Cunda is the 4th largest island of Turkey in Aegean Sea. Nowadays the island became very popular. People love to come here and live the island life as it is very close to Ayvalık which is another shore line village of North western Turkey by the Aegean Region.
The island is a town of cobbled stoned paths, colorful stone houses, wonderful sunset, deep blue sea, peaceful wind under the shadow of old olive trees and fine fresh food you can always find.
Cunda had been home to Greeks before 1922 and the population had been replaced with Turks from Lesbos island by the rules of Treaty of Lausanne which had been signed in 1923.
Island can be explored in a day by walking around the cobbled stone pathways and of course lovely shore line. However I suggest you to stay at least an overnight to live old island life in slow motion. There are lots of boutique hotels around Cunda you can find. Most of these hotels are popular as they serve organic food breakfast in Turkish style that you will adore.
|This is aview from the bridge connecting Cunda to main land. As you can see there are lots of other small islands around.|
If you decide to stay in island here are my helpful travel tips as a local mom for vacation with children in Cunda:
About the weather in Cunda Island: You can visit Cunda with children anytime in a year because it is under the effect of Mediterrenean Sea. The weather can be cold during winter and at beginning of spring. So you will need jacket for family travel and boots of course. During nights the air conditioner will be enough to warm you. During summer and till the middle of autumn it will always be warm and mostly hot.
The island is closed to traffic in some parts. The walking path is old cobbled stone style. Therefore it will be hard to drive the baby stroller. So you need a kangruu as you sight see the island.
I suggest you to make reservations a couple weeks ago if you are willing to stay in an old island styled boutique hotel at high season which is summer time.
The North western Turkey is popular for its olive oil. There are lots of shops that you can stock golden colored oil liquid and even natural olive soaps. I suggest you to buy some and additionally you can also get oils with herbs from local shops.
Warning! Do not visit the island during religious holiday time, as it can be very crowdy.
|You can get lost through these cobble stoned streets and take pictures in front of the colorful shuttered houses.|
Here there is a list of top 10 Things to see and do with your children ;
Taksiryahis Church was built by Cunda's Greek Orthodox Congregation in 1873. It is a single dome basilica with a rectangular plan, built in the Neo-classical style that was popular at the time. According to population Exchange due to Treaty of Lausanne, the locals turned the church to mosque in 1927. In 1976 the town has been declared as natural and historical heritage site. Therefore the building was registered by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism Directorate of Cultural Heritage in 1989. The church was declared to be restored, however the construction began in 2011 by the foundation of Rahmi Koç Museum. Now the place became a cultural and industrial exhibition with a wide variety of items ranging from tin toys to steamed models, from perambulators to chronometers. The museum aims that the visitors can find the industrial progress by showing the old machines and make you understand how was the life in those old days. Thus for adults and for children the museum must be sightseen.
|The yellow building is Rahmi Koç Industrial Museum but it was formerly Taksiryahis Church|
The Hill of lovers is at top of the island that you cannot miss to see with one of the island's landmark which is the windmill. The place is renovated and is being used as public library nowadays. The library has a political book collection belonging to Mr. Necdet Kent. You must see the place for its awesome view of the island. There is a cafe where you can have rest and a souvenier shop.
|The liabrary and the Windmill of Cunda Island|
Taş Kahve is the popular cafe of the island, which is operated by three generations family member. It has become popular for its traditonal Turkish style breakfast including "menemen" (which is made of tomatoes, peppers and eggs). Taş kahve is located in centre of the town by the shore line and I suggest you to have mastic flavoured Turkish coffee for long extended conversations. Of course children will not like the taste but a homemade lemonade will cheer them up.
|Taş Kahve is the famous cafe of the island|
Visit Open Market! If you are in Cunda on a Saturday, make sure to see the open market with the family. You can buy lots of fresh vegetables and fruits which are filling the air with their delicious smell. Here you will find a wide range of variety of herbs belonging to island. I suggest you to buy some herbs which you can dry in summer time, lor cheese and tulum cheese as well. This will be a local experience for you to live as you will meet the local farmers and local buyers and how their day is going on.
Taste the delicious sea foods ;) Cunda is famous for its own cuisine about sea foods. The restaurants use ingredients only from the island. You'll feast on delicious local recipes such as sea bass marinated in lemon juice, Cretan style baby zucchini, sardines wrapped in vine leaves and many more... Among all of the local recipes a must is to eat the small fish as called "Papalina" which is an indigenous to the island. The best restaurants are "Deniz Yıldızı", "Bay Nihat", "Ayna" and "Deniz Kestanesi" that I can recommend.
Find your best favorite dessert from the island bakeries! There is always the best bakery in all the islands of Turkey which will touch your heart. So I will tell you about my favourite one which is located at "Çarşı avenue" named as "Karadeniz Bakery". The mastic flavoured cooky and "lor" cheesed dessert will make your day and of course the kids too.
I also suggest you to have "lokma" which are cooked at small shops that looks like small doughnuts that are dipped in syrup. You can find the shops along the shoreline of Cunda' main area.
Get lost through the cobble stoned streets! Before you leave the island make sure to get lost through the cobble stoned streets and colorful shuttered buildings with the kids and took lots of pictures. Don't forget you cannot be lost on this island. Turn your head where the sea is, than you can reach the town center. Or might ask to a local as they all will welcome to help you.
|The Agios Yorgis Monastry at the Güvercinlik Island in front of the shore at Pateriçe Beach.|
How about the beaches of the island? If you are visiting an Aegean Sea island at summer time, the most enjoyable moments with kids will be at the beach.
Ada Camping will meet your expectations as the water is crystal clear and shallow on this side of the island viewing Lesbos. Please make sure the kids have sea shoes on if you swim here as there are sea urchins under water. The beach offers camping facilities as well as bungalows. You can have your food from camping restaurant and also can cook by yourself at camp's kitchen. There are taxis driving you to the camp costing only 25 TL. For more information please take a detail look on Ada Camping
Take a boat tour: I highly recommend you to take a boat tour around the island, as there are lots of smaller islands other than Cunda, that will offer the sun, the sea, the history and of course the natural life underwater with children will be alot of fun. This way is also a practical one as it is hard to get to some bays of the island because of the rough roadways.
ArkaDeniz Beach is a sandy sea bay of the island. You can get there by your own vehicle or by shuttles ringing around the centre of Cunda. The place is peaceful by its own natural surrounding.
Duba Beach is open to public and is very close to centre of Cunda. You can see "Duba" just beside the bridge connecting the island to main land on the island's side. However the beach is always crowdy and of course most fun in here.
Cunda will touch your heart with its colorful shuttered stone houses and amazing sunset view. I highly recommend you, to take the time slowly here, while you're traveling with the kids, as it is a perfect get away from the daily routine.