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Coastal town or Island in Turkey: Bozcaada? Cirali? Cesme? Foca? Other?

Coastal town or Island in Turkey: Bozcaada? Cirali? Cesme? Foca? Other?

Apr 26th, 2013, 03:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 92
Coastal town or Island in Turkey: Bozcaada? Cirali? Cesme? Foca? Other?

My husband and I are planning a September trip to Istanbul (maybe a week), and I'd like to tack on 4 days or so to somewhere seaside. Ruins aren't a priority for us. Neither are sports like windsurfing. What is:

- Great food

- Locals

- Scenic coastline (with good swimming if possible, but not a must - if water's too cold, no biggie)

- Unspoiled by big hotels and package holidays

- A real town with some stores, and decent number of restaurants

- Cute hotel in walking distance to said restaurants - and, if possible, the beach. But strolling to or being in town more important than strolling to beach.

Bozcaada looks great but I'm so puzzled about the logistics of getting there. It seems pretty complicated, or like a drag. Worth it anyway?

Or should we stick to the mainland and choose somewhere on the Med or Aegean coast? If it helps pinpoint the kind of atmosphere we like, some of our favorite places in Europe have been Modica in Sicily; Cadiz and San Sebastian in Spain. In Mexico, loved Zihuatanejo. In these parts, if we go to the beach, we like Sag Harbor.

Note: I posted this same q on Tripadvisor and got a rave for Cirali and for the Med coast over Aegean in general. Another friend of a friend gave a big thumbs up to Cesme, but I don't really know that person's taste. Interested in new perspectives.

lbelgray is offline  
Apr 26th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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Posts: 13,332
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Apr 26th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Kas? Maybe Cirali, but I thought it a bit of a 60's kind a place. I didn't make it to Cesme or Foca, but you should do a search on this Board for information from those who did. And you might find some helpful information in my trip report - just click on my name to find it.
kja is offline  
Apr 26th, 2013, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,601
The following places meet your criteria :

Ayvalik + Cunda Island,

Alacati (near Cesme) will soon post rest of my trip report from very recent trip.


Silifke, Erdemli (see recent trip report "From Denver to Virtuous"

You will need car at most of above. If you are against having a car, Kas may be your best bet.

Bozcaada may be too small to satisfy. Getting there is not that difficult but time consuming.
otherchelebi is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 06:18 AM
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Posts: 92
Thanks for the suggestions, KJA and otherchelebi. I'm looking into Cunda right now.
Any opinions on doing the drive from Istanbul to Canakkale? I'm thinking we either:

1) fly to Izmir via Istanbul, rent car, spend a night or two in Alacati or Cunda (still a schlep but no worries about catching a ferry) and then go to Bozcaada for a couple of nights, which would mean a slightly easier arrival day...
2) fly to Istanbul, rent car, drive that day to the ferry to Bozcaada. Maybe the fast ferry partway?

If we do #2, is it a nice drive, and is there any place worth stopping and seeing along the way?
And do we have to drive from the airport through Istanbul proper to get the fast ferry?

The airport in Canakkale is closed and I can't seem to find any info on when it will be open again. Our trip would be beginning of Sept.

Thanks again for your help.
lbelgray is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,601
Comments on 2) :

The drive to the ferry boat from the airport is very easy, once you figure out the correct exit.

Follow Bakirkoy, Yenikapi, Sirkeci signs till you get to the large Yenikapi roundabout, always following the coast after the first 2-3 miles.
Stay on right lane and take right at roundabout and then another immediate right over a steel trap, then take the left lane to get to the ferry.

Get your tickets on-line. You must use same credit card at machine just before drive through window or at window. There are signs for the different ferries once they check your trunk.

There are not that many car ferries to Bandirma and it will be difficult to find one that matches your arrival in Istanbul.
Taking one to Bursa (Mudanya) or Yalova will lose you about 40-90 minutes respectively.

If you ferry to Bandirma, you will take the Canakkale route and then pass by Troy to get to Geyikli for the Bozcaada ferry.

Otherwise, the route after Balikesirpast Assos to Ezine and Geyikli is quite a bit more scenic. There are a number of quaint mountain villages above Kucukkuyu, not far from the main highway, and of'course Assos which are well worth a look and a stop for a bite if not for an Overnight.

If you do not mind leaving Ephesus out. the second alternative actually gives you fewer tourists, more local colour, better natural scenery and quite a few ruins thrown in, combining Ayvalik, Pergamom, Cunda, assos, Bozcaada and Troy, bringing you back to Istanbul with same rental car, without having to fly.

For the Canakkale flights check for them with Anadolu Jet.
You have an additional alternative with Bora Jet to fly to Balikesir Korfez airport, near Ayvalik, but possibly with a stopover in Ankara.

good luck.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 92
Reviving this to see if there are any new opinions from recent (or other) Turkey travelers. Still haven't made up my mind where we should go. Med coast? Aegean? I keep going back and forth, would love to hear more from both sides. Any coastal town (or hotel by the sea) so incredible you'd recommend it hands down?

I'm looking into all otherchelebi's great suggestions. Thank you, otherchelebi.
lbelgray is offline  

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