Imvros, Imbros or Imroz in Greek, Gökçeada in Turkish… This is one of the most beautiful islands in Turkey, in the Aegean Sea, still left unknown for many travelers and tourists. Gökçeada, which is connected to the Çanakkale Province of Turkey, is the largest island of the country. Located near the Saros Bay, the island is a relatively small one, which makes it even nicer for travelers. As mentioned above, the island is also referred to by its Greek names Imvros, Imbros or Imroz, due to the fact that it was predominantly inhabited by Greek people when the control of the island was passed to the Ottomans in 1455.
Today, the island is a Cittaslow one, striving for slow development and avoiding large holiday resorts and industrial development. This makes the island even more interesting since almost everything you can see in Gökçeada is pretty much local. Nowadays, apart from the city centre (which is quite small) there are some 8-10 villages where mostly Turkish people, and some Greek people live together.
Gokceada Ferry Port, Kuzulimanı, Gokceada
But as I mentioned above, Gökçeada doesn’t have huge advertisement campaigns or large tourism agencies to promote their island, so here is some get in – get out or transportation information for Gökçeada. But mind you, unless you arrive in the island by plane, your route has to include the ferry.
Going to Gökçeada by Bus
Reaching Gökçeada by bus is rather problematic in winters since there is no company working on this route during the winter time. However, most people go there in the summer period, so you have the chance to catch a bus from Metro Turizm or Çanakkale Truva Turizm, which are intercity transport companies. But they have only 2 buses from/to Gökçeada during the summer, so you may want to be careful with your timing.
In other times, both winter and summer, your best shot is always to go to Eceabat (The European side of Çanakkale) by ferry and take one of the minibuses which go to Kabatepe Limanı (where you take the Gökçeada Ferry) from in front of the Eceabat Ferry Port. When you reach the Gökçeada Ferry Port from there, you can catch minibuses to the Gökçeada centre if it’s not a late hour, or simply hitch-hike towards the centre, which is 7 kilometers from the port. The island is generally quite safe, so you shouldn’t have any problems with hitch-hiking.
Going to Gökçeada by Car
As you will definitely need the ferry to reach the island, where you should reach first is Kabatepe Limanı or Kabatepe Feribot İskelesi (Kabatepe Ferry Port). And for this, you have two possible directions.
From Istanbul to Gökçeada
From Istanbul, you will need to follow the E87 once you reach the provincial border of Çanakkale all the way until you see a roundabout with many signs some 2 kilometers to Eceabat. From there, you turn right and go all the way to the port. There is only one left turn on the way, which is marked by a ferry sign. When you reach the port, please refer to the “Going to Gökçeada by Ferry” section below.
From Çanakkale to Gökçeada
From Çanakkale, you first need to cross the Hellaspond or Çanakkale Strait by ferry. The ferry costs 35 Liras for the car, including the passengers (as of 2016). It takes between 15-25 minutes, depending on the sea traffic. And then you need to go in the direction of Istanbul for about 2 kilometers where you see the roundabout with many signs, including Gökçeada or the ferry. Follow the way and turn left when you see another ferry sign. When you reach the port, please refer to the “Going to Gökçeada by Ferry” section below.
Going to Gökçeada by Train
Well, it’s an island without any industry. So it is not possible to go to Gökçada by train. However, if you insist, you can reach Edirne or Uzunköprü by train and take a bus to Çanakkale from Edirne (45 Liras from Edirne, 40 Liras from Uzunköprü). Then you can get off the bus at the Eceabat Ferry Port and reach Kabatepe Ferry Port by a minibus from there.
Going to Gökçeada by Plane
There is an airport in Gökçeada which is not so far away from the centre, but unfortunately there is no airline arriving in or departing from the island. The airport is only open for Turkish registered private planes on condition that they have prior permission to land there . Therefore, it is not possible to go to Gökçada by plane in practice.
Going to Gökçeada by Ferry
Since there is no train for plane to and from Gökçeada, the ferry is unavoidable if you want to go there. So first of all, you need to reach the Kabatepe Ferry Port. The best way to reach there as a passenger is taking the minibuses from Eceabat Ferry Port as mentioned above. The ferry has different timetables during the high-season and off-season. It is possible to take one every two hours until 23:00 during the high-season. However, off-season requires a little bit more caution since there are only 4 ferries to/from the island per day. From Kabatepe Ferry Port, you can take the ferry at 09:00, 13:00, 17:00, 21:00 and from Gökçeada to Kabatepe, the hours are 07:00, 11:00, 15:00, 19:00. The ride is 35 Liras for cars including the passengers and 3 Liras for passengers without a car. It takes about one hour and twenty minutes.
There is also another option, which is from Çanakkale Ferry Port (the Asian Side). But this is only for passengers as the vehicle is not a ferry, but a water bus this time. Again during the high-season, it is quite frequent, but during the off-season, you can take the water bus from Gökçeada at 08:00 on Mondays and 18:30 on Fridays. From Çanakkale, on the other hand, it is possible to take the water bus at 17:00 on Fridays and 18:30 on Sundays. The water bus costs 10 Liras per passenger .
As seen, there are not many ways to go to Gökçeada as it is sea-locked and the ferry is your only option for every single option that you choose. In another article, I will also attempt to give the details of what to do and what to see in Gökçeada, but if the neighbouring country, which is Greece interests you, you can have a look at our Greece travel tips, a survival guide for first timers!