Located where the Marmara and Aegean regions intersect, Balıkesir has a coast on both the Marmara and Aegean Seas. It is close to Bursa, Kütahya, İzmir, Çanakkale, and Manisa provinces and a neighbor to Lesbos Island, which belongs to Greece. Balıkesir has had a rich cultural accumulation between ancient times and the modern age.
Balıkesir is also home to many islands. When some of the Aegean soil submerged as a result of natural events years ago, many islands emerged. Many of these belong to Balıkesir. Except for 22 islands known as the Ayvalık Islands in Aegean, Balıkesir hosts some islands called the Marmara Islands, located in the Marmara Sea. There are ample lowlands, mountains, lakes, and rivers in the city. The main ones are Kaz Mountain, Madra Mountain, Manyas Lake, Gönen Lowland, Balıkesir Lowland, Susurluk Stream, and Simav Stream.
Places to Visit
As an important place for olive, cotton, and legumes production, Balıkesir is also quite valuable in terms of industry. The city exports through Bandırma Harbor and it is rich in boron minerals. Balıkesir has a developing maritime tourism and sits in a strategic position. While attracting attention with its coasts on both Aegean and Marmara Seas, Balıkesir has become a most appealing holiday destination. Besides this, there are other elements attracting tourists, such as museums, thermal springs, mosques, and even historical ruins. Natural beauties in Balıkesir that can be visited include:
- Değirmen Strait Picnic Area, Necati Sezgin Picnic Area, Atatürk Park, Şadırvan, Clock Tower
- Cunda Island
- Pordoselene Tower
- Taşlı Monastery and Çıplak Hill
- Şahinderesi Canyon
- Antandros Ancient City, Kuvayi Milliye Museum, Bandırma Archeology Museum,
- Zağnos Paşa Mosque, Yıldırım Mosque, and Kasaplar Mosque.
There are various beaches for enjoying summer temperatures in Balıkesir as well, including Akçay, Altınoluk Beach, Ören Beach, and Sarımsaklı Beach. Fine sand is soft underfoot and many tourists have found out how enjoyable it is to enjoy a vacation in these coastal spots.
Tourists should also consider a trip to Manyas Bird Sanctuary, a beautiful place that hosts hundreds of migratory birds, including herons, pelicans, cormorants, reed-warblers, and swans, all of which take shelter here. Birds’ Sanctuary National Park is different from other national parks: it is internationally known and given a European Diploma due to the efforts to protect the space. It is best to visit this paradise during the spring and fall seasons. Note that there exist museums and information centers within the national park, too, where visitors can learn about the variety of birds. There really are no accommodations at the park, but nearby counties and towns indeed offer options to spend the night.
Another county in Balıkesir, Gönen, offer natural hot spring for visitors. The therapeutic thermal springs are popular since Roman times, and contain sulphur, sodium and chlorine. The region is highly visited by local tourists who suffer from liver and kidney problems, rheumatism, and vascular complaints.
The cuisine of the region is rich in vegetables. Balıkesir is, in fact, renowned for dishes such as black-eyed peas, mürdük, keşkek, tirit, Turkish ravioli with chicken, fish, and of course, olive oil.
How to Get There
The most convenient way to reach Balıkesir is sea transportation. You can use İstanbul Sea Buses. Also the city is reachable through highways, and well connected to intercity bus network.