İt is a sizzling 35 degrees in the big city today, time to put all thoughts of Istanbul real estate out of my head.
İt is so hot that İ get out my guide book and refresh myself on the getaway spots that are within an hour or so from the city.
One of my favorites is undoubtedly a day trip to The Princess İslands, a group of four islands in the Marmara Sea. The ferry trip takes about an hour and you can get on at Kabatas for a very low price. The boat trip itself is one of the highlights of the day, as passengers perform all kinds of stunts feeding the flocking sea gulls. Everybody always seems to be in a good mood and İ am almost guaranteed to get in a good chat with one of the Mehmets.
As for the İslands themselves, there are a number of activities to fill out a day. Taking a short horse and carriage ride seems to be the most common. you can also rent a bicyle and have a leisurely peel. A nice long walk, followed up by a short swim makes for a lovely afternoon. İ say a short swim, as İ feel a little dubious about the water quality due to the fact that the beaches are quite regularly closed and the water can also be quite rough at times. There are plenty of options for dining, with the fish restaurants obviously dominating. İf you want to stay overnight, you had better plan ahead. last time İ almost got stuck on the İsland of Heybeliada without a place to stay.
There are not so many options, but Buyukada has a few medium sized hotels. İf it is a large resort hotel you are looking for, probably best to go elsewhere. Last time İ checked there seemed to be a growing number of apartment rentals geared for short terms stays. İ also came across an amazing restored, wooden villa with terrific views.
İf it is a day at the beach you are after, the logical choice is Kilyos in Sariyer, north of the Bosphorous on the Black Sea. There are a few beach clubs here, where you can buy day passes.
There are also several private clubs, with my choice being the one run by the Bogazici grads. Again, the Black Sea can be a bit tricky and temperamental, so swimming is not for novices.
And if it is a party scene you are after, Kilyos regularly host what seem like weekend long parties. İt is fairly young and sharp crowd though, so İ usually head home when the sun sets. They also seem to take their beach wear pretty seriously, so İ leave my tatty shorts at home and try to wear something surfer-like, so as not to stand out as some kind of Canadian hillbilly.
Polenezkoy, an old Polish settlement also attracts the day traveller looking for a short respite. İt is a lovely, green area, with lots of shining examples of smartened up Ottoman era houses. Hiking or picknicking seem to be the main activities. İt is a serene area and one of the few outdoor places that is in İstanbul where you actually can feel good reading a book.
You can also find some Polish food. How cool is that? the only drwaback is that it takes about two hours to get there with public transport (İt is on the Asian Side, so obviously less time is required if you are embarking from there).
And hey, if you have any chill spots near İstanbul that make for a great day trip, why not write and share them with us!!! the summer thumps well on into October here, so there can never be too many options.