The innocent beauty of the Prince Islands: Kınalıada


Kınalıada, the smallest of the Prince Islands, the flower of Istanbul, attracts you with the sweetness of a little child.

A ferry sailing in the chilly waters of the Marmara, a crowd, very complacent in it… Then the ferry sidles to the pier slowly and lets the passengers on the first stop, an adorable island. I called it ‘adorable’, since the one I mentioned is the smallest one of the Prince Islands, flower of Istanbul, the Kınalıada…

Some of the passengers of the SirkeciAdalar ferry are impatient, some want this journey to finish immediately, want to arrive the place where they want to go as soon as possible; and some get all the pleasure of the ferry, either watching the silhouette of Istanbul or being friends with the seagulls. The ferry sidles slowly to the first stop of the journey for the impatient passengers. The dockman is in his station… The flow of the getting off passengers gently tilts the ferry.

You find yourself on the island in a flash. Although the quietude of the island bedazzles you at first, you soon note that this is because of the shyness of meeting with you for the first time and you get more and more soothed as the shyness disappears in time.

When you get out of the pier, at the right, at the moment you see the swimming dwellers and visitors of Kınalıada, you too wish to jump into the sea but my advice, please be patient. Because, the famous Ayazma Beach at the back side of the island is waiting for you to refresh you. If you are sure of yourself to climb up the hill, you may walk to Ayazma Beach. But remember; the slope you’ll climb is very steep and the downward slope is full of pebbles! You may go to the beach without getting tired, by small boats.

Be a guest at Ayazma

Ayazma Beach with its new and classy shape accommodates you nicely; its beach, sauna, pool and gym will supply all your want. In the restaurant part of Ayazma, you can find a medley of dishes from hamburger to fish, and from kebab to grills. I know you are longing for the sea, the pool and the sun and wish to spend your day on Ayazma Beach, but you better not stay on the beach the whole day in order to see the other beauties of the island.

Sink into the quietude of the Monastery…

When coming to Kınalıada by ferry, the monastery on top of the island should have drawn your attention. I strongly recommend you to sit in the greenery near this monastery called Hristo, and get lost under the spell of the scenery. On this hill where you can see all the Anatolian Bank shoreline, it is another pleasure to watch the sunset. Above all, watching the ferries swaying the sea, and then cheering up with the chirping of the birds, listening to the sound of the wind blowing gently… They are all such joyous that… It will not be surprising if you find yourself lent to illusions under the spell of the scenery. But you better not let yourself so deep, since you may find it difficult to adapt the cacophony and stress of Istanbul when you return. It’s for your own good not to stay on the hill too long, the gentle breeze on the hill, after a certain time, may begin to disturb you without knowing. Anyhow, sitting there only for a short time gives you such a pleasure…

With the happiness and solitude, like a little prankster rolling down the hill, you may go down to the beach from the hill where the monastery is located. Also a sweet weariness folded on you there is; the best way to wear this off is to drink sage tea along with the freshest cookies specific to the island in the Dezire Patisserie on the shore and at the same time to listen to and to watch Kınalıada…

After you wear off your weariness then it is time to have a walk. This walk won’t tire you much anyway, since it takes at most twenty minutes to walk through the shore. After all you are on the smallest of the islands. It’s good to remind that Kınalıada, for its being small and steep, is the only island where there are no coaches. If you wish to tour the island by bike you may rent it.

Now it is time for dinner!

It’s getting late, time for returning home is drawing near but you wish to have dinner before returning. If you prefer light dishes you should go to Cafe Pari. Both the atmosphere and the dishes of Cafe Pari will satisfy you. If your choice is fish, you may prefer the Kınalı Sofrası which will welcome you with all hospitality at the rear street of the shore way. If you are one of those who love fried mussels, it is no way that you come to Kınalıada and do not eat at Şampiyon. Mimoza Restaurant, taking its name from the mimosas that put beauty on the island in spring, is one of the nicest places where you can have your meal accompanied by live music.

No way you are leaving without eating ice-cream after dinner; Yeşil Roma Dondurması, does a super duper to the Istanbulites visiting Kınalıada and offers your cornet overloaded. While you are eating your ice-cream, the ferry appearing aloof reminds you that it is time to depart this adorable island. It is how a little kid feels bitter when leaving the visitors who amused him, made him laugh and how departure is difficult for him, you feel the same departing Kınalıada. In the great joy of having such a beautiful day, you thank to Kınalıada for its hospitality. As the ferry sidles in order to take you from the pier, you promise to the island that you will come again. But don’t make her wait too long, so may her not miss you…

How to go?

You may go to Kınalıada by fast ferry cruises by IDO from BostancıKabataş and Kadıköy piers.

As the team of, we have been working hard since 1995, serving Istanbul and Istanbul lovers with our in depth & up-to-date content on Turkish culture, food and lifestyle.