Port town on Sea of Marmara Population: 100,000
Of the two main ferry ports on the south side of the Sea of Marmara, the market-gardening town of Yalova is a much more inviting place than Bandırma, besides which the crossing is much quicker.
For most people Yalova is just somewhere to transit en route to somewhere else, if only to the thermal baths at nearby Termal. However, recently efforts have been made to tidy the town up and prettify it so that you might want to linger for an hour or so to explore.
Out east on the waterfront near the Adalet Sarayı (Palace of Justice) stands the Yürüyen Köşkü, a two-storey wooden house painted in brown and white that stands beside a magnificent plane tree. The house had been built at Atatürk's behest but when the tree started to impinge on the view he had it slowly inched along the coast in stead of taking an axe to the tree; pictures hanging on the railings show the process.
You can visit the house although there's not much to see inside. It's probably better to amble along the pier in front and look back at the view, then pop into the adjacent waterside cafe for a drink and a leaf through the books in the small adjoining Atatürk library.
Yalova has its own archaeology museum but it's in the middle of nowhere and is currently closed for restoration.
The large covered market immediately across the road from the otogar is good for filling in the time just before a ferry departure. Alternatively you could gaze down on the new Setur Marina beside the bus terminal from one of the hillside tea gardens.
Note that many İstanbullus talk about going to Yalova when what they really mean is Termal.
High-speed İDO car ferries carry passengers here from Yenikapı in İstanbul. Tickets can be booked on line via www.ido.com.tr.
The newly reorganised otogar right beside the ferry terminal offers frequent dolmuşes to Termal and along the coast to Karamürsel, transiting Topçular where ferries cross to Eskihisar in the eastern outskirts of İstanbul.
Day trip destinations