Though the Sultanhamet area will long remain the centre of Istanbul's tourist honey pot, nobody's insane enough to enjoy a week battling their way between the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and Taksim Square.
Escape the craziness by taking a boat to Princes’ Islands, a group of nine islands, an hour away from the city centre. These car-less islands where, yes, Princes were once exiled, offer the visitor secluded monasteries, decent walks, spectacular views and a weird wild west goes east ambience. At least they do out of season. In the summer, city folk flock to the islands in the same way that East Enders used to hit Epping.
Not that this changes the wholly delightful – and slightly European art house movie – experience of visiting the Princes’ Islands. The shabbily romantic face, of a compellingly multifaceted city.
Boats sail to the islands from just about every part of the city. So it's just a question of finding a ferry stop marked Adalar (which means islands in Turkish). On the European side, you can get there from the Eminönü ferry stops, just over the road from Sirkeci (the European) train station. If you're staying on Asian side you can go from Kadikoy.
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