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Buyukada (Prinkipos /Prince Island) Comprehensive Guide

Buyukada (Prinkipos /Prince Island) Comprehensive Guide

Ultimate Guide to Büyükada / Prinkipos Island / Prince Island's

Büyükada, the largest of Istanbul's Princes' Islands, a place where history, culture, and natural beauty converge into a breathtaking experience. Known for its rich tapestry woven through time, from its Byzantine past to its significance as a temporary haven for political thinker Leon Trotsky, Büyükada offers a unique journey through history. This guide will take you through the island's enchanting story, highlighting the best beaches where the Marmara Sea's crystal-clear waters beckon, top-notch restaurants serving delectable cuisine, cozy hotels ensuring a comfortable stay, and the ease of transportation by ferry that adds to the island's charm. Whether you're up for a leisurely walking tour or prefer exploring the scenic landscapes on a bicycle, Büyükada's serene paths and panoramic views are waiting to be discovered. Delve into the attractions of Büyükada, your next escape into a world where time slows down, inviting you to explore its hidden gems and historical wonders.

If you wish, we can offer a convenient pick-up service from your location, providing a car with an English-speaking driver to start your tour of Prince's Island. After reaching the island by ferry, we can arrange for you to join a delightful journey to the highest peak in an oasis via a phaeton (though we now use electric cars instead). This could be an extraordinary adventure on the magnificent Büyükada, adding vibrancy to your visit to Istanbul by best start with our private airport transfers. The potential for fun and exploration on Büyükada is boundless

Discover Büyükada / Prinkopos Island Ferry

Overview Journey to Büyükada

-Büyükada, Istanbul's serene getaway, stands as a beacon of tranquility and historical richness. Accessible via ferry from various points in Istanbul, including Kadıköy, Bostancı, Beşiktaş, Kabataş, and Eminönü, this largest of the Princes' Islands offers a respite from the city's hustle. A popular route for both locals and visitors, the journey to Büyükada is adorned with seagulls and sea views, marking the beginning of an escape to a greener, more peaceful realm.

-The island's history is profound, tracing back to the 6th century with the establishment of a monastery by a Byzantine Emperor. Over centuries, Büyükada has seen its share of turmoil and tranquility, serving as a site of exile for princes and political figures amidst throne disputes and political strife. Despite its tumultuous past, the island now stands as a protected area since 1984, preserving the echoes of its historical significance.

-Büyükada today is a vibrant blend of natural beauty, architectural marvels, and a laid-back atmosphere. The island is veiled in the vivid hues of Judas trees, complementing the picturesque mansions and the undulating terrain. Its charm lies not just in its scenic beauty but also in its ability to transport visitors to a bygone era, away from the contemporary chaos of Istanbul.

-For those seeking to explore Büyükada, walking offers an intimate encounter with the island's allure. Lovers' Way is particularly enchanting on foot, unveiling the island's hidden gems at a leisurely pace. While the option of a nostalgic carriage ride is available, a stroll or bike ride is encouraged for a more personal and eco-friendly experience.

-Büyükada encapsulates the essence of a peaceful retreat, with its rich tapestry of history, vibrant natural scenery, and the gentle rhythm of island life. It remains a cherished destination for those wishing to momentarily step away from the frenetic energy of the city and immerse themselves in a haven of tranquility and historical charm.

Unveiling the Allure of Buyukada

Büyükada Journey Through Its Historic Churches, Museums

Aya Yorgi Kilisesi (St. George Church) 

Discover St. George Church: A Spiritual Jewel atop Büyükada. Aya Yorgi Kilisesi stands as a beacon of faith and history. This revered site, dating back to the 6th century, offers not only spiritual solace but also panoramic views of the surrounding seascape. Pilgrims and tourists alike are drawn to its serene ambiance and the centuries-old tradition of tying wishes to its walls. A visit to St. George Church is a journey through time, offering insights into the island's rich Orthodox Christian heritage and its enduring significance in the local community.

Adalar Müzesi (Princes' Islands Museum) 

Princes' Islands Museum Gateway to the Princes' Islands' Rich History. Adalar Müzesi serves as a comprehensive repository of the Princes' Islands' multifaceted history. From its establishment in 2010, the museum has curated an extensive collection that captures the essence of island life, its cultural diversity, and historical evolution. Visitors can explore exhibits ranging from the Byzantine era to modern times, including artifacts, photographs, and stories that illustrate the unique lifestyle of the islands' inhabitants. The museum is a must-visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the historical tapestry of Büyükada and its sister islands.

Büyükada Rum Yetimhanesi (Büyükada Greek Orphanage) 

Exploring Büyükada Greek Orphanage: A Glimpse into a Forgotten Era. The Büyükada Greek Orphanage stands as an architectural marvel and a poignant reminder of the island's past. Built in the late 19th century, this wooden edifice was once the largest of its kind in Europe, serving as a home to countless orphaned children. Today, it invites visitors to uncover the stories of its former residents and the socio-political changes that led to its eventual closure. The orphanage's imposing structure and its historical significance make it an essential stop for those interested in the architectural and social history of Büyükada.

Troçki Evi (Trotsky House) 

Trotsky House offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Leon Trotsky during his four-year exile on Büyükada. This unassuming residence was the site of significant political writings and activities that resonated far beyond the island's shores. Visitors can delve into the tumultuous period of early 20th-century politics and the impact of Trotsky's ideas on global political movements. The house serves as a poignant testament to the island's role as a place of refuge and intellectual exchange.

Büyükada Hesed Le Avraam Sinagog (Büyükada Hesed Le Avraam Synagogue) 

Büyükada Hesed Le Avraam Synagogue: A Testament to Jewish Heritage on the Island, nestled within Büyükada's tranquil streets, is a cornerstone of the island's Jewish community. Established in the early 20th century, this synagogue is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of the enduring presence and contributions of Jewish culture on the island. Visitors are welcomed to appreciate its architectural beauty, rich history, and the vibrant community it serves. A visit to Hesed Le Avraam offers a unique perspective on the multicultural tapestry that defines Büyükada.

Buyukada Houses

Büyükada's Best Beaches Guide: Sun, Sand, and Serene Waters

Nakibey Beach: A Family-Friendly Shore Close to Büyükada Center

Nakibey Beach is conveniently located a short 10-15 minute walk from the center of Büyükada, offering shallow waters and sandy beaches ideal for families. Known as a "family beach," it maintains a welcoming atmosphere for all, complete with beach services and a snack bar.

Address: Maden, NAKİBEY DEPARTMENT NO:17, 34970 Adalar/Istanbul

Aya Nikola Beach: The Calmest Waters of Büyükada

Aya Nikola Beach is celebrated for its tranquil waters, making it the calmest beach on Büyükada. Easily reachable by motor services from the center, it offers a peaceful retreat. Although it's a bit crowded, being considered a public beach, amenities like umbrellas, sun loungers, cushions, and showers are available. Adjacent to Aya Nikola Boutique Hotel, which provides both dining and accommodation options, this beach also has a private section for hotel guests.

Yada Beach Club: A Trendy Seaside Escape on Büyükada

For those seeking a more "beach club" vibe, Büyükada's Yada Beach Club, an extension of the renowned Tarabya sushi spot, offers a lively atmosphere with weekend live performances. Accessible by a boat service from the central pier, it's a place where you can enjoy Yada's exquisite sushi while soaking up the sun.  

Eskibağ Beach: Your Secluded Paradise on Büyükada

Discover the tranquil shores of Eskibağ Beach, a hidden gem operated by Eskibağ Hotel on Büyükada. With a stairway leading directly from the Eskibağ Terrace Restaurant to the sea, this beach is accessible yet secluded, offering serene picnic and camping spots before you hit the sand. Enjoy amenities like umbrellas, sun loungers, cushions, and showers. For those looking for ease, paid shuttle services from the center are available. Dive into relaxation at this pristine location, where comfort meets the natural beauty of the island.

Halik Bay Beach: Experience Büyükada's Cleanest Shoreline

Halik Bay Beach stands out as the cleanest and longest beach on Büyükada, promising a pristine seaside escape. Managed by the Eskibağ Hotel, it features a meandering stairway from the Eskibağ Terrace Restaurant down to the sparkling waters, with an option for a paid shuttle service from the town center. Before descending to the beach, you'll find spots perfect for camping and picnicking. Once at the beach, enjoy amenities such as umbrellas, sun loungers, cushions, and showers.

Prenses Koyu Beach: A Boutique Beachfront Getaway on Büyükada

Fronting the Prenses Boutique Hotel, Prenses Koyu Beach offers a full suite of services including a restaurant, sun loungers, umbrellas, and showers. Accessible by a paid shuttle service from the center, the journey to this beach takes just 10 minutes. Alternatively, follow the path of Aşıklar Yolu if coming by land.

Yorukali Beach: A Sandy Haven for Family Fun on Büyükada

Yorukali Beach, with its sandy shores, is a favorite among families visiting Büyükada. Accessible by a boat ride from Büyükada Pier for a fee, this beach also caters to the "family beach" label, welcoming visitors into its friendly ambiance. The beach is equipped with all essential services and offers a restful retreat for those looking to enjoy the island's natural beauty.

Princes İslands Walking Tour

Exploring Buyukada's Finest Restaurants

Splendid Palace Hotel Restaurant

Offers a blend of Turkish and international cuisine with a panoramic view of the Sea of Marmara. Located in the historic Splendid Palace Hotel, its elegant dining setting and exquisite menu items make it a top choice for a sophisticated dining experience.

Secret Garden Restaurant

Known for its romantic ambiance and expertly crafted Mediterranean dishes.
Nestled in a lush garden, it provides a serene dining atmosphere, making it perfect for special occasions or a peaceful retreat.

Loc'Ada Restaurant

Focuses on farm-to-table dishes, emphasizing organic and locally sourced ingredients.
With its commitment to sustainability and a cozy, welcoming setting, Loc'Ada offers a fresh, health-conscious dining option.

Akasya Restaurant

A standout for traditional Turkish cuisine, offering a range of kebabs, mezes, and seafood.
Its authentic flavors, combined with a friendly atmosphere, make Akasya a go-to for those looking to savor the true taste of Turkish culinary heritage.

Beyaz Bahçe Restaurant

Offers a diverse menu of seafood and Aegean dishes in a beautifully decorated garden setting.The white-themed decor and attentive service, alongside fresh, flavorful dishes, create a dining experience that’s both elegant and relaxing.

Bistro Candy Garden: A quaint spot known for its delightful fusion of Turkish and international cuisines, set in a charming garden. It's perfect for those seeking a relaxed meal in a picturesque setting.

Prinkipo Tavern: An establishment that exudes a warm, traditional vibe, serving a variety of seafood and mezes that perfectly complement the island's seaside ambiance.

Hile Fish Restaurant: Specializes in fresh, locally-sourced seafood dishes, offering diners a taste of the sea with every bite in a cozy, welcoming environment.

Palya Restaurant: Boasts a menu that creatively combines Turkish and Mediterranean cuisines, providing a refreshing dining experience amidst the island's natural beauty.

Eskibağ Terrace Restaurant: Offers stunning sea views paired with a menu of expertly prepared dishes, making it an ideal spot for those looking to dine with a view.

Dilburnu Restaurant: Nestled on the edge of the island, this restaurant is known for its breathtaking views and a menu that features both Turkish classics and international favorites.

Yücetepe Kır Gazinosu Restaurant: Captures the essence of traditional Turkish gazino culture, offering an array of dishes in a lively atmosphere with music and sometimes live performances.

Lunapark Restaurant: A family-friendly option that serves a variety of dishes in a casual setting, making it perfect for a relaxed meal after exploring the island.

Ada Fish Restaurant: Celebrates the island's maritime heritage with a focus on seafood, providing a fresh and flavorful dining experience.

There Is This Restaurant: Stands out with its innovative approach to Turkish cuisine, offering a modern twist on traditional dishes in a stylish setting.

Island Breakfast & Cafe Spitz: Both are ideal for starting your day on the island, offering a wide range of breakfast options and a cozy café atmosphere.

Garden Sinek Cafe & Mimoza Restaurant: These spots are perfect for a casual meal or a refreshing drink in a garden setting, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of island life.

Kapri Restaurant & By Şükrü Restaurant: Both establishments offer a mix of Turkish and international dishes, with a focus on using fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Milto Restaurant & Ali Baba Restaurant: Renowned for their warm hospitality and a menu that caters to all tastes, from traditional Turkish dishes to international favorites.

Milano Restaurant & Lido Restaurant: These restaurants are known for their Italian cuisine, offering a Mediterranean flair to the island's dining scene.

Façyo Restaurant & Kıyı Restaurant: Specialize in seafood and Aegean cuisine, promising a dining experience that highlights the best of the region's flavors.

Konak Restaurant & Phaeton Cafe & Restaurant: Offer a glimpse into the island's history with their vintage settings and traditional menus, perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture.

Best Princes Island Restaurants

avigating Your Way from Istanbul to Prince Island

Experience a smooth transit from Istanbul to Prince Island, with an array of transport options tailored to your preference. Whether it's the charm of ferries, the speed of motorboats, or the luxury of a private yacht, accessing Buyukada is effortlessly convenient. A network of ferry services provides direct connections to Prince Island from key locations like Beşiktaş, Kabataş, Kadıköy, and Bostancı. For those seeking alternative routes, passenger motors run direct lines from Eminönü, Yeşilköy, Beşiktaş, Kabataş, Bostancı, Kartal, Avcılar, and Yalova.

Plan your journey with confidence, leveraging detailed travel information and fare schedules to ensure a smooth transition. Catering to diverse preferences, whether it's for convenience, cost-effectiveness, or an upscale experience, these transportation modes are designed to suit your needs. Exploring the varied avenues of transport from Istanbul to Prince Island, crafted for a seamless and efficient travel experience. Find the most suitable route, align your plans, and set off on an adventure that leads you to the tranquil and inviting shores of Prince Island.

Prince Island Ferry


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