Ayvalık is an attractive, work-a-day fishing town with a secret. Distinctively free of the tourist hustle, the palm-tree-lined waterfront and smattering of fish restaurants are much like elsewhere on the Aegean, but wander a few streets back to find an old Greek village in spirited abandon. Cars are squeezed out of the narrow, cobblestone lanes by horses, carts and market-faring locals. Colourful, shuttered doors conceal all-day cafes and craft stores, time lapses in the afternoon sun and visitors slow down and join in the languid atmosphere.
Olive-oil production is the traditional business around here, and is still thriving, with lots of shops selling the end product. The broken chimney next to Tansaş supermarket in the town centre belongs to a now-abandoned olive-oil factory. Ayvalık is also well known as a gateway to local islands, including Alibey, just offshore, and Lesvos, Greece.
Ayvalık destination guides
The Best of Turkey
This trip is ideal for the traveller who is short on time but wants to experience as much of Turkey’s stunning scenery and fascinating history as possible. Begin the journey at the WWI battlefield of Gallipoli, then leap into Greek myths and explore the remains of the legendary city of Troy before strolling along the streets of Ephesus.
Savour the highlights of Turkey on this 10 day adventure. Travel to Istanbul and the sobering Gallipoli Peninsula, south to the Aegean Coast and then on to the ancient site of Ephesus and the therapeutic waters of Pamukkale. Discover a culture brimming with mysticism as we peel back the layers of Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman history.