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I love Istanbul all year round, but when the temperatures rise and the sun actually shines, the streets are all the more magical. The beach clubs and the rooftop bars open, the parks get packed with sunbathers, and you can eat, drink and play outdoors all day, late into the evening. So when it's hot in Istanbul and the thermometer starts rising, here are my top ways to chill out and relax.

Princes’ Islands

Princes’ Islands

Naples has its Capri and its Ischia; Constantinople has its Princes’ Islands. The islands are like jewels which adorn Istanbul’s bay. They are the most famous and charming of all the beauty spots in the vicinity of Istanbul. The little archipelago consists of nine islands, four of them of a certain size, the rest tiny. Ferries stop in turn at the four principal isles, the closest of which is Kınalı, known to the Greeks as Proti, followed by Burgaz (Antigoni), Heybeliada (Halki) and finally Büyükada (Prinkipo), the largest and most populous of the isles. During the summer months there is a ferry from Büyükada to Sedef. There are a few summer residents on Kaşıkadası (Pita), but Tavşanadası (Neandros), Yassıada (Plati) and Sivriada (Oxia) are uninhabited. Except for a few municipal vehicles, only faytons, or horse-drawn carriages, are used on Büyükada, Heybeliada and Burgaz, while not even those are allowed on Kınalı. My favorite is definitely the Büyükada which is the largest and the most beautiful one. As it is too crowded on weekend, I recommend you go there during weekdays. Its village has a number of charming residences surrounded by beautifully designed small gardens. One of these is the Iliasko Yalı Köşkü at the foot of Hamlacı Street, which was during the years 1929–33 the home of Leon Trotsky when he was living in exile on Büyükada. It was also the place that he wrote his autobiography and began his History of the Russian Revolution.

There are two Greek churches in the village; The church of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Church of St Dimitros. There is one more church named Hagia Yorgi in the rural side of the island. the 6th-century Church is regarded as one of the most vital ancient Christian pilgrimages in Turkey. It is believed that prayers and wishes made at this church come true.

The island consists of two large hills separated in the middle by a broad valley, so that the road around it makes a figure eight. You can make the tour by fayton, the Büyük, or Grand Tour, going all the way round the island and the Küçük, or Short Tour, going around the northern half.

Yıldız Park

Yıldız Park

It is my chance to live in a neighbourhood that is so close to the Yıldız Park. This park is located at the heart of Beşiktaş. It was used for a long period as hunting ground by the Ottoman Sultans since the late 18th century. It was converted into park during the reign of Abdülhamid II in the 1880s, when he decided to move from Dolmabahçe to nearby Yıldız Palace. It is now the largest urban park in the central İstanbul and undoubtedly the most beautiful one with its rich flora and fauna and off-course with its unbeatable sea and city view from the top of its hills. There are also pavilions and villas within the park built by Ottoman rulers and high officials, some of which are now used as café and restaurant. It is a great idea to have a breakfast at the park on Sunday and watch the panoramic view of the city.

Suma Beach

Suma Beach

This is a private Beach Club with free Wi-Fi, a bar and an inner court for woodland walks. The beach is at the Black Sea shore at Kilyos, the very northern part of the European side of Istanbul. I usually go this place during summer. There are volleyball and beach soccer tournaments in the afternoon throughout the summer season, participations of which are free. The beach turns into a club at night where world-famous DJs perform their set for the music-enthusiast club crowd.

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