Passengers traveling by ferry to Ayvalik arrive in a charming seaside town on the Turkish coast, located across the Greek island of Lesvos in the North Aegean!
A city under Greek control until the early 20th century, Ayvalik experienced mass emigration when Turkey took power in 1922. In the months following the transfer, the local Greek population settled on the nearby islands of Lesbos and Crete, where Greek Muslims from these islands and elsewhere began living in Ayvali. Not surprisingly, many of the older generation of the town still speak Greek.
A key part of Balıkesir Province, Ayvalik is located on the northwest coast of Turkey, opposite the island of Lesbos, bordering the Aegean Sea. The uniqueness of the city, however, lies in its mixed culture, Mediterranean climate, olive oil production and its diverse topography consisting of hills, beaches and an archipelago.
It is very important that you book your ferry tickets to Ayvalik in advance, with all the details taken care of. Take advantage of our online booking engine and make your reservation as soon as possible.
Ferry connections to Ayvalik
In terms of popular modes of transportations, ferries are responsible for bringing thousands of tourists to Ayvalik every summer.
Below are some of the most popular itineraries to the ferry port of Ayvalik:
- Ferry from Mitilini (or Mytilene) to Ayvalik is a short one-hour journey; there are 20 sailings on this route per week. Services depart twice daily, and operate every day. The duration of the journey is 1 hour and 30 minutes
Port of Ayvalik
Arriving by ferry to the port of Ayvalik, you will find that the city's port is a small sheltered harbor, able to handle the large volume of visitors during the summer months. However, the lines outside the customs office are common on busy days. Located in a central position, the port has a duty-free area, a cafeteria, paid parking and the ferry company's office. Ayvalık's main harbor marina is a short distance from the ferry terminal.
From Ayvalik port to airport
If you are traveling from further afield, you can fly to Istanbul or Ankara and then take a domestic flight to Balıkesir Koca Seyit Airport, which is 45 minutes from the city. For international connections, the closest option is Izmir Airport, two hours away. If arriving from Istanbul, you can either drive to Ayvalik or take a four-hour bus. An alternative route is to take the ferry to Bandirma, from where you can take the train to Balıkesir.
Transport to the city is easy thanks to Edremit Airport, which is 40km from Ayvalik, and the various bus companies in Istanbul and Izmir.
Transportation Around Ayvalik
Moving around Ayvalik is best done by minibus or taxi. As a cheaper option, buses to Kuda and the neighboring areas are available throughout the year. The old town, however, is ideal to explore on foot. In summers, tourists arriving with or without ferry tickets to Ayvalık love to take boat trips to the Aegean Sea. In addition, many ferries run daily to Kuda and back during this period.
Holidays in Ayvalik
Ayvalik is a city in Turkey located in the province of Balikeshir. The Old City of Ayvalik is a calming sight for the eyes and a must explore place when visiting Ayvalik. Its narrow but chic streets are lined with market squares and cafes on every corner of the city. The cobbled houses contribute greatly to the beauty of the old town.
Along the street, there are still the magnificent structures of the Greek Orthodox churches that were erected by the Greek locals during the Ottoman Empire. One of the important historical landmarks of the city is the Karmanlar Unlu Mamulleri Bakery, which has been there for decades.
Old Town Coffee is one of the most famous coffee shops in Ayvalı, due to its delicious coffees and picturesque building. Overall, the Old Town of Ayvalik will take your breath away with its elegant beauty and rich culture. Diving is also very popular, as its underwater area is as beautiful as its fertile lands. Olive and olive oil production is very important to the town's economy. Every year the Olive Harvest Festival is held, which hosts many international brands, businessmen, journalists, artists and tasters.
Best Beaches in Ayvalik
Ayvalik's best beaches are rough diamonds, appreciated only by true travel connoisseurs for their unspoilt beauty. Although Ayvalık's beaches are still off the international tourist radar, they are much loved by Turks who rush to this seaside town as soon as the weather warms up.
- Belediye Beach: About midway on the Cunda-Ayvalık road, Belediye is a free-to-use public beach also known as Duba. An outstanding option for families because of shallow waters, this sandy expanse has amenities like beachside cafés, lifeguards, and umbrellas for rent. Only 3km from the city, the beach is usually crowded but is clean and safe. Blue Flag accredited, Belediye does get windy sometimes, and the water is comparatively colder
- Çataltepe Beach: Among the most popular beaches on Cunda, Çataltepe is a 20-minute drive from the town center. The sea adjoining the beach remains calm, is shallow, and has a sandy floor, once you walk over the rocky patch next to the coast. The people managing the area are welcoming and offer facilities like changing rooms and toilets
- Sarımsaklı Beach: This simple beach is about 8km directly south of Ayvalik. It is long and wide, and has many seafood restaurants along its length. There are also casinos. Thanks to its size, you can usually find some uncrowded spot
- Halk Beach: Situated on the western coast of Cunda, Halk offers uninterrupted views of Lesvos on sunny days. A small and pastoral beach with no amenities, trees surround the stony shore on three sides. Known for its sunsets, still waters, and beautiful scenery, the beach is a hotspot with touring yachts. Nestled between a camping area and Cunda’s best hotel, Ortunç, you can watch passengers with ferry tickets to Ayvalık sail towards the city while blissfully lounging under the sun. Just remember to bring a backpack with water and snacks.
- Kleopatra Beach – Badavut: About 5km south of Ayvalik, this clean and un-crowded beach caters mostly to the Turkish locals rather than American and European tourists. So don’t be surprised if you see people heading into the water fully dressed. There are a number of cafes around if you feel like a bite. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas from these restaurants. It’s probably the nicest beach in Ayvalik in which to just relax
Places to Visit in Ayvalik
In addition to its coastal location, the fusion of Greek and Ottoman cultures has given Ayvalık an unmatched singularity. As a result, holidaying in the city presents tourists with the rare occasion to appreciate and engage in a wide range of historical, educational, and scenic attractions.
- Old Town: Central Ayvalik has a lovely Ottoman and Greek charm. The narrow streets and pastel colored corbelled houses are always teeming with local life, whether children or adults going about their business. The architecture is usually neo-classical. Two of the main attractions nearby are the Sarmisakli beach and the Taksiyarhis Church
- Cunda: No trip to Ayvalık is complete without a visit to Cunda. You can reach the largest island in the archipelago either by a connecting road or by boat. When on the island, walk around to admire picturesque Greek houses with colorful shutters, olive groves, and nature in their unblemished avatar. Also called Alibey Island, some of the must-stops here are Poroselene Bay, the renovated Taxiarchis Church that now houses a museum and event space, and Ayna restaurant for its rooftop seating and delectable mezze platters
- Devil’s Feast: Offering 360-degree views of the Aegean Sea, Lesvos, and the city, Devil’s Feast is a must-visit touristic vantage point 8km south from Ayvalık. Linking back to mythical origins, this plateau with the ‘devil’s footprint’ is now occupied mainly by a restaurant and a café. You can take a minibus or drive yourself, the latter resulting in a €2 parking fee. Otherwise, park below for free and climb up the somewhat steep hill. When planning a visit, make sure it coincides with the sunset because that’s when you’ll witness the most impressive panoramas
- Ayvalık Bit Pazarı: The town’s bazaar has an eclectic aura that gives insight into the daily lives of the residents. Hardly any shop owners speak English here, and most customers are locals buying everyday goods and food items. The neighborhood becomes even more eventful during its Saturday flea market. There are impromptu auctions, and anyone can put up a bench to peddle their products. However, vendors are only allowed to sell antiques and nothing new. For tourists, the bazaar provides a unique opportunity to purchase rare finds at bargain prices
- Sarımsaklı Lunapark: Sarımsaklı Lunapark is a family-friendly amusement center with a mixture of big and small joyrides. Located 15-minutes from central Ayvalık, the park allows visitors to pay individually for each attraction. Tickets cost less than €1 per ride. There’s something here for all ages, from bumper cars and a giant Ferris wheel to swings and a flea market
Hotels in Ayvalik
In Ayvalik, there is a long list of hotels that can satisfy the visitors' high expectations and ensure them a pleasant stay. There are luxury resorts and 5-star hotels and all-inclusive hotels with grandiose interiors, elegant and uniquely decorated rooms, lush gardens, panoramic views, huge swimming pools and spas, but also mid-range hotels with many amenities and budget hotels with basic rooms with good value for money and services.
Check out some of the hotels in Ayvalik:
- Halic Park
- Korumar Deluxe