Things to do in
Sea of Marmara

Sea of Marmara: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Istanbul: Full-Day Princes Island Tour with Lunch

1. From Istanbul: Full-Day Princes Island Tour with Lunch

Explore Büyükada, the largest of Turkey’s Princes islands, on this 9-hour excursion from Istanbul. Cruise across the Sea of Marmara, watching the sights of Istanbul slip from view. See the pedestrianized island in the best possible way – by bike (not included) or spend time at leisure, perhaps relaxing on one of its beaches, before returning to Istanbul. Travel from your hotel by air-conditioned coach to the port with your guide, and board the boat that will take you to the Princes islands. The largest and most interesting of the islands is Büyükada, which is your destination for the day. From the boat, look back on the sights of Istanbul, seeing iconic landmarks such as Topkapi Palace and the pretty Kiz Kulesi (also known as the Maiden’s Tower), which was featured in the James Bond film, The World is Not Enough. Dock in Büyükada and Heybeli then take a stroll through the streets on your own, soaking up the laid-back atmosphere of island life. Return to the boat and listen as your guide talks about the island’s history during the ride. Learn about its time as a place of exile for banished statesmen and royalty, and of its life as a monastic settlement during Turkey’s Byzantine-Christian period. Pass lovely wooden mansions that are stunning examples of the island’s late Ottoman-era architecture, and look out over the sparkling sea. Seagulls are everywhere in Büyükada, and if you’d like to feed them your guide will give you simits (bread with sesame seeds) so you can toss them a treat. Have lunch on the boat in summer or in a restauarant in the winter (if the weather gets too bad) , then spend the rest of your day at leisure on the islands. Later, meet your guide at a pre-arranged time for your boat ride back to Istanbul. Gift and leather shop visit (Optional)The last leg of your journey will be by coach, and you’ll be dropped off at your Istanbul hotel.

Istanbul: Princes' Islands Cruise w/Music, Lunch & Transfer

2. Istanbul: Princes' Islands Cruise w/Music, Lunch & Transfer

Cruise across the deep-blue waters of the Marmara Sea on a boat tour departing from Istanbul. Experience two of the nearby Princes's Islands, Büyükada and Kınalıada, with free time to explore each. Enjoy a hotel transfer and a delicious lunch on board. Get picked up from your hotel in Istanbul, then head to the port to board your boat. Set sail into the mesmerizing ocean surrounding the city and navigate to Kınalıada. Take a short walking tour with your guide and learn about the island along the way. Hop back on the boat and eat a lunch to recharge your energy before traveling to your next destination. Make a stop at Büyükada, the largest of the nine islands, and have plenty of free time to discover at your own pace. Relax on the quiet beaches and go for a refreshing swim. Alternatively, rent an electric bike or scooter, as cars aren't allowed on the island. Ride conveniently among the glorious mansions with their characteristic balconies. Finally, get back on the boa for your return trip to Istanbul, then sit back on the ride to your hotel.

Istanbul: Round-Trip Ferry Tickets to the Princes' Islands

3. Istanbul: Round-Trip Ferry Tickets to the Princes' Islands

Exchange your voucher at the ticket office in Kabatas and get access to the boat. The boat departs from Kabatas ferry station in the morning and returns in the evening. A Marine Officer will welcome you at the departure pier, help you onto the boat, hand you a Bosphorus cruise plan, and explain to you what you will see during the crossing. Set off for the Princes' Islands, which in Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman times were used as exile sites and as a monastery region. Today only 4 of the total 9 Princes’ Islands are open to public settlement. Arrive at the most famous and beautiful of these islands called Büyükada, or 'Big Island'. Spend the day exploring the island at your own pace. Take a walk through the center and get used to the silence that reigns on the island. See the Merkez Eczanesi, a pharmacy from 1870, and feel you have stepped back in time. Go to Hamlaci Street 4 and see the ruins of the villa where Trotsky lived in exile between 1929 and 1933, writing his autobiography and 3 volumes on the "History of the Russian Revolution". Alternatively, rent a bike and cycle around the island admiring the magnificent old villas lining the streets. Explore the Greek Orthodox St. George Church on top of the island's tallest hill where you can also admire fantastic views of Istanbul, the Marmara Sea, and the neighboring islands.  Stop over and visit the former Greek Orphanage, Europe’s largest and the world's 2nd largest wooden house. Enjoy a delicious lunch in one of the many restaurants around the harbor. Go to one of the public beaches (Halk Plaji) or beach clubs for swimming and sunbathing. If you like hiking, you can also walk around the island on foot. When you have finished exploring, take the return ferry to Istanbul at your leisure. The boat departs Büyukada (Big Island) to return to Kabatas ferry station at 3:30 PM.

From İstanbul: Bursa Uludağ Mountain Tour & Cable Car Ride

4. From İstanbul: Bursa Uludağ Mountain Tour & Cable Car Ride

"Pick Up" On the day of this excursion, a driver and a professional tour guide will pick you up from your hotel in the city centre of Istanbul. "Car Ferry" In order to reach Bursa, the bus will drive you towards a harbour in order to enjoy a car ferry ride while passing the Marmara Sea. During this ferry trip, you can enjoy views over Bosporus and over the imposing bridges that connect Asia and Europe. "Turkish Delight Shop" By the end of your free time, the bus will continue towards the next stop of the excursion. A stop will also be made at a shop selling authentic Turkish delight. This worldwide famous dessert is one of the sweetest memories you will have from Turkey. Thus, do not miss the chance to purchase your favourites from this shop. We would also like to point out that after the Turkish delight workshop, we will take you to a place where local jam is made. "Uludag Mountain" When you arrive in Bursa, you will visit a 600-year old plane tree to snap some photos. Then, you will be driven towards Uludag Mountain. At a local restaurant there, you will enjoy a delicious meal in a quiet setting. After the lunch break, you will have free time to explore the area and enjoy your time in the mountain. "Cable Car Ride" Once the free time is over, you will enter in a cable car and enjoy an exciting and fun ride towards Bursa’s city centre. "Green Mosque" At the centre, a bus will be waiting for you in order to transfer you to the Green Mosque. This monument forms one of the most important ones in the city. It includes multiple important rooms, such as a library and tombs. The interior of this mosque will impress you as it is beautifully decorated with green tiles. "Return" The Green Mosque will be your last stop. The bus will then start driving towards Istanbul by following the same route. According to the schedule, return to your hotel in expected during the night.

Istanbul: Sapphire Observation Deck Entrance

5. Istanbul: Sapphire Observation Deck Entrance

The city's skyline stretches out before you in all its glory, offering an unparalleled 360-degree view of Istanbul's architectural marvels, historic landmarks, and natural wonders. The deck offers both indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, allowing you to soak in the breathtaking views from every angle. Step outside and feel the fresh breeze as you marvel at the turquoise waters of the Bosphorus Strait and the vast expanse of the Marmara Sea. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins frolicking in the waves below. As you take in the spectacular views, make sure to use the telescopes and binoculars provided to get a closer look at the city's landmarks. From the majestic Hagia Sophia to the grand Topkapi Palace, the deck offers a bird's-eye view of Istanbul's most famous attractions. Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime with the SkyRide 4D Simulation at the Sapphire Observation Deck in Istanbul. Take off from the terrace and fly over the city's top landmarks in a simulated helicopter ride. See the sparkling Bosphorus Strait, the iconic Maiden's Tower, the majestic Hagia Sophia, the grand Topkapı Palace, and more, all from the comfort of the observation deck. This is a fun, unique experience you don't want to miss!

Istanbul: Princes' Islands Tour with Lunch and Transfers

6. Istanbul: Princes' Islands Tour with Lunch and Transfers

Soak in the serene atmosphere of the Princes' Islands on a day trip from Istanbul with hotel pickup and drop-off included. Cruise past Topkapi Palace and Maiden's Tower, then glide across the Marmara Sea to reach the islands of Heybeliada and Buyukada. Start your day with a pickup from your hotel in Istanbul, and transfer to the port. Hop onboard an old-school boat and set sail in the Sea of Marmara. Make yourself comfortable on the decks, and observe Topkapi Palace and Leander’s Tower. After a 1.5-hour boat trip, disembark at Buyukada, the largest of the Princes' Islands. Take a walk around the charming old buildings, mansions, and villas that are home to local residents. Enjoy a place without any cars on the streets. After a stroll along the coast, hit the sandy bays to swim and unwind, or take a walk to the serene pine forest. Rent an electric car to tour the island for around 25 minutes and delve into the island's history. Savor lunch on the boat while taking in views of the islands from the sea. After lunch, enjoy the tranquil charm of your second stop in Kınalıada, the second largest of the Princes' Islands. In the afternoon, sail back to Istanbul port, with 30 minutes of free time for shopping. Then, be transferred back to your hotel with unforgettable memories.

Istanbul: Prince's Island Tour with Lunch and 2 Islands

7. Istanbul: Prince's Island Tour with Lunch and 2 Islands

Explore Büyükada, the largest of Turkey’s Princes' Islands, on this 8-hour excursion departing from Istanbul. Begin your journey with a cruise across the tranquil Sea of Marmara, watching the iconic sights of Istanbul gradually disappear from view. Once you arrive at Büyükada, discover the island's pedestrianized streets and charming ambiance in the best way possible – by joining an included Electric Car Tour. Alternatively, you can choose to spend your time at leisure, perhaps lounging on one of the island's pristine beaches, before returning to the vibrant city of Istanbul. Your adventure begins as you depart from your hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned coach, accompanied by your knowledgeable guide. Upon reaching the port, you'll board a boat bound for the Princes' Islands, with Büyükada as your primary destination. As you sail away from Istanbul, take a moment to admire the city's iconic landmarks such as the majestic Topkapi Palace and the picturesque Kiz Kulesi, also known as the Maiden's Tower, famously featured in the James Bond film, "The World is Not Enough." During your boat ride, your guide will share fascinating insights into the history of the island. Learn about its role as a place of exile for banished statesmen and royalty, as well as its history as a monastic settlement during the Byzantine-Christian period in Turkey. As you approach Büyükada, you'll be greeted by the sight of charming wooden mansions that showcase the island's late Ottoman-era architecture. The sparkling sea stretches out before you, and seagulls gracefully soar overhead. If you'd like, your guide can provide you with simits (bread with sesame seeds) to feed the seagulls and enjoy their company. Lunch will be served either on the boat in the summer or at a cozy island restaurant during the winter months. Following your meal, the remainder of your day is yours to enjoy at your own pace on the picturesque islands. Later in the day, you'll reconvene with your guide at a designated time for your boat journey back to Istanbul. Optionally, you can also visit local gift and leather shops to find unique mementos of your unforgettable day. The final leg of your journey will be a comfortable coach ride, ensuring your safe return to your Istanbul hotel, concluding a day filled with captivating experiences and cherished memories.

Best of Hagia Sophia Tour ( Not entry ticket) Just Tour

8. Best of Hagia Sophia Tour ( Not entry ticket) Just Tour

The Hagia Sophia with its innovative architecture, rich history, religious significance and extraordinary characteristics has been fighting against time for centuries, was the largest Eastern Roman Church in İstanbul. Constructed three times in the same location, it is the world’s oldest and fastest-completed cathedral. With its breathtaking domes that look like hanging in the air, monolithic marble columns and unparalleled mosaics, is one of the wonders of world’s architecture history. The sheer dazzling beauty of mosque with its magnificent play on space, light, and color provokes worship in the believer! Hagia Sophia pose on the ground of the first hill of İstanbul, precisely at the tip of the historic peninsula, surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn on three sides. When it was first built, it was named Megale Ekklesia (Big Church); however, after the fifth century, it was referred to as the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). The church was the place in which rulers were crowned, and it was also the biggest operational cathedral in the city throughout the Byzantine period. The first church was constructed by Emperor Konstantios (337-361) in 360. The first church was covered with a wooden roof and expanded vertically (basilica) yet was burned down after the public riot that took place in 404 as a result of the disagreements between Emperor Arkadios’ (395-408) wife empress Eudoksia and İstanbul’s patriarch Ioannes Chrysostomos, who was exiled. The patriarch’s mosaic portrait can still be viewed at the tymphanon wall located in the northern part of the Hagia Sophia. No remains have been recovered from the first church; however, the bricks found in the mosque storage branded ‘Megale Ekklesia’ are predicted to belong to the first construction. The second church was reconstructed by Emperor Theodosios II (408-450) in 415. This basilical structure is known to contain five naves and a monumental entrance; it is also covered by a wooden roof. The church was demolished in January 13, 532, after the public riot (Nika revolts) that took place during the fifth year of Emperor Justinianos’ reign (527-565), when the ‘blues’ who represented the aristocrats, and the ‘greens’ who represented the tradesman and merchants in the society, collaborated against the Empire. Remains found during the excavations led by A. M Scheinder of the İstanbul German Archeology Institute, 2 meters below ground level, include steps belonging to the Propylon (monumental door), column bases and pieces with lamb embossings that represent the 12 apostles. In addition, other architectural pieces that belong to the monumental entrance can be seen in the west garden. Best of Hagia Sophia Tour include the services of a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights and stories about the city's landmarks. This type of tour is ideal for solo travelers, families, or small groups looking for a more personalized and exclusive experience in Istanbul.

Istanbul: Full Day Princes Islands Guided Tour with Lunch

9. Istanbul: Full Day Princes Islands Guided Tour with Lunch

In our tour, we will be visiting two islands. We first pick up the guests from their hotels or specific addresses between 08:00 and 09:15. Then, we meet with the guide at the port and board the boat for Islands tour. After an aprox 1 hour pleasant boat journey, we reach our first destination, Heybeliada, (which may sometimes be a different island). Heybeliada is the the greenest. With our guide, we have free time over there. Later, we continue our tour and head to Büyükada. After our guide provides necessary explanations, we take a break for lunch, with the excellent presentation of Turkish dishes. During the free time given after lunch, you can explore the islands or savor local flavors. Free time, you may have the opportunity to go swimming on the island, but please note that this option is available only during the summer months. Finally, upon your return to Istanbul, there will be a stop for shopping. After shopping, we will drop you back at your respective hotels.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sightseeing Boat Tour with Guide

10. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sightseeing Boat Tour with Guide

From the central meeting point in Sultanahmet, you will be transferred to the boat dock to embark on a cruise along the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus Strait connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and separates Europe and Asia, making Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the only one built astride two continents. The cruise will afford you the unique opportunity to view both sides of the city. During this cruise, your guide will provide commentary and answer questions as you admire sights like Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Ciragan Palace and Rumeli Fortress as well as the ancient wooden villas, bridges and maritime landscapes. After the Bosphorus cruise, transfer to the original meeting point.

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What people are saying about Sea of Marmara

Overall rating

4.2
(1,091 reviews)

We thought the view was really amazing. We went at a good time when there really wasn't much going on. You can take the 4D cinema with you, but it's not a must. We definitely recommend a visit. The metro stops very close by. You can buy souvenirs, snacks and drinks at the top. Bags are searched and you are not allowed to take drinks up. A great way to get an overview of this incredibly huge city. You too will be amazed. Have fun

Princess Island is stunningly gorgeous. We loved everything about this tour. Our guide is very knowledgeable, friendly and courteous. He was sensitive to our needs and responded to our requests in a very professional way.

Perfect! From pick up till drop off, our tour guide and driver both did an excellent job. omer has provided a very interesting information in the each place that we visited. It was a perfect holiday.

The view was amazing and the tour guide was very helpful and knowledgeable.

We enjoyed this trip the staff was great. I highly recommend the activity