Bozcaada, a formerly-Greek now Turkish island 52 km (32 miles) south of Çanakkale (map), is a favorite summer retreat for Istanbullus.
Known for much of its history as Tenedos, it became part of the new Turkish Republic in 1923, mostly for reasons of national security: Bozcaada (BOHZ-jah-ah-dah) and nearby Gökçeada (GERK-cheh-ah-dah, formerly Imbros) are two islands at the southern end of the strategic Dardanelles strait. They were used by the Allies against the Ottoman Empire during the Gallipoli campaign (1915-1916), and the Turks didn't want it to happen again.
Today tourism is Bozcaada's prime industry, but vineyards and winemaking are still important here as they have been for a millennium or more. The Corvus, Çamlıbağ and Talay wineries maintain the tradition, with vineyards and restaurants where you can discover their wines. More...
Also, fishing boats set sail daily in suitable weather from the island's only town to bring in the daily catch. You can see their nets piled on the wharf.
What to See & Do
Relax! Dine and sip an island vintage with friends. Take in the sun. Bozcaada is all about getting away from it all. Unlike some summer islands, the spirit on Bozcaada is one of relaxed enjoyment, not of high-volume music and frenetic activity. This is not Bodrum....
Steady winds drive Bozcaada's electricity-producing wind farm, and keep visitors cool in the heat of summer. At other times of year, you may find yourself seeking shelter from the constant breezes.
In summer, minibuses make regular runsfrom the town to Ayazma Plajı on the southwest coast, the only beach with facilities (shade, restaurant, etc.) Other beaches can be reached if you have your own vehicle, or sturdy legs.
Before sunset, make your way to the western tip of the island for the treat of sunset across the sea.
The fortress (kale) is a constant presence in Bozcaada...
Note that in high summer, advance reservations are absolutely necessary. You cannot just go to the island and be sure of finding a place to stay.
Kale Pansiyon, İnönü Caddesi No: 69, owned by longtime hotelier Mr Coşkun Bilgi, has 14 comfortable guest rooms, a warm welcome, and a breakfast terrace with views of the castle and town. Highly recommended. More...
Bozcaada has numerous other small pensions, guesthouses, and hotels from budget to luxury. Use the handy Hotel Search Box to check room rates, availability, location and facilities———>>>
You'll notice harborside restaurants as you arrive by ferry. Walk inland from the harbor and you'll see lots more small cafés and restaurants. Wander around, find one you like, and begin the adoption process for finding "your" place on the island.
Transport to Bozcaada
Minibuses run regularly all year between Çanakkale and the village of Geyikli, ending their run at Geyikli İskelesi, the dock for ferryboats to Bozcaada.
In season (May through September), there are direct buses from Istanbul and other cities to Geyikli İskelesi: get on the bus in the city, get off the bus and board the ferry.
Car and passenger ferryboats operated by Gestaş make the 5-km (3-mile) voyage from Geyikli İskelesi to the town of Bozcaada in about 35 minutes. In the busy months from May through October, ferries operate Monday throgh Thursday at least every two hours between about 08:00 am and 22:00 (10:00 pm); Friday through Sunday, voyages are hourly on the hour. All tickets are round-trip/return: buy it once, go both ways on it.
Gestaş also operatesless frequent ferries between Kabatepe and Bozcaada, running about four to six times daily in each direction.
Vehicles on Bozcaada
Regulations limit vehicular traffic to and on Bozcaada during the summer tourism season from early June through mid-September. To transport a car from the mainland to the island you must obtain a reservation in advance. Once on the island, you may drive directly through the town to other parts of the island, but you may not drive in the town center except when you return to the ferry.
Traffic in the town is limited to service vehicles carrying food, supplies and equipment.
—by Tom Brosnahan