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2 Ekim 2012 Salı

Why and How Should You Visit the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul?

What Are the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul
The Princes’ Islands  are a chain of nine rather small islands in the Sea of Marmara. They evolved from a place of exile during the Byzantine era, to a popular destination for tourists and Istanbulites alike to escape the hectic city life for a day. Of those nine islands, only four of them are open to the public: Büyükada, the biggest and most popular,BurgazadaHeybeliada and Kınalıada.

Princes’ Islands Features

Horse-drawn carriage on the Princes' Islands in Istanbul, Turkey.
Horse-drawn carriage on the Princes' Islands.
The main feature of any of the Princes’ Islands is the sound of … silence. All motorized vehicles are banned, making the islands an oasis of peace and quiet. The only sounds you’ll hear are bicycle bells and the typical sounds of horse hoofs. Yep, that’s right. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the main transportation means on the islands.
But that’s not the only feature that makes the Princes’ Islands unique. You’ll find yourself walking or riding through narrow streets flanked by either untouched pine-forests or fine, wooden Victorian cottages. How is that for a unique fin-de-siècle flash back?

BüyükAda - Club Mavi
Considering you’re on an island, you probably want to eat somewhere with a view of the sea. Most visitors to Buyukada end up getting lured to the row of busy fish restaurants found just beside Buyukada’s ferry terminal. All have seaside terraces with a view of Istanbul’s rapidly developing Asian shore (and of the occasional piece of urban flotsam and jetsam that drifts by) and similar, predictable menus with decently made, but uninspiring food.
A more pleasant (though not cheap) island experience, though, can be had by hailing one of Buyukada’s numerous horse carriages and asking the driver to take you to Club Mavi, a restaurant and hotel located inside a rambling old house on the island’s undeveloped backside. The carriage ride – past many of the island’s grandest mansions and through a scented pine forest – is already part of the fun. And while the restaurant has a menu of fairly typical, though well made, meze and grill items, it more than makes for the lack of any culinary pizzazz with its stunning location: up on a bluff that overlooks a nearby island and the open sea. Particularly at around sunset, the view from Club Mavi’s outdoor tables rivals those you would find on the Greek islands or the Dalmatian coast.
When dinner is done, a carriage driver or two are usually waiting at the restaurant’s gate to take you back to town for a ride under the stars in order to catch the last ferry back to the city. It’s probably one of the best endings to a meal that we know of.

Address: Büyüktur Yolu No: 12, BüyükadaTelephone: (216) 382-6075Web:

The horse carriages are the only means of transportation. One absolute thing that one-time visitors of the island cannot forget is the smell of byproducts of the horses. It is funny, having grown up on the island, I don't smell it anymore. You can take one of the carriages to take a full tour of the island or a short one. But local residents prefer to walk! 
The IDO timetables change according to the winter or summer season, so make sure to check the exact departure dates of the sea buses (fast ferries) or the conventional ferries. (Look for Adalar or Island)

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