Visiting Istanbul’s Prince’s Islands

jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)

Continuing my seemingly endless adventures of non-stop traveling with my ability to work remotely, I based myself in the fascinating city of Istanbul in Türkiye for a month, living in a hostel with a wonderful community of friends from around the world, working by day and exploring the chaotic streets and eating my way through the city by night. On the weekends, I made a concerted effort to explore as much of the area as possible - Istanbul is the largest city in Europe (even though I consider Türkiye to be in Asia, given that much of its land mass is on that continent) which means there's SO much to see.


How to Get to Prince's Islands

While technically still in Istanbul, a really wonderful and popular day trip is to ride the local ferry out to Prince's Islands, a cluster of nine islands just off the coast of the Asian side. Of the nine islands, four are open to visitors. The largest is the most popular so I'd avoid this one because it's quite touristy. We were recommended to visit either Burgazadası or Heybeliada. The ferry departs direct from Eminönü and then stops at each of the four islands on the way. You don't need to buy tickets in advance; they're 35 lira each way and you buy them from the ticket office at the ferry terminal on each side. The ferry is a beautiful one and a half hour crossing with panoramic views of the city as you travel along the Bosphourous.

jana meerman prince's islands ferry from istanbul (1)

They serve Turkish tea and fresh orange juice on board

jana meerman prince's islands ferry from istanbul (1)
jana meerman prince's islands ferry from istanbul (1)

How to Spend a Day on Heybeliada in the Prince's Islands

We chose Heybeliada (actually, we planned to end up on the other one but forgot to get off the ferry in time so ended up on Heybeliada!) where we spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon. We started with lunch at one of the many cute little restaurants in town before renting bikes for the day to get around. There are no cars at all on the Prince's Islands; you either walk or bike. There is a biking loop around the whole island which took us about an hour total to cycle, but with photo stops along the way to enjoy the view.

We also went for a swim at Değirmenburnu Plajı on the northern side of the island. It was a greyer day by Istanbul standards, but still quite a cool experience to swim in the sea with the Istanbul skyline behind us.

jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)

Rented bikes and hostel friends

jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)
jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)
jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)
jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)
jana meerman heybeliada prince's islands istanbul (1)

Swimming in front of Istanbul


Time your return ferry with sunset over the Istanbul skyline

jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)
jana meerman sunset istanbul (1)

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Pinterest - Prince's Islands (2)
Pinterest - Prince's Islands (2)
Jana Meerman

Hi! I’m Jana, a British-Dutch-Canadian with a dream of seeing every country in the world. I am a storyteller, photographer and adventurer passionate about documenting and sharing my travels.

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