Bordering the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Coast, Balikesir Province is dotted with postcard-perfect towns and beaches. You can also escape to an Aegean island and explore one of Turkey's top national parks.
Things to do in Balikesir Province
Relax in Ayvalik, a picturesque port town set on the Aegean Coast. Its cobbled streets are lined with brightly-painted houses containing cafes, restaurants and boutique hotels. The region is also famous for its olive oil, which is sold at the town's artisan shops.
Erdek is a scenic resort set on the sparkling Sea of Marmara. It lures sunseekers in with its sandy beaches and crystal-clear water. Venture inland and you'll find olive groves, fruit orchards and vineyards. You can also explore the ancient city of Kyzikos, which cradles the ruins of Hadrian's Temple.
Cunda Island enchants visitors with its historic stone houses, olive trees and flower-strewn streets. It's the largest island in Turkey's Ayvalik Archipelago and is dotted with historic landmarks like Taksiyarhis Church, which is adorned with colourful frescos and intricate marble carvings.
Birdwatchers will love Manyas National Park, one of Turkey's most popular wildlife sanctuaries. It's anchored by a glassy lake and is home to over 230 species, including Dalmatian pelicans, endangered white-headed ducks and flamingos.
Getting around Balikesir Province
Balikesir Province is well-serviced by local buses that reach Istanbul in 10 hours, Canakkale in four hours and Izmir in two hours. Ayvalik, Erdek and Cunda Island are easy to get around on foot, but you can also use dolmus" minibuses and taxis in some areas.