Discovering Büyük Ada: Istanbul's Best-Kept Secret

For those seeking a day of relaxation, Büyük Ada's pristine beaches offer a peaceful haven. Sunbathe on the sandy shores, take refreshing dips in the clear turquoise waters, or indulge in water sports such as kayaking or paddle-boarding. With hardly any crowds, you can easily find your own slice of paradise.

Sep 18, 2023 - 15:14
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Discovering Büyük Ada: Istanbul's Best-Kept Secret
Discovering Büyük Ada: Istanbul's Best-Kept Secret
Booking.com
Booking.com

Discovering Büyük Ada: Istanbul's Best-Kept Secret

Nestled in the Marmara Sea, just off the coast of Turkey's bustling metropolis, lies a hidden gem: Büyük Ada. This idyllic getaway is often overlooked by tourists but is a beloved secret among locals. With its stunning natural beauty, quaint charm, and peaceful atmosphere, Büyük Ada is the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul.

Büyük Ada, meaning "Big Island" in Turkish, is the largest of the nine Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara. The island is renowned for its lush greenery, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking views of Istanbul's skyline. To reach Büyük Ada, one must take a scenic ferry ride from Istanbul, which only adds to the excitement and anticipation of exploring this hidden paradise.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with horse-drawn carriages as motorized vehicles are prohibited on the island. This charming touch sets the tone for the tranquil experience that awaits. Transported back in time, Büyük Ada feels like a peaceful haven far away from the bustling city.

One of the main attractions on the island is its historic wooden mansions, known as yalıs, which were once summer residences of wealthy Istanbulites. These architectural marvels offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the past. Take a leisurely walk through the streets adorned with colorful blooms and admire the grandeur of these well-preserved structures.

To truly appreciate Büyük Ada's natural wonders, rent a bicycle or explore on foot. The island's numerous trails and pathways meander through dense forests, leading to secluded beaches, breathtaking viewpoints, and charming villages. Adventurers can hike up Yücetepe, the highest point on the island, where panoramic vistas of Istanbul and the sea will leave you speechless.


For those seeking a day of relaxation, Büyük Ada's pristine beaches offer a peaceful haven. Sunbathe on the sandy shores, take refreshing dips in the clear turquoise waters, or indulge in water sports such as kayaking or paddle-boarding. With hardly any crowds, you can easily find your own slice of paradise.

As you explore the island, don't forget to visit Büyük Ada's quaint town center. Full of cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, it emanates a warm and friendly atmosphere. Feast on traditional Turkish delicacies, savor freshly caught seafood, or simply enjoy a cup of Turkish tea while watching the world go by. The locals' genuine hospitality will make you feel right at home.



An absolute must-see attraction on Büyük Ada is the iconic Ayazma Monastery. This Greek Orthodox monastery, also known as Hristos Manastırı, dates back to the Byzantine era and hosts a small museum with historical artifacts. Wander through the peaceful courtyard, adorned with blooming flowers, and soak up the serenity that surrounds this spiritual retreat.



Whether you're an adventure enthusiast, history buff, or simply craving a tranquil escape, Büyük Ada has it all. With its scenic beauty, enchanting charm, and friendly locals, it truly is Istanbul's best-kept secret. So next time you find yourself in this vibrant city, make sure to hop on a ferry and discover the hidden wonderland of Büyük Ada.

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