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Ayvalik is a popular seaside fishing village situated in the Balikesir Province in the north Aegean coastal region of Turkey and it is one of the best resorts in the Edremit Bay area and is proud of the fact that two of the longest, sandiest beaches in Turkey are actually located here.
It is quite picturesque surrounded by hills full of both pine and olive trees and there are many islands scattered throughout the clear blue water shimmering in the sun. Ayvalik is also the main olive oil producing region of Turkey and a visit to one of the factories in the area is very interesting.
The nearest airport to Ayvalik is Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport and you will find most of the major airlines operate flights to this area including Turkish Airlines, Thomas Cook and Easyjet. Flying time from the UK to Turkey depends on your actual departure airport but varies between four and five hours. UK visitors to Turkey are required by the authorities to hold a passport that is valid for at least three months prior to the planned travel date.
Transfer to your final destination is straightforward as there are always a number of taxis and coaches for hire at the airport. Package holidaymakers will be met at the airport by a representative from their particular tour company who will accompany them on the coach journey to their chosen accommodation.
There are hotels of all varieties in Ayvalik as well as a selection of apartments and villas for rent by those of you taking self catering holidays and as this resort is very popular with the Turkish people you will find it quite busy in the summer months.
In Ayvalik you will find Sarmisakli Beach is one of the best areas for swimming as well as boating and this is situated 10 kilometres south of the town. The beach is sandy and you will feel totally relaxed crashed out on a sun bed here soaking up the Turkish sunshine. The other good beach here is Altinova.
There are many bars and restaurants to visit in Ayvalik and if you visit the Sarmisakli beach at the highest point you will be able to enjoy a meal at the Seytan Sofrasi (roughly translated this means "Devil's Table") where you can also enjoy a glass of very good local wine whilst watching the sun setting over the sea. The lights from the surrounding islands are very attractive when the sun has gone down. The bars here are lively and as the sun goes down the night life gets going.
There is a harbour in Ayvalik and there are many boat trips to the neighbouring islands on offer here as well as ferries to the Greek island of Lesbos which is actually the third biggest island in the Aegean Sea. Many a pleasant hour with a refreshing cool drink may be spent here watching the various craft coming and going.
Ayvalik is also home to an international music academy specialising in violin, viola and cello accomplishments and students from various countries and every walk of life are given the opportunity here to study with the grand masters of these beautiful instruments.
The ruins of Bergama are reasonably nearby and this site of ancient Pergamon is one of the many interesting archaeological venues to be found in Turkey. A visit to Cunda Island is also one of the popular trips here as the island abounds with old Greek churches and a variety of restaurants can be found in its cobbled streets.
The dolmus is a very convenient and reasonably cheap way to travel around the local area. The dolmus is a Turkish mini bus and although there are designated dolmus stops, if there is room on his bus the driver will stop anywhere for you if you raise an arm. As crowded as the dolmus are, the drivers never miss collecting a fare and this mode of transport is popular with both locals as well as tourists to the area.
Shopping in Turkey is a delight. There are souvenir shops galore, boutiques with their designer wear, herbs and spices with their wonderful aromas, carpets and ceramics as well as several jewellery outlets. The gold jewellery in particular is extremely good value in Turkey and you will be amazed at the very attractive and unusual designs which are on sale. The art of haggling is practised here and this also adds an entertaining aspect to a shopping trip as some of the shopkeepers and market stall holders have a good sense of humour and some considerable funny and enjoyable time can be taken for a price both parties are happy with to be arrived at.
The Turkish carpets are stunning and if you decide to purchase one all the arrangements for shipping it to your home will be made at the point of sale. Apple tea and Turkish coffee are quite often offered to prospective customers whilst they peruse the items on display and this aspect of shopping in Turkey is very civilised and pleasant.
Ayvalik will welcome you as you stroll along its quaint old cobbled streets soaking up the atmosphere and this piece of Turkish delight will draw you back many times.