Ayvalık to Çandarlı [ Tour ]

Sarimsakli beach is located near Küçükköy  just outside of Ayvalik. This  7 kilometer long beach which is 100 metres wide for the most part is very popular in the summer season. Badavut beach is a continuation of the same beach it is just another part of this long beach. There are complaints that it gets too crowded and that it is not the cleanest beach around but it seemed pretty good when we stopped by. The only down side was the wind which was constantly blowing up sand which could be quite uncomfortable if you are out for a lazy day on the beach.

I have often wondered why all the Turkish shops are keen on selling towels and umbrellas but not windbreaks which would certainly be useful on a windy beach like this. Simple to make you would have thought, just four wooden poles and some canvass.

The word sarimsak in Turkish translates to garlic, in fact garlicky beach but I promise you there is not a clove of garlic in sight and the beach doesn’t smell of garlic either! Because it is getting late in the day we are going to head straight down the highway to Candarli in the province of Izmir and then work our way back to Ayvalik along the peninsular where we will visit Dikili and the coastal villages along this route.

Çandarlı is a coastal township that has its own municipality. Once a sleepy town with a few holiday villages it has expanded and is now well developed and a popular Turkish tourist resort with mainly Turkish tourists.The town has a marina and some good restaurants and bars along the seafront around the castle area. There are also a couple of hotels and some guest houses. Just outside town there are numerous holiday villa sites which are packed with families during summer. There is a good beach right by the promenade which is a blue flag beach and just outside of town is the Municipal Beach or Belediye Plaji shown earlier.

Looking out from Candarli across the bay we can see the industrial centre of Aliağa in the distance. All the roads are being upgraded round here in preparation for the expansion of the new port which will be a transit port and main port of Izmir. It promises to provide much needed employment and wealth to the economy of this region.

Çandarlı Castle, in Turkish, Çandarlı Kalesi, lies along the seafront promenade, set back in its own grounds taking pride of place and pole position in the town. Çandarlı Castle was probably part of the city walls of the ancient Greek city of Pitane but no evidence of this remains since the castle has been rebuilt several times during Greek, Roman and Byzantine times. The Genoese built their castle here in the 14th century to protect the town and the inhabitants. The castle was rebuilt by Candarli Halil Pasha who also changed the towns name from Pitane to Candarli, his family name.
The castle has been painstakingly restored and is an impressive sight on the seafront. It does not seem to be open very much and was closed for the duration of our stay. Perhaps it is open for special events.

Next up we move along the coast road back to Ayvalik. Our first stop is the village of Denizkoy. Looking out to see you can see pigeon island and the two twins island. All round here you have small fishing farms. The scenery is quite spectacular and the sea is very calm.
We move along the coast to Bademli village with its small marina. This is a very sheltered spot with some spectacular scenery. We watched a heron fishing before slowly meandering along the windy coast road.

Finally we arrived at Dikili. We are still in İzmir Province and all along this particular stretch of coastline are an abundance of picturesque mature holiday villages with their mature palm trees and long sandy beach. Dikili is just 120 km from Izmir.
Dikili port attracts tourists on their way to Izmir and Pergamon and local tourists heading for the 40 kilometres of sandy beach and holiday homes. The town has all the amenities you would expect with some pleasant town squares and parks along with a host of café restaurants along the busy sea front. There is a long sandy beach on the main promenade.

When you are travelling around Turkey on a budget there are two places that you should try and book accommodation. The Uygulama hotels we mentioned when we were in Ayvalik but there is another organisation called Ogretmen Evi, literally Teachers Home. It was originally set up for retired teachers and teachers families but recently it has opened up to the public. They provide basic good accommodation at a very reasonable price. Take a look at their website at: https://ogretmenevine.com

In and around Dikili you will notice a lot of cotton fields. Dikili is said to grow some of the best  cotton and olives in Turkey. The climate also allows all year round planting.

As we drive further along the coast there are plenty of sandy beaches and some peculiar rock formations, clearly man made along a long stretch of the coast. At Altinova beach there is a long natural sandbank connected to the mainland by a long metal bridge. We stopped for some lunch and asked why there were so many rocky man made islets and apparently they were designed to stop the beach areas getting clogged up with seaweed. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked well and perhaps one long sea wall would have done a better job.

Altinova is very near to Ayvalik now and we come back on the main highway and pass the salt lake at Kucukkoyu. Here you will see the olive trees come right down to the shores of a salt lake that is popular with flamingos.

We passed by Edremit and Burhaniye but we did produce a separate video of Burhaniye for anyone who is interested. With winter drawing in our trek down this particular part of the coast will end for now and begin again in May where we will visit Foca, Izmir, Cesme and beyond.

For the winter months we will discover towns and cities around Turkey and travel up the coast from Canakkale towards Istanbul. We will take a look at Bozcaada and Gokceada and plenty more places of interest.

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