Aug 9, 2013

No summer house crowds, just serenity in Datça-Hisarönü

The half moon and the star in Old Datça, Turkey.

A typical Old Datça house, Turkey.

If you are tired of the crowds in Bodrum, the place to go on the Turkish coast these days is Datça peninsula. Datça used to be famous for its deadly curvy and narrow road which has only been recently expanded. Although it can be reached by boat from Bodrum in one hour and a half hours, the beauty of the peninsula is maintained by the fact that it is three hours away from Dalaman airport. This is also why even yacthing is less developed here than Bodrum or Marmaris. Notwithstanding its relentless wind, olive and almond trees, what is less known about Datça and especially the summer house resort Aktur is that it is home to a high number of retired generals of the Turkish army! Not surprisingly, the peninsula is a staunchly secular part of Turkey. 

Palamutbükü in the southern part of Datça peninsula.

Gabaklar bay in the southern part of Datça peninsula.

Yachts anchored in Hayıtbükü, southern part of
Datça peninsula, Turkey.

Old Datça is the place to stay if you want peace and quiet in old stone houses left by Greeks. It lies just outside the new Datca and was made famous when the poet Can Yücel adopted it. Although accommodation there is more pricey, it is worth the peace and quiet. Renting a car is the key to explore the pristine beauty and protected bays of the Datça peninsula. Datça is also a place where the Greek island Symi, one of the Twelve Islands, close to Turkey constantly rears its head. Tune your radio to listen in! If you want to enjoy the good local mezes of Datça head to downtown Fevzi although it can be a little bit pricey.

Ovabükü, at the southern part of Datça peninsula.

Sunset at Knidos, Datça peninsula. 

One day you should drive out to Palamutbükü. Building is forbidden here so there is only one hotel  (Mavi Beyaz) and all others are bungalow or make shift type. The beach is really the main reason to go out there. Pick any of the beach restaurants that serve good food. We choose Tuna which also has bungalows. Another option is to go to Gabaklar where the beach facility is more sophisticated where beds under built in shadows await customers. On the way back from Gabaklar, spend some time in Hayıtbükü and sit at the cafe on the corner just to hang out. Lastly, one day could be spent at Ovabükü at Hoppala also in the same direction with a visit to Knidos at sunset. It is a popular stop with the yachting crowd and will take your breath away. One last stop should be the Kargı Bay in Datça where cold water flows into the sea and makes swimming an excellently refreshing experience. If it is full moon, Kargı is also very good place to watch it. Take a dive and swim in the moonlight!

Knidos at sunset at the tip of Datça peninsula.

Yachts seeking refuge at Knidos, Datça peninsula.

And Travelmind enjoys Kargı bay in Datça town
while overlooking Symi island, Greece.

You may now be ready to leave the Datça peninsula and head towards Hisarönü bay. This is the eastern part of Datça peninsula before reaching Marmaris. Travelmind first headed out to Bozburun which has been gaining visibility among the yachting crowd in recent years but its real beauty is that many popular places to stay can only be reached by boat. Therefore, hotels offer bed-breakfast and dinner which makes it easier for guests. One of these is the outrageously expensive Sabrina's Haus and the other one is Bozburun Yacht Club with its boutique hotel where you can rub shoulders with the young and beautiful of the acting crowd in Turkey. The latter is also known for its good food which Travelmind tasted. Alternatively, spend an afternoon here even if you stay somewhere else and taste their margarithas and caipirinhas before the club boat drops you off at your hotel's pier. 

In the bay of Bozburun on our way to the yacht club, Turkey.

A view from Bozburun yacht club, Turkey.

Travelmind explored bays further away from Bozburun as well such as Söğüt or Serçe. Both are popular with the yachting crowd although the latter is less known and developed. Lastly, Selimiye can be visited which seems to be the more lively and more green than Bozburun and Söğüt. It has nice houses, beaches, hotels and restaurants that dot its coastline and make a nice board walk at night. After spending almost two weeks visiting all these places, my conclusion is better bad roads to keep off the summer house crowds.

Selimiye bay, Turkey.