Hello after longer break!
Today I’d like to write about the place in Turkey we’ve visited with Bibi, but it’s not well known among foreigners. It’s Akçay – the little town in the Balıkesir province located at the Aegean Sea.
How is there?
It’s a nice, calm place. Don’t expect entertainment like in Istanbul or Antalya. However, you can count on natural beauties, friendly people, every needed shop in one place (with lower prices), some chamber cafes at Çarşı and clean sea. Good place for people who want to rest in nature, hike and cut off a bit from the chaos of bigger cities.
How to get there?
We got there by car. They way from Istanbul through the ferry station in Yalova took us 4 hours. It’s worthy to have a car, because I actually didn’t see any buses. Traveling from abroad you can take a flight to Istanbul or Ankara and then transfer to the domestic flight to Balıkesir Edremit (14 km away). Afterwards, you can hire a shuttle or simply rent a car.
Where did we stay?
In Akçay you can find many nice child-friendly hotels. We chose ACAR motel, because of the opinions from other travelers about the family atmosphere. It wasn’t a lie 🙂 The owners are very friendly. They like to chat with guests during breakfast, they ask if we need anything and sometimes they also bring fruits to the room. The hotel is situated close to the sea (however, the beach is stony, so I recommend to go for other ones). It’s small and cozy. They provide child facilities such as a baby bed, high chair, and outdoor toys. Typical Turkish breakfast is included in the price (before season three nights were around 400 TL per room). The only thing I can complain about was the baby bed they provided. Although our Daughter was already one year old, she got a cradle for newborns.
Where did we go?
DAY 1: Arrival and Zeus Altarı (Adatepe Köyü)
We unpacked our pieces of luggage, leaned Bibi for a day nap and after lunch we went to Zeus Altarı. It is believed, Zeus was watching from this place the soldiers fighting at the Troya war. The rock there has been identified by a German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann and recognized as an altar dedicated to this Greek god. Actually, I’m not surprised, Zeus has chosen this hill for observations because the panorama of the town is very well visible and the views are worth recommending. Generally, just in Akçay, you can see the several motives from Greek Mythology. For example, the sculpture of wolf which fed twin-brothers Romulus and Remus (the establishers of Rome).
DAY 2: Hasan Boğuldu
The second day we went to the “Hasan Boğuldu” waterfall situated in the Kaz Mountain National Park. What I like there is the beautiful territory almost untouched by tourists. That’s why the water is so fresh and clean. Afterwards, we went to the restaurant nearby. The kebabs were very well prepared and we had a very nice view of the waterfall in the front of our table. However, for those facilities, you usually have to pay extra, so the final bill was obviously more expensive than in any restaurant in the city 😉
DAY 3 and 4: Sunbath, departure and the “Hattuşa” adventure
The 3rd day was intended strictly for chill out. We went to the Orjan Bay, cause it’s one of the sandy beaches with inexpensive seats to rent and also there’s a hotel with a restaurant nearby. How was the relax there? Normal, nothing special 🙂 But in the end of our stay one mysterious man came to us and gave the invitation for the open days at Hattuşa Thermal Club. He made a reservation for us for the next day (which was the day of our departure). Our visit involved the presentation of Hattuşa, lunch and using thermal swimming pools. We were led by two friendly animators – Şüle and Beytullah. They showed us the huge complex of various swimming pools, sport facilities, exemplary rooms, shops and… olive trees growing there already hundreds of years.
In the beginning, they made a questionnaire, in my opinion, not related to the hotel. The exemplary question was: Which countries would you like to visit? Then we had a presentation of the thermal club. There was much space to walk and have fun. Hungry guests have a choice between several restaurants. Rooms were clean and in a very good standard. Each of them had a bathroom and a TV. Babies can count on a free baby bed if requested. What took my attention there was a bathtub. One tap was pouring out normal water and the other one thermal water. The other facilities of Hattuşa (for parents and children as well) are described on their official webpage (LINK). After the presentation, we went for lunch which took place in the canteen for employees. The meal (schnitzel in sauce and attachments) was quite ok and we got full 🙂 In the end, we could spend one hour at the wellness and use thermal or standard swimming pools (there’s child pool as well), gym and enjoy the view of Kaz Mountain. We had to pay extra 5TL for each swim cap which was obligatory at the pool. Before exit, I made myself mud mask (the source of mud was in the garden before pools) and then Şüle and Beytullah showed us the offers of “Hattuşa” with prices.
Reservation page: https://hattusavacationclubkazdaglari.book-onlinenow.net (there’s an option to choose between various languages and also you can reserve the SPA package)
Two things you must pay attention to before reservation:
1) If you get to “Hattuşa” by invitation, you’ll be surely given the most common offer – signing a ten-year agreement for the specific period when the room or studio is reserved only for you. Comparing the prices it seems to be profitable, but in the end, I found it as a trap. Honestly, most people don’t like to be tied up to one place for such a long period. And it’s very difficult to cancel this agreement. Of course, you can reserve a single visit, but it will be a bit more expensive.
2) According to offer breakfast and dinner are provided. But it only concerns the main restaurant where employees use to eat as well. Other restaurants aren’t involved in the price (like many extra facilities such as massages).
To sum up: Do I recommend Akçay and Edremit to go with a baby or a small child?
Yes, if (1) you have your own car and (2) you buy a good baby carrier before. Akçay doesn’t have well-developed public transportation. Edremit is situated near Kaz Mountain and many places are simply unable to reach by a stroller. However, contact with nature and breathing much fresher air than in Istanbul or Ankara will be surely beneficial for your child. Furthermore, as I’ve said before, many hotels in the region are child-friendly. The two mentioned ones are just an example.
In the next article, I’ll do something that Poles are known about – complain 😉