The Prince Islands also alternatively known as Princes’ Islands are an archipelago off the coast of Istanbul in Sea of Marmara. Four large islands are the part of Prince Islands mainly, Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliadi and five smaller ones mainly, Sedef Adasi, Yassiadi, Sivriadi, Kasik Adasi, Tavsan Adasi
Prince Islands are perfect destination for a day excursion, to see Istanbul from different view. This island is escape for Istanbulites from their hectic city life. Among the nine islands, Buyukada is the most visited Island and is the largest of them all. The main surprising feature of this island is that no motor vehicles operate on this island apart from some police vehicles. You will be amazed by the beauty of this island while walking down the narrowed streets which is adorned by the beautiful Victorian cottages.
To get there, ferries are available and operated by Şehir Hatları which depart from Kabataş in European side and from Kadıköy and Bostancı in Asian side. Since the regular ferries are slow, you also have faster option i.e. IDO Sea Buses to reach, costing 10TL. It is always best to check the schedule since during summer month it may be difficult to get a seat and you need to arrive early in order to ensure one.
As soon as you arrive in the port of Büyükada, you will be surrounded by fast food and local restaurants, cafes and ice cream sellers and of course the fresh air of this Island. To explore the island there are few options either you can take Faytons (horse carriages) from the Phaeton station, or can rent a bicycle, there are numerous outlets renting bicycle.
Things to see on Buyukada:
If you plan to stay for a day or 2 to explore the Island, there are plenty of things to explore like:
Church of the Panagia, Church of Hagios Demetrios, Franciscan Church of San Pacifico and Church of the Surp Astvadzadzin Verapolium. Hagios Georgios Koudonas and Sotiros Christou are the two monasteries available on the island.
The island has a large number of historic mansions however the most popular once are: Con Pasa, Yelkencizade, Fabiato and Mizzi Mansions.