Ayvalık is an attractive, work-a-day port 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 horse-drawn carts and locals headed for the market. Colourful, shuttered doors conceal all-day cafes and craft stores, time lapses in the afternoon sun.
Aegean olive-oil production is centred around Ayvalık, and there are lots of shops selling the end product. The broken chimney in the town centre belonged to a now-abandoned olive-oil factory; there are ongoing plans to turn it into a local museum. Ayvalık is also the springboard to the island of Lesvos in Greece.