Yalova is quickly becoming the place to visit with more and more tourists visiting the area each day, the total area of Yalova is 167 km² so it’s a fairly small city. Until 1995 Yalova was a district in Istanbul it then became a province in its own right, it’s a beautiful city located in the Marmara region of Anatolia with many green and agricultural areas and is known for its hot springs. These thermal springs have been in use since at least Roman times and are located 12 km (8 miles) southwest of Yalova, the temperature of the waters is around 57-60 C with a pH level of 6.88 – 7.48 the waters contain sulphur, calcium and sodium, it can be drunk and is known to have therapeutic benefits for an assortment of ailments. These wonderful spas have open and covered pools, Turkish baths were you can relax and rejuvenate your aching muscles whilst having a massage, even an underwater massage is available and so it’s said drinking the water aids any digestive problems one may have. The infrastructure is very well developed the road links are excellent between Yalova, Istanbul and Bursa and with a regular ferry service to makes all areas easily accessible. The quickest and easiest way to get to Yalova from Istanbul is to take the fast ferry service, fast ferries operate from Yenikapı (south of Sultanahmet) and the voyage takes just 70 minutes its ideal for commuting to Istanbul every day.
It’s a wonderful area that combines city life with all the benefits of being in lush green surroundings close to a beautiful beach and picturesque parks. There is plenty to do with many historical sights in the centre of Yalova ranging from the State of the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire that will make sightseeing a pleasure and one more than any other stands out as a favourite its Yuruyen Kosk and it was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was the founder of the modern Turkish Republic summer house. It’s been described as tranquil and beautiful with peaceful surroundings by many visitors and the history of the house is indeed fascinating with an enchanting story of an old sycamore tree that was to be removed because it was causing damage to the nearby mansion, Ataturk was upset this beautiful old tree was to be chopped down so instead of the tree being removed he said the mansion should be moved 5 metres away, therefore, the mansion is known as “the walking mansion” and the great man himself said that the woods of Yalova should be “conserved sensitively” Yalova has everything you could wish for as well as a beautiful coastline a short distance from the city centre you can relax on the beach and take in the rays, let your shoulders drop and relax.
Yalova is a great place to retreat to it has a city lifestyle you can still enjoy if you don’t fancy the huge cities like Istanbul; it is where many people have a summer house to escape the hectic lifestyle of a bustling city. Flights to Yalova are via Istanbul Sabiha Gocken Airport (SAW) which means the flights are very frequent from all major international airports. The transfer time is just 90 minutes to the centre of Yalova; transfers are made very easy with shuttle transfers, private car hire and taxi.
Shopping is highly recommended with a great range of high-end trendy boutiques and a must is to visit Yalovas Bazaar and have an authentic Turkish bazaar experience; the bazaar is opposite the ferry terminal on the seafront. Though a permanent structure, the bazaar is only open on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. A huge and superb selection of very fresh, mainly locally grown fruit and vegetables, plus a good selection of other stalls selling everything from kitchen utensils, clothes and underwear, can be found here. Surrounding the bazaar is a maze of stalls specializing in such things as clothing, housewares, linens, shoes, lingerie, and cheeses, these stalls are open daily. Yalova has most of the (international) chain stores that can be found throughout Turkey on its cobbled street along Gazi Paşa Caddesi. The stores here include Colin’s, LC Waikiki, Polo Assn., FLO, and Mavi. Shopping here is good, but you can always travel to nearby Bursa or Istanbul, for people who need to do serious shopping, it might be worth the ferry or bus ride and it’s a great day out.
There are plenty of other attractions to see in Yalova there are the most stunning parks with breathtaking scenery and one, in particular, is Dipsiz Gol, you have to steer through some very narrow roads in the heart of the countryside and through a few small villages but you arrive in the most magnificent natural beauty spot and it’s well worth it. Then we come to the majestic Erikli Waterfalls it’s an area of outstanding beauty and it’s worth noting a guided tour is advisable as you need to travel up the narrow mountain roads to reach it. Once arrived you will walk through a lush green forest and its a bit of a climb but once there the views of the Marmara Sea are well worth the journey. The stunning waterfall is a delightful sight and there are small ponds ideal for the children to cool off. As already mentioned the wonderful thermal waters offer relief to the stresses and strains of everyday life and an added extra is the local villagers sell fresh berries, fruit juices and an array of organic products to take away with you. The forests fresh water from the springs are said to re-energise you and give you a sense of wellbeing.
Eating out in Yalova is a fantastic experience and as you can imagine the choice is fabulous, everything from traditional local Turkish dishes to kebabs and koftes. For more authentic Turkish dishes try Yalova Sutlusu which is Yalovas speciality dessert made from milk, coconut flavoured baklava it’s sweet but delicious. If you love ice cream then head to Balim & Tadim which is rumoured to have the best ice cream in Yalova. Fish is a favourite dish anywhere in Turkey and is served in many different ways, if you order a balik ekmek you will be served a fish in a sandwich which is fresh half sized bread so hope you’re hungry when you order it! If you visit the floating balikci to order your fish sandwich the owner will fish your food from under his shop on the small river that runs through the town, you cannot get fresher than that! Although Bursa is home to the famous Iskender Kepab, Yalova has its very own versions of this delightful dish called Kervan or Divan Kepab. Then we have a great selection of international restaurants, Italian, French, European, and Arabic, steakhouses, fresh local fish and barbeque eateries, I can promise you won’t go hungry! Cafes adorn the sidewalk and at the beach where you can enjoy a Turkish coffee and delicious Turkish delight. For a relaxed afternoon you can take a seat at any of the numerous tea (cay) houses enjoy a few glasses and even have a game of Backgammon.
Nightlife is varied in Yalova it can be cosy or full on and vibrant, for a quiet night why not visit the local cinema or just sit with a chilled glass of wine in one of many superb bars or dance the night away at any one of the trendy nightclubs.