Balıkesir is a city in interior Southern Marmara, Turkey.
Nearest airport is Edremit Körfez Airport (IATA: EDO, ICAO: LTFD) located near Edremit, about 90-100 km west.
Balıkesir lies on the junction of railroads stretching to north (Marmara coast) and to east (Central Anatolia) from Izmir. And as such, trains to Balıkesir are available from:
- Ankara (İzmir Mavi Treni, 9 Eylül Express, Karesi Express)
- Eskişehir, Kütahya (İzmir Mavi Treni, 9 Eylül Express, Karesi Express, Ege Express)
- Manisa, Izmir (İzmir Mavi Treni, 9 Eylül Express, Karesi Express, Ege Express, 6 Eylül Express)
- Bandirma (6 Eylül Express)
For more info, see Turkish State Railways (TCDD) webpage .
The station is located at Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydanı) on the eastern edge of downtown. Across the highway from the station is the old bus terminal, Eski Garaj.
Balıkesir lies on the main route that the buses between Istanbul and Izmir take, so has a very high frequency of buses (several every hour) from those two major centres.
- Coach station (Otogar), ☎ +90 266 241 11 99. edit
Buses arriving from destinations around Turkey come into a new bus terminal (Otogar) on Bandirma Caddesi (the old highway to Bursa and Istanbul), just inside the ringroad (Çevre Yolu) at the extreme northern end of the city. Just outside the terminal building is a bus stop where buses (1.35 TL) go every half hour or so into the city. To get to the sites listed on this page, take the bus to its terminal (about 15-20 min), the old bus terminal (Eski Garaj) at Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydanı).
Although Balıkesir is an inland city away from the sea, you can take fast ferries from Istanbul to Bandirma and then take the train or the bus for the rest.
Balıkesir lies on the main highway between Istanbul and Izmir (D565), with connections to D200/E90, which leads to Bursa in the east, and Çanakkale in the west.
After the Otogar was moved out to the edge of town, the old bus terminal (Eski Garaj) was converted into a central station for all public transit in the city, including taxi dolmuş lines. All bus stops at Eski Garaj are clearly marked with their destination identified by district (... Mahallesi) and the streets on which the bus travels. All but two buses and all dolmuş cost 1.35 TL between any point on their route and Eski Garaj.
There are also two free bus routes that run in a circle around the city center from Eski Garaj. The R1 route is most useful for tourists as it passes literally every tourist site in the center, including stops right in front of or across from, Yildirim Mosque, Zağnos Paşa Mosque, and the Military Museum/Clock Tower.
The city center is also quite walkable. From Cumhuriyet Meydanı, all tourist sites are within 500 m of the square with a stroll up Milli Kuvvetler Caddesi (the street running off the Square without a sign pointing toward another city such as Edremit or Izmir) being the most direct route to Zağnos Paşa Mosque.
- Balıkesir Museum – National Forces Museum (Balıkesir Müzesi – Kuvayı Milliye Müzesi), Anafartalar Caddesi (located at the old town hall building), ☎ +90 266 243 31 81. Tu-Su. Museum dedicated to the fighters of Turkish War of Independence (1921-22), became to be known as “National Forces” (Kuvayı Milliye). Written documents, private items and photos of the fighters, and some photos of Kemal Atatürk taken when he was in the city. Archeological artifacts excavated in the surrounding region and some ethnographic artifacts are exhibited upstairs. edit
- Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi), Anafartalar Caddesi (at the city centre, adjacent to old town hall – the Museum). Modelled after Galata Tower of Istanbul, this clock tower was built in 1827. It took its current appearance after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897 and re-built. edit
- State Fine Arts Gallery (Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Galerisi), Çavuş Sokak 30 (at Eski Kuyumcular Mahallesi Quarter), ☎ +90 266 241 30 45 (fax: +90 266 245 31 52). edit
- Tomb of Karesi Bey (Karesi Bey Türbesi), (behind Zagnos Pasha Mosque). Mosque Tomb of Karesi Bey and his five sons. Karesi Bey was the founder of Karesi Emirate which ruled more or less Southern Marmara during a period when there was no centralized, major power in Asia Minor (13th century). edit
- Yildirim Mosque (Yıldırım Camii). Built by Sultan Bayezid I in the second half of 14th century. Free. edit
- Zagnos Pasha Mosque (Zağnos Paşa Camii), (at the city centre; near Hasanbaba Bazaar). Built by Zağnos Pasha, grand vizier of Mehmed II period (1451-81) as a religious complex, only mosque and baths have remained to the date. Free. edit
- Mega Yıldız, Akıncılar Mahallesi, Cumalı Caddesi and Tekin Sokak (about 200 metres from the train station at Vasıf Çınar Caddesi and Gazi Bulvarı), ☎ +90 266 245 76 18, . A clean and spacious family restaurant offering a wide variety of typical Turkish dishes, well prepared and tasty. As usual in Turkey you can select from the foods displayed inside and order-by-pointing. There is a children's garden. They have a separate pastry shop (pastane), a short distance away on Yalkır Caddesi. (39.64888,27.88902) edit
- Hisar Ayran (yoghurt drink) - Not a famous brand in Turkey but it's the best ayran you can ever drink. Can be found in almost all the restaurants or buffets in Balıkesir.
Telephone code of the city is (+90) 266.
- Tourism Information Office (Turizm İl Müdürlüğü), ☎ +90 266 244 72 71. edit
As the capital of one of few Turkish provinces which has a coastline on two seas, Balıkesir is around 50 km away from the seaside resort towns on both Southern Marmara and Northern Aegean coasts, such as Erdek, Ayvalık, and Akçay. Two of Turkey's largest cities, the former Ottoman capital of Bursa, and Izmir, "the pearl of the Aegean", lies a little further away to east and south, respectively.