Explore The North Aegean
Only seven nautical miles from the Turkish mainland, the island of BOZCAADA (Tenedos) was historically about one fifth Muslim, as evidenced by the odd medieval mosque or two. Less militarized and more architecturally homogeneous than its neighbour, it remains temptingly convenient to Turkish holiday-makers and second-home buyers, and can be quite overrun in summer, when you’ll need to book accommodation in advance. Its interior consists of gently undulating countryside covered in vineyards producing notable wine and tufted with a few pine groves.
Ferries dock at the lone settlement of BOZCAADA, built mostly on a grid plan along a slight slope. It’s surprisingly elegant, with cobbled streets and a good number of preserved old houses with overhanging upper floors. The former Greek quarter extended east and north from the church to the sea; nowadays just twenty elderly Orthodox inhabitants remain resident. Dominating the little fishing port and ferry jetty is a giant castle, one of the largest citadels in the Aegean, successively expanded by Byzantine, Genoese, Venetian and Turkish occupiers, and most recently restored in the 1970s. The only other formal sight is a History Museum in the Greek quarter, a rather steep admission charge for a collection of local memorabilia labelled in Turkish only.
A favourable, breezy climate and volcanic soil mean that Bozcaada wines have long been esteemed. Traditional grape varieties found only here and on Gökçeada are the whites Vasilaki and Çavuş, and the reds Karalahna, Kuntra (Kundúra in Greek) and Karasakız. The white grapes are extremely sweet, so need to be fermented to almost 13 percent alcohol. Local red wines tend to be rather tannic owing to the practice of leaving the entire grape in the vats throughout the fermentation process. There are currently six vintners on the island, of which Talay, Corvus and Çamlıbağ have the best reputation; all three have well-signed tasting boutiques in the Greek quarter. Corvus is the most prestigious, but also overpriced; at the other outlets you can get decent-quality wines from 10TL a bottle. The Talay tastery even has its own wine bar upstairs, with cheese and charcuterie platters accompanying wine by the glass.