Istanbul

Istanbul’s Islands guide: How many islands are there in Istanbul? How to get to the Islands, and how is transportation provided?

The Adalar district of Istanbul has an island team consisting of 9 large and small islands (Buyukada, Heybeliada, Kinaliada, Burgazada, Sedef Island, Yassiada, Sivriada, Kasik Island, Rabbit Island) and Vordonos Island, known as the Prince Islands or the Red Islands.

Only four of this island team have permanent settlement and excursion opportunities. It is possible to reach the Islands, which attract the attention of local and foreign tourists, by the City Lines ferry every day, and to make both holiday and daily trips.

We have compiled the historical and touristic structures in Kinaliada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Buyukada, which have settlement and sightseeing opportunities.

Kinaliada is the closest island to Istanbul among the inhabited islands of the island community known as the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara.

Kinaliada, the smallest of the four large islands in the Sea of Marmara, can be considered a summer resort today.

Although there is a local people living on the island in summer and winter, the population of the island reaches around 3000 with those who come in summer. It is said to be the most comfortable island to swim in among the Princes’ Islands, as it is very easy to swim from almost all sides, and for this reason it attracts a large number of people.

If you want to visit Kinaliada on foot, you can complete the entire island in an average of half an hour. Other must-see places on the island include Kinaliada Mosque, Transformation Monastery, Panayia Greek Orthodox Church, Surp Krikor Lusavoric Church, Hristos Hill and Monastery.

HOW TO GET TO KINALIADA?

You can reach Kinaliada by boats and ferries departing from Bostancı, Kadikoy, Kabatas, Karakoy and Eminonu. The voyage frequencies of engines and ferries vary as summer-winter and weekday-weekend.

It reaches Kinaliada in 1 hour and 25 minutes by City Lines. City Lines departing from Kabatas arrive at Kinaliada in 50 minutes if they stop by Kadikoy, and 40 minutes if they don’t. From Kadikoy, it takes 30 minutes to reach here.

HEYBELIADA

The second largest island of the Princes’ Islands, the island is called Heybeliada because when viewed from afar, the island looks like a saddlebag left on the ground.

Aya Yorgi Cliff Monastery, Bet Yaakov Synagogue, Ismet Inonu House, Greek Orthodox Seminary, Ayios Nikolaos Church, Heybeliada Senatorium, Huseyin Rahmi Gurpınar Museum, Degirmenburnu, Fancy Tomb are among the must-see places in Heybeliada.

HOW TO GET TO HEYBELİADA?

Istanbul City Lines, Istanbul Sea Buses, Mavi Marmara, Prens Tur, Dentur and Turyol companies organize regular trips to Heybeliada.

While the boats departing from Bostanci reach the island in approximately 25 minutes, the ferries departing from Kabatas take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes, the sea buses departing from Kabatas take approximately 40 minutes, and the engines departing from Kartal reach the island in approximately 30 minutes.

Companies that make flights to Heybeliada generally use 2 tariffs as summer and winter. The frequency of these flights also varies on weekdays and weekends. Relevant voyages can be tracked using tariffs.

Today, transportation on the island is provided by bicycles and electric vehicles. In the previous periods, it was provided by phaetons.

BURGAZADA

It is thought that the name of Burgazada was “Pyrgos” meaning “tower” in Greek, which is thought to have been named after the watchtower in Bayraktepe, and changed to Burgas after the Turks conquered the island.

The hill, which was depicted by the 17th century traveler Evliya Celebi, was illustrated by the Italian traveler Cosimo Comidas in 1794. The hill is also known as Hristos Hill (Isa Hill).

Sait Faik Abasiyanik, one of the great names of Turkish storytelling, is one of the well-known figures of Burgazada. While visiting Burgazada, you can visit Kalpazankaya, Aya Yorgi Garibi Monastery, Isa Hill-Hritos Monastery, Sait Faik Abasiyanik Museum, Bayraktepe / Hritos Monastery, Aya Yani Church, Burgazada Mosque.

HOW TO GET TO BURGAZADA?

Istanbul City Lines, Mavi Marmara and Turyol companies organize regular flights to Burgazada.

While the boats departing from Bostancı reach the island in approximately 30 minutes, the ferries departing from Kabatas arrive at the island in 1 hour.

BUYUKADA

Buyukada, also known as the Prince Islands, is the largest of the islands off the coast of Istanbul. Its ancient Greek name is Prinkipos (Πρίγκηπος). Prinkipos means “Prince” in Greek.

The entire island is 4.3 kilometers long and 1.3 kilometers wide, making it larger and more populated than the other three islands. It is possible to visit Buyukada, which has recently attracted great interest from local and foreign tourists, on foot or by cycling.

If you visit Buyukada, you can see Yucetepe and Manastır Hill, Aya Yorgi Church, Islands Museum, Buyukada Greek Orphanage, Resat Nuri Guntekin’s house, Fabiato Mansion.

HOW TO GET TO BUYUKADA?

Istanbul City Lines, Istanbul Sea Buses, Bursa Sea Buses, Mavi Marmara, Prens Tur, Dentur and Turyol companies organize regular trips to Buyukada. While the boats departing from Bostanci reach the island in approximately 35 minutes, the ferries departing from Kabatas take 1 hour and 20 minutes, the sea buses departing from Kabatas take approximately 50 minutes, and the engines departing from Kartal reach the island in approximately 30 minutes.

YASSIADA/DEMOCRACY AND ISLAND OF FREEDOM

The Island of Democracy and Freedoms, or Yassiada, is a small island in the Sea of Marmara close to Istanbul.

It is also known for the Yassiada Trials, which were held here during the 27 May Coup and where Democrat Party members (DP) were tried. The name of the island later became the Island of Democracy and Freedoms.

On the island, you can visit the Fatih Rustu Zorlu Mosque, the Democracy and Freedoms Museum, the Monument to the Undelivered Letters, the Open Air Exhibition from Dark to Light, Adnan Mendres Congress Center, Democracy Lighthouse, Democracy Square, Hasan Polatkan Sports Hall and 27 May Museum.

HOW TO GET TO YASSIADA?

You can go to Yassi Ada by ferries departing from the IDO pier in Kadikoy. The departure time is 10.00 by boats departing from Kadikoy Pier.

Return from the island is made to Kadikoy Pier at 15.00. It takes an average of 45 minutes to go/arrival by ferry. There is transportation to the island every day except Monday.

The ticket price is ₺50 for adults, ₺25 for students under 25 and visitors over 65.

ISLANDS FERRY PRICES

City Lines:

While the Islands ferry is ₺21.90 for adults, it comes to ₺13.13 with Adakart. This price is ₺10.95 for students.

The fees of other tour companies vary according to the hours and location.

Source: Cumhuriyet / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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