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“A disappointing experience”
Review of Akdamar Island

Akdamar Island
Ranked #1 of 27 things to do in Van
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This island located in the salty Lake Van is home to the Church of the Holy Cross and some Armenian monastery ruins.
Princeton, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A disappointing experience”
Reviewed 29 July 2013

First, I'd like to say that the island itself and the church are probably much better than the 1-star I gave, but the reason I gave it is that actually getting to the docks near Gevas on time and waiting for the boat does not mean you'll actually be able to go there - it depends on other people coming and filling a boat, or you paying much more (150 TL for a private boat instead of 10 TL for a ticket).

Personally, I arrived 2.5 hours before the official closing time, and after waiting for two hours as the only person on the docks, the ship captains there refused to take me to the island unless I pay the full private price of 150 TL. Moreover, their manager lied to me about a couple of issues (such as the actual closing time of the island, or then claimed that the island was empty when a ship full of people came back some time later), and it was clear that they were simply trying to be greedy and make as much money as possible. This was my worst experience in my whole trip in Turkey by far and I was very disappointed by the way I was treated.

The island and church are probably worth it, but do yourself a favor and try to get to this attraction earlier in the day rather than later to prevent similar experiences.

Visited July 2013
6 Thank L M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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178 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Istanbul, Turkey
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Small island with a jewel,”
Reviewed 28 July 2013

If you are traveling to city of Van, pls don't hesitate to pay a visit to Akdamar island, by taking a boat it takes less then 20 minutes, you can easily spend 2-3 hours by enjoying the decoration of the Armeninan church,which was recently renovated ,,

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Peterson3443
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Superb Medieval Old Testament sculpture”
Reviewed 22 July 2013 via mobile

Amazing and totally unique (to this Australian at least) perfectly preserved Armenian reliefs (but very vivid) all around the outside of the church and a cute trip out to the island too. The frescoes were good but not like what you can see in eg. Cappadocia.

I went with Sabahattin from Alkan tours, in addition to Hosap and Van Castle/a few other places and it was really a perfect and very affordable day.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank ThomMen83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ostrava, Czech Republic
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Akdamar Island and Akdamar Camping”
Reviewed 1 July 2013

On our really long trip from Trabzon to Van in three weeks we visited Akdamar Island. Really nice place to visit and enjoy spare time for relaxing. You can see old Armenian Church and enjoy swimming in the lake.

Cost of ferry boat from the Van lake coast to island and back is 10TL. Ferry goes every half hour from harbor or if there are at least 12 people. Entrance fee on the island is 3 TL, but if you have Turkish Museum Card (Müze Kart), entrance is free.

By the harbour there is restaurant with campingside. Ibrahim, the owner is really friendly and he can speak Turkish, English, French and bit German. If you eat in the restaurant then you can camp here for free.

We spent here really nice three days.

Visited June 2013
4 Thank JakubLarysz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Better transportation now”
Reviewed 30 April 2013

We agree this is a great site. We went in very late April, 2013 and took minibuses both ways from Van. Although it was a weekday, there were plenty of people at the boat so we only paid 10 TL roundtrip each. Tourist office in Van told us that even if there are not many people, you do not have to wait for the boat to fill or pay for the whole boat.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank oregonflower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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