It is finally summer time, but let's face it, not everyone has long holidays during summer. If you are on a budget and only have four days to spend, the gorgeous Aegean region of Turkey is a match made in heaven. With little traveling, you can visit four amazing cities and have a fabulous time! If you are looking for a calm holiday, where you can swim in turquoise waters and enjoy wandering around ancient cities, here is your guide!
Let's start with Çanakkale, a radiant city in the Southern Marmara Region of Turkey, on the Dardanelles. The Dardanelles is a narrow and internationally important waterway, which links the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara while separating Europe from Asia! Due to its geopolitical position, Çanakkale is very rich in history and culture. This place has also witnessed the heroic Trojan War and the crossings of Xerxes' Persians, as well as of Alexander the Great's troops. Troy is an ancient city in Turkey, which, according to Iliad by Homer, is where the legendary Trojan War took place. Today, it is an archaeological site, which attracts many tourists every year, by being on the World Heritage List of UNESCO! The area has hosted major human settlements since 3000 BC, and you can still check out Neolithic settlement remains. The ruins here are well marked, but since it is quite rocky, you better be wearing proper shoes while discovering the area. The entry to the site costs 35 TL (starting from 2018). If you are into ancient ruins, you may never want to leave this place. Oh, and of course, don't miss out the Trojan horse in the entrance of the site. You can climb up to its ladders to check out its interior!
The second stop is Bozcaada! With its endless vineyards, brightly painted Greek houses, cute boutique hotels and of course fun tavernas and bars, Bozcaada is the perfect little island for a fun summer destination. In here, you can first check out the Aya Paraskevi Monastery! This Greek Orthodox monastery, next to the famous Ayazma Beach is a small church with its own festival! Once a year, on the 26th of July, the monastery opens to worship, and pilgrims head to the Ayazma to light candles and make wishes. After that, everyone gets together and celebrates. People also bring stones and brushwood to "symbolize" their desires. This monastery was built in 1734, and it is the most popular one of all of the 36 monasteries of Bozcaada. After visiting the monastery, you can chill in the cold waters of Ayazma beach and enjoy traditional food in the cute, street restaurants nearby! And of course, the famous Bozcaada wines...Bozcaada is a tiny island, and its best-known winery is the Corvus winery and Vineyard, which is owned by the Turkish architect Reşit Soley. He planted this vineyard and prepared each seedling with his own hands! In here, you can sit at a stylish cafeteria, which sells cheese plates and mezes, along with local bottles of wine. The most famous wine is their award-winning Corpus Reserve and Corvus Blend Number 5. Other than that, you can enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, as well as the local varieties Cavus and Vasilaki, which are also produced in these vineyards.
Our third stop is Edremit! Edremit is one of the most beautiful districts of Balıkesir city on the Aegean side of Turkey. It is the perfect place to calm your mind, and it is also the best place to heal your soul and your body since it is the land of oxygen, olive oils, and pure water. The city gets its name from the King of Lydia's brother, Adramys. In Edremit, there are two main parts that you can visit. The first part is Akçay, which is mainly known for its cold water springs inside of the sea and Altınoluk, where you can get buy everything "with olive oil" and swim in the beautiful sea. The entire city is covered with hundreds of years old Olive trees and scrubs. But if you want to enjoy more oxygen, your first stop should be the Kazdağı Milli Parkı, the National Park on the mountains of Kaz. This mountain is also called İda, so don't get confused if you see that name too. Up there, you can enjoy every shade of green, have a pleasant walk, enjoy the sweet-smelling air, and swim in the cold spring waters. The water is also clean, which makes it drinkable. The second stop should be the Antandros Ancient City! This ruins of the ancient city stand on one of the hills of the mountain İda (Kaz). This open-air museum is only 2 km away from Altınoluk. This ancient city's history dates back to the great Troy War. There is also an underwater part of the town, which makes it perfect for people who love going diving.
And our final stop is İzmir! After Athens, İzmir is the most crowded city in the Aegean region. This city, with its large port for yachts, is a lovely place to have a nice getaway under palm and date trees. İzmir is also a city of history since it hosted many civilizations, such as the Ionian, Roman Empire, and many more! While there, your first stop should be the clock tower of İzmir! This clock tower was built in 1901 for the celebration of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid's 25th year of inheriting the throne. You should take a picture of this fantastic building and watch the sunset from there since it has a lovely view! After visiting the Clock Tower, it is time for the Kemeraltı Markets for shopping and tasting traditional foods of İzmir! This historical market has lots of exotic shops and the best restaurants, especially if you are looking for the tastiest street food in İzmir. By the way, you have to try Kumru (which is a sandwich with delicious cheese, tomatoes, pickles, sausages and many more) and Boyoz (which is a pastry) while there!!
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