Bozcaada- What to do?

Bozcaada- What to do?


We keep on exploring the fantastic Canakkale and the famous islands attached to this city. After exploring Gokceada, Canakkale Center, Gallipoli, and Troya, the next step is Bozcaada.

We will be spending two days here and looks like this is good timing for this relatively small island.

P.S.: We also had the shorter version of this trip in 2023 (Gokceada– 2 days, Gallipoli– 2 days, and Bozcaada-2 days). We will provide what we experienced differently in 2023 at the end of this post.

Where is Bozcaada?

You can see the location of Bozcaada below. Again, it is part of Canakkale.

Bozcaada – Information and History


Let’s start with some basic info.

Bozcaada is the third biggest island in Turkey. The population is around 3,000 people, the smallest district of Canakkale. The island does not have any villages. Istanbulians made this island more popular in recent history and you can pretty much feel it if you already visited the fantastic city of Istanbul.

The main income of Bozcaada (also known as Tenedos) comes from tourism and wine production. Compared to Gokceada, this time we can simply say that Bozcaada is here to show its whole potential.


The best-known story about Tenedos could be during Trojan War. In Iliad, Greeks hid their fleet near Tenedos near the end of the war to make Trojans believe the war was over.

We also stated in Gokceada post-in case you missed it. Homer also stated in the Iliad, the stables of the winged horses of Poseidon were in between Tenedos (Bozcaada) and Imbros (Gokceada).

Due to its close location to the straits, Greece, and Turkey, the island was/is always strategic.

You might be curious about Tenedos’ name and where it comes from. It seems like different stories exist, but Tenes (or Tennes) was a son of Cycnus or Apollo. Cycnus’ second wife Philonome fell in love with Tenes, but Tenes rejected her love. She accused Tenes of raping and sentenced him by putting him in a chest and abandoning him at sea. The chest was driven to the coast of Leucophrys and Tenes had been proclaimed as king and the island name had been changed to Tenedos. Cycnus realized the lie behind this and killed his wife [1,2].

The island has been controlled by many empires/emperors such as the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Kingdom of Pergamon, the Romans, and the Byzantines. Venice had control over the island but the war between Genoa and Venice ended up with evacuating the entire island.

In 1455, it became part of the Ottomans but Venetians and the Ottomans were ruling the time at different times.

Bozcaada after Balkan War

The stories about Bozcaada and Gokceada are almost identical after the Balkan War. The island was invaded by Greece in 1912. After the explosion of the 1st World War (WWI) and further agreements, Greece control the island for over 10 years. During WWI, the island has been used by Britain, France, Anzacs, etc., as a force base.

The island was left to the Turkish Republic after the Treaty of Lausanne following the Turkish Independence Wars.

Over the years, especially due to exchanges, the Greek population decreased, and the major population is inhabited from different areas of Turkey.

Day 1

Traveling to Bozcaada

Started the day at Canakkale and after exploring Troy, we reached out to Geyikli Pier. The distance is not much (around 30 km) and it took around 30 minutes to reach the pier.  

We got the ticket and ate a toast as a quick lunch just next to the pier as we did at Kabatepe pier to reach out to Gokceada. (The same tip we put for Gokceada– this is a reminder: You can buy the ticket online. However, it is more expensive which means you really buy it because of having the chance to skip the queue. And in case it is very crowded, you will not miss it and guarantee your place on the ferry. Could it happen- less likely if you do not come here during a festival time. Another tip is that please do not forget they sell the ticket two ways).

It took around 0.5 hours to reach out to Bozcaada.

We preferred another relaxing spot to stay- Guleada Bag Evi. Wine estates are very popular in Bozcaada. This hotel-type place has a few rooms. And, we can simply say that if we go to Bozcaada one day again, we would definitely prefer Guleada again. The breakfasts are great, the hotel owner is kind, they serve good Turkish coffee and they are helpful. These are general expectations but it is very hard to see all of them together.

Dinner at Bozcaada center- Nevreste

Starting with checking the center first. The island is small and there is no village but this time there are two districts- Greek and Turkish. There is almost no Greek left in the island but Greek style is very obvious and different than Turkish style. The only thing you will do is to try to explore the streets (the Turkish side is where the mosque is and the other side going a bit up is the Greek one). You will fall in love in the streets and it is easy to understand you may want to extend your vacation a little bit more.

Nevreste is a popular restaurant (or meyhane) where you can eat delicious fish and mezes (stuffed squash blossoms and artichokes are great as well) with a famous Turkish drink- raki. If you don’t like raki you can still order wine or soft drinks.

We tried ada lokumu (island delight is a kind of ball including shrimp, calamari, etc.) and shrimp with butter and a few different mezes. It is simply state of art. And we can’t miss a closure with halvah and Turkish coffee. Please do not forget that the prices are a bit costly.

Bozcaada Nevreste
Nevreste in Bozcaada

Before jumping to Day 2, it is a reminder that you can not ride in the center unless you go to the pier. They blocked the roads to the center to prevent chaos in the center which we also agree is a good idea. When you go to the pier back to Geyikli, you have to show a reservation on the mobile or be in the queue specifically divided for w/o reservation. For parking, we used the free parking area just across Gendarme/military police.

We will spend most of the day at Ayazma Beach tomorrow.

Day 2

Swimming at Ayazma

A few days were windy, we were unlucky that the wind took the joy a little bit. We were dedicated to spending some time at Ayazma Beach. The sea was clean and the restaurant Ayazma was good at all.

Ayazma beach in Bozcaada
Bozcaada Ayazma beach

After spending time here, we checked the Ayazma chapel or monastery on the road (around this chapel, there is a restaurant but you can still check inside w/o any charge). It is a very modest chapel and the area here is also being used during Bozcaada Jazz Festival generally yearly in the summer period.

Dinner Bozcaada center- Manti

For dinner, we have chosen 4 Hanimeli at the center. The target there is to eat “manti” which is a meal in Turkish cuisine consisting of mainly hand-made dough and minced meat inside (it is also called Turkish ravioli). The restaurant and meal were both great. We really enjoyed it since we call ourselves also “manti experts”.

Manti at Dorthanimeli

Sunset at Polente

The sunset spot (Polente) is a good place to watch the sunset. A few windmills are on the right-hand side. The spot was very crowded, surprisingly. We’d recommend you to go there 1 hour before sunset to find a better spot.

Watching the sunset, seeing the color turning into a pinkish color minute by minute was a great experience. Before coming here, you can buy sunset plates from the center. You can also consider looking at the takeaway Tayyare pizza on the road. If you are full, just buy a few drinks before coming. Please do not forget that you can’t buy anything over there.

Polente at Bozcaada
Bozcaada Sunset Spot

Another thing is it is a bit hard to ride especially the last kilometer since there is no asphalt. It would be a bit challenging. A big reminder, please do not get close to the cliff edge.

After the sunset, returned to the center and enjoyed an ice cream. Consumed all the energy and it is time to sleep a little bit.

Day 3

It is the last day in Bozcaada. Found out recels (jams) and some souvenirs in the center and around the castle. And, we will take a look at the Bozcaada castle.

Bozcaada Castle- History [3]

The castle would be the signature of this island. There was a castle before the 14th century but mainly demolished. After the conquest of the island by the Ottomans, a new castle was rebuilt. The Ottomans held the island and castle for centuries. Venetians captured the castle and ruled for a short period before it was re-captured by the Ottomans During the II Mahmut period, the castle was renovated (you will also observe the epitaph talking about the repair).

Sometimes, it is thought that the castles are considered towers only, but Bozcaada castle can be considered as a complex (such as Rumeli fortress in Istanbul) including an infirmary, barracks, mosque, cistern as well as armory. There is also a dungeon in the castle.

Here is the site plan below. As you can see there are outer walls and a big garden leading to bastions and inner walls.

The plan of Bozcaada castle
Bozcaada castle plan

Along with the important information you would be learning, there are very good spots that allow capturing great photos. Don’t miss these cool spots (see the one below having a great sea view).

Bozcaada sea view from the castle

It is time to move and we caught the ferry around 4 o’clock and drove to Odunluk first to visit some friends. Then, the plan is to have a look at Alexander Troias and Apollon Smintheion (we are a little bit late to see the entire area) and then move to Assos and all of them will be compiled under Assos post.

Gokceada vs. Bozcaada

It would be better and decided by your side after reading Gokceada post as well. This versus would be shaped based on the expectation, surely.

In summary, we’d prefer Bozcaada. The culture in Bozcaada has a better structure and you can feel a general style and it could be better as a vacation spot. Sometimes, you will observe this style pretty much reflecting Istanbul. But Gokceada is a bit diverse. Another thing is that Bozcaada is more compact since the island is small compared to Gokceada. However, you will not regret a vacation in Gokceada.

How to reach Bozcaada- Transportation Guide

There is no airport on the island as expected since it is a small one.

The only way to come to Bozcaada is to use the ferry from Geyikli. You can both come here with or w/o your car. But, per our experience, it is better to come by car since it could provide flexibility on the island.

The ferry is active and in the summertime, additional ferries are also added.

From Istanbul, it is not far away, you can drive 4.5-5.5 hours (based on the choice of whether you go by the bridge or ferry from Eceabat) to reach the pier, and .5 hours of sea transportation is needed.

Other Recommendations

Not much left to say but you can keep in mind that few other options exist.

  • Wine tasting at Camlibag, Talay or Corvus could be one of the things you could explore
  • Swimming at Akvaryum Koyu or Beylik Koyu could be added if you have more time in Bozcaada
  • Salhane is a good place where you can enjoy a drink with a castle view
  • The Museum of Troy has good information regarding Tenedos            

What we experienced in 2023

  • As recommended by the hotel owner, we went to Neco’s Place for swimming. It is very close to Guleda. It is basically on the east coast of the island. Compared to our last year experience, the sea is not cold as Ayazma and the service is great here.
  • We tried Sapa Cocktail Bar during the night. Their cocktails are fresh, the atmosphere is also cool. You can feel the youth at this bar.


Bozcaada is a small island but has a good and structured culture. Very energetic both having lively and relaxing spots and serving both of them. The island became more popular probably affected by Istanbul‘s environment and getting also more crowded during top summer days.

It is easy to say you will not regret a vacation in Bozcaada (hope it would not be windy but this could be a risk). The meals are good, the beaches are clean and the island is lively.


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