Princes' Islands Boat Trip (round-trip)
#14 in Istanbul
The Princes' Islands are an archipielago, or group of islands, located near the coasts of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara. They are in total 9 islands, out of which 4 can be regularly visited, Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kınalıada.
The islands have a very interesting and dark history, as they were inhabited by exiled princes of the Byzantine Empire and latter by members of the Ottoman royal family, reason why they have the current name.
Among the most important, and probably most unexpected, residents of the islands figures Leon Trotsky, who lived during 4 years in a house in Büyükada and the second English Ambassador sent to Constantinople, which was also buried in Heybeliada.
For architecture and history lovers, there are many places to discover, starting with the many mansions built by members of the wealthy class of Istanbul in the 19th century; an abandoned huge Greek orphanage and famous monasteries, such as Ayia Yorgi and the Halki Seminary.
The islands, specially Büyükada and Heybeliada (the ones we recommend you to visit), get specially crowded during the summer and they may also get cut off from the outside world if the weather is very bad that the ferries are prevented from sailing.
Beware of the fact that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the islands, except those used by official entities for the service of the islands. Therefore, you will most likely travel by foot, by renting a bicycle or, hopefully not, by phaeton.
Transportation to and from 1 of the big islands (Büyükada or Heybeliada) is included with the Istanbul Tourist Pass.