When I saw Istanbul first time, I was in love in this wonderful city, and with every my visit my love to this place becomes bigger. Every time I open something new and interesting for me. Istanbul really can make people wonder. When Afsin told that there are some islands in Istanbul (Princes Islands Line), in my mind it was intent number 1 to visit those islands.
So, Istanbul has 4 islands which opened for touristic visits: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kınalıada. The biggest and the most popular island is Buyukada (büyük – big, ada – island). We decided to visit this island (and others places we will visit a little bit later).
Road to our dream island. We went to Buyukada from port Bostanci, which is in Asia part of Istanbul. Ticket per 1 person in 1 side cost 5 turkish liras. Boats have different schedule for weekdays (almost every 30 minutes), and week-ends, holidays (every 1 hour and 30 minutes). There weren’t much people in the boat, road took about 35 minutes.
Transport in the Buyukada. In Internet very common information Istanbul’s islands don’t have any cars, just phaetons, and bicycles. But it’s not true. Islands have few kinds of state cars, which use for emergencies, and cleaning streets. But such kinds of cars very less in Buyukada (maybe 5), and they don’t used every day.
After our short walking, we found a phaeton, and order short tour. About this point I suggest ask about price before you will sit in the phaeton, because after driver can call very high price! For short tour (we saw beautiful narrow streets, large picnics ground, some historical buildings) we paid 70 turkish liras. That tour took about 40 minutes, and we went very slowly, without any comments about places from driver’s side. I don’t know, maybe owner feed their horses with petrol, - taxi in Istanbul cost almost the same. In the middle of our short trip driver stopped near the café to give his horse water. It took about 10 minutes, and we decided also to buy some drink. Lemonade in that café cost 4 turkish liras, and first we thought seller wanted cheat us. But later we understood prices in Buyukada everywhere like that.
In the afternoon, after beach rest and lunch in restaurant we rented 2 bicycles. If to walk a little bit in the center of island, possible to find cheaper options. We paid 10 liras per 2 hours (1 bicycle). For me it was hard to cycling, because road all time goes up and down. But from another side it was very good sport for me, which I made on the fresh, clean air.
Beach. I read in the internet that there is public beach in the Buyukada, which free, but we didn’t want risk, and spend our time for searching. We asked phaetons driver to bring us to the most popular beach, and we came to Nakibey Plaji. In the weekdays price per 1 person is 30 turkish liras, in week-ends 35. We came here in Sunday, so we paid 70 turkish liras, and spent there more than 2 hours. One more interesting thing: in Nakibey beach administrator will not skip man without woman. Just couples. That’s why no need to worry about molestation from men’s side. Music on the beach was perfect: loud, and crown.
This beach was really cool – the best beach which I ever seen in my life. There were 3 floors. On every floor were sunbeds, umbrellas, small tables, and ash-pots. On the 2nd and 3rd floor holidaymakers could lie on the big, soft pillows. But most of all were people on the 1st floor, because there was Marmara Sea in 10 steps. Also on that floor was selling alcohol (beer), food (almost all with a meat), and refreshments.
Water in the Marmara Sea was warm, but not so clean. And it’s understandable: everywhere go ships, boats. Attempts to purify some area in Marmara sea will not be successful.
From Island to this beach almost every hour goes boat, which brings holidaymakers, and then takes back them to center. People can use this transport for free.
Restaurants, and food. We decided to choose some restaurant near the sea, where would sea products, and alcohol. From the appearance, and comments people in Internet we liked most of all Lido Restaurant. We sat near the sea, and watched how children fed marine fish and seagulls by bread.
In that place we ordered fried calamari, baked fish, and Raki (300 ml). Our order we waited long time, but fish was really perfect. I can tell it was one more thing (after Nakibey Plaji), which was best in my life. For our order we paid 175 turkish liras.
When we walked around the island we also bought ice-cream. There were many kinds of waffles, where seller put ice-cream balls. I didn’t like that ice-cream, because of calories (I am sure there very were much!). Price per 1 portion – 9 turkish liras.
Near the port in the evening too much people came. Some of them rested, and sat in the café, others waited boat. We had a little time before our ship came, and we decided to drink Turkish coffee, which was boiled on the coals. Afsin told that it must be very tasty coffee, maybe even the best in my life. But I didn’t like: I cook much better. Per 2 cups of this drink we paid 12 turkish liras.
Buildings and nature. Nature with pines, beautiful flowers makes this place very romantic and useful for rest. People build there attractive villas, where they make holidays every year. In the Island much buildings in Greek style, which makes streets of this small place very attractive even just walking.
Buyukada can wonder also with its holy springs. I am very sorry that we couldn’t see Monastery of St. George, which is in the hilltop. But the road to that place takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes: we came to island just on 1 day. Also in Buyukada are churches, mosques, even synagogue.
Our time in the Büyükada was full of emotions, and romantic mood. When sun set over the horizon, we sat on the bench and just watched on the beauty, which opened for us night island. Every time, when I remember about our rest there, I become happy. That’s why, we will back (and not 1 time) in that island.