Armutlu is a beach resort in the Southern Marmara Region of Turkey. It's the main town on the olive and cypress-clad Armutlu Peninsula, with a population of 5160 in 2012, and is best known for its hot springs.
Armutlu means "the place of pears". There are a dozen villages of that name in Turkey alone, with another dozen scattered across the former Ottoman lands, and none of them are notable for their pear production. Armutlu in Marmara Region, the present example, is a seaside town on the south coast of Armutlu Peninsula, looking over the Gulf of Gemlik with the mountains of Mysia rising beyond.
Armutlu is within easy reach of Istanbul and has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, with purple sprays of bougainvillea, and a breeze to offset the summer heat. Winters are mild and rainy, and spring arrives in April, with white irises in bloom.
Most visitors arrive in İskele, the harbour area. One km north up the hill is the old town centre, signposted as Merkez but generally referred to as Köy - "village".
The road west leads through a straggle of second homes on Tavşantepe - "rabbit hill" - then reaches the gates of İhlas. This is a resort village - the name means "fidelity" but it looks more like a Soviet-era spa for Stakhanovites. Much of it is condos and similar long leases, but they have accommodation for passing visitors.
Get in Edit
By boat Edit
İDO[dead link] ferries sail daily from Istanbul. They start from Kadıköy then pick up at Yenikapı - this is just south of Sultanahmet and likely to be the most convenient for international travellers. They take just under two hours to Armutlu (adult single 161 TL, or as little as 121 TL for advance booking, Aug 2022) then continue to Güzelyalı for buses to Bursa. However most sailings from Istanbul are direct to Mudanya or Güzelyalı and don't call at Armutlu. BUDO ferries don't sail here.
1 Armutlu ferry pier is in the main port, 2 km south of town centre. In season, ferries also may pick-up and drop-off at İhlas beach resort (Tatil Köyü) 5 km west at the tip of the peninsula.
By bus Edit
Most routes involve a change at Gemlik, which is on O-5 connecting Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa. (For example Metro Turizm buses run hourly from Istanbul Samindira, east edge of the city, taking 90 min to Gemlik.) Five buses a day run up the peninsula from Gemlik, taking 30 min to Armutlu then another 15 min to İhlas.
Buses from Yalova putter through the north peninsula villages and olive groves, taking three hours to Armutlu and continuing to İhlas.
Armutlu "bus station" is just a scrummage of minibuses in town centre.
By car Edit
From Istanbul or Ankara take O-5 south over the bridge from Gebze, stay on it to the D575 interchange for Gemlik, then pick up the coast road Cumhuriyet Cd.
A slow route follows the coast from Yalova, interminable ribbon-development in its eastern section then scenic and hairpinning further west.
Get around Edit
Minibuses run between the harbour, the village, west to İhlas, and occasionally up to the hot spring source to the north. Some are run by the town council (Belediye), others are privately operated.
The roads within the town are all well paved, although often narrow and lacking road markings.
The road between İhlas and the village is ratty and has no sidewalk.
See and do Edit
- Armutlu town is modern ticky-tacky breezeblock. You might find a few old Ottoman houses in the back lanes, but what the earth tremors have spared, the developers have swooped on.
- Thermal springs bubble out of the hillside at 60 °C. They're similar to the Yalova springs, laden with sulphate, carbonate or chloride of calcium and sodium, to 2 grams per litre. Not much metal content, but don't drink this scalding brine. (It's also radioactive, 1.04 millimicrocuries/litre). The main source (kaplıca) is 4 km north of town but there are dozens of spa hotels along the beach strip. Grand therapeutic claims are made for the waters but as a general rule, any nostrum claimed to alleviate three dozen medical conditions benefits precisely none, especially if it has a ponderous official certificate. Just relax and bask in their warmth.
- The beach is a narrow strip of shingle near town. A long sandy stretch begins 2 km west, with a smaller beach near the tip of the peninsula. Water quality is acceptable as there's not much urban run-off.
- Green-Blue Road (Yeşil-Mavi Yol) is a switchback road along the spine of the forested peninsula. It's paved and suitable for 2WD, but signposting is erratic. Eastbound from Armutlu, follow it through Mecidiye, Hayriye, Selimiye and Delmece. Here a side road descends through Karlık to the coast at Esenköy. The main route continues to the Great and Small Bottomless Lakes (Büyük Dipsiz Göl and Küçük Dipsiz Göl, both being craters). Descend via Teşvikiye forest, where eateries (35–100 TL, Aug 2022) overlook a valley with a zipline course (80 TL) over it and a trail leads to Erikli waterfalls, then rejoin the north coast highway at Çınarcık. See Yalova for more on the east section of this route.
- Cape Bozburun is the breezy tip of the peninsula just beyond the beach resort, with a stubby lighthouse.
- İmralı is the island seen in the distance west of the Cape. It was inhabited by Ottoman Greeks before the population exchange between Turkey and Greece. It is now a prison island, inaccessible to the general public.
- Esenköy is a beach resort on the north coast, where you might break a journey towards Yalova.
- Migros supermarket is near the ferry pier, open daily 09:00-21:00.
- Olive oil is produced locally. Specialty olive oil shops are signed zeytinci.
Eat and drink Edit
- İskele (harbour area) has Çetinkaya Canlı Balık, Urfa Sofrası, Ciğerci Bilo, Acıktım Kebap Lahmacun, Üçyol Lokantasi and Yes My Pizza.
- Merkez (town centre) has Antepli Şefin Yeri, Eşgel Balıkçılık, and Şehir Pide
- The beach strip has Kirmizli Beyaz Pide Kebap Salonu, Ybs Kebapevi and Doğan Pide.
- İskele Park Termal, Atatürk Cd 125/1, ☏ . 4-star going on 2, but close to the ferry pier. B&B double 550 TL.
- 1 Model Motel, Yılandar 13, ☏ . Clean comfy beach hotel.
- 2 Miray Termal Hotel, Kurtuluş Cd 112, ☏ . Spa hotel in the thermal area, cleanliness erratic. B&B double 1500 TL.
- 3 İhlas Armutlu Beach Resort (İhlas Armutlu Tatil Köyü), Zafer Cd, İhlas, ☏ . Beach resort hotel open year-round.
- Erdilli Thermal Hotel is near the main spring source 4 km north of town, on a loop of the old highway off Kaplıca Cd. In 2022 it remains closed.
As of March 2022, Armutlu and its approach roads have 4G from Turkcell, but only a patchy signal from the other carriers. 5G has not yet rolled out in Turkey.
Go next Edit
- Gemlik is an industrial suburb of Bursa and transport hub. Along the way you might explore the old hillside villages of Fıstıklı and Kapaklı, and the small seaside resorts of Narlı and Kumla.
- Mudanya is a ferrry port with a few Ottoman buildings, and Tirilye has an 8th-century Byzantine church.
- Bursa is a bustling modern place, but as the first city of the Ottoman dynasty it's studded with historic sites.
- Esenköy and Çınarcık are resorts on the peninsula north coast, heading towards Yalova.
- Yalova the provincial capital is a port and transport hub. It has hot springs similar to Armutlu.
|Routes through Armutlu|
|Yalova ← Çınarcık ←||N S||→ Becomes → Gemlik|