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One Day on Buyukada Island

It’s no secret that there are a lot of beautiful places to visit in Istanbul, but how to build a travel itinerary if you don’t have much time. When visiting Istanbul, we advise you to set aside a whole day to visit the Prince islands, of which there are only 9, but only 4 of them are open to tourists. The most popular island is Buyukada. And today you will plunge into a trip to this island with us.

You can get to the island only by ferry, departure takes place from many berths in Istanbul, but the most popular for tourists is Eminenyu pier. Ferries run quite often, every hour, you can buy a ticket right at the pier, it costs only 45 lira per person. The road to the island of Buyukada takes an hour and a half. The journey is exciting from the very beginning, as soon as you get on the ferry. We were lucky to see dolphins, as the locals say, “If you have ever seen dolphins, you will be happy all your life.” During the whole trip you will be able to see the Asian part of Istanbul from the other side, as well as look at all the islands on the way to Buyukada Island. If you want to get off on another island, you can easily do it, because Buyukada will be the last island to which the ferry sails. As it turned out, the other 5 islands are not tourist, at first we thought they were abandoned, but when we sailed past them, we realized that these are islands for local residents.

There are large and beautiful houses there, sometimes only a few houses on the whole island, it is very curious to imagine who lives on such islands. We arrived on the island at 3 p.m. and all tourists were immediately warned that the last ferry departs at 17:00. At first we were upset, but it turned out that at this time the last ferry departs only to Eminenyu pier, so we enjoyed walking all day, and then sailed from the other exit to Besiktas pier. The island itself seems tiny compared to Istanbul, but you can walk around it all day. You will immediately find yourself on a wonderful embankment with a fantastic view of the Asian part of Istanbul.

We visited Buyukada Island in February, when the weather was + 10 degrees in Istanbul, but we were very cold on the island, so we recommend dressing warmly at this time of the year. Once on the streets of the island, we thought that the island was extinct, there were no tourists or locals, cafes were closed, we hardly found a few restaurants. Prices in all establishments are quite high, designed for tourists of course.

There are a large number of hotels on the island, so there are no problems with housing here. The houses on the island are very beautiful, their interesting style, it seemed to us that the island looks like a piece of Greece. The locals told us that in summer, spring and autumn, life on the island is in full swing, but winter is not the best time to visit, but we were still very satisfied because we walked a lot and enjoyed the beauty of Buyukada Island. The day flew by unnoticeably and we returned to Istanbul full of impressions, tired but happy.

Therefore, if you are making a list of places to visit in Istanbul, be sure to take time to the Prince Islands, in particular Buyukada Island, we advise you to come both in summer and at other times of the year.

You can read this article in Russian language: Один день на острове Бююкада

Anna Yablochkina

Hello, I'm Anna, I live in Istanbul. I love traveling and discovering new places. I share my trips on Expat Guide Turkey.

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