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“Gokceada is the biggest Turkish island and it is the westernmost point of the country. The island is located on the strategic point in Aegean Sea at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. That could lead to only one thing and that is long and turbulent history. Gokceada was known as Imbroz or Imroz and it was even mentioned in Homer’s Iliada. It changed hands several times until Turkey took control over from Greece in 1923. Nowadays it is kitesurfing heaven. Strong wind blows almost every day during summer season. There are two different spots with diverse conditions where you can kite. Gokceada is unjustly obscure in kitesurfing circles. Domestic, Bulgarian and Romanian surfers dominate the area. The food on the island is delicious. It is mixture of Turkish, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Everything is affordable. Party lovers will be disappointed since there is no vibrant club scene. Read the rest of this Gokceada Kitesurfing Review in order to see why it should be your next kite holiday destination.”
Pros: great wind record, two kiting areas with diverse conditions, beginners and pros are able to find the right spot for them, delicious food, affordable prices …
Cons: The island might be hard to get to if you are not from Turkey, Bulgaria or Romania; gusty wind (not to extent that it will ruin your session); quiet evenings.
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Gokceada has 2 kiting spots situated in the south east of island. It will take you 20 minutes to get to them from the main town. They are within 10 minutes from each other.
The first spot is located just by village called Eselek. The beach is 2.5 km long. It has on shore wind. Second spot is situated just around the corner on the Aydincik beach. It has off shore wind. The spot is long around 1 km.
Meltemi is northern wind typical for Gokceada and generally Aegean Sea (also found on Naxos and Rhodes). You can count on regular and powerful wind on the island. It is strongest in the morning and drops as a day goes by. Don’t despair, wind frequently picks up again around 5 o’clock and even if it doesn’t, there is plenty of time from the morning until it stalls. Season starts in May and ends in October. During peak months (July and August) there is 85% to 90% probability of wind stronger than 14 knots. It is not unusual for Meltemi on Gokceada to be stronger than 25 knots. I have 85 kg and I used 9m2 kite 80% of the time.
Wind on the Eselek beach is on shore. It is very strong especially in the morning. Sadly it is also gusty but not in the way that it would take a smile off your face. Angle of the wind changes slightly during a day.
Aydincik beach has off shore wind. It is weaker and less gusty than on spot by Eselek village.
Eselek beach is sandy. There are no dangerous sharp rocks, corals or sea life. You will be able to reach the bottom even 30 m away from the beach, making it perfect for beginners. As I mentioned previously the spot is more than 2.5 km long and there is plenty of room for everyone.
In the morning there are waves so you can practice your skills with a surfboard. As a day goes by wind drops and changes angle. Subsequently waves turn into a chop.
During summer months air temperature is around 25-30 C°. Water is also warm but the wind is chilly so you might need a shortie.
There are several clubs on the beach but only Volkite has full infrastructure. They possess everything you might need: shade, showers, repair, school, restaurant etc. They even made working stations with Wi-Fi and electricity, office with the best view. Great place to hang out between your sessions. Restaurant has wide choice of food from burgers and pizza to local dishes. Try Guvec (earthenware pot) with shrimps vegetables and chees.
Aydincik is also sandy beach but it is a lot smaller than Eselek. It is divided in two parts. One is reserved for wind surfers and the rest is for kiteboarders. Bigger part of the spot 3/5, is designated for wind surfers. It can get crowded during a day, not a surprise thanks to great conditions.
Flat water is perfect for freestylers and others who want to work on jumps and tricks. Due to off shore wind the spot is better suited for experienced riders. Rescue costs 15 EUR, but you must check if there is available boat on the beach.
It is a bit tricky to get to kiteboarding section since there is no access road for the cars. You will need to walk with your gear across the send for several hundred meters unless you don’t have a boat.
There is no shade except a big tent set up by the Radikal Surf School. They operate on the beach and the owner of the school is not happy to share it with others.
Getting to Gokceada is not that easy. It might be the main reason why it is not famous in kitesurfing world. The best way to get there is your own car since the only airport on the island is not working for years. Closest airport is in Canakkale but it has direct flight only to Turkey’s capital Ankara.
If you are far away for a drive, the most convenient way is to fly to Istanbul and then rent a car or a camper (read the rest of this Gokceada Kitesurfing Review to see why). The trip from the airport to the island is going to take you around 5 hours in total. You can also take a bus from Istanbul, there are direct lines.
In order to get from the Turkish mainland to the island you will have to catch a ferry in place called Kabatepe. The boat ride is one and a half hours long. You can check ferry schedule here. If you don’t have Turkish SIM card you won’t be able to register and buy the ticket online.
In order to enjoy your holiday the most you will need a car or scooter. You can rent them on the island if you don’t get there by your vehicle. Roads on the Gokceada and in Turkey generally are good and new.
There is no wide choice of places where you can stay on the kiting spots. Selection is limited and prices are higher if you compare them to the rest of the island. Even if you stay in Eselek or Aydincik you will need to walk to the spots from where you can launch your kite except if you get there by camper. You can park it right on the beach. In Turkey police is not going to bother you with rules and regulations. That is the great opportunity to have a direct view on the Eselek spot from your van or a trailer.
You can also find a place to stay in Gokceada Village located in the centre of the island. From there you will need only 15 minutes to reach both kiting spots. There is wide selection of hotels and rental apartments.
If there is no wind on Gokceada you will have a rare opportunity to explore the island. Go to one of the beaches around the island. There is big chance that you will be only person on it (see the map). Try diving. There are several centres around island. Dive Park is just by Aydincik beach.
Have a drive around the island. Visit villages with ancient stone houses in the inland. Since the island was frequent target of invaders and pirates people made settlements away from the coast. Stop by Marmaros waterfall. If you like hiking this is right attraction for you because you will have to leave your car and walk in order to reach it. Be aware that sometimes during summer months the waterfall drays out.
Food is delicious and affordable. You will probably gain weight on Gokceada. Start your day with a borek (pastry filled with meet, chees, mushrooms or potatoes) and ayran (mixture of yogurt, water and salt). Eselek has several restaurants on the main road. Sah Bufe doesn’t look like much and that is understatement but the food is local, good and cheap. Try pide (Turkish version of pizza with minced meat or cheese and vegetables) and fish. Just several meters away is restaurant called Briza. It is more expensive than its neighbor, interior is nice and cuisine is international. I have saved the best for last.
The finest restaurants on the island are Greek. Imrozkeci has great local dish made of goat meat is out of this world. You can’t afford to miss it. They also have water mouthing sea food and fish. For the sunset visit Imroz Poseidon. I could not decide which thing was better food or the view. They have at least 15 tapas like starters and great fish. From the terrace high up on the hill you will have magnificent view on the sunset and Greek island Samothrace, home of the one of the most famous sculptures in the world called Nike of Samothrace. The sculpture is exhibited at the Louvre. Be sure to reserve your table at the restaurant.
As I have already mentioned, on the beginning of this Gokceada Kitesurfing Review, nights on the island are quiet. There are no big clubs or bars working until early hours. Crazy Island on the Aydincik beach organizes parties.