For the final of our virtual tour through the city on 2 continents – Istanbul – we’re going to the beach. We’ve done the historical and cultural sides of this ancient city already, although there is so much more to see and learn, but this time we’ll relax at the beach.
If you want to go to the beach in Istanbul the easiest is to take a ferry to one of the Princes’ Islands. They are called Adalar or ‘the islands’ and located in the Sea of Marmara just off the Asian side of Istanbul.
There are nine islands altogether and four of these are open to the public. During the Byzantine era princes and other royalty were exiled to these islands and later members of the Ottoman Sultans’ family as well, hence the name. These days the islands are a very popular tourist destination, but also a holiday destination for the local people from Istanbul.
The four islands that are open to the public are Büyükada, the biggest and most popular, as well as Burgazada, Heybeliada and Kinaliada.
We visited two of these islands, first the biggest one and later Kinaliada. Passenger ferries from Istanbul sail directly and regularly to the islands.
No cars are permitted on the islands, so it is only walking, cycling or in one of these special horse-drawn carriages, although I have a suspicion the horse and cart is mostly for tourists, not for locals.
On Büyükada itself there are also many interesting churches, mosques, museums, manors and historical places dating from the different eras. It makes sense to just walk around the island and take in the atmosphere and people.
It can be a little bit overwhelming when you arrive on an Island for the first time. Especially if you want to choose a beach to stay for the day. All the locals want to make a bit of money and will try and catch you attention to take you to ‘their‘ beach. This means that they will take you in a smaller boat to a private secluded beach where you can stay for the day, before they escort you back to the ferry. You just need to choose which of these locals to give your money to….
The second time around we knew what to expect, we knew which smaller boat to choose to take us to a secluded beach. Beautiful, quiet, just sea and sun.
One day we will travel again. Until then we can keep on dreaming.