The Heaven on Earth: Cunda (Alibey) Island – Ayvalık

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Cunda Island, which is connected to Ayvalık district of Balıkesir, is one of the most remarkable islands of our Turkey in terms of places to visit. Although the island’s current name is Alibey Island, people mostly know it as Cunda Island.

A seaside town on Turkey’s northwestern Aegean coast, Ayvalık is full of historic stone houses, narrow cobblestoned streets, and fishermen’s boats at its dock. If that didn’t suffice, an archipelago of equally lovely islands surrounded the town. Furthermore, truly possess that certain Aegean flair. We are going to clarify more the reasons why you should discover Cunda Island.

Cunda Island is a historic beauty from the past to present
Cunda Island is a historic beauty from the past to present

Great Boat Tours in Cunda Island

Speaking of the archipelago, it’s possible to take a boat tour from Ayvalık all around the more than 20 different islands. The boats take off in the morning from the harbour and tour around the beautiful islands and the Aegean until evening. Tours cost around 50-60TL (about 8-10 Euros/10-12 Dollars) and include lunch.

Cunda Island has many cosy cafes and restaurants
Cunda Island has many cosy cafes and restaurants

Ayvalık Cunda Island

The island of Cunda is one of the most popular destinations outside of Ayvalık. And Cunda Island is a true paradise of olive trees, historic stone houses, great fish restaurants, and plenty of olive oil shops. The Island has many cosy and cute restaurants and cafés. For example, Ayna Cunda is one of the best restaurants on the island. On the other hand, Taş Kahve is its most popular café where locals have breakfast and drink their afternoon tea. Bay Nihat (for English translation Mr Nihat) by the waterfront is also one of Cunda’s best fish restaurants. You can see the addresses below;

Bay Nihat: Fevzipaşa-Vehbibey Mh., Sahil Boyu Sok, Ayvalık, Turkey, +90 266 327 10 63

There are so many historical landmarks in Cunda Island
There are so many historical landmarks in Cunda Island

Brilliant Historic Houses of Cunda Island

The historic stone houses still remain and define the town’s Aegean aesthetic. There are some very essential activities in Cunda Island to do. For instance, walking along the cobblestoned streets to discover all the difference is the one. And colourful variations of these beautiful homes is the another. Do not forget to have a camera with you because you’ll want to take some photos.

What Should I Eat in Cunda Island Ayvalık

Apart from the great restaurants in Cunda that we’ve mentioned, no visit to Ayvalık would be complete without eating the signature Ayvalık Tostu (Ayvalık Grilled Sandwich). The “tost” is composed of sausage, salami, sucuk, Russian salad, pickle and melted kaşar cheese. What’s more, the best place to taste this huge sandwich is the Tostçular Çarşısı (Grilled Sandwich Market). Ayvalık’s other musty try restaurant is Yörük Mehmet’in Yeri (Yoruk Mehmet’s Place). You can also taste the delicious fish, seafood, local appetizers and starters cooked in olive oil.

Yörük Mehmet’in Yeri: Fevzipaşa-vehbibey Mahallesi, Gazinolar Cad. Şehir Kulübü Lokali, Ayvalık, Turkey, +90 266 312 15 19

Cunda Island has best examples of Aegean cuisine
Cunda Island has the best examples of Aegean cuisine

Excellent Olive Oil of Cunda Island and Ayvalık

Ayvalık and Cunda are famous for producing some of Turkey’s best olive oil. You should definitely take a few bottles along while you’re there. The best olive oil brand is certainly Kürşat. Kürşat is a small company that family-owned it. The company has produced entirely eco-friendly olive oil from their ancestral groves for many years.

Kürşat Shop Cunda: Fevzipaşa-vehbibey Mahallesi, Gümrük Cad. Süner Pasajı D:1, Ayvalık, Turkey, +90 266 312 70 94

A Certain “Must”: Sunset at Şeytan Sofrası

Şeytan Sofrası translates to “the devil’s table“. Locals believe that they can found the footprint of the devil on this particular hill. Visitors like to throw coins into the supposed footprint for good luck. However, the other reason for visiting this site is to take in the amazing view, particularly one of the most beautiful sunsets that anyone can imagine.

You shouldn't miss the sunset at the Devil's Peak of Ayvalık
You shouldn’t miss the sunset at the Devil’s Peak of Ayvalık

Historic Structures of Cunda Island

Ayvalık’s most prominent historic structures include the Çınarlı Cami (Çınarlı Mosque) was formerly the Greek Orthodox church of Ayios Yorgis. The church was converted into a mosque in 1923. And the Saatli Cami (Saatli Mosque), was formerly the Agai İanni church built-in 1850. The church was converted into a mosque in 1928. Cunda’s historic structures include the Agios Yannis church is dating back to 1924. The Turkish government restored in 2007 and converted into the Sevim And Necdet Kent Library with a café. The library overlooks the island from a beautiful peak. And the Taksiyarhis Church was built-in 1873 and restored and reopened as the Rahmi M. Koç Museum in 2014. On the far corner of Cunda, the Ayışığı Manastırı (Moonlight Monastery) is also worth a look as Koç family beautifully restored the monastery.

The view of Cunda Island
The view of Cunda Island

How Can I Go to Cunda Island?

Cunda Island is just 8 km away from Ayvalık district. Once you arrive in Ayvalık, a district of Balıkesir province, you can get there by bus, by boat or by walk before lunch or dinner. A narrow causeway connects Cunda Island to Ayvalik resort town.

Since there is no direct services to Cunda Ayvalık, you should first arrive in Ayvalık. Then, as we mentioned before, it is just 15 mins. from Ayvalık to the island. You can either take a local bus (called dolmuş in Turkish) or hop on a boat for a calmer trip. You can even walk through the narrow bridge and enjoy the fresh air on the way to the island.

⇒ The way from Istanbul to Ayvalık takes about 7 hours. The destination is 500 km more or less. There are many buses during the day, and it costs about 130 TL (20-25 Euros).

⇒ The way from Izmir to Ayvalık takes about 2.30-3 hours. The destination is 200 km more or less. Just as it is Istanbul, there are many buses from Izmir to Ayvalık and it costs about 35 TL (6-7 Euros).

By clicking the links below, you can check bus services, see ticket prices, and buy your tickets to Ayvalık;

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