Büyükada - The Princes’ Islands

Price guide: Free

Büyükada, Adalar, Istanbul

Price guide: Free

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By Jennifer Hattam, your Istanbul expert

I write for DK Eyewitness, Time Out .... Read more
#5 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Istanbul
Expert overall rating:4.7 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Couples, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Honeymooners, Sporty types, Chilling out, Great views / scenery, Nature / wildlife, Relaxation, Romance

Best for Chilling out - Expert review of Büyükada - The Princes’ Islands

Relaxation and recreation on Istanbul’s favourite holiday retreat.

Getting there is half the fun of a trip to Büyükada, the largest of the nine Princes’ Islands a dozen miles off Istanbul’s coast. The 1.5-hour ferry ride offers sea breezes, beautiful views, and a lively scene onboard. The island itself is blissfully car-free; rent a bicycle or a horse-drawn carriage to see its charming 19th-century wooden houses, set amid lush grounds and visit the hilltop St. George Monastery, or just stroll around the bustling harbour area and stop for a fish meal or an ice-cream cone wherever strikes your fancy.

Price advice: 

Visiting Büyükada and the rest of the islands is free, but the ferry to get there costs a bargain 3 lira each way. A faster sea bus goes less frequently for 7.50 lira each way.

Expert tips: 
Island-hop by ferry to the smaller, less-visited Kınalıada or Burgazada for nicer beaches with fewer crowds.
Check out the new Islands Museum on Büyükada that tells about the history and culture of the islands through documents, artefacts, and film. Closed Mondays, admission 4 lira.

More information on Büyükada - The Princes’ Islands:

Price guide:
Boat trip, Island
Büyükada, Adalar, Istanbul
0212 444 18 51
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Ferries depart from Kabataş and Kadıköy approximately once an hour.

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