Şarköy is a coastal district in Tekirdağ Province in Turkish Thrace, with a population in 2012 of 29,991. It's also the name of the main town, population 17,411, at the west end of the district. It's a resort strip and wine-producing area, within 2-3 hours travel west of Istanbul.
This district borders the Sea of Marmara and is backed by low mountains, none reaching 1000 m. The city experiences hot, mostly dry summers - nevertheless with some occasional downpours - and chilly, rainy and occasionally snowy winters. This climate is good for growing olives and grapes, see below for local wines. Spring with the fruit blossom and autumn harvest are pleasant times to visit. It's become a resort strip, mainly for the benefit of Istanbul, and western tour operators and hotel chains don't feature here.
From antiquity this coast attracted Greek settlers, who grew into the majority population by the 19th century. Ethnic tensions spiralled into the First World War and the follow-on Greek-Turkish war: the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne re-drew the border and mandated population transfers. So Şarköy deported its Greeks and was re-populated by Turks deported from Macedonia in northern Greece.
From west to east, the main settlements are:
- 1 Şarköy the principal town was ancient Peristeri or Peristasis. There's a nice waterfront, and traveler amenities.
- 2 Eriklice was Heraklitsa. It has nice beaches with clear water.
- 3 Aşağı Kalamış was Kalamisia. It has a pleasant beach and olive yards.
- 4 Mürefte was Myriophyton, meaning "a thousand vineyards". It was the district capital during the Ottoman period.
- 5 Hoşköy was Hora. It's one of the larger settlements along this coast.
- 6 Güzelköy was Melen. It's a well-preserved Ottoman village, with stone houses, a ruined bathhouse, and old mosque.
- 7 Gaziköy was Ganos, and with Hora formed the Greek metropolis of Ganohora. It has citadel ruins and desolate beaches. East of here, Mt Işıklar or Ganos rears up from the coastline.
- 8 Uçmakdere was Vidimo, meaning "the heavenly stream". It's a picturesque village clinging above a valley, retaining most of its traditional wooden houses.
- 9 Yeniköy or Nikori means "the new village" - a mere 200 years old. It's actually in the neighbouring Süleymanpaşa District but easiest accessed while touring Şarköy. Now semi-abandoned, its wooden houses cascade down on the side of a valley.
By car from Istanbul city or airport follow the main highway west to Silivri then D-110 / E84 through Tekirdağ, following signs for Keşan until you branch south on D-555 for Şarköy. This twists and turns but is the fastest and safest route.
For a scenic alternative on a fine day, follow the coast from Tekirdağ through Kumbağ and then via the hairpin bends, olive groves and occasional rock falls to Gaziköy and on west. There's no gas or repair services until the well-named Gaziköy.
A third route, only for rufty-tufty drivers in 4WD, is over the hills from the north: this is dirt track from Tatarlı through Ormanlı. It's a morass after rainfall and the car rental clerk will have a conniption fit if she hears you're heading that way.
Coming from the west, from the border go past Keşan and pick up D-555 as above. From Çanakkale and the Gelibolu peninsula, branch off at Kavakköy onto D-120.
Metro Turizm buses run from Istabul Bayrampaşa via Silivri and Tekirdağ to Şarköy, taking just over two hours, for a fare (as of Aug 2021) of 80 TL. They're every couple of hours daytime with some overnight buses. Be sure to type or cut & paste "Şarköy" into their website, "Sarkoy" won't be recognised. These buses run inland and don't serve the small towns along the coast. For these, travel via Şarköy then look for a dolmuş, see Get Around. There's no public transport on the winding coast road east of Gaziköy.
Pamukkale buses run from Istanbul Esenler / Avrupa every hour or two and stop at Tekirdağ on their way to Çanakkale and other points west. Change for the local buses or dolmuş to Şarköy, which run hourly and take an hour, for a fare of 20 TL.
Ferries no longer sail to the Şarköy coast.
Dolmuş rattle along the coast between Şarköy and Gaziköy every 30 min between 07:30 and 19:00. They are sparse further east: from Uçmakdere there might be only one or two in the morning heading into town, returning mid-afternoon, so they don't help you with day-trips.
The nearest car rental offices are in Tekirdağ - lots, but international visitors will do better to hire from Istanbul city or airport.
- Gazi Süleymanpaşa Cami is the most attractive of the half-dozen mosques in Şarköy. It's 200 m inland from the harbour.
- Hoşköy lighthouse is off the main road, on a cliff west of the village. It's a 20 m tower built by the French in 1861 and still in service.
- Kutman Wine Museum, housed in a historic winery building on the waterfront of Mürefte, displays ancient equipment and artifacts used in winemaking.
- St Ioannis Theologos Monastery is a ruin in the hills 1 km north of Hoşköy. This area once had many Greek churches and monasteries and St Ioannis was built in 1865 over a Byzantine or earlier religious site. The ruin is within the Melen vineyard, whose owners hope to restore it.
- Beaches: Şarköy's best are east of the harbour. Those elsewhere are a thin strip, with groynes to retard further erosion.
- Hike: a line of mountains rise to 900+ m behind the coast. One popular route is up Mount Işıklar or Ganos, starting from Uçmakdere.
- Paragliding: The Tekirdağ Paragliding Club (TEYAK) conducts flights, including tandem, from the hills around Yeniköy landing at Ayvasıl beach east of Uçmakdere. They have offices in Yeniköy and Ayvasıl, both also serving as walk-in cafes.
- Migros in Şarköy is on the main road 500 m north of the beach. It's open M-Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 10:00-22:00.
- There is another Migros in Mürefte, at the west end of the town, and a store of the national discount chain A101 in Hoşköy.
- Şarköy: open 24 hours by the harbour are Şarköy Balık Dünyası and Yakamoz Köfte Salonu. Lots more on the beach strip east.
- Seafood everywhere, and this is traditionally a shrimp-fishing area, although much shrimp is now imported from India.
- This is a wine-growing region. Turkey doesn't have geographically-protected appellations and plants a variety of grapes, some internationally known such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and some local cultivars such as Karasakız (red) and Narince (white).
- Melen Winery[dead link] is based in Hoşköy and offers tours May-Oct.
- Chateau Kalpak and Cansin's Wineyard are both on D-120 west towards Gelibolu peninsula.
- Şarköy town has the widest selection, which includes Zen Inn Butik, Duru Butik Otel, Sohbet Motel and Kaan Pansiyon.
- Eriklice has Pansiyon Akmonya south edge of the village.
- Mürefte has a campsite[dead link] on its west edge, and the better-reviewed Makara Cadir campsite east by the harbour.
- Hoşköy: one km south is Hora Butik Otel and restaurant, new in 2021 so it's squeaky clean and eager to please. Near the harbour are Otel Ganohora and the upmarket Hotel Marin Hoşköy.
As of Aug 2021, Şarköy town has 4G from all Turkish carriers. The signal gets weaker as you go east and peters out somewhere around Hoşköy, and there's no signal on the winding coastal road west of Şarköy. 5G has not reached this area.
- Tekirdağ the regional capital is a sprawling modern place but with several buildings from Ottoman times.
- Gelibolu is the main town on the Gallipoli peninsula. The memorials of the 1915 battle sites are further south around Eceabat.
- Istanbul to Izmir is an itinerary with one branch following the coast, to continue south by road down the Gallipoli peninsula.