Culture & Travel18 November 2023
Şile, a popular escape for many in the Marmara region, particularly for Istanbul locals, stands out with its natural beauty, seaside charm, and lush greenery.
It's the perfect retreat for those seeking respite from heavy traffic, noise, and pollution, yearning for a serene connection with nature. Positioned along the Black Sea coast, Şile is a haven with an expansive beach and captivating natural features that beckon repeated visits. It's an ideal spot for a quick weekend getaway for Istanbul and neighboring city dwellers. Beyond relaxing and taking a dip in the sea, Şile boasts several noteworthy attractions. Here are some must-visit places during your Şile excursion:
Undoubtedly, the first stop on your Şile itinerary should be Şile Castle, synonymous with the district itself. Situated on Ocaklı Ada, the castle rises 12 meters high, believed to be constructed by the Genoese. The castle's history reveals the imprints of various civilizations, having been conquered first by the Byzantines and later by the Ottomans. Despite weathering natural disasters over time, the castle has endured through remodeling efforts. Şile Castle should unquestionably earn a spot on your must-see list in Şile.
Şile Lighthouse holds significance not just for the region or the country but also for world history. Recorded as the second-largest operational lighthouse globally, Şile Lighthouse reaches a height of 19 meters, dating back to its construction in 1859. In 2014, it was transformed into a museum and opened its doors to visitors. This unique lighthouse, attracting both local and international tourists in the summer, is a must-visit during your time in Şile.
Located 22 km from Şile's center, Sarıkavak Castle stands as one of the region's key structures. Found in Sarıkavak Village amidst stunning natural surroundings, the castle carries traces of Byzantine and Ottoman eras, with historical records hinting at Genoese origins. Although somewhat neglected today, this historical site is still a worthwhile gem to explore.
Historical Şile Houses
For a glimpse into Şile's history, explore the old Şile houses, the prime examples of local architecture crafted from wood. These houses, boasting 150 years of history and typically featuring two floors, remain in use, with some parts under protection. To witness these historical gems, head to Balibey and Hacı Kasım neighborhoods.
Weeping Rock, steeped in legends, stands as a significant historical heritage of the district. Situated near Şile Castle, the name derives from water resembling tears seeping through the rocks. While there, take the opportunity to swim at the Blue Flag designated Kaya Beach.
Saklı Lake, a gem in Şile's natural landscape, is situated 14 km away from the heart of Şile. Nestled in Karamandere Village, Hidden Lake captivates with its scenic beauty and well-trodden paths. Adjacent to this picturesque man-made lake, you'll find establishments where you can enjoy a delightful breakfast or indulge in a barbecue feast. For those seeking a communion with nature in Şile, we highly recommend putting this artificial lake at the top of your list.
This historic fountain, located in Şile bazaar, was constructed in 1871 by Hatice Hanım from Egypt. Legend has it that the water from the fountain is sweet, a belief stemming from rumors that sugar was added to the tank during its construction. While you're here, consider visiting Kabakoz Village Fountain, another significant historical fountain in the district, dating back around 600 years to the Byzantine period.
Kumbaba Hill, home to Kumbaba Tomb, stands out as a favorite among tourists. The hill showcases sands in shades of red and orange, comprised of iron and copper alloyed radionite sands. These sands were thought to have healing properties for rheumatism patients during the Byzantine era. Nearby, you can take a dip in Kumbaba Beach.
Ağva, perhaps one of the most sought-after vacation spots in the Marmara region, is positioned between Yeşilçay and Göksu River. Serving as a prime destination for those seeking a natural and tranquil setting, Ağva attracts numerous families from Istanbul for weekend seaside getaways. Exploring Ağva is incomplete without experiencing its caves and waterfalls. Hacıllı Village, Kadırga Bay, Kilimli Bay, and Kalemköy capture tourists' attention with their unique landscapes and cascades. Besides swimming in Ağva, you can also partake in a canoe or boat tour, stroll along walking paths, go fishing, and use bicycles. Ağva, a key hub associated with Şile, should definitely be at the forefront of your travel plans.