Tourist Guide to Bozcaada Island in Turkey

Bozcaada is an idyllic Aegean Island off the western coast of Turkey, situated around 50 km south of the province Canakkale that attracts visitors with its natural charm.

Known for much of its history as Tenedos, this island belonged to the Greek, Persian, Roman, and Byzantine Empires before becoming a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1455.

Supposedly it was here that the Trojan Horse was constructed and where the Greeks parked their ships before the surprise attack on Troy. This formerly Greek now Turkish island is greatly influenced by the Greek and Turkish culture and is full of cobblestoned streets, old rustic homes with colorful windowpanes, deserted sandy beaches, beautiful mosques, excellent vineyards, and traditional tavernas under the grapevines. With a small population of approximately 3,000, it is the third largest Turkish island after Marmara and Imbros and is surrounded by small islets. 

The island has a Mediterranean climate; the summers are warm and dry while the winters are cold and wet. The strong northern winds make it a suitable place for wind energy in the Aegean region and it also exports electricity to the mainland. Vineyards and winemaking have been an important aspect of Bozcaada for a millennium or more, however, tourism is also a prime industry. The Corvus, Çamlıbağ and Talay wineries still maintain the tradition in the island. 

The life in Bozcaada is simple and serene, filled with history, wine, and sunshine which make it an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. If you can’t help but visualize yourself in a colorful café with outdoor seating along narrow streets with fairy lights, it is time for you to take a vacation in Bozcaada Island and you also do not need to worry about anything, simply check out our useful Bozcaada guide.

Turkey e-Visa or Turkey Visa Online is an electronic travel authorization or travel permit to visit Turkey for a period of upto 90 days. Government of Turkey recommends that international visitors must apply for a Turkey Visa Online at least three days before you visit Turkey. Foreign citizens can apply for an Turkey Visa Application in a matter of minutes. Turkey Visa application process is automated, simple, and completely online.

Why visit Bozcaada?

Bozcaada Bozcaada

The street that passes through the center of the island divides it into the Greek quarter and the Turkish quarter and this merging of two separate cultures in time has enriched the cultural texture of the island. Even though Bozcaada is known more for its Grecian aesthetic and laid-back island vibe that many city dwellers crave in the summer, it does have other sights that are worthy of exploration. The Turkish grape vines, restored, whitewashed houses and Mediterranean-influenced food are just some of the reasons for visiting Bozcaada. It is one of those rare, magical places where you can relax without hordes of tourists and disturbing noise of the city, opening the door to a different world altogether. There is an array of gorgeous beaches rimmed with mosaics of blue and swimming holes to explore and a short walk down an uneven cobblestone path may lead to a charming café. The island is planted with field after field of grapevines which offers a beautiful sight during summer and in fall. It is the family-friendly atmosphere and casual vibe that makes it ideal for a fuss-free weekend holiday. If you find yourself in Turkey and are craving a taste of island life, then you should make time for Bozcaada.

READ MORE:
In addition to gardens Istanbul has plenty more to offer, learn about them at exploring tourist attractions of Istanbul.

How to get to Bozcaada?

Geyikli ferry Geyikli ferry

Bozcaada Island is located about five kilometers from the Turkish mainland and is only accessible by ferry. Ferries depart from Geyikli and Çanakkale on a daily basis. The Geyikli ferry does not require you to pre-book and vehicles are also permitted. However, the ferry from Çanakkale is for passengers only and requires pre-booking at least 24 hours in advance. Car and passenger ferry boats operated by Gestas make the 5 km voyage from Geyikli İskelesi to the town of Bozcaada in about 35 minutes. The tickets are round-trip so you can buy it once and go both ways on it. Mini buses run regularly all year between Çanakkale and the village of Geyikli, from where you can opt for the ferry ride. If you are traveling from Istanbul, you can opt for a ferry from Istanbul which takes about 8 hours. During the peak tourist season ie. May through September, Truva Turizm also runs frequent buses from Istanbul and other cities to Geyikli İskelesi from where you can hop on the ferry boat.

Vehicular traffic to and on Bozcaada during the summer tourism season from early June through mid-September are regulated. In order to transport a vehicle from the mainland to the island a reservation must be obtained in advance. Once you reach the island, you may drive directly through the town to other parts of the island, however, you cannot drive in the town center, except from the time when you return to the ferry. Traffic in the town is limited to service vehicles carrying food, supplies and other equipment. Car rental services and public buses are also available in Bozcaada.

READ MORE:
Exploring tourist attractions of Istanbul

What to see and do in Bozcaada Island?

Relax! Yes. That is exactly what you are supposed to do at Bozcaada. Unlike some summer islands, the vibe on Bozcaada is one of relaxed enjoyment and not of high-volume music and frenetic energy. You may eat some divine local food, swirl some Turkish wine and relax on the beach or in white-washed chair. You must walk to the city center, also known as Bozcaada Merkez, which is composed of a beautiful square that branches out to the tavern-lined streets and make sure to see the delightful old Greek houses. The old Greek district has a Clock Tower and the Church of St Mary, and the old tavernas situated there have been transformed into modern restaurants while the old houses have been transformed into charming cafes and boutique guesthouses. The Turkish quarter consists of mosques, Köprülü Mehmet Paşa Mosque and Alaybey Mosque, and Ottoman architecture. The island’s main museum exhibits both the Greek and Turkish history of Tenedos. The Bozcaada Castle is also quite beautiful and stands out due to its well-preserved state and serves as the island’s only touristic monument. Here are a few must-visit places in Bozcaada Island:

READ MORE:
Eligible Countries for Turkey e-Visa

Bozcaada Castle:

The imposing, majestic castle situated on the north-eastern end of the island, just north of the Bozcaada town would grab your attention as soon as you approach the island by boat. Built atop the ruins of several former castles, the grandeur of the castle reflects the rich history of the island. Due to its location at the mouth of the Dardanelles, close to the mainland, the island has been open to invasions throughout the centuries. The civilizations that resided here felt safe and secure under the protection of this majestic castle. One of the largest citadels in the Aegean, the castle was expanded by the Byzantine, Genoese, Venetian and Turkish civilizations who occupied the island successively, however, the form of the existing castle dates back to the time of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. In earlier times, the entrance to the castle was via a suspended bridge but now there is a stationary bridge leading to the entrance.  The outer boundary wall of the castle encloses a beautiful green space that leads upward to the main castle door. The ruins of an old mosque and an artillery room are situated outside. The castle, once inhabited by the Turkish population, is empty and exhibits tombstones, amphorae and historical objects found in the island. A visit to Bozcaada Castle is a worthy excursion and once you are inside the boundary walls, you feel yourself to be removed from civilization, and it also offers breathtaking views of the sea.

Ayazma Monastery: 

Ayazma Monastery Ayazma Monastery

Ayazma Monastery, also known as Aya Paraskevi Monastery is a monastery found in the south of Bozcaada that belongs to the Christian congregation. This monastery of the Greek Orthodox community in Ayazma was built on behalf of the Greek saint Agia Paraskevi and was named after her.. This ruined Greek Orthodox monastery overlooks Bozcaada’s best beach and consists of a small chapel under 8 plane-trees, two small-structures and a fountain with two pipes. The Ayazma Festival takes place in the month of July and offers many activities such as concerts and music recitals. The monastery is open for worship only on the occasion of special days.

Bozcaada Museum:

Bozcaada Museum located in the island center in a historical building in the old Greek district is a unique place for tourists who are enthusiastic about learning new things. This small museum and local-history research center showcases the rich history of the island. It is a treasure trove of island curios which includes maps, prints, photographs, seashells, and other artifacts. There is also a gift stand in the museum where you can buy books and souvenirs.  

Windmills:

At the west end of the island, you will have the honor of witnessing the most fascinating sunset of your life. Along with the boundless Aegean Sea, you can also see wind turbines standing with grandeur and a deserted lighthouse known as Polente Lighthouse. There is a smooth road where you can drive past the wind turbines in order to reach the end of the cape. Visitors and local residents usually carry their picnic baskets or a bottle of island wine as they take their spot facing the setting sun. The cape is filled with a new kind of beauty as the sun sets and the lack of habitation and artificial lights add to the beauty. The bright stars in the dark sky, flashing light of the lighthouse along with the giant wings of the wind turbines turning with a whisper create an enchanting atmosphere.

Wineries:

Wineries Wineries

A guide to Bozcaada would be incomplete without mentioning the island’s famous wine culture and vineyards. There are six wineries on the island, some of which are located in the town center while some at Tuzburnu. With a grape culture that goes back to ancient times, the island’s native varieties include Kuntra, Karalahana, Vasilaki, Cavus. In order to gain in-depth knowledge, tours are available which allow the visitors to see what stages the grape goes through as it is turned into wine and helps to find a wine suitable to one’s palate. There are also shops next to the wineries where you can shop as well as indulge in wine tasting. 

READ MORE:
Turkey Visa Online Requirements

Goztepe:

Goztepe is the highest point on the island and offers an impressive bird’s eye view of the surroundings in all four directions. A steep and narrow road leads to the top where there is only a radio link facility. From the top of the hill, you can see vineyards, pine tree forests, windmills and the little islands that surround Bozcaada. You can also enjoy an astonishing experience of sunset while sipping a glass of wine.

Beaches:

Beaches Beaches

The famous vineyards of Bozcaada overshadow the fact that its beaches are also very beautiful with cold waters making them perfect for the hot summer months. Bozcaada’s coastline is dotted with several secluded coves and virgin beaches waiting to be explored. Due to the strong wind, it is advised to be aware of which direction the wind is blowing and then choose a beach accordingly. Ayazma is the island’s most popular beach because of its soft, white sands, however it can become a little too crowded in the high season. In summer, mini buses make regular runs from the town to Ayazma. It is the only beach with facilities such as shade, restaurants, etc. Adventurous travelers should make sure to pack their own supplies and claim a spot of their own. If you are looking for a relaxing spot, you can check out Akvaryum which is famous for its vivacious underwater life. During the summer, the beaches such as Çayır Plajı and Tuzburnu Plajı are good places to rent a chair and take a dip in the crystalline water.

READ MORE:
Turkey is full of natural wonders and ancient secrets, find out more at Lakes and Beyond - Wonders of Turkey.

Where to stay and eat in Bozcaada?

 Beautiful boutique hotels

The travelers would not find big hotels in Bozcaada as the government has issued regulations to preserve the island’s rich cultural and natural habitat. However, there are several other accommodation options from beautiful boutique hotels to cozy and warm pensions. Bozcaada Ersin Konak Butik Otel, Capraz Resort Hotel, Bozcaada Fahri Hotel, Onal Tas Konak, are some of the popular ones that offer comfortable rooms and excellent service.  It is advised to book in advance as it can be hard to find a room during summer time.

As you arrive by the ferry to the island you will notice several harbor side restaurants and small cafes. The island’s food culture reflects the culinary traditions of Turkish-Greek cohabitation. The locals and tourists spend a lot of time at the tea gardens where one can enjoy black and herbal tea, Turkish coffee, and beer with the pleasant view of the pine trees. You can check out the Rengigül Konukevi which is a traditional Greek home turned into a quaint hotel with one of the best breakfasts on the island. The place offers more than 21 varieties of marmalade, including the island’s famous tomato jam, along with other delicacies. If you want to take a break from sightseeing, you can head to the island’s famous Madamın Kahvesi Bozcaada, which is a historic coffee house famous for its mastic cookies. Eski Kahve specializes in some of the island’s specialties, homemade dishes, and pastries. The island’s traditional fish restaurants situated in the lively city center offer the best of the daily catch along with a myriad of freshly made meze varieties.


Check your eligibility for Turkey Visa and apply for Turkey e-Visa 72 hours in advance of your flight. American citizens, Australian citizens, Chinese citizens, Canadian citizens, South African citizens, Mexican citizens, and Emiratis (UAE citizens), can apply online for Electronic Turkey Visa. Should you need any help or require any clarifications you should contact our Turkey Visa helpdesk for support and guidance.