Sile1If you're looking for a Black Sea bolthole but want to keep the driving out of İstanbul to a minimum you could head for Şile, a far more built-up settlement than popular Ağva.

Şile boasts several sandy beaches where swimming is possible if only really wise when a lifeguard is in attendance since a dangerous undertow still claims occasional victims.

To get to Şile you drive through lovely wooded countryside with plenty of places to stop for a picnic or to tuck into a piping hot gözleme (stuffed pancake) cooked by a şalvared village matron.

Şile itself is a proper small town best known for the Şile Feneri, a stripy lighthouse which is certainly the largest in Turkey and is sometimes said to be the second largest in the world. It dates back to 1859 and the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid I, and its light can be seen from 20 miles out to sea.

Theoretically it’s open to visitors during the summer months from 10am to 4pm, although it’s probably best to assume that that only really means over weekends.ile2

Şile also boasts the remains of the Ocaklı Kale (“Hearth Castle”), picturesquely sited on a rock just off-shore from the fishing harbour.

Some locals also insist that the Ağlayankaya (“Weeping Rock”) is a sight worth seeing, although frankly it will come as a considerable let-down after Gelinkaya at Kilimli Köyü, near Ağva.

That’s about it for the formal attractions of Şile although the back streets do boast a number of silvery wooden houses gradually crumbling away to nothingness. In spring with flowering wisteria draped over their facades they look particularly attractive, especially in contrast to the sprawling concrete sites (housing complexes).

Many well-heeled İstanbullus keep second homes in Şile which is accessible by bus from Üsküdar, making a day trip possible.



Accommodation options are not as inviting as in Ağva. There’s a big and very smart Dedeman Hotel (tel: 0216-712 2424, www.dedeman.com) with a lovely outdoor pool and rooms far more stylish than you might expect, and the smaller Değirmen Hotel (tel: 0216-711 5048) which looks out over the harbour.

Otherwise, there are a succession of small pensions primarily aimed at the Turkish family market.

Sile3Transport info

Bus No. 139A runs from in front of the Şemsi Paşa Cami in Üsküdar in İstanbul to Şile. 







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