During the Byzantine era of Istanbul princes were exiled to the islands and later some of members of the Ottoman Royal family. During the 19th century islands became quite popular. Many artists, writers and wealthy had their had cottoges built. There was a major population of Greek inhabitance in the islands. Still there are remains of some churches can be visited like Aya Yorgi Church and Monastry in Buyukada.
It is a popular destination not only by the tourists but by the locals. Our recommendation is to go there in a weekday since weekends could be very crowded. There are regular ferries departing from Kabatas to Princes` Islands. The largest and the most popular one is Buyukada whick means big island in Turkish.
There are no cars in the islands, so there the only way of transportation is horse carriages and bicycles. There are quite many places where you can rent a bike in Buyukada. Hourly rental charge is 10 Turkish Liras per bike. Be aware that the islands are quite hilly therefore you need to be fit enough to ride a bike. The other option is to take a horse carriage. The prices vary a lot for horse carriages. Bargaining is recommended. They offer two options as short tour and long tour. Approximate charge to take a horse carriage is 50 Turkish Liras. The last option is to wander on foot.
The ferry ride from Kabatas takes approximately an hour. If the weather is good, be sure to sit outside the boat to enjoy the great views of Istanbul, Bosphorus and sea of Marmara. Buyukada is the last stop for the ferry. Ferries depart Kabatas almost every 2 hour staring from 7am in the morning.
Below please find some of the pictures we have takes during our visit to Buyukada in April 2012.