İstanbul Princes’ Islands – Beaches and Things to Do

The Istanbul Islands, also known as the Princes’ Islands, are a group of nine islands located in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, Turkey. These islands are a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking a peaceful and idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here are some of the top attractions and beaches you can explore during your vacation in the Istanbul Islands:

Buyukada: Attractions and Beaches

Buyukada, the largest of the Istanbul Islands, is a popular destination known for its historical landmarks, picturesque streets, and beautiful beaches. It offers a charming atmosphere with horse-drawn carriages, lush greenery, and stunning sea views. Here are some top places to visit and the main beach on Buyukada:

  • Buyukada Beach: Buyukada has several beaches where visitors can enjoy swimming and sunbathing. The main public beach, Buyukada Beach, is a pebble beach with clear waters, offering a perfect spot to relax and cool off in the sea.
  • Nizam Beach: Buyukada has several beaches, and Nizam Beach is one of the most famous. It is a sandy beach with clear waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Aya Yorgi Church: This Greek Orthodox Church, located on top of Buyukada’s highest hill, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the Sea of Marmara. Visitors can hike or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to reach the church.
  • Phaeton Tour: One of the best ways to explore Buyukada is by taking a horse-drawn carriage tour (phaeton). These carriages are a traditional mode of transportation on the island, offering a unique and nostalgic experience.
  • Ottoman Mansions: Buyukada is adorned with several well-preserved wooden Ottoman mansions. Strolling through the streets and admiring the charming architecture is a delightful experience.
  • Ada Beach Club: If you prefer a beach club experience, Ada Beach Club is a private establishment where you can enjoy comfortable sunbeds, umbrellas, and various water sports activities.
  • Dilburnu Nature Park: Located on the northern tip of Buyukada, this nature park offers walking trails and serene spots for picnics and enjoying the natural beauty of the island.

Buyukada’s tranquil atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and historical landmarks make it a perfect day trip from Istanbul for a relaxing and culturally enriching experience.

Buyukada: Attractions and Beaches
Buyukada: Attractions and Beaches


Heybeliada, one of the Istanbul Islands, is a serene and picturesque destination known for its lush greenery, historical landmarks, and beautiful beaches. Here are some of the top beaches and things to do on Heybeliada.

  • Heybeliada Beach: Heybeliada has several public beaches where visitors can enjoy the clear waters of the Sea of Marmara. Heybeliada Beach is the main public beach, offering sunbeds, umbrellas, and a relaxing atmosphere for beachgoers.
  • Halki Seminary: The Halki Seminary is a historical and architectural gem located on Heybeliada. Although it is currently closed for religious education, the building itself is an impressive sight to behold.
  • Rent a Bike: One of the best ways to explore Heybeliada is by renting a bike. The island’s small size and scenic roads make it perfect for a leisurely bike ride amidst nature.
  • Visit Beach Clubs: Heybeliada offers several beach clubs where visitors can enjoy amenities such as sunbeds, cafes, and water sports.
  • Explore Nature: Take a walk through Heybeliada’s lush forests and enjoy the tranquil nature surrounding you. The island’s peaceful ambiance provides a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
  • Enjoy Local Cuisine: Explore the island’s restaurants and cafes to savor traditional Turkish dishes and seafood while enjoying views of the sea.
  • Island Tour: Consider taking a boat tour around Heybeliada and the neighboring islands to appreciate their beauty from the water.
  • Photo Opportunities: Heybeliada is a photographer’s dream with its charming streets, historical buildings, and stunning landscapes. Don’t forget your camera to capture the island’s beauty.

Heybeliada’s relaxed ambiance, beautiful beaches, and historical attractions make it a delightful destination for a day trip from Istanbul.



Burgazada is another charming island among the Istanbul Islands, known for its tranquil atmosphere, lush greenery, and beautiful beaches. Here are some of the top beaches and things to do on Burgazada:

  • Burgazada Beach: Burgazada offers several public beaches where visitors can enjoy swimming and sunbathing. The main beach, Burgazada Beach, is a popular spot with clear waters and a relaxed setting.
  • Beach Clubs: Some beach clubs on Burgazada offer sunbeds, umbrellas, and other amenities for a comfortable beach experience. There are many paid beaches on the Istanbul Islands.

Kinaliada – (Kınalıada)

Kinaliada is one of the picturesque Istanbul Islands, known for its serene ambiance, lush landscapes, and inviting beaches. Here are some of the top beaches and things to do on Kinaliada:

  • Kinaliada Beaches: Kinaliada offers several public beaches where visitors can enjoy the clear waters of the Sea of Marmara. The main public beach on the island is a great spot to relax and soak up the sun.
  • Rent a Bicycle: Explore the island’s charming streets and natural beauty by renting a bicycle. It’s a pleasant way to discover Kinaliada’s hidden gems.
  • Coastal Walks: Take a leisurely walk along the island’s coastline to enjoy the sea views and take in the peaceful ambiance.
  • Picnic in Nature: Kinaliada is a great place for a relaxing picnic amidst the island’s greenery and natural surroundings.
  • Sunset Views: Witness breathtaking sunsets over the sea from various vantage points on the island.
  • Island Exploration: Kinaliada is relatively small, making it easy to explore its charming streets, historical sites, and natural beauty on foot.
  • Relax on the Beach: Unwind on the sandy beaches of Kinaliada and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Enjoy the Silence: Kinaliada is known for its serene ambiance, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy the silence away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Kinaliada - (Kınalıada)
Kinaliada – (Kınalıada)

Sedef Island – (Sedef Adası)

Sedef Island is a private island among the Istanbul Islands, known for its exclusivity, luxurious villas, and beautiful beaches. While the island is not accessible to the general public, residents and their guests can enjoy its serene ambiance and natural beauty. Here are some of the highlights and things to do on Sedef Island:

  • Private Beaches: Sedef Island has exclusive private beaches, providing residents with a peaceful and secluded beach experience.
  • Villa Accommodations: Some of the luxurious villas on Sedef Island are available for rent or hosting events, providing a premium and exclusive getaway for guests.
  • Nature Walks: Sedef Island offers picturesque walking paths and lush green landscapes, providing a beautiful setting for leisurely strolls.
  • Enjoy the Sea Views: The island’s coastal views of the Sea of Marmara are breathtaking, offering a calming atmosphere for relaxation and enjoyment.
  • Private Events: Sedef Island is a popular location for private events, such as weddings, parties, and corporate gatherings, offering a unique and exclusive setting.
  • Fine Dining: Some of the private villas on the island may have their own gourmet restaurants, providing a culinary experience for guests.
  • Retreat and Relaxation: Sedef Island is primarily known as a serene and exclusive retreat for residents seeking privacy and relaxation.
Sedef Island - (Sedef Adası)
Sedef Island – (Sedef Adası)

How to Get to the Islands

To reach the Istanbul Islands, you need to take a ferry from various departure points on the European or Asian side of Istanbul. The islands are accessible by public ferries operated by Istanbul City Lines (Şehir Hatları) and private ferry companies.

  • Choose the Island: Decide which island you want to visit. The main islands open to the public are Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kınalıada. Sedef Island is a private island and not open to the general public.
  • Departure Points: Ferries to the islands depart from multiple locations on the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
  • a. From the European Side: The most common departure points are Eminönü, Kabataş, and Beşiktaş. Some ferries also depart from Bakırköy and Bostancı.
  • b. From the Asian Side: The main departure points are Kadıköy and Bostancı.
  • Check the Schedule: Istanbul City Lines operates regular ferry services to the main islands, and private ferry companies may have different schedules. Check the ferry schedule in advance to plan your trip accordingly.
  • Purchase Tickets: You can buy ferry tickets at the ticket counters at the ferry docks or use Istanbulkart, a contactless electronic card used for public transportation in Istanbul, to pay for your ferry ride.
  • Board the Ferry: Arrive at the ferry dock a little earlier to ensure you get a seat on the ferry. Board the ferry and find a comfortable spot to enjoy the scenic ride to the islands.
  • Enjoy the Islands: Once you arrive at the island of your choice, you can explore the beaches, historical landmarks, and natural beauty that each island offers. You can also enjoy local cuisine at the island’s restaurants and cafes.
  • Return Trip: After spending time on the island, catch a return ferry back to the mainland at the designated time.

Please note that ferry schedules may vary depending on the season and weather conditions. It’s advisable to check the ferry schedule and plan your trip accordingly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable island experience.

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