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Cornucopia’s travel guide

Edremit and Mt Ida

Some five miles from the coast, the small town of Edremit lies at the head of the gulf of the same name and is a passing point for visiting beaches and sites. Around it rises Mt Ida (Kaz Dağı), praised by Homer for its fountains and game, and famous for its pines that furnished navies. The flora is special, too. In Cornucopia 26 the botanist Martyn Rix reveals the secrets of its forests and the endemic alpine flowers of its plateau that grow nowhere else in the world.

What you will see

Many rare plants flourish in the mountains. Staying in an old farmhouse where white mulberries were covered with “the sweetest fruit”, Martyn Rix found caper bushes in bloom by the roadside, which had a brief moment of glory. “Each flower lasts only one night,” he wrote, “opening in the evening and fading as soon as the sun reaches it in the morning.”

Several attractive old villages, such as Yeşilyurt and Adatepe, lie around the lower slopes. Edremit is a thoroughly modern town but the Seljuk Kursunlu çamii and türbe are from the early 13th century and an Ottoman house contains the Ethnographic Museum. Havran, just inland by the ruins of Adramittium Thebe, contains Ottoman architecture and traditional olive oil factories, and has a recommended Friday market. Ören, just south of Edremit, is the beach to head for, though the ruins (Ören) are scant.

Getting there

The ferry from Istanbul to Bandırma takes two hours, and from there it’s a three-hour drive. From Izmir allow three hours – more if you want to swim near Foça or linger in Pergamum. Balikesir Koca Seyit Airport, with flights to Istanbul and Ankara, is 7km south of Edremit.

Connoisseur’s Edremit and Mt Ida

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