Gökçeada (also known as Imbros) is a Turkish island in the Aegean Sea. It’s located to the north of the entrance of Dardanelles Strait. Although quite small by world standards, this is the largest island of island-poor Turkey.
There are two harbours with a ferry service to Gökçeada: One of them is located in the city of Canakkale (in Asian side of the Strait) and the other is the port of Kabatepe which is located in a rather remote place on the western coast of Gallipoli Peninsula (in European side of the Strait). Kabatepe can be accessed by a road forking to right from the major Istanbul-Canakkale highway (number: D550/E87/E90) a few km before Eceabat – a town in the peninsula with ferry links to Canakkale.
It’s not certain whether pessengers are included in the ferry ticket fee of cars or if they should pay an extra.
In summer, it’s extremely easy to hitch around the island, provided there are cars passing by. Just walk to the edge of the villages. Sometimes, you don’t even have to thumb, drivers passing by just stop and ask where you are heading to. Turkish and Greek are good languages to communicate as there are both Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking communities living on the island. English is also good because island has a large diaspora in English-speaking countries such as USA or Australia, members of which return to island in summers to visit their ancestral homes. If you are not sure how to approach to your driver, start with Turkish: even diaspora islanders usually can speak at least some (broken) Turkish.
In winter, hitching can be rather difficult as island roads - already way far from being congested - are likely to be really deserted.
Having an island map (can easily be downloaded from many websites) is good although not essential. Just looking at one on web and drawing a rudimentary one on a piece of paper is more than sufficient.
You can easily pitch your tent in most of island, provided that you are far enough from houses and well-tended fields, gardens, and vine/oliveyards. Also keep in mind that many parts of the island is actually military zone, so to avoid trouble, don’t break into or even dream about pitching a tent in areas encircled with those obvious barbed wires or areas signposted with red signs with a soldier illustration on.
There are also cheapish rooms for rent in many guesthouses (pansiyon) mostly located in villages Yenibademli (NE of the island) and Uğurlu (west of island). Haggling is essential to get a good rate, though this is largely dependent on your Turkish language skills.
You’ll see many abandoned orchards and individual fruit trees around the island (just check whether the soil underneath has been treated in any way within the last one year or if it looks wild with grass, rocks and all). Although this cannot be counted on as a readily filling meal, eating free fruits picked from these trees can be supplementary to your diet in addition to being one of little treats of life. Late August is especially a good time time for figs and blackberries, both of which are abundant on the island. If you are from a northern place with little knowledge of olives, beware of those olives straight from tree to mouth! Though harmless, they are extremely acrid when raw.
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