RIDE A HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE AROUND A CAR-FREE ISLAND

Escape to an island with picturesque wooden villas painted in pastel colorsRide the ferry across the Sea of Marmara while snacking on wafers and Turkish teaClimb into a horse-drawn carriage or rent a bicycle and admire breathtaking sea viewsTraffic in Istanbul can be intense—and intensely frustrating. Escape to the Prince Islands, a cluster of car-free islands in the Sea of Marmara. The prettiest island is the biggest, Büyükada, its wooden villas painted in pastel colors. It’s about 105 minutes (5TL each way) by ferry from Kabataş docks, located between Dolmabahçe Palace and Istanbul Modern. IDO operates a faster catamaran service during summer months (10TL each way)—the journey takes just under an hour, but you can’t go out on deck. Buy a token (jeton) at the pier and ask for the boat to Adalar (Islands). Beware: on sunny summer weekends, the ferries are rammed, so aim for the earliest boat. Snack sellers hop aboard at every stop, balancing trays of Turkish tea, fresh orange juice, and paper-thin wafers. Climb into a horse-drawn carriage on Büyükada’s beguiling harbor, or rent a bicycle and loop round the island’s only road, stopping to swim at sandy coves. It’s a 30-minute hike through pine forests to the Monastery of St. George atop Yucetepe, the island’s highest peak. The house wine and kebabs at Yucetepe Kir Gazinosu restaurant are passable, but the sea views will take your breath away. It’s open daily in summer, weekends only in winter. To get to the Prince Islands, head to the Kabataş docks, located between Dolmabahçe Palace and Istanbul Modern. You can also take the IDO catamaran for a quicker trip. Once you’re on the island of Büyükada, go all the way to the southern tip to find Yucetepe Kir Gazinosu.SEHIR HATLARI FERRY TIMETABLE: en.sehirhatlari.com.tr IDO FERRY TIMETABLE: ido.com.tr YUCETEPE KIR GAZINOSU: Yuce Tepe Mevki No:5; +90-(0)216-382-1333