Gemlik is a city in the Southern Marmara Region of Turkey, with a population of 91,070 in 2018. "Gemlik" means shipyard and it's a commercial port and centre of industry.
- "Gemlik'e doğru denizi göreceksin; sakın şaşırma" - Orhan Veli Kanık (1914–1950)
- "Towards Gemlik / You'll see the sea / Don't be surprised"
Gemlik is hemmed in by mountains north and south, and sits on a plain at the head of the Gulf of Gemlik, an inlet of the Sea of Marmara. So the traveller between Yalova and Bursa gets unexpected glimpses of the sea, which inspired Kanık's three-liner, much quoted locally. But Kanık should have looked where he was going instead of bumbling into a workmen's trench, receiving a terminal surprise.
The plain is fertile and there has been settlement here for at least 8000 years, and the Hellenistic city of Kios (Kίος) stood here. The town continued to have a majority Greek population until the exchanges and deportations laid down in the 1923 peace treaty. Basically nothing of those times remain. Gemlik is nowadays a large industrial sprawl; it has a beach strip but there are better elsewhere. You'd probably only come here to change buses towards Armutlu, or because you're involved in the manufacture of automobiles or pickles.
Flixbus (who've taken over Kamil Koç) run hourly from Istanbul Esenler, taking 3 hr 30 min via Alibeyköy, Dudullu, Gebze and Orhangazi. In 2022 an adult single is 180 TL.
Metro Turizm buses run hourly from Istanbul Samindira, east edge of the city, taking 90 min to Gemlik via Gebze and Yalova, for a single fare of 120 TL. Pamukkale buses don't run here.
These buses may be heading for Gemlik itself but more often to Bursa, or occasionally to Armutlu at the head of the peninsula.
1 Gemlik Otogar or bus station is along Highway D575. It's 500 m south of city centre, with cafes and shops nearby.
By road from Istanbul or Ankara follow O-5 across the bridge from Gebze towards Bursa (opened in 2016), then exit onto D575 the older highway into town.
Minibuses ply along the coast northwest towards Armutlu and southwest towards Kurşunlu.
- 1 Town centre is bland and modern. Somewhere beneath it is ancient Kios: Asım Kocabıyık mosque is about where it stood.
- 2 Celâl Bayar Museum commemorates the life and works of Mahmud Celâleddin Bayar (1883-1986), born here in Umurbey village and buried here. He was Turkey's Prime Minister 1937-39 and President 1950-60. In 2022 the museum remains closed.
- 3 Kumla is the small harbour heading northwest where it starts to feel like a holiday resort not a city burb.
- 4 Su Düşen Waterfalls over the lush Samanlı Mountains is easily accessible by a car from the turn-off at Kumla.
- 5 Orhangazi is an industrial town 20 km east of Gemlik, with a population of 57,180 in 2012. Its traditional trades are textiles and agriculture (they're proud of their olives and pickles) but nowadays the big business is car manufacture. The town is named for Orhan the second Ottoman sultan but is mostly modern - you might take a look at the old hammam, castle ruin, and town square. Ilıpınar 2 km south is a Neolithic village 8000 years old, and under archaeological excavation.
- See Iznik for Keramet hot springs further east along the lake.
- 6 Kurşunlu is a small harbour and beach resort 18 km southwest of Gemlik. St Aberkios, a 12th century Greek Orthodox monastery, is a scrappy ruin 500 m west of the harbour. One km inland, the Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel (Başmelek Mikail ve Cebrail Kilisesi) is even scrappier.
- See Mudanya for points further west along that coast.
- Beaches: the town beach is midway along the seafront at the foot of Irmak Sk. You'll find better northwest at Kumla and beyond. Southwest is the industrial harbour.
- Carrefour is a big supermarket 200 m north of the bus station, open daily 08:00-22:00.
- Olives are the town specialty, along with olive oil and other products.
- Lots of cheap and cheerful places along the town's coast strip. South to north find Lord Zurna, Point of Port, Han Döner, Alya, Merk Balık, Feyzan, Gemlik Balıkçısı, Pınar Izgara, Ocakbaşı, Armodies, Meylen, Mercan[dead link], Boksör[dead link] and Pulcinella.
You mostly drink at the cafes and restaurants. Stand-alone bars near the pier are İskele and Do Bar.
- Pasha Hotel, Bora Sk 2, ☏ . Clean budget hotel in city centre. B&B double 500 TL.
- Syrus Otel, Yener Sk 24 (200 m west of bus station), ☏ . Clean budget place by Otogar.
- 1 Ramada by Wyndham, Bahçelievler Sk 6, ☏ . Decent mid-range chain hotel near harbour, just off motorway. B&B double 1700 TL.
- 2 Hotel Atamer, Hasanağa Cd, ☏ . On beach strip northwest of town, with nice views. B&B double 400 TL.
- 3 Kerimbey Hotel, Abdullah Aslan Cd 114, Kumla, ☏ . Pleasant clean place on Kumla beach. B&B double 600 TL.
Gemlik and its approach roads have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of March 2022, 5G has not yet rolled out in Turkey.
- Armutlu 50 km west near the tip of the peninsula is a beach resort with hot springs.
- Green-Blue Road (Yeşil-Mavi Yol) is a scenic switchback road along the spine of the peninsula. Its west end is at Armutlu, or you can join its eastern section by heading uphill from Kumla.
- İznik to the east was Biblical Nicea, hosting the first and seventh ecumenical councils of early Christianity. Standing by the lake, it has intact city walls and an ancient basilica.
- Bursa was the first city ruled by the Ottomans and is full of historic sites.
|Routes through Gemlik|
|Istanbul () ← Yalova ← Orhangazi ( E) ←||N S||→ Bursa → Izmir|
|Armutlu ← Becomes ←||W E||→ Ends at|
|Ends at ←||W E||→ İznik → Ends at|