There are plenty of things to do in Ayvalik. To begin with, one can hike up the hillock of Devil’s Table. From the top, one gets mesmerizing panoramic views of the city. Once you are done taking in the views of the skyline, you can head over to the Ida Dalis Merkezi which takes you to the best scuba diving spots near the city. Top tourist attractions in Ayvalik that you just cannot give a miss include the lovely beaches of Badavut and Sarimsakli Plaj, the ancient and serene mosques of Saatli Cami and Cinarli Camii, the splendid Orthodox Church of Taksiyarhis Kilisesi and the engrossing and engaging children’s toy museum of Ayvalik Rahmi M. Koc Muzesi.
While visiting the city, you have to visit the bustling Ayvalik Flea Market which has shopkeepers selling items such as household goods, clothes, souvenirs and even jewellery. You can also pay a visit to the Ayvalik Old Town which is full of narrow streets and pastel coloured houses.
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Seytan Sofrası Han Cafe
Balıkesir / Ayvalık Seytan Tepesi
Near the suburb of Camlik, on top of a small hill, is the best viewpoint in Ayvalik. There, you’ll find a rock with a curious footprint called the Devil’s Feast. Apparently the Devil left it in the rock when he jumped over to Lesbos. From the top, you have wonderful panoramic sites of the pine forests, seas, islands and the city. There is no better place in Ayvalik to spend your sunset.
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Badavut Beach, Ayvalik, Turkey
About 5km south of Ayvalik, this clean and un-crowded beach caters mostly to the Turkish locals rather than American and European tourists. So don’t be surprised if you see people heading into the water fully dressed. There are a number of cafes around if you feel like a bite. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas from these restaurants. It’s probably the nicest beach in Ayvalik in which to just relax.
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Namik Kemal Mahallesi Seref Sokak No: 6 A Alibey Adasi (Cunda), Ayvalik, Turkey
10:00 am - 07:00 pm
This children’s toy museum is an unexpected surprise to most who visit Ayvalik. The toys are exhibited in prettily lit glass cases. The museum is hosted inside the charming Taksiyarhis Church. Most of toys consist of vehicles, steam boats and dolls.
This popular diving and snorkelling outfit is excellent for families. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about the area. On the trip, they may even serve up some cocktails. The underwater world of the sea around Ayvalik is magical, and you get to see some fantastic red coral and rays. They even provide dives for the disabled.
The name of this mosque roughly translates into ‘Hours Mosque’. The reference to time comes from the clock on the minaret. Originally though, the mosque was a church; the conversion happened in 1928. The mosque, which was completed in 1870, has a simple and elegant architecture.
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Barbaros cad. 8.sok, Ayvalik, Turkey
09:00 am - 09:00 pm
This second hand weekend market is highly popular with the locals. People may come from miles around to pick up a horde of goods from here. This can range from household good, jewellery, decoratives, clothes, oils, toys.
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Sarimsakli Plaji, 10400 Kucukkoy/Balikesir
This simple beach is about 8km directly south of Ayvalik. It is long and wide, and has many seafood restaurants along its length. There are also casinos. Thanks to its size, you can usually find some uncrowded spot.
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Ismet Pasa Mah. Marasal Cakmak Cad. AyvalIk Merkez, Ayvalik, Turkey
Central Ayvalik has a lovely Ottoman and Greek charm. The narrow streets and pastel colored corbelled houses are always teeming with local life, whether children or adults going about their business. The architecture is usually neo-classical. Two of the main attractions nearby are the Sarmisakli beach and the Taksiyarhis Church.
See if you can get your hands on “A Walking Tour of Ayvalik”. The guide is one of the best ways to cover old town and catch all its attractions.