Day trip from Lesbos to Ayvalik: what to do in 1 day

Explore a treasure of the Turkish coast

Ayvalik is a beautiful seaside town on the Turkish coast. Located opposite the Greek island of Lesbos in the North Aegean, Ayvalik is an attraction for its romantic atmosphere, long history, amphitheatrical structure, and many surrounding islands (more than 20).

If you are on holiday in Lesbos, don’t miss a day trip to the quaint Ayvalik in the province of Balikesir! In this article, you can find the information you need for your Lesbos - Ayvalik ferry trip, as well as our recommendations on things to do there in 1 day.

  1. Ride the ferry from Lesbos to Ayvalik
  2. Explore the Old Town of Ayvalik
  3. Visit Cunda island
  4. Return to Lesbos by ferry

Cats in paved street of Ayvalik, Turkey

A gang of cats, reigning in the streets of Ayvalik

1. Ride the ferry from Lesbos to Ayvalik

On Thursdays and Saturdays, you can catch the morning ferry to Ayvalik from the port of Mytilene (at 09:00). The ferry trip from Lesbos to Ayvalik takes around 1.5 hours, with ferry tickets costing around €20.

Tip: check all important documents for Greece - Turkey ferries on our complete guide for ferries between Greece and Turkey.

Boats parked at the port of Ayvalik, on the Turkish coast

Cute boats at the port of Ayvalik at sunset

2. Explore the Old Town of Ayvalik

Once you arrive at the port of Ayvalik, head east to explore the Old Town which is a pure beauty. There, you will find market squares, paved narrow streets, churches and impressive cobbled houses, built by Greek residents in the Ottoman era. Enjoy a walk down Barbaros Caddesi Street, home to some of the town’s oldest businesses, such as the landmark Karamanlar Unlu Mamülleri bakery.

While walking, you will notice the edifices of old Greek Orthodox churches. Don’t miss a visit to the huge and renovated Taksiyarhis Memorial Museum, a church built in 1844 and full of imposing decorations. Move on to the majestic Çinarli Cami (or Alibey Cami), now a mosque retaining the evidence of its Greek Orthodox church past.

After sightseeing, it’s time to stop and rest at the historic café of Şeytan Sofrasi (the devil’s table), offering great coffee, a fantastic atmosphere and a view of most of the islands of the Ayvalik archipelago.

Tip: if it’s a Thursday, it’s a perfect opportunity to get souvenirs and do some shopping at the Pazar Yeri street market in the old town! For additional tips about shopping on the Turkish coast, check out our dedicated guide!

Fun fact: Ayvalik remains a popular destination during Ramadan as well. While there are some restrictions regarding services and public activities, it is a period full of cultural richness, scenic moments and beautiful traditions.

Alley with old houses in Ayvalik, Turkey

Alley with old houses in Ayvalik coming out of a fairy tale!

3. Visit Cunda island

Next stop: Cunda (or Alibey Island), the largest and most popular island of Ayvalik. You can get there by car in 20 minutes or by ferry (there is one every hour) from Ayvalik town. You can either take a swim at one of the island's numerous beaches, such as Kesebir and Çataltepe, or visit the marvelous Ayvalik Island Natural Park, consisting of small coves perfect for sea exploration.

After a long day, enjoy some Turkish and Mediterranean food in one of Cunda’s many restaurants (the island is a gastronomy tourism attraction), like the famous “Moshos Taverna''. Alternatively, you could have a delicious Ayvalik toast at the Taş Kahve café, with some Turkish coffee or tea on the side!

The Alibey island and port in Ayvalik, Turkey

The beauty of Cunda Island in the Ayvalik archipelago

4. Return to Lesbos by ferry

It’s time to catch your ferry back to Lesbos, which usually departs at 18:00. By 19:30, you will be back in Mytilene, carrying some unforgettable memories from all the beautiful landscapes and monuments of the Turkish coast treasure of Ayvalik!

The port of Mytilene town at dusk

The heartwarming view of Mytilene Port from your ferry back to Lesbos

Hopping from the Greek islands to the coast of Turkey is so easy! Visualize your trip on our Map of ferries and book your ferry tickets from Lesbos to Ayvalik on Ferryhopper with no hidden fees!