12-05-2023 - Places

The Perfect Day Trip from Istanbul: Şile and Ağva's Natural Wonders

The towns of Sile and Agva, which are nestled along the Black Sea coast, provide a tranquil haven from Istanbul's hustle and bustle. These small communities, which are only a few hours' drive from the metropolis, are renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty, peaceful beaches, and classic architecture. Sile and Agva have something to offer for everyone, whether you're looking to unwind on the sandy beaches, explore the untamed shoreline, or indulge in delectable regional cuisine. For anyone looking for a quiet escape from the city, these hidden treasures are a must-visit location because of their distinctive blend of history, culture, and natural beauties.

The Istanbul Tourist Pass® is the ultimate way to explore the city's top attractions and services while saving time and money. With over 85 attractions and services included, this pass offers unbeatable value for budget-conscious travelers. The pass includes a discounted unlimited public transportation card, free guided tours, and fast-track entry to some of Istanbul's most popular landmarks. In addition to these benefits, the pass also includes a free day trip to the picturesque towns of Şile and Ağva. This relaxing excursion takes visitors away from the city's crowd, providing a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the Black Sea coast. With the Istanbul Tourist Pass®, travelers can make the most of their time in Istanbul while staying on a budget.

Şile: A True Beauty on Istanbul's Black Sea Coast 

History of Şile

Şile is a small town located in the northeastern part of Istanbul province, along the Black Sea coast. The town has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The earliest known settlement in the area was established by the Thracians in the 7th century BC. The town was later inhabited by the Greeks, who named it "Σύλλον" (Syllon), and it was an important trading center during the Byzantine era.


During the Ottoman period, Şile became a popular vacation spot for the Ottoman aristocracy. The town's famous lighthouse, which was built during this time, served as a navigational aid for ships traveling along the Black Sea coast. The lighthouse, which still stands today, is a popular tourist attraction in the town.

In the early 20th century, Şile became an important center for silk production, and the town's silk mills were famous throughout the region. The mills provided employment opportunities for local residents and helped to boost the town's economy.

During the Turkish War of Independence, Şile played an important role in the defense of Istanbul against invading Greek forces. The town was heavily fortified, and the local residents fought bravely to defend their homes and businesses.

Today, Şile is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, historic lighthouse, and traditional architecture. The town has managed to maintain its traditional charm, and visitors can still see examples of Ottoman-era homes and buildings throughout the town. The Şile Castle, which dates back to the Byzantine period, is another popular attraction in the town, offering visitors a glimpse into the area's rich history.

What to Do and to See in Şile

There are numerous things to see and do in Şile. Here are some of the top attractions and activities:

Şile Beach: Şile is famous for its beautiful beaches, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports. Şile Beach, which is the largest and most popular beach in the town, offers soft sand, clear waters, and stunning views of the Black Sea.


Şile Lighthouse: Built during the Ottoman period, the Şile Lighthouse is a historic landmark that offers visitors panoramic views of the surrounding area. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a small fee and enjoy stunning views of the Black Sea and the town below.

Şile Castle: The Şile Castle is a Byzantine-era fortress that dates back to the 10th century. The castle is located on a hill overlooking the town and offers visitors a glimpse into the area's rich history.

Şile Bazaar: The Şile Bazaar is a lively market where visitors can find a variety of local goods, including traditional handicrafts, textiles, and local food products.

Şile Museum: The Şile Museum is a small museum that showcases the history and culture of the town. Visitors can see exhibits on the town's silk production industry, traditional handicrafts, and the local flora and fauna.

Surfing and Water Sports: The town's beaches offer a variety of water sports activities, including surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. There are several local surf schools that offer lessons and equipment rental for those who want to learn or improve their skills.


Şile Nature Park: The Şile Nature Park is a protected area that offers visitors a chance to explore the region's natural beauty. The park features hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic overlooks that offer stunning views of the Black Sea and the surrounding landscape.

In summary, Şile offers an excellent combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful and refreshing getaway.

Ağva: Nature Meets History

History of Ağva Istanbul

Ağva is a small town located on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus Strait, at the point where it meets the Black Sea. The town has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The earliest known settlement in the area was established by the Greeks in the 7th century BC, who named it "Aigosthena" meaning "the place where goats pass".

During the Roman and Byzantine eras, Ağva was an important trading center due to its strategic location. The town was also known for its vineyards and wine production, which were highly prized by the Byzantine emperors.

In the 14th century, Ağva was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, and the town became an important military base and a center for shipbuilding. During this time, the town's economy flourished, and Ağva became a prosperous trading center.


During the 19th century, Ağva became a popular vacation spot for the Ottoman aristocracy. Many grand villas and mansions were built in the town, which still stand today and are a testament to the town's rich history.

During World War I, Ağva played an important role in the Ottoman Empire's defense against invading Allied forces. The town was heavily fortified, and its strategic location made it an important defensive position.

In the years following the war, Ağva's economy declined, and the town became a sleepy fishing village. However, in recent years, Ağva has experienced a resurgence as a popular tourist destination. Its natural beauty, including its beautiful beaches, rivers, and forests, has made it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.

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Today, Ağva is known for its relaxing and tranquil atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and swimming in the town's rivers and beaches. The town's rich history and cultural heritage are also evident in its architecture, with many Ottoman-era buildings still standing today, and its traditional cuisine, which features fresh seafood and locally produced wine.

What to See and to Do in Agva

There are many things to see and do in Ağva. Here are some of the top attractions and activities:

Göksu River: The Göksu River is the heart of Ağva and offers visitors the opportunity to relax and enjoy the town's natural beauty. Visitors can take a leisurely boat ride down the river or go kayaking or fishing.


Ağva Beach: Ağva has several beautiful beaches, including the popular Kilimli Beach and Mavi Bayrak Beach. The beaches offer soft sand, clear waters, and stunning views of the Black Sea.

Hiking: Ağva is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, making it an ideal destination for hikers and nature lovers. The town offers several hiking trails that wind through the forests and along the rivers, offering breathtaking views of the landscape.

Ağva Waterfall: Ağva is home to a stunning waterfall, located a short hike from the town center. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Historical Sites: Ağva is home to several historical sites, including the Ağva Mosque and the Yalı Mosque. The town's Ottoman-era houses and mansions are also a must-see for history buffs.

Local Cuisine: Ağva is known for its delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and traditional Turkish dishes. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local specialties at the town's restaurants and cafes.


Relaxation and Wellness: Ağva is a great place to relax and rejuvenate. Visitors can enjoy traditional Turkish baths, massages, and other wellness treatments at the town's spas and wellness centers.

Overall, Ağva offers a perfect combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful and refreshing getaway.

Tips for Visiting Şile & Ağva

Here are some tips for tourists visiting Şile and Ağva:

Bring comfortable shoes: Both Şile and Ağva have many natural attractions, such as beaches, forests, and hiking trails. Bring comfortable shoes to ensure you can fully enjoy all the outdoor activities these towns have to offer.

Try the local cuisine: Both towns are known for their delicious cuisine, which features fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and traditional Turkish dishes. Don't miss the opportunity to try some of the local specialties.


Respect local customs and traditions: Şile and Ağva are both traditional Turkish towns, and it's important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting mosques and other religious sites, and be mindful of local customs and norms.

Bring sunscreen and insect repellent: Both Şile and Ağva can be sunny and humid during the summer months, and there may be insects in the forests and along the rivers. Bring sunscreen and insect repellent to protect yourself from the sun and bugs.

Learn some basic Turkish phrases: Although many locals in Şile and Ağva speak English, it's always helpful to know some basic Turkish phrases. Locals will appreciate the effort, and it can also make your trip more enjoyable.

Plan ahead: If you're planning to visit during the peak tourist season (June-August), it's a good idea to book accommodations and activities in advance to avoid disappointment.

Be respectful of the environment: Both Şile and Ağva are home to delicate ecosystems, so it's important to be respectful of the environment. Don't litter, and be mindful of your impact on the natural surroundings.


Overall, Şile and Ağva are both beautiful and charming destinations, offering a perfect combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities. With these tips in mind, you can make the most of your visit and have a memorable experience in these lovely towns.

Visit Şile and Ağva!

The Sile & Agva Day Trip from Istanbul included in Istanbul Tourist Pass® is a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul. This tour takes visitors on a journey to two of the most picturesque towns on the Black Sea coast. In Sile, visitors can explore the town's charming streets and historic lighthouse, enjoy the stunning views of the sea and relax on the town's beautiful beaches. In Agva, visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the town's rivers, forests, and beaches. The town's tranquil atmosphere and relaxed pace make it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the Black Sea coast. The best part is, this tour is completely free with the Istanbul Tourist Pass®! Not only will visitors save money on the tour itself, but the Istanbul Tourist Pass® also includes discounts on public transportation, free guided tours, and access to over 85 attractions and services. Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore these hidden gems on the Black Sea coast with the Sile & Agva Day Trip from Istanbul included in Istanbul Tourist Pass®.