Ayvalik is 2 km west of the main coast road, a small fishing port that also makes a living from olive-oil production and low-key tourism; it makes a good base for beach-lounging, and for visiting the ruins at Bergama, 70km southeast. The town lost its mainly Greek inhabitants during the exchange of populations that followed the Greek-Turkish war of 1920-1922. Ayvalik is a picturesque fishing harbor, facing the sparkling sea. Just behind the town, there are twenty deep green islands spread like thrown dice. A web of pedestrian ways gives unique shopping opportunities at prices that make the cheapest malls in Europe seem as most expensive. This is the place for "conspicuous consumption". The Danish "Politiken" guidebook writes: "By unexplainable reasons Ayvalik is only very rarely mentioned in guidebooks. The town is unique: Not only does it have some of the best beaches in Turkey, but also some of the best fish restaurants. One will long remember the time at the pier watching the lavender sunset slowly engulfing and transforming the faraway Lesbos into something enigmatic."

Many Greeks lived here before they were exchanged with the Turkish minority living in Crete in 1923. The Greek influence is still apparent in "the old Ayvalik" with its beautiful tree houses and winding streets. There is a big outdoor market on Thursdays, where a lot of tourists from the islands come to do their weekly.

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