Updated: Sep 25, 2018
Istanbul is one of the most specular cities I’ve ever been to, so we made sure to get to Eminonu Square early so we could enjoy the hustle and bustle of the morning commute. By 8:30 AM we had a fresh simit (a traditional Turkish pretzel) in one hand, a Turkish coffee in the other, and sat happily along the water front excited for our Tourme tour to begin!
By 10:00 AM it was time to begin our tour and jump on an hour long ferry ride to the Princes Islands! Rakib, our tour guide for the day, quickly took us to the top deck of the ferry for the best view of Istanbul and got us clued in on our itinerary! It was hard to stay focused on the information Rakib was giving us, as seagulls were dive bombing down trying to grab bits of simit from peoples hands!
With four islands to choose from, Rakib suggested that we head straight to the third island called Herbaliada Mahallesi for its quiet streets, beautiful architecture, and stunning views! We chose to walk around the island instead of using a horse buggy or renting a bike, so we could take our time exploring the neighbourhoods!
Since we were visiting in mid-September the island was pretty quiet with few tourists. From what Rakib described, during the summer months the island is a hot spot for folks from Istanbul to relax, have a picnic, and enjoy the coastline!
Grabbing a seasonal nectarine from one of the local shops, we explored the island for a few hours poking our heads into old Churches, abandoned homes, and stopping for photos from the top of the island. On our way back to the pier, we stumbled upon the local market and having Rakib next to us, he helped us bargain as we bought some produce to bring back with us! With our very limited Turkish, it was great having Rakib with us to help negotiate the right price and translate what was happening!
We made our way back to the pier to catch the return ferry, but decided it wouldn’t have been right not eating a fish sandwich from one of the restaurants! Going with Rakib’s recommendation, we took a seat at a hole in the wall restaurant and enjoyed a delicious fish sandwich, while watching the horse buggies trot by!
When planning your next trip, I recommend you taking a look at Tourme and scheduling a tour with one of their local guides! It’s the perfect way to see a city, be taken to places you typically wouldn’t see, and have someone you can trust! For more information, check out their website and download their app! A big thank you to the Tourme team for setting this up for us. You made our last day in Istanbul perfect!