Close to İzmir, Ayvalık is a quite cheap summer holiday destination when compared to other tourist attractions, such as Bodrum and Çeşme in Turkey. It has a unique mixture of Turkish and Greek culture; firstly Ayvalık was an important trade center during the Ottoman times and later the city was inhabited by Greeks, who "were exchanged" with Turks from Crete, when a population swap was mandated between governments of Turkey and Greece in 1923. Most of the historical buildings are Greek, while the everyday culture and the local food is specifically Cretan. Ayvalık is famous for its endless forest formed by olive trees, which is why the olive has always been important to Ayvalık. Olive oil, black mulberry, and gum-flavored ice cream are things you have to try in this region. Other than that, you have to try out the local mezze, the local "papalina" fish, aka "the European sprat" and the city's famous toast! So, if you want to visit Ayvalık, here is your guide!
With its cute narrow labyrinth-like streets, Cunda Island is a perfect getaway while in Ayvalık. You can also find lots of budget-friendly accommodations with a great view here. In addition, a lot of blue flags have been awarded to many of the region's cleanest beaches. If you are looking for more "fancy" activities, there are also yacht tours that can take you to caves around the island. To reach the island, you can use the frequent mini-buses throughout the year, while there are also small ferries carrying passengers from Ayvalik to Cunda Island. Don't get confused if you see signs for Alibey island; Cunda island is also called the "Alibey island". In here, you can also check out many churches and monasteries, such as the Taksiyarhis Church.
Since Ayvalık has amazing turquoise waters and sandy beaches, you should definitely check out its famous cute town and beach; Sarımsaklı! Just 8 km away from Ayvalık, this place is basically Ayvalik’s hotel and beach region. Sarımsaklı Beach has a 7 km long sandy beach with a very clean blue sea and it's completely free of charge! In here, you can sunbathe while sipping your drinks in the cafes along the beach, swim in the most beautiful waters, and enjoy some relaxation time. Sarımsaklı beach has also 6 official campings, 9 tourism operators, 59 accommodation facilities with municipality certificates and about 160 restaurants, bars, cafeterias and discos! So, there is definitely a lot to do here.
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