Assos, the ancient Aeolian city clinging to a rocky hillside above the charming and fairly sensitively developed fishing village of Behramkale in the Aegean region, is a splendid retreat from the hustle and bustle of many nearby 'must-see' sites and resorts.
Only really finding it's place on the tourist map at the end of the 1980's the village has a relaxed air to it and although you may be offered olive oil, soap and, of course, carpets there is still very little in the way of pressure selling here. In the summer you will find a phalanx of tourist buses dropping off day trippers to visit the ruins and have lunch but the majority of them will fade early to get to their hotels for the night and leave you to enjoy a rare tranquility and outrageously unspoiled vistas across the bay of Edremit to Lesbos.
The harbor is pleasant enough although you'll have to travel 3 or 4 kilometers to find a beach. A walk down from the upper village will take you 20 minutes or so, depending how many corners you cut on the hairpin road, bringing you to a cluster of hotels, pensions and restaurants perched on the edge of sea. Busy in the summer and popular with Turks who are seeking a romantic weekend away or just change of pace, you're advised to book ahead during June, July and August.
The best accessible beach is at near-by Kadirga, half an hours walk if you follow the coast from the harbor or descend from the back of the citadel above. Reasonable sand and not too busy as a result of the location. If you don't fancy the walk you can probably hitch from Assos or try and jump a fishing boat.
Edremit Gulf & Ayvalık
The Gulf of Edremit, lying on the Aegean, is one of these lovely sites, with a broad choice of beaches and seaside resorts overlooking the clear sea. Edremit and Altinoluk (which is an oxygen heaven, ranks second in the world for a high oxygen density) are the towns that stud this wonderful area, together with Oren, where green pine forests from the Kaz (Olympos) mountains meet the sandy shores of fine holiday resorts. In one part of this beautiful village you may see Roman and Byzantine ruins, while in the other you can find the most fresh and delicious seafood and typical dishes of the district, offered by good restaurants.
Ayvalik: Called as "Olive Riviera", Ayvalik is reached by following the olive groves. This town is also a picturesque spot with its fine beaches facing a collection of 25 small lovely islands. An attraction in the town is the Taksiyarkis Church. Its great architecture and marble carvings are worth seeing. Nearby is the "Seytan Sofrasi" (the Devil's Banquet) which offers one of the most perfect panoramic sunsets in the world. The site also affords a marvelous view of the Sarmisakli peninsula, famous for its beaches, and the little island of Cunda (Alibey).
Akcay: Located at the foot of Kazdagi, is Akcay, another popular spa-center with its spring waters that effect cures. Besides the health-related opportunities, this town offers a beautiful natural scenery, fitting its legendary fame. According to mythology, the world's first beauty contest was held here, on Mount Ida, and Aphrodite was chosen the queen from the three beautiful goddesses. This was considered as the starting point of everything in Trojan War.