A ferry ride across the Sea of Marmara from Istanbul will take you close to İznik, famed for its beautiful tiles, and the old Ottoman capital of Bursa. The historic World War I battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula are best visited from Çanakkale or Eceabat, on either side of the Dardanelles Strait; Çanakkale is also the jumping-off point for visits to the fabled ancient city of Troy. Farther down the Aegean coast you’ll find a scenic hilltop village and ruins at Assos (Behramkale), the laid-back harbor town of Ayvalık and its nearby sandy beaches, and (a short distance inland) the ancient ruins of Bergama (Pergamum).
- Sea of Marmara. You can still feel the Ottoman spirit in this part of Turkey, where you'll find some of the best examples of early Ottoman architecture, faithfully restored thermal baths, the surviving arts of tile making and silk weaving, and wonderful old bazaars.
- The Dardanelles. The Gallipoli Peninsula, to the north of the straits connecting the Aegean and Marmara seas, is full of moving historical sites marking one of the bloodiest campaigns of World War I. Beautifully tended cemeteries stretch along the 35-km (22-mile) peninsula where so many soldiers are buried. Çanakkale is south of Gallipoli.
- North Aegean. The combination of Greek heritage and Turkish rural life, set in an unspoiled natural setting of azure sea, curving coastline, and pine-clad hills, is perfect for unwinding. If you want to explore the ancient past, the ruins of Troy, Pergamum, and Behramkale (Assos) are within easy reach.
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