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 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 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.


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


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