Ağva is a small town by the Black Sea in the Şile district, 97 km from Istanbul (see on Map with Tourist Attractions beyond the City Center of Istanbul) and 50 km from the town Şile.
Ağva is located on the delta of the Göksu and Yesilçay rivers originating at the Çal Hill (Çal Tepesi) in Izmit. Needless to say that the very green shores of these rivers create a rather exotic ambience. The hotels are mostly located on the banks of these rivers.
Public transportation buses depart regularly from Üsküdar. Look for bus line number 139 A. It should take you to Şile in just over one hour, from where it continues to Ağva, which takes another hour. Before hopping on the bus, ask the bus driver to make sure its final destination is Ağva, since not all busses always go that far.
History of Ağva
Prehistoric excavations show that Ağva and the surrounding area is a settlement that dates back to the Neolithic ages. The first known settlement in the area was in the 8th century B.C. The seamen tribe Miletus established some trade colonies, which kept on spreading along the shores during the 7th century B.C.
Ağva and the surrounding area were invaded twice, first by the Greek commander Xenophon and a second time by the Roman commander Lucullus. The Seljuk Turks invaded the area in 1090, but only seven years later the 1st Crusade conquered it back. So the area was part of Byzantium until the 14th century.
The current locals of Ağva are descendants of the Turkoman tribes from Konya, Karaman and Balıkesir who settled in Ağva after the invasion of the area by the Ottomans in the second half of the 14th century.
Why Visit Ağva?
You can of course swim in the refreshing Black Sea. But if you’re looking for a well maintained beach by the Black Sea with plenty of facilities, Şile is a better choice. Ağva is better suited for a relaxing holiday in one of the hotel gardens by the rivers (see my Ağva video). Nature is the keyword.
It has some waterfalls ending in the Black Sea and coves that can only be reached via the sea. So taking a boat tour on the sea is an option as well as a boat trip on the rivers. Places of interest are the Kilim Cove (Kilim Koyu), Kadirga Cove (Kadırga Koyu), the Bride Rock (Gelin Kayası) and the Hidden Lake (Saklı Göl).
Some hotels have their own canoes to get to the sea and back. You can also find canoes for rent and boat tours along the Göksu river.
Since almost all kinds of fish are available thanks to the diversity of the Black Sea and the fresh water of the rivers, you can even go fishing with the local fishermen.
Ağva used to be only a summer holiday destination. Because it is close to Istanbul, recently it has become popular for any season escapade. Some go especially in winter for hunting quail, woodcock, duck, gazelle, jackal and boar. Also check out the Ağva picture gallery.