The Princes’ Islands are a jewel-like cluster of islands that lurk to the north of the Sea of Marmara just begging you to come and drink in the silence. There are nine islands in total but you can forget five of them immediately since no one lives on them. Instead, most of the action homes in on Büyükada, the Big Island, which is not only where most of the history got written (quite literally in the case of Trotsky who hung out here committing his thoughts to paper from 1929 to 1933), but also where you will most feel the pressures of Istanbul falling away from you.

The islands make a complete contrast to the often hectic mainland, not least because for the time being almost no motorized vehicles are permitted on them. Instead everyone gets around on bikes or by phaeton. The peace and quiet is wonderful especially if you visit mid-week.

Visit on a summer Sunday and you may find the crush of visitors on Büyükada offputting in which case it’s good to know that you’ll probably have the other islands – Heybeli, Burgaz and Kınalı – to yourself. The smallest of the populated islands is Sedefadası which is privately owned. 

With careful planning it's just about possible to visit a couple of islands in the same day although Büyükada really demands a day to itself. 

Princess Hotel, Büyükada. Tel: 0216-382 16 28 

Hotel Splendid Palace, Büyükada. Tel: 0216-382 69 50 

Saydam Planet Hotel, Büyükada. Tel: 0216-382 26 70 

Panorama Hotel, Büyükada. Tel: 0216-382 30 30 

Merit Halki Palace, Heybeliada. Tel: 0216-351 00 25 

Transport info

Şehir Hatları ferries (http://sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/timetable/kabatas-kadikoy-adalar-369.html) leave for the islands from Kabataş, Kadıköy and Bostancı. The first ferry from Kabataş on weekdays leaves at 6:50 a.m. The last back from Büyükada to Kabataş is at 7:35 p.m. 

It takes almost an hour to reach the first stop, but during that time the crew circulates with refreshments. Many locals also stock up on simits before boarding, then break off chunks and toss them to the seagulls that wheel above the boat screeching for titbits.

Read more about İstanbul's own Blue Cruise: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail.action;jsessionid=bTwwGon8tZuSjeL1738-pmfZ?newsId=174179&columnistId=0





















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