Many visitors to Istanbul never want to leave Sultanahmet, now I fully understand why but its also a real shame. There is an abundance of historical and fun sites to see in and around the region. Şile is one of those, it has been on my “ to do List “ forever but somehow on each trip I take to Turkey it seems to slip through my fingers. The small resort town on the Black Sea is famous for its fish and Şile fabric.

Well this time it was not getting away. Addicted to beautiful and unusual spots to photograph, all it takes is one inspirational photo and I am sold. Stubbornness sets in and no obstacle is to big for me to reach that goal. Difficulties become stepping stones, some times I can hop, skip and jump over them, other times it is a slow methodical walk but which ever one it is you can be sure I am going to get it done.

Arriving at the new Istanbul Airport, flying on my favourite airline Turkish Airlines I realised this could be one of those methodical walks, simply because the airport was so mesmerising and of a standard that is out of this world. No traveller should need to rush out of this airport, the shopping alone is enough to keep any women there. But I had a goal, so I hopped onto one of the efficient buses and headed to Sultanahmet. A good nights sleep and I was up early to head out and grab my daily coffee fix at Starbucks.

Taking the tram to Esenler Bus terminal i purchased a ticket then had a borek to eat and Ayran to wash it down at one of the many restaurants at the terminal. There was no direct bus to Şile even though its summer and tourist season so I was happily on a Metro bus but with no allocated seat I landed up playing musical chairs each time we made a stop and collected new passengers. Its part of the journey for me and kept me on my toes. We reached the Otogar and I took a taxi to Şile town. Listening to a mixture of Turkish and English pop music blaring out of the speakers with far too much bass, my limited Turkish and the drivers non existent English made it a ride full of laughs.

I was dropped of right next to the picture I had seen, the very picture that had been stuck in my mind for months. It was worth it. The location is perfect for a lazy Sunday outing at the sea.

Starting at the tip of the harbour I strolled along, stopping at the various restaurants to have a peek at the menu and see what sea food was available. The harbour is small , with fisherman cleaning out the nets and small boats bopping up and down on the calm water.

Opposite the harbour is the castle perched on top of the rocks, the turquoise waters below gave way to sounds of laughter and children squeaking with delight as they splashed in the water. Parents lay under brightly coloured umbrellas on beach loungers soaking up the hot Black sea sun.

Moving on I reached Iyot Cafe and Beach, the picture I had been chasing. With woven umbrellas painted blue, lining the beach and the Turkish flag flying proudly in the wind I now understood why this was the perfect location. The restaurant nestled into the rocks had a good menu ranging from breakfast , hot appetisers , main courses to desserts and of course some delicious drinks like the yummy chocolate milkshake . Absorbed in this moment of sheer bliss I had found the ideal spot to get away from the crowds and enjoy the Turkish coastal fever that tourists yearn for each year.

It was starting to get a bit chilly so I head off for a stroll down the main road in town, stopping to play with the local cats who had made their home in an old Hamam. Following the cats I landed up on a back road where I stumbled across some of the old, original houses of the area. Now derelict and abandoned, with curtains blowing in the wind through broken windows I wondered about the people who once lived here and what stories these old buildings must have.

Walking up a rather steep hill I spotted a bus stop across from the Micros, where a local man told me I could catch a Dolmus to the bus station. So for 2Tl I did just that thinking I was going to the same station I had arrived at. To my surprise not even 1km up the hill I was told this was the spot to disembark, yes it was a bus station just not the one I had used. I then bought a bus ticket on Uskudar – Sile – Agva bus that would take me right back to Uskudar. So the return trip was a lot cheaper , but the trip going there was a lot more fun.

I loved this sea side town, with its beautiful vistas – it has not seen the last of me. Next time I will spend a day or two. It only takes an hour if you drive from Istanbul by car or maximum 3 hours depending on the bus route. So if you are looking for some quite solitude away from the cosmopolitan Istanbul head out to this sleepy fishing village.

My recommendations when visiting are :

  • Eat at Iyot Cafe
  • Swim at Life Beach in Aglayan Kaya where there are lovely stretches of sandy beaches.
  • Buy a scarf or some fabric item in town as the area is famous for its cotton production
  • Walk up or down the main road and wonder off the beaten path, best spot is to climb the stairs next to the old Hamam
  • Go and see Şile Feneri, the historical lighthouse is the second largest in Europe, standing 19 metres tall. It was built in 1859 during the Ottoman Era.
  • Photograph Şile Kalesi, that dates back to Byzantine times and was rebuilt under the Ottomans
  • Visit the tomb of Kum Baba, a revered Muslim Saint

Little black book

Bus 139 from Harem