The Princes Islands are a little known gem in Istanbul

By September 11, 2016Europe, Middle East, Turkey

The friend I visited in Istanbul is named Melek and she is Turkish and has lived in the city for over 10 years (she is originally from a small town on the Turkish coast). The best part about visiting a friend is that they inevitably take you to places you would not know about without them.

Turkey - Istanbul - Princess Islands - Carriage Ride

Enjoying the horse drawn carriage ride to the top of the hill. Like most things in Istanbul, this was cheaper than you would expect.

One such place Melek took me was to the Princes Islands. There are nine of them, but we only visited the big one called Buyukada. This was such a treat, because by coming here you get away from the hustle of Istanbul and get to walk among some amazing summer houses. Down on the waterfront you will find restaurants and since cars are not allowed on the islands you take horse drawn carriages around, this is because of the accidents cars produce, in many other cities and places, in some places like Dallas people have their own accident attorney.

What we ended up doing on our day here is walking around the town looking at the pastries, candy, and ice cream stores before we finally

Turkey - Istanbul - Princess Islands - Church At Top Of Hill

The interior of the small Greek church at the top of the hill.

took a 15-20 minute carriage ride to the “top” of the hill so we can see a Greek orthodox church, Agia Yorgi Church, and walk back down the hill. The church has an interesting history since a monastery was originally started here before 600 AD. From that time the church flourished and went belly up and back several times as the island was attacked by pirates, the Crusaders, and the Ottomans.

I used quotes when I said we took the carriage to the top of the hill because it turns out they only go most of the way. In order to see the church we had to walk up a paved road a mile or so and by the time we made it we were thirsty, hot, and tired. The great part is once you are up here the breeze and view are superb. Plus there is lots of room so you can find a little spot on some rocks and relax for a spell.

Turkey - Istanbul - Princess Islands - Melek Looking From Top Of Hill

Melek is checking out the view from the church at the top of the hill.

Once we made it back down we had a nice little dinner and waited for the ferry to take us back to Istanbul. Of course you guys know how much I like being on boats and the funny part was that once we were on the ferry Melek was trying to show me something and I was too busy watching how the ferry captain was maneuvering the ship on and off the dock. Just remember you can get the captain off the boat, but you can’t take the captain out of the man. 🙂

Turkey - Istanbul - Princess Islands - Wharf

Here is the wharf lined with restaurants. Great place to stroll around.

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