Ayvalık, on Turkey’s north Aegean coast opposite the Greek island of Lesvos (Mytileni), 151 km (94 miles) north of İzmir and 163 km (101 miles) south of Çanakkale (map), is a popular North Aegean seaside resort for Turks in need of sun, sand, sea and seafood.
Surrounded by groves of olive trees which produce much of Turkey’s best olive oil, Ayvalık (AHY-vah-luhk, “Quince Orchard”, pop. 30,000) has an interesting history.
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Greeks of Ayvalık moved to Greece, and Turkish citizens of Greece moved to Ayvalik. Thus, even after the Greeks left, you could still hear Greek spoken in the streets of Ayvalık, although the speakers were Turkish Muslims (who had grown up in Greece).
The harbor at Ayvalık…
Ayvalık has several Orthodox churches now converted to mosques, and some graceful old mansions made into boutique hotels.
Turkish tourists throng the many waterside open-air restaurants in summer, or take the ferry across the bay to Alibey Island (Cunda) where there are even more good waterside restaurants and tavernas.
Dining, relaxing, swimming and boating are the things to do here in summer. Sarımsaklı Beach, on a quiet cove southwest of the town center, is the most popular place to spend the day.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Transport for Ayvalık|