Islands in Istanbul

Exploring Istanbul’s Hidden Gems: Islands of Tranquility


Nestled between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a city that effortlessly weaves together the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. While the bustling metropolis is known for its iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, there’s a quieter side to Istanbul that often goes unnoticed – its islands. These hidden gems offer a serene escape from the city’s vibrant chaos, providing a perfect blend of history, nature, and tranquility.

Princes’ Islands:

The Princes’ Islands, a cluster of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara, are a haven of peace just a short ferry ride away from Istanbul’s shores. Among them, Büyükada, Heybeliada, and Kınalıada are the most popular. These islands are free of motorized vehicles, creating a unique atmosphere where horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the primary modes of transportation. Explore historic mansions, enjoy local seafood at charming cafes, and take a leisurely stroll along the car-free streets.

 -Büyükada – The Grand Island:

Büyükada, the largest of the Princes’ Islands, is a treasure trove of architectural gems and natural beauty. One of the highlights is the Aya Yorgi Church, perched atop a hill, offering panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding islands. The island is also home to the historic Splendid Palas, a majestic hotel with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century.

-Heybeliada – The Saddlebag Island:

Known for its scenic landscapes and charming wooden houses, Heybeliada is a true escape into nature. Explore the Greek Orthodox Theological School, visit the Halki Palace, and meander through the island’s pine-scented trails. The tranquil beaches and pristine waters make Heybeliada an ideal spot for a relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle.

-Kınalıada – The Henna Island:

The smallest of the Princes’ Islands, Kınalıada, is a quaint retreat known for its therapeutic red soil. The island is dotted with beaches, where visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim or simply bask in the sun. Don’t miss the chance to visit the island’s iconic Greek Orthodox Church of Panagia.

-Burgazada – The Fortunate Island:

Burgazada, with its charming fishing villages and lush landscapes, is a serene escape for those seeking solitude. Explore the island’s ancient ruins, such as the Monastery of Christos, and savor fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants. The island’s slow pace and natural beauty make it a perfect getaway.


While Istanbul is celebrated for its dynamic city life and rich cultural heritage, the islands scattered across the Sea of Marmara offer a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle. The Princes’ Islands, each with its own unique charm, provide an opportunity to step back in time, soak in the natural beauty, and experience a side of Istanbul that often goes unnoticed. So, the next time you find yourself in this captivating city, be sure to embark on a journey to its hidden islands – a sanctuary of tranquility amid the vibrant chaos.


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