The Marmara Islands are a cluster of islands that lurks on the south side of the Sea of Marmara, way down near the Erdek peninsula.

Marmara Adası is the largest of the group, Avşa far and away the most visited, and Ekinlik and Paşalimanı so small as barely to warrant a mention.

However, the only one of the islands most people seem to have heard of is tiny Imralı where the PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned, carrying on a tradition of exiling the unwanted to the Marmara Islands that was started with the Byzantines.

To get the most out of a trip to the Marmara Islands you need to retune your antennae to Turkish holiday mode.

Do that successfully and you can have a fun weekend here. Fail to do so, however, and you might end up thinking yourself in holiday hell!


The Marmara Islands mainly cater to the cheaper end of the Turkish holiday market with lots and lots of bargain-priced pensions ensuring that you probably won't have to pay very much even in high summer, the only time that booking ahead would  be advisable.

Transport info

İDO (Tel: 444 4436, www.ido.com) runs seabuses to Avşa via Marmara from Bostancı and Yenikapı in Istanbul. There are also slower ferries from Sarayburnu, and more possibilities from Tekirdağ in Thrace.

One of the best things about visiting a group of islands is the sheer pleasure of getting from one to another but there are not as many ferries as you might expect between Marmara and Avşa and when one does show up it may turn out to be a disco boat belting out loud music.


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