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Guide to Gökçeada, the Jewel of the Aegean

Gökçeada stands as the jewel of Turkey, showcasing a magnificent dance between history and nature as the largest island in the Aegean Sea. This unique destination offers visitors an unforgettable experience, presenting not only historical riches but also natural beauty.

Guide Gökçeada, the Jewel of the Aegean

Are you ready to get lost in the tranquil atmosphere of Gökçeada? Gökçeada, the pearl of the Aegean, awaits you with its historical texture and natural beauties. Come, join this unique adventure, and be enchanted by the magic of the island! All the details about the island are in the continuation of our article…

Where is Gökçeada?

Gökçeada is positioned in the Aegean Sea as an island located in the northwest of Turkey, south of the Dardanelles Strait. Holding the distinction of being Turkey’s largest island, it is renowned for its historical and natural beauties.

This paradise corner, referred to as the pearl of the Aegean Region, can be reached by ferries and sea buses departing from the ports of Geyikli and Kabatepe. Additionally, there is an airport, Ada Airport, located in the north of the island. However, it is currently not in service.

The geographical location of the island has attracted the attention of various civilizations throughout history, and due to its strategic position, Gökçeada has been influenced by different cultures. This unique location has transformed the island into a destination filled with both historical riches and natural beauty.

How to Get to Gökçeada?

Transportation to Gökçeada is provided to visitors through various options. As the island is located in the Aegean Sea, it can be easily visited by both sea and air transportation.

By Sea

The most common way to reach Gökçeada is by sea. Ferry and sea bus services are regularly organized from the ports of Geyikli and Kabatepe, south of the Dardanelles Strait, allowing passage to the island. Ferry services are usually more frequent in the summer months and less so in the winter. Enjoy a pleasant sea journey with the views of the Aegean Sea during the trip.

How to Get to Gökçeada

By Air

Gökçeada is an island waiting to be explored for those seeking the mysterious beauties of the Aegean. Although there is an airport on the island offering tranquility and the serenity accompanied by nature’s steppe, unfortunately, flights have not been operated for a long time. However, don’t worry, Çanakkale Airport is the key to realizing your island dreams. Located closest to the heart of the island, Çanakkale Airport awaits to take you on an unforgettable Aegean adventure. For the beginning of your journey towards the mystical atmosphere of the island, this airport serves as the gateway to an experience where history, nature, and peace embrace.

By Road and Sea Bus

Visitors who want to travel to the island by road from the city center of Çanakkale can take their vehicles onto the ferry after reaching the ports of Geyikli or Kabatepe. Additionally, it is possible to travel from Çanakkale to Gökçeada by sea bus. Transportation options to Gökçeada promise visitors a pleasant journey with different experiences before they start exploring the beauties of the island.

The History of Gökçeada

The History of Gökçeada

Gökçeada, known as the pearl of the Aegean with its rich history spanning thousands of years, emphasizes the cultural richness and significance of the island from ancient times to the present.

Ancient Period

The history of Gökçeada dates back to ancient times. The ancient name of the island is Imbros, and it had a strategic location among the Thracian, Anatolian, and Mycenaean civilizations in ancient times. According to mythological legends, the island is known as the place where Aphrodite, chosen as the “most beautiful” in the famous beauty contest of Paris, fell in love.

Hellenistic Period and Roman Empire

During the Hellenistic period and under the rule of the Roman Empire, Gökçeada came under the influence of many cultures. Ancient ruins and structures built on the island during this period offer visitors a historical journey.

Byzantine Period

Under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, Gökçeada became an important religious center. There are many Byzantine churches and monasteries on the island. The mosaics and frescoes from this period reveal the historical richness of the island.

Ottoman Empire

During the Ottoman Empire’s rule, Gökçeada gained strategic importance, both in terms of sea trade and defense. Castles, mosques, and historic houses bearing the traces of Ottoman architecture reflect the historical heritage of the Ottoman period on the island.

The history of the island resembles an open-air museum with traces of different civilizations. Every stone, every street, and every structure carries a story from thousands of years ago, increasing the admiration for the island’s past.

The Healing Nature of Gökçeada

The Healing Nature of Gökçeada

Tuz Gölü, transformed into a mysterious natural treasure in Aydıncık, shines as the pearl of Gökçeada. This unique ecosystem, one of the island’s most precious wetlands, is known for its biological diversity and productivity. In spring, it turns into a nature festival hosting protected flamingos, as well as colorful migratory birds such as pelicans, wild ducks, and geese.

The life born from the dance of the sand dune created by the dance of strong winds meeting with sea and rainwater forms a magical tableau of nature. In the summer months, the water evaporating with a melancholy farewell leaves behind a delicate layer of salt, emphasizing the natural beauty of the island even more.

The mud hidden beneath the salt layer, rich in intense elements, acts as a healing source. Besides quartz, the chemical richness of sulfur, sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, barium, magnesium, carbonate, sulfate, and bicarbonate provides a natural relief against conditions such as psoriasis, rheumatism, and calcification. This special mixture concealed in Gökçeada’s natural laboratory offers a unique touch to our health.

Beaches and Bays

Beaches and Bays

Gökçeada’s beaches and bays promise an unforgettable holiday with their azure waters, golden sands, and tranquil atmosphere. Explore the beauty of nature and immerse yourself in the cool waters!

Aydıncık Beach or Kefaloz

Aydıncık (Kefaloz) Beach, the jewel of Gökçeada, stands out as the island’s daily paradise. With its 1200-meter golden sandy beach, this unique spot takes the lead as the favorite destination in the summer months. The beach not only captivates with its beauty but also resembles a holiday town with its accommodation facilities, satisfying dining options, and various activities.

Accommodations at Aydıncık Beach operate from the early morning until late at night, offering guests an accommodation experience immersed in the sea. Many of these facilities stand out with camp-pension services, providing an atmosphere where you can also take private windsurfing lessons.

In recent years, Aydıncık Beach has gained popularity among windsurfing enthusiasts, especially with the discovery by Bulgarian surfers, rapidly becoming a windsurfing center. Those surfers tired of the crowds at İzmir-Alaçatı, one of the world’s significant windsurfing locations, listen to the wind’s melody at Aydıncık Beach. The joy of windsurfing in the cool waters of Gökçeada makes this place special, turning it into the favorite destination for surfers.

Laz Koyu (Laz Bay)

Laz Koyu, a small and charming bay, invites those who want to discover the beauties of Gökçeada to a fairy-tale land. Situated on the southern coast of the island, this paradise corner is only 20 km from the town center and awaits like a mysterious treasure within the boundaries of Dereköy.

As you proceed left from the asphalt road, you’ll encounter a sign leading you to the gate of paradise. After traveling about 300 meters on the dirt road during this exploratory journey, you may find yourself in awe of the view that awaits you. Laz Koyu is adorned with the serene sea, pristine beach, and the unique beauty of nature that surrounds it.

The facilities at the bay offer you the opportunity to enjoy Laz Koyu to the fullest. Here, you can relax under colorful umbrellas, enjoy the calm sea, and taste delights from Gökçeada’s exquisite cuisine. Renting a sunbed to enjoy the beach, you can open the door to unforgettable memories in the peaceful atmosphere of the island.

Laz Koyu not only allows you to discover a bay but also lets you feel the peaceful atmosphere of Gökçeada. Spending a day by the turquoise waters, amidst nature’s embrace, Laz Koyu enchants visitors with a captivating atmosphere, making them feel the warmth of Gökçeada.

Secret Harbor Beach (Gizli Liman Plajı)

After passing Uğurlu Village, you’ll reach Secret Harbor as a surprise; it’s a hidden gem to be discovered by turning right from the fishing harbor. Located on the west side of the island, with no structures along its 750-meter shoreline, this bay stands out as one of the virgin bays of the Aegean. Secret Harbor is the last point you can reach on the western tip of the island and stands out with its beach made of fine sand.

Just 1-2 km after Uğurlu Harbor, the Secret Harbor area offers a breathtaking natural wonder. The cape at the farthest point of Secret Harbor, known as the country’s westernmost point, is called Fine Cape or Avlaka Cape. Secret Harbor is ready to enchant you with its beach made of small stones, its azure sea, and crystal-clear waters. Enjoying the beach with the option to rent sunbeds, Secret Harbor emphasizes the natural beauty of the island even more.

Star Bay (Yıldız Koyu)

The jewel on the northern shores of Gökçeada, Yıldız Koyu, is an indispensable stop for a sea lover! Despite the dominant northern winds of Gökçeada, this bay becomes a milk harbor on days when the wind subsides or blows from the south.

Yıldız Koyu is located within the Gökçeada Underwater National Park and has the unique feature of being the only point where you can reach the sea from land. Here, you can snorkel to enjoy the rich underwater world in the region, where marine flora and fauna are protected.

Easily accessible by car, this natural beauty allows you to explore interesting rock formations and provides ideal areas for sunbathing. With the floating pier established in 2012, you can have a pleasant swimming experience in these waters filled with beauty.

If you continue walking from the right side of the bay towards the rising dirt road, you may have the chance to discover another beauty within the underwater park, Mavi Koyu (Blue Bay). For those who want to stay close to Yıldız Koyu, you can choose the camping facility in the bay or accommodations in Yeni Bademli Village or Kaleköy. By walking from these villages, you can easily reach this sea paradise in the unique nature of Gökçeada.

Gökçeada’s Architectural Structure

Gökçeada's Architectural Structure

Gökçeada is home to numerous significant structures adorned with its historical texture, reflecting the cultural richness of the island from different periods. The prominent structures on the island include:

Gökçeada Kokina Rock Tomb

The Kokina Rock Tomb, a historical treasure carrying the history of Gökçeada, is a remarkable ancient artifact worth exploring. Carved into anthracite rocks and believed to date back to the Roman period, this modest and simple tomb stands as a silent witness to the past. The two adjacent sections carved into the rocks reflect the skilled craftsmanship of that era.

According to local tales, the lids of the tombs were found about 80 meters away from the rocks, adding a historical and mysterious detail. Located in the Kokina region, to the right of the asphalt road connecting Aydıncık to Uğurlu, the Rock Tomb is approximately 18 km away from the town center. Although this unique site is within walking distance, vehicle access is not allowed.

While the exact period to which the Rock Tomb belongs is not precisely known, it is presumed to be from the Roman period. This historical monument, located about 100 meters to the right of the road, offers an opportunity to take a journey through time and discover the mysteries of the ancient world.

Moreover, archaeologists and historians specializing in the field believe that this site was used as a rock tomb manufacturing workshop based on the surrounding ruins and the regional structure. In ancient times, the rock tombs produced here were shipped by sea to nearby villages and ancient cities. This site not only reflects the traces of the past but also showcases the magical craftsmanship and cultural heritage of the ancient world.

Scythian Castle (İskiter Kalesi)

Rising in the Gökçeada Upper Kaleköy region, the Scythian Castle is one of the island’s oldest structures bearing witness to its history. Although much of this castle has been eroded by time, some parts of the historical walls still stand tall. Known as Kaleköy, meaning castle in the ancient era, Kaleköy is one of Gökçeada’s most famous historical sites.

Shedding light on the history of Kaleköy, the Scythian Castle dazzles with its remains thought to belong to the pre-Hellenistic era. Around this magnificent castle, windmills repaired during the Byzantine and Genoese periods and various remnants of village houses can be found. The ancient harbor’s traces are hidden beneath the current harbor in Kaleköy.

The fact that restoration efforts, although planned, have not yet taken place indicates the existence of a treasure awaiting preservation, revealing the natural and historical texture of the Scythian Castle. Gökçeada Scythian Castle is not only a historical ruin but also a monument shedding light on the island’s rich past and cultural heritage, offering visitors the opportunity to take a historical journey and experience the enchantment of bygone eras.

Aya Nikola Monastery

Aya Nikola Monastery, one of the most important historical structures on Gökçeada, is located at the highest peak of the island. Belonging to the Byzantine Empire period, this monastery captivates visitors with its breathtaking view and historical atmosphere.

Agios Georgios Church

Agios Georgios Church in Gökçeada is a significant structure bearing witness to the island’s history and cultural richness. Located in Zeytinli Village, this church is a relic from a period when different cultures, especially the Greeks, inhabited Gökçeada.

Converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period, Agios Georgios Church was eventually abandoned. It has now been restored and opened to visitors. The architectural features of the church carry the traces of the era and shed light on Gökçeada’s history. Agios Georgios Church, holding a special place in Gökçeada’s cultural heritage, offers visitors a chance to take a short journey into the island’s history.

Ottoman Period Works

Despite being under Ottoman rule for five centuries, Gökçeada has limited heritage from the Ottoman period. Research indicates that only 1 mosque, 4 laundries, 1 fountain, and 1 tombstone have survived from the Ottoman period to the present day.

The only Ottoman mosque on the island is the present-day Merkez Mosque located in Çınarlı Neighborhood. The plaque indicating the year 1813 on the mosque does not specify when it was placed. The laundries believed to be from the Ottoman period are found in Çınarlı, Fatih, and Yenimahalle.

While the laundry in Çınarlı has a plaque with the date 1814, the worn-out plaque in the laundry in Yenimahalle reveals the date 1800. The laundry in Fatih has the year 1908 inscribed on the fountain mirror with new numerals.


Gökçeada, with its historical, cultural riches, and natural beauty, stands as one of Turkey’s unique destinations. This magnificent island promises visitors a journey through time and an unforgettable experience of nature.

As mentioned in our introduction, Gökçeada’s location, its historically intertwined connection with the sea, and its unique architecture make the island truly special. Its rich historical fabric, spanning from ancient times to the present day, turns the island into an open-air museum. The history of the island encompasses mythological legends to the Ottoman Empire, showcasing the cultural diversity and richness of Gökçeada.

With its structures, the island harbors historical monuments that each tell their own stories. The mystical atmosphere of Kokina Rock Tomb, the Ottoman architecture of the Central Mosque in Çınarlı neighborhood, the strategic importance of Iskiter Castle, and the religious heritage of Agios Georgios Church highlight the historical diversity of the island.

Reaching Gökçeada is easily achievable by sea and air. The sea journey on ferries and sea buses offers an unforgettable start in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

In conclusion, Gökçeada is becoming increasingly popular as a unique destination where history and nature converge. Visitors, while tracing the footsteps of the past on this enchanting island, witness peaceful moments in the embracing atmosphere of nature. The island, with its distinctive ambiance, provides guests with an unforgettable experience and invites them to the enchantment of a fairy-tale island.

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