Forgotten jet-set hangout                                        Population:

erdek1Old name: Artace (Roman)

On the south side of the Sea of Marmara, Erdek sits at the edge of the Kapıdağ Peninsula where a series of small settlements ring a mountain known to the ancients as Mt Dindymus (782m).

Hard though it may now seem to believe it, there was a time when the mega resorts of Bodrum, Marmaris and Kuşadası were just small fishing villages, quietly minding their own business in the sun. Nowadays it hardly merits a mention in the same breath, but at that time Erdek was the in place, a fashionable hideaway conveniently close to İstanbul to which the celebratories of the day flocked for their holidays.

The Pinar Otel was the particular hot spot, a favourite with industrialist Rahmi Koç. Then hard times hit, and as you arrive at the elderly bus station today you may well wonder what you’re letting yourself in for.

But once you get to the waterfront you’ll soon feel time rolling backwards and the ghosts of the past crowding in on you.

Today Erdek lives primarily for the ferries that connect it with the Marmara Islands, but for the brief months of the school holidays it spruces itself up again like an aging aunt waiting to host her bayram guests.

Unlike many other Turkish resorts it hasn’t succumbed to the lure of either the super high-rise hotels or the serried ranks of identikit summer houses. Instead a series of relatively discreet hotels are strung out along a palm-lined promenade popular with cyclists and mercifully closed to cars.


Like nearby Cyzikus, Erdek was originally founded by the Miletians who called it Artace. However, ruled by less wily individuals than Cyzikus, it sided with the Greeks against the Persians in 499 BC for which sin it was razed to the ground in 494 BC. Ultimately, though, it was Erdek that was to have the last laugh since Cyzikus never rose again whereas Erdek found new life in the 20th century.

Around town

A small open-air museum near the ferry terminal displays chunks of marble masonry from Cyzikus including some impressive lion-head water spouts. It’s a nice idea but sadly the taggers have already been at work, mindlessly scrawling their names on the silent reminders of a history dating back 2,500 years.Otherwise there's not much in the way of entertainment here. The beach is a mixture of coarse sand and shingle, dotted with beach brollies that go easy on the eye by avoiding advertising. erdek2

There’s a pretty small fishing harbour overlooking the off-shore island of Zeytinli which is home to a research institute dedicated to olives.


Note: Most Erdek hotels close for the winter.

Many of the hotels date back to the glory days of the ‘60s, a fact unfortunately reflected in their fixtures and fittings, but most feature balconies offering billion-dollar views of the sun slowly lowering itself into the sea at day’s end, which for many people will go a long way to compensate for a stained carpet or a sink without hot water.

Atay Otel. Tel: 0266-835 2500

Hotel Acet. Tel: 0266-835 6572

Hotel Alevok. Tel: 0266-835 1116

Pınar Hotel. Tel: 0266-855 7024

Transport info

İDO (www.ido.com.tr) runs three ferries a day from Yenikapı in İstanbul to Bandırma. Buses wait across the road to take you to Bandırma bus terminal from where there are three buses per hour to Erdek. These pass the short path leading to the Cyzikus ruins.

Ferries from Erdek serve the Marmara Islands, stopping at Marmara (the largest), Avşa (the liveliest), and Paşalimanı (the least developed).

erdek3Day trip destinations



Marmara Islands




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