Turkish Islands

The Best Islands to visit in Turkey

Where are the best islands in Turkey?

Turkey is renowned for its stunning islands, and there are plenty to choose from whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach break or an action-packed holiday. Here are our pick of the best islands in Turkey.

Turkey map

In the age of Instagram, it’s hard to believe that there are still places that feel like secret hideaways. But the Princes’ Islands (or Adalar in Turkish) definitely fit that bill. This group of nine islands near Istanbul was once the playground of the city’s rich and famous, who built lavish summer homes here. These days, cars are banned from the islands, so they’re a perfect place to get away from it all and explore on foot or by bike.

The Princes’ Islands

The Princes’ Islands (Turkish: Adalar; Greek: Πριγκηπονες νησοι, romanized: Pringiponnesos nisoi) are a group of nine islands off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey, in the Sea of Marmara. The islands are administered as an ada (district) of Istanbul Province. They constitute the entire municipality of Adalar. The islands are densely forested with pines and cypresses, and contain many villas and mansions built during the Ottoman era by wealthy Istanbul families who used them as summer homes and retreats from city life. Since 2010, only Büyükada is open to the public, while the other islands remain largely uninhabited and private. This really is prime aimless strolling territory!

The largest and best-known island is Büyükada (literally “Great Island”), which is 39% of the ada’s total land area and home to about 26% of its population. The second largest island is Heybeliada (“Saddlebag Island”), followed by Burgazada (“Fortress Island”). All nine islands are included within the municipality of Adalar.

The islands were inhabited by Greeks from antiquity until the Ottoman conquest in the middle 15th century. From that time onward, many Turks and minorities from other ethnic groups settled on the islands, particularly during the 19th century when the islands became a fashionable resort for wealthy Istanbul families. Today, the islands are still predominantly populated by Greeks, Armenians, and other minorities, while most Turks live on the mainland.

The best way to get to the Princes’ Islands is by ferry from Istanbul. The journey takes about an hour and there are several ferries per day. You can also take a water taxi, which is a bit faster but more expensive. Once you’re on the islands, there are no cars allowed so you’ll have to get around on foot or by bicycle.

Ayvalık Islands

The Ayvalık Islands are a group of around 20 islands off the coast of Turkey, near the city of Ayvalık. These islands offer a more relaxed atmosphere than some of the busier islands nearer to Istanbul, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a quiet beach holiday. The islands are also home to some excellent restaurants, serving fresh seafood caught locally.

Bozcaada

Bozcaada is a small island in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Turkey – Canakkale. This charming island is known for its vineyards and wine, as well as its laid-back atmosphere. Bozcaada is a great choice if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, with plenty of opportunities to try some delicious local wine.

It’s a paradise at the eastern Egyptian sea. The Islands were part of Greece at the time, but became part of Turkey in 1923. The islands are breathtakingly stunning and the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing day on the beaches. There might not be much activity at sea but it’s perfect for the beach! Throughout peak seasons the island becomes quite busy, mainly during the summer school holidays in Turkmenistan. You should definitely go to Ayazma Beach.

Gökçeada

Gökçeada is the largest island in Turkey and is located in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Istanbul. This island is a popular spot for swimming, hiking and windsurfing, and its large size means there’s plenty to explore. There are also several historic sites on the island, including the remains of an ancient Greek city.

Cunda Island

Cunda Island is located in the Sea of Marmara, near the city of Ayvalık. This island is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, and there are several restaurants and cafes dotted along the waterfront. Cunda Island is also home to a number of interesting historical sites, including an 18th-century Greek Orthodox church.

Sedir Island

Sedir Island is located in the Gökova Bay, off the coast of southwest Turkey. This small island is famed for its sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters. There are also several ancient ruins on the island, including the remains of a Greek temple.

Güllük Island

Güllük Island is located in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Turkey. This island is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing and windsurfing. There are also several restaurants and cafes on the island, as well as a number of small shops.

Kekova Island

Kekova Island is located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Turkey. This small island is home to a number of interesting historical sites, including the ruins of an ancient city. The island is also a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling, with its clear turquoise waters.

Ölüdeniz

Oludeniz, Fethiye

Ölüdeniz is a small town located on the coast of southwest Turkey. This town is home to a number of beautiful beaches, as well as the Ölüdeniz National Park. The town is also a popular spot for paragliding, with its stunning mountain backdrop.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to relax or an action-packed holiday, Turkey’s islands have something for everyone. So why not start planning your trip today?

Akdamar Island

Akdamar Island is located in Lake Van, in eastern Turkey. The island is home to a 10th-century Armenian church, which is now a museum. The island is also a popular spot for swimming and picnicking, and there are several restaurants and cafes dotted along the shoreline.

In our view, this give you a summary of the some of the best Turkish islands to visit. When visiting, there’s generally plenty to help you explore islands in Turkey – whether that’s sea kayaking trips, boat ride return island trips. The truth is, there are many islands to visit so be sure to plan in at a couple of boat trips during your stay.

Kzkalesi Island

On Turkeys southern Mediterranean coast, the village of Kzkales is a beach town, attracting local visitors. Just a few yards from shore is this small island from which this town is named. Kezkalesi Islands contains remains of an Byzantine castle (the English name means the main castle) with well preserved walls and towers jutting majestically out of the rocky coast. The castle is a great place to explore if a daily boat trip takes you to a place that is surrounded by the fortified walls and ruins and the best part about it is the ruined interior. It is located only 300m from a beach, so you may swim up to the castle and back.

Pigeon Island

Pigeon Islands, known as Bird Islands, are places in which birds migrate during a particular time of their lives and are known as Kusadasis symbols. The island acted in addition as a defence system against pirate attacks on Kusadas’ coast. Tourists visit this island to see the stunning views of the city and drink sunsets. It is highly recommended visiting the Byzantine castles and trying aquatic activities along the Mediterranean coast. If you want to enjoy your vacation, you might want to spend a night on Pigeon Island. Then you can book this hotel.

Nicholas Island

The english name St-Nicolas’ Islands comes from a historical belief that this was the site where Santa Claus (aka St. Nicholas) died. Several people visit Fethiye’s popular excursion and see the lovely small rocky island of St Nicholas. It includes well-preserved Byzantine churches and ruins. The best place to rent a boat for the day is on the Gemiler Beach, just behind the beach. There are boat excursion facilities from the beaches of Eldeniz and Fethiya and there are also beaches along the coastline. Visitors can also request a night at Nicolas Island.

Gemiler Island

Originally known as St Nicholas Islands, Gemiler is a popular stopping point for boat trips from Lüdniz Beach and a multi day boat trip along southwestern Fethiye. Five Byzantine church ruins are surrounded by rocks and are surrounded by tombs of other religious complexes. Several travelers interested in history embark on a hike to this site although many visitors prefer to see them only from the ocean.

Getting to the islands of Turkey

Turkey, boats, marina

There are many ways to get to the islands in Turkey. The most common is by ferry, which departing from various points along the coast. You can also take a flight or a private boat charter. Frequent ferries shuttle directly between the mainland and the islands. Don’t forget multi-day yacht tours are also an option.

Whichever way you choose to travel, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience especially if you locate some of Turkey’s stylish boutique hotel options which we can assist with at the Travel Club.

The best deals to find…

We can assist you with finding some amazing flight prices to Turkey for all seasons. At the time of writing, here’s what we found for Istanbul and Antalya (here are some examples rates over the last 12 months:

Flights to Turkey

With close links to an amazing travel club, we can show you some amazing discounts available for hotels for Turkish islands – at all times of year.

Check out these example rates for 2 adults – 7 nights. We think you will find they are a steal compared to traditional travel agent rates.

Travel club discounts
Travel club discounts

To learn more about joining the travel club to receiving these rates, visit: http://www.travorium.uk

View more great posts about the Greek Islands from this blog: http://www.greatescapetravel.blog

Anna Roffey

http://www.facebook.com/annaroffey


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porto, portugal, river

Portugal Highlights that you need to read.

Are you visiting Portugal soon? We have got your back for the best places to visit in Portugal.

A round up of the best places to visit in Portugal.

From world famous cities and isolated villages to vibrant beaches and spectacular National Parks, this minuscule country offers a vast array of visitor attractions and services. It occupies the wedge of ibéria with the Borders of Spain as well as the magnificent coastline with the Atlantic and Portugals location at this sunny corner of West-Europe lends it an exclusive appeal. The southern parts of the island are still popular vacation destinations with glorious sandy beaches and golf courses.

Lisbon – the Capital city

Did you know that Lisbon (Portugal’s capital city) is known as the architectural, cobbled streets and cultural pearl of Western Europe, and one of the oldest towns in the world? The original capital of the Country was Guimarães. In the mid 13th century, Lisbon became the capital of Portugal.

lisbon, portugal, historic center

Lisbon, with its remarkably mild climate and abundant sunshine averaging between 2900 to 3300 hours annually, stands out as a beacon of warmth in Europe. The city’s geographical charm is further accentuated by the majestic presence of the Tagus River, the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, which gracefully flows through its heart. The sheer magnitude of the Tagus has led to speculation that its waters could accommodate all warships worldwide, a testament to its vastness and significance in Lisbon’s landscape.

Embodying the city’s rich tapestry of culture and tradition is the revered symbol of the raven. For generations, Lisbon has harbored a profound reverence for these enigmatic birds, so much so that the São Jorge Castle once housed a grand cage adorned with ravens—a tangible manifestation of the city’s enduring fascination with this creature.

At the nexus of maritime history lies the Port of Lisbon, a testament to Portugal’s illustrious past as a global naval power during the Age of Discovery. Situated at the confluence of the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean, this port served as the gateway to distant lands and untold adventures during the 15th and 16th centuries, solidifying Portugal’s reputation as a maritime powerhouse. Alongside Lisbon, other key ports such as Aveiro, Douro’s seaport, Leixões in the north, Setúbal, and Sines in the south have played pivotal roles in shaping Portugal’s maritime legacy.

Natas (the most amazing custard tarts!)

Monks and nuns originally baked many of Portugal’s best cakes. In fact, the original recipe for Pastel de Nata came from the monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Belem, Lisbon. In 1834, when the monastery closed, the formula was sold to the eventual owners of the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, which opened in 1837.

portuguese custard tart, pastel de nata, lisbon

Pastel de Nata looks like a cross between a custard tart and a cake. The outside is crispy and flaky, while the inside is creamy and sweet. To order this in Lisbon, request “u pastel de nata.” However, other regions call it by different names. Want to try one of these tasty pastries? They are best tried from a local bakery. Head of down to one of the best place to see in Portugal and try them.

The Trams of Lisbon

Here are some interesting facts about the historic trams of Lisbon?

Trams first appeared in Lisbon in 1873. They were called Carros Americanos and were first built in the United States.

portugal, lisbon, europe

Benagil Cave

Benagil Cave, also known as Algar de Benagil, stands as an emblem of natural wonder within the captivating coastal landscape of the Algarve region in Portugal. It holds a place of prominence as perhaps the most renowned sea cave in the area, drawing countless visitors with its sheer beauty and unique geological features.

Thus, whether by kayak, boat, or the stroke of a swimmer’s determined strokes, the journey to Benagil Cave promises an unforgettable odyssey—a rendezvous with the sublime beauty of nature’s creation, nestled within the rugged embrace of Portugal’s Algarve coastline.

Azores – a beautiful and unique Portuguese archipelago

Made up of nine different islands and situated far from Portugals coastal coast in the mid-atlantic, the Azores might be the perfect place for anyone looking for adventure, but they are also a perfect place for those searching for beauty and wonder. Each travel destination is unique and we strongly encourage the visitor to learn the most about it and we want to give you all of that information. Expect vineyards, spectacular scenery, fishing villages and lush pastures.

azores, landscape, nature

São Miguel Island

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the mystical landscapes of São Miguel, the crown jewel of the Azores archipelago, where cascading waterfalls stand as testament to the island’s natural splendor. Among the myriad wonders that adorn this paradisiacal haven, the waterfalls of São Miguel emerge as an enchanting focal point—a symphony of rushing waters and verdant greenery that captivates the soul of every traveler.

To immerse oneself in the ethereal beauty of São Miguel’s waterfalls, one must traverse the winding trails of PRC29SMI, a pathway steeped in history and brimming with natural allure. Following the path of an ancient power plant pipeline, adventurers are led on a journey through dense forests and verdant meadows, guided by the melodic echoes of cascading waters that beckon from afar.

As the trail unfolds, revealing its hidden treasures with each step, travelers are reminded to equip themselves with sturdy footwear, for the journey entails navigating a series of stairs that wind their way through the lush terrain. These humble steps serve as a testament to the island’s rugged charm, offering glimpses into its rich tapestry of flora and fauna.

island, azores, atlantic

Batalha Monastery

The Batalha Monastery is one of the most significant religious buildings in Portugal. King João accredited this gothic monastery in gratitude for the 1385 victory in the battle of Aljubarrota, and the grand designs took over a hundred years to construct. The leading portal has a myriad of carved arches and magnificent stone statues, which covers most of the western wall. The lower figures represent the Apostles, above them are angels, and at the pinnacle is a statue of Christ. You can visit the main church for free, and revel in its high vaulted ceilings and original stained glass windows. However, you must attend the paid sections to experience the real magic of the monastery.

monastery, batalha, architecture

Sintra

foam, castle, portugal

The Palacio da Pena is one of the most beautiful places in Sintra as well as one of the seven wonders of Portugal. It shares an array of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic, and Neo-Renaissance architectural styles and a prime example of 19th-century Romanticism. Initially, it was a monastery donated to the Order of Saint Jerome by Manuel I. It was reduced to ruins after the Lisbon Earthquake. In the restoration of 1994, the original colors were restored outside the Palace. These colors included old rose for the old monastery and ocher for the New Palace. The work of the Pena Palace ended in the mid-1860s, although later interior decoration campaigns were carried out.

Porto and Douro – Northern Portugal

In northern Portugal, Porto and Douro are two complementary destinations, both with the charm and delight of romantic locations. Porto is an ancient city that passed its name to Portugal as well as Port wine. Porto and Douro are located by the mouth of the River Douro and are classified as World Heritage Sites since 1996. Tourists admire the typical housing and granite monuments. Grab a tipple in Porto! Porto is one of the country’s largest cities that sits in the north of the country. This hilly city is one heck of a place to visit, think cobbled streets, fresh seafood and copious amounts of port that’ll keep you sozzled all evening! On our last visit, I kept forgetting that port was much more alcoholic than ‘regular wines’. As you can imagine an almighty hangover and bouts of feeling sorry for myself ensued.

Portuguese Vineyards

Taking the tram towards the beaches or riding along the river is quite romantic. Take a stroll around the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves with its luscious park, or the new Casa da Música and the praised Metro do Porto. Visit the Museu do Douro, where you will see objects about the region while enjoying a drink.

The Douro River

The Douro River is a historically significant river of the Iberian Peninsula, creating a magnificent waterway for cruise ships. The Douro River cruises run from Porto, Portugal to Vega de Terron, Spain. Most cruises are round trip from Porto. The most eminent structure on the river, the Dom Luis I Bridge, stretches to 951 feet long.

porto, portugal, river

You get a variety of Portugal and Spain on Douro River Cruises, meaning excellent Paella from Spain and Port wines from Portugal, along with Flamenco dancers and Portuguese pingo (like espresso).

Let’s learn a little about the city of Porto!

Portugal got its name for the city of Porto (Portus Cale) before Lisbon was the capital of Portugal. The city is nicknamed Invicta because Porto was never conquered, and even survived a siege.

The most typical dish in Porto is the Francesinha (Frency). It is composed of meat and sausages, cheese, and beer-tomato sauce. Porto’s most famous export is Port wine.

portugal, porto, port wine

Porto, the home to one of the three biggest football teams in Portugal, Futebol Clube do Porto (FCP). Porto also hosts one of Europe’s largest street festivals, St John’s Festival. Porto really is one of the best places to visit in portugal.

Aveiro

Are you ready to learn some fun facts about Aveiro?

Aveiro is known for bold Art Nouveau buildings, human-made canals, and ornate vessels.

aveiro, coloured houses, portugal

Costa Nova Beach, nestled along the idyllic shores of Aveiro, beckons seafood enthusiasts with its bountiful offerings from the nearby lagoon. Here, amidst the quaint charm of Cais dos Pescadores, culinary delights await as crabs, goose barnacles, shrimp, and whelks are expertly prepared to tantalize the taste buds of visitors. The aroma of freshly caught seafood mingles with the salty breeze, creating an ambiance that is as irresistible as it is unforgettable.

As tourists meander through the cobblestone streets of Aveiro, they are greeted by a cityscape adorned with picturesque canals, evoking comparisons to the famed waterways of Venice. Navigating these tranquil watercourses are Moliceiros, traditional boats whose vibrant hues mirror the colorful facades that line the waterfront. Embarking on a leisurely cruise aboard these gondola-style vessels offers a unique perspective of Aveiro’s charm, as the rhythm of the oars carries passengers through a tapestry of sights and sounds.

Portuguese architecture

Portugal’s architecture made its artistic statement. It developed its style, like all aspects of Portuguese culture noted in the history of the country, and many people that have settled and influenced the current Portuguese territory. These settlers include Romans and Suebians, among other related Germanic peoples, Visigoths, and Arabs. Influence from the main European artistic centers, such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassicism, are also present. Among the primary local manifestations of Portuguese architecture are the Manueline, the exuberant Portuguese version of late Gothic, and the Pombaline style that developed after the Great Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

statue, sculpture, art

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

The Monument to the Discoveries or Padrão dos Descobrimentos in Portuguese is a monument constructed in 1939 in honor of the Portuguese Discoveries of the golden XV and XVI centuries. It is also known as Monument to Navigators and designed by the Portuguese architect José Angelo Cottinelli Telmo.

Each side of this monument features 33 heroes of the Portuguese Discoveries, and the sculpture of Infante D. Henriques (Henry the Navigator) is found on the edge of the caravel. He was the most significant person in the Discoveries. You can climb up to the 6th floor, by stairs or elevator. Try to reach the highest point of this monument to enjoy one of the favorite views over Belém and Tagus River.

Classic Portuguese Azulejos tiles

Tiles (called Azulejos) are everywhere in Portugal. They decorate walls of churches and monasteries, palaces, ordinary houses, park seats, fountains, shops, and train stations. Azulejos date back to the 13th century, and the word Azulejo stems from Arabic roots, meaning ‘small polished stone.’ King Manuel I was astonished by the Alhambra in Granada (Spain) and decided to have his Palace in Sintra decorated with the same vibrant ceramic tiles.

portugal, azulejo, ceramic

When visiting a church or cathedral in Portugal, many are decorated in Azulejos, depicting a style that started during the 16th century. Birds and leaves were frequently symbols used as decoration, possibly inspired by Asian fabrics. Famous sites known for their Azulejo art include the Sao Bento Railway Station in Porto, and the Buçaco Palace.

Glorious beaches

Portugal is a gorgeous country and home to some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the world. The country’s coastline stretches for over 1,000 kilometers, and is littered with sandy coves and rocky cliffs. From the picturesque Algarve region in the south to the wilds of the Atlantic Coast in the north, there are plenty of beaches to choose from.

faro, portugal, algarve

Some of the most popular beaches in Portugal include Praia da Marinha in Lagoa, Costa da Caparica near Lisbon, and Dona Ana Beach in Lagos. Praia da Marinha is known for its dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters, while Costa da Caparica is a long sandy beach that is popular with locals and visitors alike. Dona Ana Beach is one of the most secluded beaches in Portugal, and features dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters.

Braga

Bragare is Portugals largest city. A city to the north, the town is renowned for a long tradition as a religious and commercial centre. Walking around the historical center of Braga you’ll be entered into an 18th-century city of magnificent mansions and impressive cathedrals, as well as impressive palaces. Several spruce gardens and parks break up the imposing granite veneer characteristic for most of the buildings. Braga was established in 10th century with its Cathedral Sé proving a popular tourist attraction that symbolises its position as a bishopric and church and it remains a major clesiastical centre for Portugal in Portugal.

Tavira

The most beautiful destination on this map, Tavira certainly possesses all of these picturesque features. This charming laid back vibe neighborhood has a Roman bridge that connects both sides. The waterfront provides an exciting walk before or after exploring Tavira’s remaining historical treasure. Castle walls give spectacular views over Old City and its neighbour’s shoreline.

tavira, algarve, water

You can also explore Igreja Santa Do Castelo, the grand cathedral where warriors’ Knights are buried. The city also has an amazing museum, Ncleo islmic. Highlighting this is an ancient and rare figure vase.

Vilamoura

Sopotnic Vilamoura, considered to be the heart of the Algarve, is known for its absorbent beauty, its natural beauty as well – a truly beautiful town. But today tourism is growing and becomes renowned for the luxuriant spa and golf courses and as a paradise for discerning food lovers. Vilamoura is where one can put his feet up. The Algarve offers countless beaches to explore in just minutes. Some of Portugals finest wind-surfs occur on beaches nearby. It’s definitely worth visiting for food lovers and wine-lovers.

Lagos

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal, Lagos soaks up the sunshine from the Algarve and is an ideal holiday destination for thousands of tourists. Lagos – formerly known by its stunning beach fronting both sides of its International Marina – is also a home of incredibly magical rocks and sand stone walls which rise above several rocky islands. There is also a series of sea caves and strange shaped cliffs, Alternatively, they are possible when visiting them during a relaxing sightseeing tour among many watersport activities.

Albufeira

portugal, albufeira, portuguese

This old fishing village today offers dozens of destinations for visitors domestically and internationally. The beaches of white tans, parasailing, jetskiing, dolphin watching and diving are not surprising. Two good beaches worth looking at are Praia da Oura and Praia dos Pescadors. The smaller secluded beaches with plenty of charm are ideal for families. Take the boat into the countryside to explore appealing villages and the finest restaurants on offer. Also remember to keep in mind the amazing nightlife.

Cascais – a pretty cosmopolitan coastal resort and a great place to visit in Portugal

Cascais, Portugal, Calcassis

Once a sleepy fishing community, Calcassis is a fashionable beach resort near Lisbon. It’s famed for a glorious beach, elegant nightlife, watersports and adventure pursuits has an elegant cosmopolitan quality. Besides being extremely acclaimed among artists and artisans for its exquisite landscape, the museum has some outstanding artworks that remain prominent in the Museum Cond de Castro Guimares. One more attraction is the elegant new marina filled with yachts dazzling in the sunshine.

What month is the best to go to Portugal?

Best time to visit Portugal is during spring months (March-May) when Portugal is blooming or waking from winter. If it is autumn (between September and Oct. ) it may be able to be crowded a few days after sunset when it’s hot.

That’s our starter for the best places to visit in Portugal. If you would like to travel to Portugal for less and even travel for free, check out our travel club membership: http://www.thetravelclub.info

 More about Portugal – Top Tips for your first amazing visit to Portugal: https://greatescapetravel.blog/top-tips-for-your-first-amazing-visit-to-portugal/

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