Turkey's Tropical Island Paradises
Another way of exploring the calm waters of Turkey, a country surrounded by water on three sides, is to visit the many islands that Turkey has to offer. Mainly located in the Aegean Sea, are visited by an influx of tourists every year, offering extensive seafood products, sands, and harboring the quintessence of the Greek and the Ottoman heritage. The more’famous islands which you should consider visiting are: Princes’ Islands, Avşa Island and Marmara Island in the Marmara Sea; islands of Bozcaada, Gökçeada and Cunda in the Aegean Sea; Three Islands in the Mediterranean and Akdamar Island on Lake Van are the most attractive islands offering various experiences to visitors. Three Islands offer important examples of the historical and natural beauties of their respected regions while enabling exploration of different places out of the mainland. Also, the islands have all kinds of facilities not only for daily tours, but also for your entire vacation with extensive accommodation.
If you will spend your vacation in Istanbul and if you would like to have some quiet time in the midst of trees and near the sea, your place of choice should be the islands in the Marmara Sea. While Princes’ Islands ranks number one for Istanbul residents with their close proximity to Istanbul and their short 30-minute commute, particularly Halki Seminary of Heybeliada, which holds a significant historical value for Orthodox Christians, has been the focus of interest for tourists. Heybeliada, as being one of the Princes’ islands with its famous greenery, attracts visitors with its numerous churches as well as restaurants located on the island, offering the best examples of Turkish and Greek cuisine. Those, who would like to swim, should prefer Avşa and Marmara islands with a distance of 3 hours from Istanbul. While facility rich Avşa Island is preferred by those who would like night entertainment, tourists preferring a more tranquil holiday go to Marmara Island of outstanding natural beauty.
The numerous Aegean islands are among popular destinations for vacationers. With its fame spreading out of Turkey in recent years and known for its Ayazma Beach with crystal clear waters and beautiful sands, Bozcaada is also an important wine production center. Gökçeada, located at the end of Dardanelles as the second island and as it is the biggest island in Turkey, is known for its old Greek settlements and natural beauty. One place to go for experiencing Greek cuisine and culture thoroughly is undoubtedly Cunda Island. On this island, where typical narrow streets of old Greek settlements and charming little houses still remain, you can taste the best of Greek cuisine with its appetizers and seafood accompanied with Rakı. It is possible to reach the island by a land route via a bridge built as a result of its proximity to the mainland.
If you would like an adrenaline-packed vacation, you should go for Three Islands located offshore of the Kemer District in Antalya. Because it is one of Turkey’s leading diving spots, these islands have world class diving areas and there are centers offering training services for amateur divers on the coast of Tekirova located near the islands. It is possible to reach Three Islands, which have underwater caves and reefs, by taking a 30-minute boat ride. And finally, being the most important island on Lake Van and famous with it’s legends, Akdamar Island has been the focus of tourist attention every year visiting Akdamar Church which is of significant importance for Mediaeval Armenian civilization.