Princes Islands

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WorldMediterraneanTurkeySea of MarmaraPrinces Islands
40°51.630'N, 029°05.970'E Chart icon.png
Büyükada or PringiposÇam Limani in Heybeliada or HalkiBurgazada or Antigoni
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Chart of Princes' Islands - For details click on a name or an area

The Princes' Islands (Πριγκηπονήσια - Pringiponisia) just a few miles south of Istanbul have been a resort for the rich and famous since the Byzantine times. They consist of four main islands: Büyükada or Pringipos (Πρίγκηπος), Heybeliada or Halki (Χάλκη), Burgazada or Antigoni (Αντιγόνη), Kinaliada or Proti (Πρώτη), plus smaller islands such as Sivriada and Yassiada. Both Büyükada and Heybeliada are picturesque and popular tourist resorts, while Burgazada and Kinaliada are somewhat less attractive and therefore quieter. There are several anchorages around the islands which can be used as lunch stops or overnight in settled weather, but only one properly sheltered anchorage, Çam Limani on the south coast of Heybeliada, which is safe in the prevailing N/NE winds.

On all the Princes' islands there are no motor vehicles allowed except municipal, naval (on Heybeliada, where there is a huge naval college) and police vehicles. There are otherwise no cars, motorcycles or scooters. People and goods are moved mostly by horse-drawn carriages and carts, although a few electric tricycles have begun to make an appearance. The islands are thus excellent places for walking or cycle hire, with the horse-drawn carriages the only frequent road hazard to be considered.

Typical Princes’ Islands transport


See Sea of Marmara.


Give local weather conditions or refer to another page (a region or island group) that covers these conditions.

Sources for Weather forecasts:


The Princes’ Islands are within 12 miles of all the main Istanbul marinas – Atakoy, Kalamiş/Fenerbahçe, Pendik – and even the new marina at Yalova is only 15 miles away. In addition to being a useful stop on passage between the Dardanelles and the Black Sea, they are therefore a handy place to visit in settled weather from any of the surrounding marinas.


Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


The approaches to the Princes' Islands are mostly free of dangers, although there are extensive shoals off the northern coast of Büyükada, marked with a N cardinal buoy, and isolated rocky patches close inshore around several of the islands. A large-scale chart is an advantage, although following the 10 metre contour around all the islands avoids all the dangers.

Islands in the Group

There are several anchorages around the islands which can be used as lunch stops or overnight in settled weather, but only one properly sheltered anchorage, Çam Limani on the south coast of Heybeliada, which is safe in the prevailing N/NE winds.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs



Çam Limani on Heybeliada, as mentioned above, is the only protected anchorage. There are however, several day anchorages that can be used by yachts for brief shore visits or lunch stops.

Chart of Cam Limani

Çam Limani

Çam Limani/wiki/Princes_Islands#.C3.87am_Limani
Anchorage icon Çam Limani [[Princes Islands#Çam Limani|Çam Limani]] 40°52.2′N, 29°05.1′E

Çam Limani lies roughly in the centre of the south coast of Heybeliada or Halki and is the only protected anchorage in the Princes' Islands. It is an attractive anchorage and very popular with motor cruisers from Istanbul. It natural beauty is spoiled, however, by some rather ugly institutional building ashore. Also, during the day there is a constant blare of moronic music from the speakers of the Ada Beach Club at the eastern end of the bay. However, once the beach bar closes around sunset, the cove can be blissfully quiet as long as you avoid the weekends and nightjars are often heard here at dusk and herons patrol the shoreline in early morning. Weekends, however, will see as many as 50 to 60 boats of all sizes crammed into the bay, diminishing to perhaps as few as a dozen by nightfall. Visit on weekdays, especially in early or late season, and you may even have the cove to yourself. Anchor anywhere the depths are suitable; depths range from 5.0 metres around 50 metres offshore to 15 metres in the centre of the bay. The holding is good in sand and weed, but make sure your anchor is through the weed before venturing ashore. In settled weather, there is often a SW seabreeze in the mornings, which turns NE in early afternoon. This should be borne in mind when deciding where to place your anchor in relation to other boats and in which direction to lay it.

The main town of Heybeliada can be visited easily from the anchorage: leave your dinghy on the small beach to the right of the Ada Beach Club and walk up the road past the naval college. The town is only around 30 minutes’ walk. It is also possible to take your dinghy, but there is little point as – unless you have a very powerful motor – it will still take you around half an hour and the harbour has nowhere really suitable for tying up.

Anchorage at Cam Limani looking E towards Ada Beach Club


Anchorage icon Büyükada [[Princes Islands#Büyükada|Büyükada]] (Pringipos - Πρίγκηπος) 40°51.54′N, 29°6.67′E
On Büyükada or Pringipos, yachts can anchor in settled weather just west of the ferry pier on the north coast of the island, where depths are 3.0 – 5.0 metres and the holding is good in sand and weed. This position is exposed to the prevailing N/NE winds and a yacht should leave if there is any strengthening in the wind.
Anchorage at Burgazada


Anchorage icon Burgazada [[Princes Islands#Burgazada|Burgazada]] (Antigoni - Αντιγόνη) 40°52.95′N, 29°4.2′E
On Burgazada or Antigoni, around 15 moorings have been laid in depths of 3.5 to 5.5 metres immediately S of the long pier that extends from the easternmost point of the island. Shelter here is reasonable from the prevailing winds in the lee of the pier and yachts often use these moorings for lunch trips to the numerous restaurants ashore. You will usually be approached by several RIBs from the restaurants eager to help you tie up here. These moorings are not really suitable for an overnight stay except in very settled weather.


Anchorage icon Heybeliada [[Princes Islands#Heybeliada|Heybeliada]] (Halki - Χάλκη) 40°52.667'N, 029°05.500'E
On Heybeliada, there are few suitable alternative anchorages to Çam Limani, although a restaurant has laid a few mooring buoys in a small cove at the SW end of the island which are used by local yachts for lunch stops. The main harbour in Heybeliada is constantly awash with ferries roaring in and out and is no place for a yacht.


Water N/A (Not Available)
Electricity N/A
Toilets N/A
Showers N/A
Laundry N/A
Garbage There are bins
Fuel N/A
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers None
Repairs N/A
Internet Only in internet cafes in Büyükada and Heybeliada
Mobile connectivity ?
Vehicle rentals None. But, you can hire a horse drawn buggy or rent a bicycle on Büyükada and Heybeliada


In Büyükada/wiki/Princes_Islands#In_.5B.5B.23B.C3.BCy.C3.BCkada.7CB.C3.BCy.C3.BCkada.5D.5DProvisions icon In Büyükada [[Princes Islands#In Büyükada|In Büyükada]] there are everal stores.

In Heybeliada]/wiki/Princes_Islands#In_.5B.5B.23Heybeliada.7CHeybeliada.5D.5D.5DProvisions icon In Heybeliada] [[Princes Islands#In Heybeliada]|In Heybeliada]]] there are everal stores.

Eating out

/wiki/Princes_Islands#.27.27__.27.27Eatingout icon [[Princes Islands# | ]] a number of attractive restaurants and patisseries.
/wiki/Princes_Islands#.27.27__.27.27Eatingout icon [[Princes Islands# | ]] a number of attractive restaurants and patisseries.
/wiki/Princes_Islands#.27.27__.27.27Eatingout icon [[Princes Islands# | ]] a number of attractive restaurants and patisseries on the waterfront.


Regular ferries to Istanbul. In summer, they buzz like flies.



Give a short history of the island.)

Places to Visit

Princes’ Islanders are often house-proud
Pringipos Island
Ottoman houses in Heybeliada
Marmara HalkiHouse1.jpgAn Old House in Halki

In Büyükada

Büyükada island is a very affluent and busy but attractive resort. Many of the old Ottoman houses have been restored and the streets above the harbour are lined with magnificent mansions, all with beautiful gardens enclosed by intricate ironwork fences and gates. Wealthy Istanbullus maintain a number of villas here with well-kept gardens and overall there is a general air of great opulence. There are also a number of old fashioned and rather plush hotels. One of the best ways to see the island is to hire one of the horse drawn buggies, which can take you on a complete tour of the island.

In Heybeliada

Heybeliada or Halki has been a resort for wealthy Istanbul Greeks, Armenians and Jews for centuries. Today, it has a more relaxed and less frenetic charm than its big sister, Büyükada. Behind its busy waterfront, packed with restaurants and cafes, you will still find a number of old Ottoman houses in varying degrees of restoration, from the magnificent to the all but derelict.

Also, located here is the Halki Theological School and monastery. This school has educated generations of Christian Orthodox clergy including the present Patriarch Bartholomew. It is an imposing building both from the inside and from the outside. The building is large and imposing. The enclosing gardens are well kept and lovely with many colorful blooming flowers. Inside the garden there is a lovely church. All the classrooms in the main building are clean and it is furnished by old, well polished, wooden furniture. There used to be 300 students here until 1971 when the school stopped operating by order of the government. The Patriarch is very active in trying to obtain permission for the school to function again. You can see the dining room and the reception room, all very opulent. All the signs, including the large plaque at the entrance, are exclusively in Turkish. It is a piece of Byzantium in moth balls transported to modern Turkey. Very strange!


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See Turkey.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • From early June to late September, avoid the anchorage at Çam Limani before 1900 on Saturdays and Sundays. After that time, it’s just busy. Before that time, it’s frantic! --Athene of Lymington 17:17, 7 June 2011 (BST)
  • Cam Limani is a beautiful anchorage and the island paths very pleasant. The water is swimable in contrast to the sewage nearer Istanbul. The beaches are littered with refuse which does not appear to bother the inhabitants which is quite disappointing. --Monterey May 2013

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This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.

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Names: Istioploos, Atheneoflymington, Lighthouse, Haiqu,Monterey

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