can you give me an idea about the price of the full tour
with the fayton ??
My advice is visit Buyukada but do not hire a phaeton. The horses are very badly treated. I went to Buyukada and walked and walked. I found the horses, dogs and cats to be a sad sight (animal welfare does not seem to be a high priority) and didn't hire a phaeton. However, I spent a whole day just walking around the island and enjoyed it immensely. There are plenty of things to see with a beautiful orthodox chapel on one of the hills, great vegetation, wonderful sea views and lots of interesting buildings, with many of them being signs of glories past.
I agree with Deirdre above. Don't hire a phaeton. We hired bikes from one of the many shops in the centre of town where the boats drop off. For the equivalent of 10 euro we had bikes for the whole day to enable us to get out and about on the island.
Using them we found a nice beach club where we rested up for a few hours on a sun lounger & had a dip in the sea. It is a bit hilly in places but a great antidote to the hustle of central Isstanbul
I was forewarned. I read all the articles about Buyukada’s restaurants that will charge you 10% for service and then 20% for whatever else they decide. So I opted for a picnic. I read about the horse carriages that charge 80TL ($46) for an hour ride through town, so I decided to hike. The attraction was that it had beautiful beaches and today was going to be a beach day.
I have been in Turkey for five weeks and Istanbul, with all its attractions, has very little in terms of a beach where you can just wallow. For vigorous good swimmers a dip in the Bosporus from my neighbor Bebek might suffice. But I wanted to recapture some of the tranquility of beach swimming in Antalya and Bodrom again. Buyukada, the largest of the Prince’s islands was the easiest choice and the most promising.
The pleasant ferry ride for 5TL ($3) got me there in less then 90 minutes and then, having done my homework, I headed up the hill. Ignoring the pushy vendors, and the horse carriage stall in the center of the dock. The houses are wonderfully opulent, a legacy of a great historical period past by. Some are beautifully restored with abundant and colorful gardens. Although the island has no motorized vehicles apart from government service workers, there can be a lot of government workers racing up and down the main roads. Cars and trucks that raced up and down included an ambulance, police (twice), fire engine, electricity worker, telephone truck, a garbage truck (three times), and municipal workers. This does not include the motorized bicycles that pull a cart behind them. But the main worry is not motorized vehicles. I was sure that the horse carriages were driven making sure that I had to jump off the road every time they passed by me. And there must be thousands of them. They not only form an unbroken line from the dock to the center of the island, but they overtake each other on these narrow uneven roads. Even when I was on the other side of the road, the carriages veered dangerously close to me. Knowing that I will hurt more than the horse, I always opted by jumping out of the way. It was farcical at one point, it was as though they were out to get me. My hiking narrative made it into a game until I started acting like Zorba the Greek , dancing on and off the pavement. Enough pretend. But all of this would have been of no consequence once I got to the beach.
There are few sandy beaches on the Islands, and the one recommended was to the south west. After passing a burning rubbish tip, 15 meters away on the left I came across the gate to the beach. Fifteen lira the guy requests. It was all gated and there were few bathers on the sun lounges. I looked at the map. There was another one closer to town. I headed off south again trying not to get run over by the horse carriages Five lira I was requested. I went to have a look. A narrow passage between two opulent houses and hordes of locals jumping into a rocky beach. Not the wallowing beach I had in mind. I eventually ended up by the dock, sharing the beach with locals. Some, like me, escaped with only a small cut on my foot from a glass bottle. But the refreshing cold Marmara water cooled me down enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the ferry back to Istanbul. In my five weeks in Turkey, Buyukada was my only disappointment. A tourist trap with none of the charm or function left in its day tripping facade.
@ MarioGarrett - sounds like Buyukada is off-limits tsk tsk
I don't think Buyukada is worth visiting as there is nothing quaint about the place which is over commercialized and is not very spectacular either. We took the long tour of the horse carriage ride which is overtly priced at TL80 since it was not value for money as the sights are not anything out of the ordinary and in some locations it was quite smelly. I would not recommend anyone to waste a full day on Princes' Islands as a one way ferry ride takes almost 2 hours and may not be pleasant either as it is so crowded and you may not get a place near the window.
I would highly recommend NOT renting a carriage. The horses gallop through the roads going way too fast for anyone to appreciate the houses and view, only to get to Luna Park and scratch your head as to why you just paid 80TL. My recommendation is to walk - just follow the horses up Cankaya Cd. continuing on Nizam Cd. and Adalar Cd. to Luna Park. THEN, take Oltaci Sk back down to Yilmaz Turk Cd. rather than walking the long way around, otherwise you are just in park (fir trees/brush) on the other half of the island. It's a great walk back to the waterfront to then stop and have lunch. Also it's well worth the 10TL to take the highspeed catamaran from Istanbul rather than the ferry. In the morning, Buyukada is the first stop (50 minutes). All in all (other than the horse issue as otherwise posted on here - ditto) this was a pleasant day trip from Istanbul - especially if you like architecture.
We've just returned from a four day break in Istanbul, which was ok.
Locals asked us many times why we were there and were very surprised when we said a 'holiday break'. "Why would you come here", one asked. After recent acts of terrorism and Erdogan dictatorship it seems foreign tourists are deserting the city in droves. The highlights of our time there were Topkapi Palace, which really is very interesting (compared to the overhyped Mosques and The Grand Bazaar) ... the other highlight was restaurant Karakoy Lokantasi, which really is exceptional and reasonably priced. We loved the atmosphere, the waiting staff and the food was sublime. But from our home in Britain it's a long way to go for a meal ...
The undoubted lowest point was BUYUKUDA, the largest of the Princes Islands. Apart from ubiquitous, unappetising fish restaurants - which we avoided - the 'best' the island offers is a cynical pony and trap ride. The horses are badly treated and the overpriced ride is dull, dull, dull. In the name of animal rights alone it should be boycotted. There are no decent beaches, there's litter everywhere and altogether it's all very shabby. Although we enjoyed the 90 minute ferry ride, we felt we'd wasted a day of our short break away. Later we spoke to a Turkish friend who told us we should have explored the Asia side of Istanbul instead. If you do go to Istanbul my advice is AVOID Buyukada (and it seems all the Princes Islands). It's dreadful.
Just avoid the first restaurant on the left once you get down from the ferry, we had a lunch with wine and were slapped with a bill of 900 TL and being in a foreign country we can't even fight. Pure robbery. The bill could not have been more than 200-300Tl and that also is my extremely high estimate.