Earth : Europe : Turkey : Aegean Turkey : Northern Aegean : Ayvalik
Ayvalık is a city in Northern Aegean, Turkey. It’s located on the southern coast of Gulf of Edremit (part of Aegean Sea), across the eastern coast of Greek island of Lesvos, opposite its capital (Mytilene).
Ayvalik was an important trade centre during Ottoman times, it had an autonomous status and even many European powers setted up consulates. The city then was almost completely inhabited by Greeks, who were exchanged with Turks from Crete when a population swap was mandated between governments of Turkey and Greece in 1923. The fusion of local Greek and Cretan cultures caused the character of today’s Ayvalik: while most of the physical historical heritage is clearly Greek, the everyday culture lived on the streets between those buildings, including the local food, is mainly Cretan.
Ayvalik’s ancient name was Kydonia. Although both Kydonia and Ayvalik means ‘the place of quince’, the city is rather known for (and indeed surrounded by) a seemingly endless forest formed by olive trees. Olive has been important to Ayvalik in all ages, as it has been revered by both former Greek residents and present Cretan ‘immigrants’ (who live in Ayvalik for at least three generations).
Ayvalik is one of two bigger towns in northern Aegean Region which has achieved to conserve its traditional architecture (to a high degree, that is), with the other such town being Foça, which is located about 60 km north of Izmir.
The nearest airport is Edremit Korfez Airport(EDO) which is 40 km distance and has direct flights from Istanbul and Ankara. A larger and international airport, Izmir's Adnan Menderes Airport(ADB) is 175 km away.
The nearest station is Balikesir, on the line between Izmir (Basmane station) and Bandirma on the Sea of Marmara (with fast ferry connections to Istanbul). There are two trains in each direction every day except Tuesday, when only one of the trains runs.
Between Balıkesir and Ayvalık, the bus takes about 1 h 45 min.
The city is located close to (approx. 5 km away) main Çanakkale-Izmir highway (road number: D550/E87). Those approaching from Istanbul may consider taking one of car ferries to Bandirma to shorten total driving time.
Otogar (bus station) is located in town centre, near the waterfront. It's about 15-20 minutes on foot away from town square.
Ferries connect Ayvalik with the Greek island of Lesvos daily during the high season. A round trip costs € 35/person, a one way trip is €29/person, tickets can be bought from several different offices found on the main road around the harbour in Mitylini - Lesvos. In low and shoulder season however there are only 4 ferries per week.
Local buses run frequently from Alibey Island(Cunda) to the center and from Ali Cetinkaya to Camlik districts. As a more comfortable and faster option, "Dolmus" taxis run from Alibey Island(Cunda) and from Ali Cetinkaya to 41 Evler districts. There is also a ferry operating between Alibey Island(Cunda) and Ayvalik town center in the summer months.
The island is also famous for its fish; you can see fish restaurants located next to each other by the seaside.
Everything related to olive: Olive oil, brined olives, castile soap… Take a stroll in the famous street market "Persembe Pazari" on Thursdays in the narrow streets in the back of the town center.
Local cuisine heavily features seafood and wild herbs, served cooked or raw, usually dressed with olive oil. This is a tradition largely unusual to the rest of the country, brought to town by Cretan immigrants.
Local cuisine can be had at numerous restaurants both in downtown and on Cunda Island.
(+90) 266 is Ayvalik’s telephone code.