Princes' Islands are a chain of nine islands, which are located just off the Asian side of Istanbul in the Marmara sea. They consist of four larger islands, Buyukada, Heybeliada , Burgazada and Kınalıada. These are the main islands which attract many visitours, especially during the summer months.
There are five much smaller ones, Sedef Adası ,Yassıada, Sivriada, Kaşık Island and Tavşan Adası, which are either uninhabited or private islands.
The Princes' Islands make a pleasant day trip from Istanbul. There are no cars allowed there, just horse-drawn carriages being the only means of transport which can be found on the islands. Many people who live in Istanbul visit for the day, enjoying the peace and tranquillity. The islands offer lovley quaint restaurants and some have small hotels for overnight visits. The natural beauty on each of the islands is breath-taking.
The four islands are just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, with ferries departing from Bostanci, Kartal and Maltepe on the Asian side, and from Kabataş and Sirkeci on the European side.
Buyukada , being the biggest of the islands, is the most visited. It has a population of 7.500 approximately, which dramatically increases during the summer months.
There are many charming restaurants, cafes and shops located around the pier at the south of the island, where the small hotels can be found and the private yatchs can be seen. There are romantic horse-drawn carriages available for rent which tour the island. There are four beaches, Yoruk Ali beach, princes beach, kumsal beach and nakibey beach, public swimming can be enjoyed here. There are some historic churches and a mosque on the Island.
Heybeliada is the second largest of the islands. This is also very popular with tourists; the pier with its many restaurants and cafes gets very busy during the summer months.
Walking and hiking is a popular attraction with scenic trails leading over the hills and through the pine groves.
There is a public beach, which is located in a beautiful cove, as well as a watersports club on the island.
A small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and two small museums can be visited here.
Burgazada is the third largest of the Princess Islands, the island offers sailing and watersports, it has rocky beaches but it does not offer many places to stay overnight.
The island is famous for the house of Sait Faik Abasiyanik, a Turkish story writer from the beginning of the 20th century, who lived there. His house has now been converted into a museum. There are some old churches and monasteries from the Byzantines which can be visited on the island.
Kinaliada is the smallest of the four main islands, there are several good restaurants and cafes along the pier, unlike the other islands, there are no horse drawn carriages here, as the island is too small, you can easily walk everywhere. There are no hotels here, just beautiful villas which are available for rent during the summer season. The islands pleasant beaches attract many people from the city, Ayazma beach is one of them. There are Watersports clubs, and even an Olympic swimming pool at Kinaliada Island.