A drive to through the towns of Polonezkoy, Sile and Agva (mentioned below) is a good day trip, with a stop at the Black Sea. The road to these towns and back to Istanbul is a small narrow windy road that winds through some gorgeous hills – and through rather undeveloped scenery. The author visited all of the locations below.
Polonezkoy about 45 minutes from Istanbul is a small town set in a semi wooded area. This town was mainly Polish and has been visited by famous Poland dignitaries. The Pope has even stopped here before. Polonezkoy has has a few hotels and restaurants.
Sile is a very popular seaside resort town (a little smaller and less popular than Agva – mentioned below). Its situated on a hill above the black sea and from some of the restaurants here you have great views of the water harbor.
Agva is one of the main weekend getaways for citizens of Istanbul. It is located directly on the Black Sea. As with many of the other seaside towns in Turkey this town basically “closes” down for the off season. There are many hotels in this town although rooms do book up on the weekends. There is a large beach here that is very crowded in the summer. In the winter this town is *empty* and you are lucky to find a restaurant that is open. A relaxing way to whittle off an hour of your day is to get a haircut in one of the local hair salons.
Yalova is located several hours from Istanbul by car – distance wise its really not that far from Istanbul but you have to drive down one arm of the Sea of Marmara and then back the other side. The fastest option to get there is to take one of the high speed ferries – they leave from Kadakoy and take about 45 minutes. In really bad weather during the winter the main road from Istanbul to Yalova may close sporadically if snow is falling. At that point the ferry may be your only option for transportation unless its very choppy water in the sea. The ferry terminal is just off the main square in Yalova. Tickets to Istanbul are about $7 one way.
There is really not much to see or do here – this city is mainly a farming and transportation center. There is a university here and a bit of shopping. If weather is bad and you want to visit the hot springs at Termal, consider getting a hotel in Yalova as Termal is higher above the sea and gets more snow than Yalova which is located right at sea level.
One hotel is the Hotel Ulke run by Mr. Rasim Yilmaz. They are located right on the water on the main street that parallels the water, just down from the ferry terminal. The address is Yali Cad. No 17 and their PHONE is: 0-226-814-16 80. This is a clean comfortable hotel – its open all year round. They have a restaurant and bar. Complimentary breakfast is served.
Termal is a cute little “Spa Town” located about 20 minutes outside of Yalova. The drive for the most part is in the country past small farmhouses and orchards until you climb through wooded sections until you reach the actual town.
Termal sits in the middle of a very nice forest. Hiking trails, small restaurants and the Hot Baths make this town a must visit if you are in the area. Attaturk had a small house here which has been since converted into a museum.
On a snow covered day this is a very pretty town. There are three main spas that run here, charging several dollars for an hour or two of use. Lockers are available, main heated pools, saunas and internal steam baths and bathing rooms. These are a real treat on a cold winter’s day!