On the black sea to the North-East of Istanbul, lies a small Turkish town named Şile. After spending two months of studying in Istanbul, it’s always a nice feeling to get out of the city for a day and explore smaller more open spaces. I heard of the town Şile from reading several blog posts about surfing in Turkey. My original goal was to surf Şile, but upon doing farther research I decided this was not feasible in March, as it was difficult to rent a surfboard.

Thankfully I did not arrive in Şile with expectations of surfing. When I arrived the sea was very flat, and I would have been disappointed had that been the only purpose of my trip. I have been told however that it is often wavy in the summer. To get from Istanbul to Şile only costs 9 lira (one way), and you can get there via public transit. As far as I know there is only one bus line that takes you there, it is the 139/139A, which you can grab from Harem and it will take you directly there. Since I live in Kadikoy this was only about a 20 min walk for me to reach this terminal.

The drive did not offer any spectacular views, but it was nice when we finally got out of the city to see some more green and open spaces. However, there were many quarries along the way that stuck out from the landscape. We got off at the last stop on the shuttle, which is the closest you can get to the sea. From there we grabbed a big chicken sandwich for only 3 liras where the shuttle dropped us off. The lady working there was very nice and interested to talk to us. We finished our meal and immediately headed to the beach, hoping to get there before the weather started to get even colder (it was probably around 12C°). We walked down a long set of stairs, then through a field of sheep. To our left lay the beach, and to the right was the towns pier and a small castle on island. We first explored the beach. Given it was still late March, we almost had the beach to ourselves. It was relaxing to stroll down, and we eventually picked up the courage to jump in for a short period of time. The few people who were there gave us some strange looks, and the water was very cold. We did not go in deep, but there are signs warning of a strong undertow current. From the shallows this could not be felt at all though. After we dried off, a kind lady must have felt bad for us because she gave us some of the flavored bread she was eating.

The old castle on the island was an interesting sight to see. Unfortunately for us, all of the literature explaining the history of the castle was in Turkish. You can walk along the pier and get quite close to the castle, but it seemed there was no way to get on the actual island that houses the castle. On the pier there were two boat restaurants that looked nice, a new looking playground, and locals selling fish and other foods. At the end is a small lighthouse. Walking out on the pier gave us a nice view of Şile and the Black Sea. To finish the evening we continued past the island castle and had dinner up on the hill. The restaurant had a great balcony and view of the town’s coastline, and was a perfect place to watch the sunset. The meal was somewhat more expensive than I have become accustom too, with the fish ranging between 25-50 Lira. The place was empty, but I think that’s just because we were out of season, the food itself was very good. Although Şile did not provide very much to do in March, I hope to go back when it’s warmer, as it is a very nice little beach town, and is so close to Istanbul.