Prince Islands – Büyükada

We spent Saturday on an island crawling with tourists both local and from abroad. The Prince Islands are a series of nine islands, with four open to visitors. Büyükada literally translates to Big Island and is the most popular, evidently.

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Go: Take the ferry from Besiktas, it only cost TL7.50 (~SGD3) for a (#millenialpink!!) ticket. The ferry also stops at another of the 4 open islands – Heybeliada, which looks quieter with less visitors.

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Eat: Baık ekmek (literally: fish bread) from Pelikan. A grilled fillet of mackerel in a baguette tastes perfect with a squirt of lemon. There are other stalls selling this street food if Pelikan is filled up. At TL8 (~SGD3.60), fill up before you go exploring.

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If your mouth is still itchy, or your stomach has a reserved spot for dessert anyway, get some Italian-style gelato at only TL4 (~SGD1.60) for FIVE (albeit small, but FIVE) scoops. There is also Mado if you want Turkish dondurma. And at TL3 (~SGD1.20) a scoop it is TL0.50 cheaper than on the mainland.

Do: It’s TL25 (~SGD10) to rent a bicycle for the whole day, but you could also walk/hike because the hills of the island are sometimes torture to cycle up. Or you could take the horse carriage, though I personally don’t like this practice. (Some say this doesn’t hurt the horses, but I rather rely on my own labour to get around anyway.)

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We found this beach on the northern part of the island. There is a gate and a 15-min walk downhill but it was free entry. I was doubtful at first because it sounded too good to be true, and I expected someone to hurt us halfway down or to demand payment at the beach. I was worried for nothing, there was no catch. However, it’s a pretty rocky beach and you can’t sit anywhere comfortably. ALSO, don’t go into the water unless you want to be stung by jellyfish. Just admire them from the pier, or take some photos for Instagram.

 

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