Whilst visiting one of the Greek Islands you may find that you can combine a day trip to the Turkish mainland. Some of the Greek Islands are within easy reach of a host of attractive and cultural destinations on the Turkish coast allowing you to experience the joy of another culture uniquely different to the Greek culture you have come to love.
If you are staying on the Island of Lesbos, you can catch a local ferry over to Turkey’s beach resort on the Northern Aegean coast; it takes 80 minutes. This is a popular local resort and home to many olive groves, which make it the country’s leading producer of olive oil. Ayvalik has a rich history rooted in the Ottoman period and today there are many attractive Ottoman Greek houses. Many of the delightful little Orthodox churches have long since been converted into mosques. The resort is also home to some fantastic beachside restaurants and if fine dining is your passion then take another ferry across the bay to Alibey Island where you will find a wealth of open air tavernas and restaurants selling quality cuisine.
BodrumIf you want to experience the fun, magic and history of one of Turkey’s best beach resorts then catch a local ferry over to Bodrum on the Aegean coast. There are regular ferry services from Rhodes and Kos and journey times are 135 minutes and 20 - 50 minutes respectively (depending on the ferry operator chosen). Beautiful Bodrum is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the ruins of the original Mausoleum, as well as a fortress from the Crusader era, which forms the world’s leading Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The town’s two small beaches are within easy access from the harbour and if you are feeling adventurous and energetic then you might want to dance the night away in Bodrum’s open air disco, Heraklion.
Those who are fortunate enough to stay on the Island of Chios, can take a 75 minute ferry over to Çesme, a small Aegean resort with a beautiful town square lined with some fantastic restaurants and cafes. The resort also offers some spectacular sunsets and a magnificently restored fortress, which also doubles as the town’s museum. Sunday is one of the best days to visit because the town plays host to a bustling Sunday market. The City dons its name from the many Ottoman fountains found all over the town, Çesme actually means ‘fountain.’ Çeşme Castle dominates the town. A statue of one of the famous Ottoman leaders stroking his pet lion stands before the entrance. Close to the castle is an old 16th century Ottoman roadside inn, which is now a boutique hotel and if you enjoy museums and exhibitions, then be sure to look in at the Ayios Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church built in the 9th century, which houses many temporary exhibitions.
Another ferry from Lesbos will take you to Dikili on the Northern Aegean coast in only 75 minutes. The town is covered by tall pine trees and it spans over a wide bay, several kilometers long with a rough sandy beach. This is an area full of incredible beauty along with many historical sites. If you visit this town and want to do more than enjoy its golden sand, then get out to Merdivenli village to see the huge Crater Lake or to the villages of Demirtaş and Delitaş to see the caves. There are also many thermal springs in the area nearby Bademli, Nebiler and Kocaoba. The 18th century Merkez Mosque constructed solely from wood and was built without any nails. This is an area that will show you the real Turkey with cotton fields, olive groves, vineyards and donkeys pulling carts.