The E87/550 Çanakkale–İzmir road descends beyond Ayvacık in curves through pine-forested hills, allowing occasional glimpses over the Gulf of Edremit. The highway straightens out at Küçükkuyu, the only real coastal town and gateway to the two traditional villages of Yeşilyurt and Adatepe in the foothills of the Kazdağı range (the ancient Mount Ida). Beyond here, the road leads past a dreary succession of Turkish-dominated resorts and second-home complexes to the inland county town of Edremit. At Burhaniye, 18km south, a side road leads 5km west to the old-fashioned resort of Ören, with an excellent, long, west-facing sandy beach.
The attractive village of YEŞİLYURT huddles around a picturesque main square, then continues down tree-lined cobbled streets to the river and uphill again, peeking at the sea from their pirate-proof location. Most of the houses are built in honey-coloured stone and many are being converted into boutique pansiyons for well-to-do İstanbullus.
The exquisitely preserved village of ADATEPE is most noteworthy for its “Zeus Altarı”, a 15min marked walk from the approach road. This is merely a carved rock platform with a cistern, from where Zeus was believed to have watched the fighting at Troy on the plains below; the views from the top of the steps are superb.
Adatepe’s architecture, unlike Yeşilyurt, enjoys statutory protection; some stone houses all but sprout from volcanic boulders. Again unlike Yeşilyurt, it was ethnically mixed from the 1850s, when, in the wake of a killing frost, cash-strapped olive-oil magnates paid their Greek workers with a grant of fields and building plots in the lower quarter, though the Orthodox church on the plane-tree plaza was destroyed after 1923.