How to Take Day Trip to Princes' Island, Istanbul by Ferry

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Take a Day Trip to Princes’ Island, Istanbul

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When I was in Istanbul, Turkey, I had a free day. Istanbul can be a hassle, and there are a lot of hustlers there. So when I have a free day, I try to escape the busy city streets. Turkey’s Princes’ Island, Istanbul is a great place to relax with a friend.  The island chain near Istanbul consists of nine islands, three that locals and tourist visit. We took a local ferry that stops at four islands ports; the last is know as Princes’ Island. The Kabatas ferry that we took to Princes’ Island looks like the cover photo on this post. There is a ticket machine near the dock where you can use your ‘My Istanbul card’ or Turkish lira to buy a ticket.

Princes’ Island, Istanbul – Go to Relax

The four islands are a fun place to take a comfortable day trip. Check the schedule for the last ferry of the day if you want to come back on the same day. The ferry schedule changes based on the season, rough seas and weather. Watch the weather conditions. If the weather gets windy and the seas get rough, remember Princes’ Island ferries cancel due to weather.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Princes’ Island, Istanbul

During the summer months, the Princes’ Islands are popular destinations for day trips from Istanbul. There is no traffic on the Islands. The only transport is horse and cart or bikes. The islands are incredibly peaceful compared with the city of Istanbul.  The boats depart from Bostancı, Kartal, and Maltepe on the Asian side, and from Kabataş on the European side. I always take the ferry from the Kabatas terminal. Most boats go to the four largest of the nine islands: Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and finally Büyükada.

Source: Wikipedia

Burgazada, Burgaz Adası, or as Turks call it Burgaz, is the third largest of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, Turkey.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

You can hop off at either of two islands before the ferry arrives at the most famous island, Büyükada.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Chair for Rent

Hop on and off the boat to go sunbathing or to take tea at a beach café.

Princes' Island, Istanbul


There are nine islands altogether – but the four most popular are Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and finally Büyükada. We disembarked at Büyükada.

We walked to the small town center. It wasn’t too hot early in the morning. My friend from Istanbul, Filiz and I decided to take a carriage to the top because we felt lazy.

 There are nine islands all together - but three are visited in the summer by travelers and locals.

Princes’ Island, Istanbul

Princes’ Island, Istanbul is a place for walking, viewing the sea, and hanging out with a friend or alone.  I was with my bestie – Filiz. We spent the day walking very slowly and taking in the beautiful sights. Here is the local taxi stand. Büyükada taxis are horse-drawn carriages.

.Princes' Island, Istanbul


The only way to reach the top of Princes’ Island is walking or by the carriage taxi.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

 Taxi Anyone?

Everyone smokes in Turkey. So expect that the taxi drivers will be smoking on Princes’ Island, Istanbul. As you can see in the photo, even the carriage taxi drivers smoke. We hired a carriage with a cab driver who wasn’t smoking and shared it with two other women from Russia. Everyone shares the carriages to save money. If you are traveling on a romantic vacation – you might not want to share the ride. If you are solo or traveling with a friend – This is an easy way to save some money,  share the ride!

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Princes’ Island, Istanbul

Here we are on Princes’ Island in the carriage. In the photo with me is my friend Filiz. She is a travel agent now and a new mother. I have known her for seven years and enjoy being with her doing just about anything. We shared our carriage with two Russian women. (This saves money to share a carriage)

Princess Island and Filiz

The Russian women took a lot of selfies in the carriage. The two ladies didn’t watch the view as much as they were laughing and taking photos of each other. I think you can expect to have a relaxed time doing nothing at all. Everyone is incredibly friendly and relaxed, and eager to visit.

Princess Island, Turkey with Filiz

Russian women enjoying our carriage ride to the top of Princess Island


We found a place to enjoy early morning tea. The restaurant with a view served an Ottoman breakfast.

On Princes’ Island, you can stop into any of the restaurants – any of the restaurants will accommodate slow, breakfast, quiet tea time, lunch or dinner. Restaurants won’t expect you to spend a lot of money because this is a vacation spot for travelers and locals, don’t spend a lot of money, but move slowly. If you want fast food service, it won’t happen on this island. The island is trulyTurkish and serves Turkish hospitality and local food.

Princess Island, Turkey with Filiz

Turkish People Live on Their Cell Phones

Filiz is checking her work emails. People in Turkey is in the USA stay connected to their cell phones, when the eat, shop and relax. Cell phones are part of everyone’s day in Turkey.

We walked the island – down old Ottoman streets on Princes’ Island, Istanbul.


Ottoman Town

The Ottoman streets, town center, old homes, gardens, and mosaics are worth seeing when you go to Princes’ Island, Istanbul.

The town center Büyükada, Princes’ Island, Istanbul.

Princes' Island, Istanbul


The street corner walls and mosaics use traditional Turkish techniques.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Ottoman Doors

Ottoman doors and scenes are around every corner.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Trip to Ottoman Past

Some Ottoman buildings on the old city streets are in need of renovation. Yours to buy if you want a summer get-away. The island is sometimes hard to reach because of limited ferry service in the winter.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Great Views

See panoramic views of Büyükada, Princes’ Island, Istanbul.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Shaded restaurants Büyükada, Princes’ Island, Istanbul.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Walk down beautiful walkways and shaded gardens.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

White paint on trees to protect them from insects.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Classic Ottoman Architecture

Old Ottoman homes – renovated to their original standards on Büyükada, Princes’ Island, Istanbul.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Some Ottoman homes in need of more renovation because of the high winds in the winter.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

The Ottoman marvelous renovated homes, authentically remodeled are done to the highest standard.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

Ferry Terminal to Princes’ Island, Istanbul

We reached the end of the street, near the pier we ate ice cream and waited to return to Istanbul. It seems to be my routine to buy an ice cream cone before I take the ferry. I started doing this when I was a little girl in Cape Cod. Whenever we took the ferry to the islands of Martha’s Vinyard or Nantucket we always bought an ice cream cone. It’s funny how those traditions stay with you and make the visit feel like I am home.

Princes' Island, Istanbul

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.