Princes' Islands Overview

Princes' Islands are a cluster of nine beautiful islands in the Marmara Sea off the Asian coast of Istanbul. Out of these nine islands, only four are famous and operative, to which many fast and regular paced ferries carry thousands of people every day from the neighbouring cities of Turkey.

The names of the famous four islands are Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kinaliada. Earlier used as a place of exile, the Princes' Islands today have become one of the most famous tourist spots for a nice and peaceful excursion from the everyday chaotic urban lives.  Its prohibition of vehicles allows it to become one of the most peaceful weekend getaways, making it a must-include destination in your Turkey trip packages.

Since the only modes of transportation on these islands are horse carts (fayton) and bicycles, it instantly takes you back to the good old days. The large monasteries and museums, like St Yorgi Monastery and Sait Faik Abasıyanık Museum, attract large numbers of art and history lovers who don't mind exploring its hidden treasures along with being close to nature.

The beaches on these islands offer the feeling of serenity and a sight to behold. Many youngsters come all the way to enjoy their adventure sports like wall climbing, beach surfing, motorboating, etc. Along with that, the beachside brunch of Turkish seafood acts as their icing on the cake.

How To Reach

There's only a half-hour distance from the Istanbul Airport (IST) to Kabatas, a place from where the ferries are available. The only one way to reach the islands from Istanbul is through the ferry service. Pick your choice of ferry and it will straight away drop you to the four of the nine Princes' Islands (Since entry to the other five islands is prohibited for tourists).

Meanwhile, the one-hour ferry ride will mesmerize you with the surrounding beauty. Watching the amazing view of all the islands at a distance is altogether a different experience for the tourists.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the Princes' Islands is during the months from April to October. At this time of the year, the islands remain comparatively less crowded and you'll easily get the ferry rides to the islands. Since these beautiful islands are a hotspot for the locals around the city to spend some quality time in peace and tranquillity, it remains overcrowded for the rest of the year.

The weather around the months of June and July remain pleasantly warm and you can stroll around easily through its lanes or drive comfortably on the bikes without witnessing any extreme weather conditions. During the winters, the harsh climatic conditions make it almost impossible for anyone to travel through its waters and this is why the place remains mostly deserted at that time.

Other Essential Information


Adalar, Istanbul, Turkey

Distance from Istanbul Airport:
51.8km (90 minutes to 120 minutes, depending upon the choice of the ferry) 

History of Princes' Islands 

Perhaps, the Princes' Islands were not always like this perfect holiday destination for the nearby cities. Earlier during the Byzantine period, these Islands were actually known as the 'Demonnesoi' or the Demons' Islands which were used as a place of exile for the princes of the royal family.

The Byzantine Prince called Justin II used these landmasses as his prison and hence these islands acquired its name from there. Due to the harsh climatic conditions in the winter and autumn seasons, it was almost impossible for the prisoners to travel back and they remained trapped in these prison islands.

Later on in the nineteenth century, the wise and the wealthy from Istanbul made it their holiday resort. This is why the islands can still be seen dotted with many Victorian-era cottages and houses all over. The architecture of these islands still screams of Greek settlements and they're far from being similar to their Turkish counterparts.

It was only in 1846 when the Şirket-i Hayriye began the regularly scheduled ferry services that a large influx of population from neighbouring Turkish cities followed their way into these islands and constitute the majority of the population here. 

Features of the Princes' Islands 

Due to the complete ban of any motor vehicle on these islands, it makes them the oasis of tranquillity and silence. The environment of serenity lets you spend some time far away from the urban disturbances and everyday life stress. One will only hear the noise of the bicycle bells or the horse-hoofs as they are the only modes of transportation here.

People come from far away lands to enjoy its picturesque location, surrounded by the blue sea and lush tall trees all over. Swimming and relaxing in their massive beaches, bicycle trekking to hilltops, enjoying seaside brunches, exploring their historical monasteries and museums are some of the many features of these beautiful landmasses.

Tips on visiting the Princes' Islands 

- When deciding your choice of ferry ride from Kabatas to the Princes' Islands, make sure to suit your own convenience in terms of the cost and time. The regular paced ferries will take approximately 100 minutes to reach the islands depending upon the number of stops it makes on the way.

- These ferries are comparatively cheaper than the fast-paced ferries. But that is because the Sea Buses or the fast-pace Daytonies by IDO take less time, about 60 minutes, even when it stops at all the islands. 

- Don't forget to rent a bike or book your horse cart (fayton) as soon as you reach the islands because the use of motorized vehicles is completely prohibited there.
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Princes' Islands FAQs

Is Princes' island worth visiting?

Yes. The Islands have something to offer to everyone. If you're a historic buff, you will be surprised to see the cultural richness and heritage of these islands. More adventurous ones can plan on for bike hikes and relish some of the delicious Turkish recipes.

Are there any locker facilities available?

No, there aren't any locker facilities available on the Princes' Islands. However, you can find a few lockers in the city of Istanbul. The facilities are available at the airports and the main train station. Usually, the people staying at the hotels leave their luggage at the reception or the lockers over there so that they can pick it up once they're leaving back for the airport.

Are there any washroom (loo) facilities available?

Yes, there are five public toilets available on the Princes' Islands. Apart from them, the local cafes and hotels have their toilets accessible for the visitors so that you will never have to run out of nature's call.

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