This article first appeared in 2012 on my previous blog which no longer exists, it has been updated on 14th April 2020.
A daytrip from Istanbul to Prince’s Islands are a good way to escape city chaos for a while and to explore something quite different.
Prince’s Islands “are a chain of nine islands off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey, in the Sea of Marmara” as Wikipedia says. Prince’s Islands are also where some friends and I decided to go for a day trip while I was in Istanbul in 2011.
A daytrip from Istanbul to Prince’s Islands starts from the ferry boat
We met around 11.30 in Kabataş, the place in the European side of Istanbul, from where the ferries leave to go to Prince’s Islands. There are quite many of them, but since students are always broke, we waited for the public one which costed us less than 1€. Anyway, our ferry was due to leave at around 12.30am so we decided to take a look around and soon enough some cats caught my attention. Even though am not a fan of cats – sorry but am a dog lover – I have to admit that these were pretty nice, playing around and looking for food.
Then, since I love autumn, I spent some time trying to catch the very nature of autumn, which is colours. The colours that autumn offers are absolutely the best, every single leaf, every single plant or tree has its own fantastic colour and there’s nothing better than that. After a while we decided to approach the pier since we saw quite a lot of people going there.
After a long while the ferry approached and we finally got on. We couldn’t choose other than the top floor, which was open so that we could enjoy the view. The trip took about an hour if I remember right, with some nice views along the coast and the constant (friendly) attack of the seagulls looking for food, which was generously provided by the Turkish children on board who threw in the water crumbs and other pieces of food.
Büyükada, let’s start with lunch
One hour later we arrived on Büyükada and since we were very hungry we decided to start our tour from a local restaurant. We got into one of those small flowery streets and we checked the menus exposed in the streets. After few attempts from waiters inviting us to enter the various restaurants, we found one that seemed nice, cheap and had a terrace. It was a sunny day so we sat on the terrace and we looked through the menu. Three out of four of us didn’t understand a word of Turkish so after having the menu translated for us by our Turkish friend, we ordered some delicious food. I got some chicken, rice, tomatoes, fries and pitta.
Off to explore the island
After lunch we were ready to explore the biggest of Prince’s Islands! We continued on the same road of the restaurant and we went up the hill. You might imagine that on a small island there’s no traffic since the only cars allowed are ambulances and few others, but no you’re wrong! There was a huge traffic of reckless carriages, bicycles and pedestrians, all in the same route. You could be run over by one of those carriages at any moment 🙂 Fortunately it didn’t happen. Apparently there is a street that encircles the island so we took it! Along the way we could admire beautiful panoramas, elegant but also crumbling villas and cats!
On the top of the hill there is a lovely pinewood where horses are free and finally allowed to rest from the all-day-running-around but unfortunately we couldn’t stay there long since the last ferry to go back to Istanbul was at 5.30pm. We would have liked to do all the circle around the island but since we were running out of time we decided to take the same street to go back and this allowed me to see that the moon was already there waiting for the sun to leave her the sky.
We got close to the ferry and we noticed that we had few minutes left, so even though it was November, we decided to go for an ice cream in one of the ice cream places near the pier, we chose an italian gelateria that showed colourful tubs of ice cream, it was really good! To end our daytrip to Prince’s Islands in the most perfect way, the sunset was waiting for us on the pier.
Originally published on 21/03/2012, updated on 27/08/2019