Avşa Island, Avşa Adası in Turkish, or by its official name Türkeli, is a small Turkish island in the southern Sea of Marmara in the Balikesir district. Just 36 square kilometres in size it has been inhabited since the Byzantine period. Within easy striking distance of Istanbul it was one of the most popular Turkish tourist destinations in the 1970’s.
There are two main centres of population on the island, Avşa the main town ( as well as being the island name ) and Araplar, a village. Regular ferries from the mainland to the island run throughout the summer months with a reduced service during winter time. The ferries depart from Tekirdag and Erdek.
This is a pleasant little island with a range of hills in the middle and some beautiful coves and bays along its coastline. There is not a great deal to do except relax and take in the quiet tranquility that the island has to offer. That laid back quiet atmosphere can change during the holiday season when as much as forty thousand tourists descend on the island.
The island is good for hiking and lazing around on the beaches. It has its own seawater desalination plant which is safe to drink but bottled water is also available in the shops. There are plenty of places to stay and some good restaurants. The local wine can vary in quality but worth a try.