
Best Islands of Istanbul, Turkey
Before going into the description of the islands, we should mention that the sum of many of the islands of the tourist city of Istanbul is called Prince Island, which is known as the largest island in Istanbul, and includes 9 other islands in its heart.
Out of a total of 9 islands, one is private, four are in the military sector and four are public. It should be mentioned that the total population of the four public islands reaches only 20 thousand people. In addition to the special features of these islands for fun and entertainment, many people choose these islands to live on as well.
Because of the peace and fun atmosphere that these islands contain, they attract every nature lover and tourist. All kinds of entertainment, recreation, and other amenities have made visiting the islands of Istanbul one of the best pass-time activities in the city. No type of cars can be seen on these islands, and this has caused people to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax and spend hours in this area.
People on these Istanbul islands are either walking or riding bicycles and sometimes riding in rickshaws, and this is how the islanders live their lives. In this post, we will only describe four public islands and one private island.
The most spectacular islands in Istanbul are:
- Prince Island
- Buyukada Island
- Heybeliada Island
- Burgazada Island
- Kinaliada Island
One of the most famous islands in the tourist city of Istanbul, which is visited by many tourists every year, is the beautiful Prince Island. What is interesting and attractive about this island is its long-standing history. This island was used as an exile for princes in ancient times, the time of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Turks.
Visiting this beautiful and fun island in Istanbul with all kinds of restaurants and cafes, each of which welcomes you with local dishes, various refreshing drinks, delicious ice creams, traditional sweets, and warm toasted bread, is very enjoyable and memorable. Its admirable views, cobbled streets, umbrella and beach resorts, and watching the sunrise and sunset with the singing of seagulls are very spectacular.
When you step inside the island, in addition to cafes and restaurants, you will see stalls and shops that sell handicrafts, works of art, decorative objects, clothes, and other goods that you can buy at a very affordable price. You can also purchase all kinds of straw hats, cool and summer clothes, various glasses, and even bags and comfortable shoes that are sold on this island in Istanbul.
Among the recreations of this island, we can mention horse riding, cycling, walking through the alleys, the many cafes and restaurants, taking pictures of the scenery, and watching cruise ships. Horse riding on this island is very memorable and fun. If you go to this island, in Istanbul don’t forget to take a boat ride with your friends and family as well.
Another famous island in Istanbul is Buyukada Island, which is actually part of the Prince Islands. During the Byzantine Empire, Buyukada Island was considered an exile and an area for religious ceremonies and prayers. It is said that even a palace and a church were built on this island during the Byzantine Empire in 569 AD for prayers.
It should be noted that during the Ottoman period, this island in Istanbul was often a recreational area for Greeks and Jews who lived in the city. Most of the old houses and buildings on this island also belong to the same era.
Other historical features of this island include the life of the leader of the Soviet revolution, Leon Trotsky, which dates back to 1929. In fact, Leon Trotsky was exiled to this island and spent four years of his life. On this island, he wrote two books on the history of the Soviet revolution and also a book about his biography. Today, his place of residence in Buyukada Island has become a museum that everyone can visit.
Among the other historical buildings of this island in Istanbul is Aya Yorgi Church, which is said to be so high that one can see the views of Istanbul from its top, in addition to watching the entire expanse of the island. On this island, like Prince Island, relaxing in cozy cafes, eating in traditional restaurants, photography, horse riding, cycling, walking, and shopping in its fun stores are among the most popular entertainments, which you can do far away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Istanbul from sunrise to sunset.
One of the best islands in the tourist city of Istanbul is Heybeliada Island. In addition to the tourist beauty of this island, among the outstanding features of Heybeliada, we can mention the building of Ruhban Okulu, which is a historical school in the field of religious sciences. This building, which has a long history, has been the focus of most of history and culture lovers.
If you are interested in visiting churches, you can also visit the island church. It should be mentioned that the tomb of the British ambassador, Edward Barton, is located on this island as well. This island, like other scenic islands of Istanbul, has untouched nature, fruit-bearing trees, impressive views, Istanbul cafes, and local restaurants and recreational resorts.
It is said that Burgazada Island was founded by Demetrius, one of Alexander’s successors, after which he named the island after his father. This small island in Istanbul, whose length is covered by two green hills covered with forest trees, is a very fun area for tourists and nature lovers.
Surfing among the cafes, restaurants, and souvenir stalls and walking along the pier are among the memorable activities of this island. Watching the pristine scenery and the sunset or the fishermen creates indescribable images. Burgazada Island also has stalls with all kinds of goods and artistic products for those interested in shopping.
You can find and buy the best sweets and local foods on this island. Buying works of art, handicrafts, clothes, ornaments and other items from the islands of Istanbul is very affordable and you can enjoy buying your favorite items for yourself or as souvenirs at a reasonable price.
Cafes on the island are ready to serve tourists who visit this place by serving a variety of hot and cold drinks, including Turkish tea and coffee, traditional ice creams, and various drinks. Biking, rafting, enjoyable fishing experience, walking on the footpath, photography, taking advantage of beach resorts, and watching seagulls are among the island activities that all tourists can enjoy here.
Kinaliada Island is one of the islands in Istanbul that is considered part of Prince Islands. Kinaliada Island is full of cozy houses decorated with all kinds of spring flowers. This island includes neighborhoods suitable for residence, and if you are planning to stay on the island, Kinaliada includes all amenities, cozy mobile homes, and food shops.
Ayazma beach is one of the most famous beaches on this island, which usually has umbrella resorts and you can spend some moments relaxing by the pier. If you are interested in the historical narratives of this island, you can visit the tomb and monastery of Harrastus, the Eastern Roman Emperor, who was once exiled to this island and buried here.
Sivriada is one of the main parts of the Prince Islands located in the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul. This small island is located near Istanbul and in ancient times it was considered a place of worship for Byzantine priests. There is not much for tourists to visit on this island. However, they can visit the monastery to learn about Byzantine and Roman history and culture.
There is a sad old saga of the island that in 1911 after the governor ordered the banishment of stray dogs, some 80,000 dogs were deliberately killed in an event known as the “Stray Dog Massacre”. Most of them died due to hunger and others died due to thirst, drowning, and the barren condition of the land. After this incident, the island experienced an earthquake, which people consider to be God’s punishment for abandoning the dogs. This incident is the main reason why this island was called an unfortunate island in Turkey.
Tavsan Island is another beautiful Turkish island near Istanbul. People often call it Rabbit Island because it is home to countless species of rabbits. This small island is not a good tourist destination but if you come here for a tour, they will take you to some ancient churches built in the 17th century. Istanbul people often come to this island to feel the spirituality and beautiful peace. In addition, photographers will find numerous locations ionTavsan Island to capture beautiful images of nature.
Galatasaray Island is a small island belonging to Galatasaray Sports Club. This island has a very attractive center consisting of 6 restaurants, two swimming pools, and home bars. Galatasaray Islands is one of the closest islands to Istanbul, only 541 feet or 165 meters from the European coast and accessible by a free ferry service. There are many recreational opportunities on this island. There is a swimming pool here that was used by the water polo team from 1957 to 1968 as well.
Important Points for Visiting the Islands of Istanbul
In order to visit and tour the islands in Istanbul, you should board a cruise ship at the Istanbul city pier. Cruise ships are anchored by the pier almost from morning to evening and are ready to board passengers. It should be noted that you must buy a ticket before boarding the ship.
There are booths on the pier that sell tickets for island ferries, and you can buy your ticket from these booths before boarding the ship. The tickets are one-way or round-trip.
The second point is that while sailing, the cruise ship has a variety of drinks and fast food that you can enjoy. It should be noted that none of the drinks and food served are free, and they are even a percentage more expensive than the shops and supermarkets in the city.
If you want to visit Prince Island, get off when the ship crew announces that they are ready to approach the place. The next point is that you can stay on the islands indefinitely, and if you enter the island even in the morning, you can stay there until late at night. Visit, and enjoy the cafes and eat all kinds of delicious food, shop in many shops, explore the alleys and enjoy the sandy beaches, etc. and at the end, board the passenger or cruise ships that are anchored by the coast and move towards Istanbul.
Visiting the islands in Istanbul takes a long time due to the peace that reigns in them and its many entertainments. Thus, it is a good idea to at least choose a full day from morning to evening to visit the islands of Istanbul and enjoy their enchanting beauty.