Prince’s Island is an archipelago with nine various sized Islands in the Sea of Marmara and it is very close to Istanbul. From the pier in Golden Horn it takes only 1 hour to go by boat.
The alternative is the sea bus (faster and more expensive than ferry) which leaves from Kabatas.
During the Byzantine Era there were numerous monasteries here. In this archipelago, Heybeliada is the second largest island. A walk around the heavily wooded island takes about 2 hours. The large buildings of the Orthodox Church were used as a school for the monks in old days here.
On this island there is a naval school and in the courtyard of this school a small church which was dedicated to the Virgin is situated. The oldest Hotel in Istanbul (Halki Palace Hotel) is located on Heybeliada. After Heybeli Island there is Burgaz Island and between them there is small Private Island called Kasik (spoon) Island. The first island seen from the ferry after leaving the Golden Horn pier is Hayirsiz Island and then there is Yassi (plate) Island which is flat. Ferries do not stop in Yassi, Tarsan and Sedef (mother of pearl) Islands. They are not inhabitant. In the back there is Kinali (henna red) ada which is the first inhabited one. Kinali Island had red cliffs. There is still an Armenian church in Kinali. It has nowhere to stay. After Kinali, Burgaz Island comes and it has rocky beaches. Burgaz is still predominantly Greek. There is a guest house to stay.
The islands are very popular summer resorts because of their ideal picnic areas and wonderful beaches so in summer time all islands are heavily populated. During all summer months, especially on weekends, yachts, sailing boats and private boats anchor in the fantastic coves around all islands. In winter time all islands are almost desolate. Motor vehicles are not allowed in islands, so horse drawn carriages and bicycles are the only means of transportation.
In the archipelago, Buyukada (big island) is the most popular, most famous and the largest one. With horse drawn carriage you can visit around the island in 2 hours. Justinian founded the convent in Buyukada in the 6th century and there were also four monasteries. Buyukada has many high hills, amazing forests and 2 beautiful beaches. On the island there are a few hotels and pensions and also on seashore near pier there are nice fish restaurants and cafes. Buyukada welcomes big crowds every weekend in summer.