Ayvalik , an important gateway for ships to commute from the islands of Greece, is situated on the western coast of Turkey. Beautiful scattered islands in the Aegean Sea, few buildings painting the skyline, and lots of greenery all around make this city a delicious experience for the eyes.
Ayvalik was under the Greek rule until after the First World War. In 1923, an exchange of populations took place between Turkey and Greece. All the Greek speaking population was sent to Greece, and the Turkish speaking people from Balkans, Crete and islands around Greece came to live in Ayvalik and areas around it. Some interesting sites from this era, especially the churches are worth visiting, and easily accessible if you get a car for hire in Ayvalik.
Visit the old town of Ayvalik and gaze at the pastel houses and beautiful narrow streets. The streets speak of a simpler time and offer a peek into the Turkey of old. You can rent a car in Ayvalik and head to the nature reserve, Pasa Limani. Another 8 kilometers from the city is Sarimsakli, a beach resort with pristine white sands where you can easily spend a relaxing day. Also visit the Seytan Sofrasi, known as the Devil's Table, which gives a perfect view of Ayvalik and the surrounding islands. You can also make a quick visit to Alibey Island, which offers a beautiful sunset amidst old monasteries like the Moonlight Monastery. Some lovely architecture and history can be seen in the old religious buildings of Saatli Camii and Cinarli Camii. These two buildings were first Greek churches that were later converted to mosques.
Apart from a pleasant stay, this city also offers a convenient base for visiting the surrounding area. You can get a car for rent in Ayvalik and drive to other nearby towns. Burhaniye and Edremit are known for their rich history in olive oil making. Take a scenic drive along the Aegean in the southern direction to visit the cities of Bergama, Aliaga, and Foca.
Unlike the other towns of Turkey, Ayvalik's cuisine has been heavily influenced by the people from Crete. Hence, it is a must to try out the various local delicacies here, which come with a hearty olive oil dressing. There are many restaurants in the city as well as on Alibey Island which can serve you authentic local dishes. If you wish to let your hair down and shake a leg or two, then don't worry, Ayvalik does have a bit of nightlife. Hit any nightclub or bar in the city and you can expect to have a nice time with some warm and friendly locals.
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