|Situated on a bay,
backed by rugged pine-clad mountains, Marmaris
is one of the most attractive maritime parklands, ideal for water sports
and sailing. It makes an excellent starting point for the "Blue
Voyage" tour of the Aegean coastline. In May, the Marmaris
Yacht Charter Show provides an opportunity to meet the yachts' captains
and crews. With plenty of provisions aboard, you set sail in the craft of
your choice and languidly explore the spectacular beauty of southern Turkey.
In Marmaris, sample the typical Turkish cuisine
in one of the marina restaurants and drink raki, anisette, the traditional
Turkish way, over ice and diluted with water. Later stroll along the brightly
lit and palm-lined promenade and indulge yourself at one of the ice cream
vendors. Energetic entertainment at a lively bar or dancing until dawn
at a sophisticated disco can end a perfect day.
There are many good buys in Marmaris' boutiques,
colorful bazaars and markets. You can find excellent leather and suede
goods, copper and brassware, jewellery and objects carved of onyx. Turkish
carpets, textiles and embroidery make good handcrafted souvenirs, and
the locally produced pine -scented honey called çambali is superb.
Ancient Marmaris, Physkos, was an important
stage on the Anatolia-Rhodes-Egypt trade route. In the 16th century Süleyman
the Magnificent had a citadel built on a hill, the remains of which can
still be seen today.
Swimmers should not miss Atatürk
Park, to the east of Marmaris, where a shallow beach, extending
to the bay leads to safe waters. The clear sea is warm enough for swimming
from early May until late September. Marmaris also has horseback riding
and tennis centres for the sports enthusiast. This is one of the few places
in the world where you can delight in the heady aroma of the frankincense
tree. Weekly ferry lines run between Marmaris and Venice during the summer
Near Marmaris at Içmeler,
the hazy mountains of the interior slope down to sandy beaches. Under
blue skies, the clear sea is ideal for all types of water sports. Many
find this area so irresistible that they stay longer than originally planned.
And there are some excellent accommodations here, in which you can prolong
your contact with nature. As you drive down from the high mountains into
the village of Turunç, the scene opens out onto
the spectacular blue waters beyond the natural harbour. The village itself
is small and scattered around the bay: Most of the restaurants border
the beach. A few bars and restaurants farther back from the water's edge
offer fresh fish and superb views. Kumlubük,
a turquoise paradise, lies on the southern side of the bay. On the northern
side, above the water, stands the ancient Rhodian city of Amos.
Loryma, at the tip of the Bozburun
Peninsula, where the ruins of the ancient harbour and castle
remain, can only be reached by boat. Natural quiet bays and scattered
islands punctuate the northern shore of the peninsula, ideal for those
who want to get away from it all.
Sedir Island, in
the Gulf of Gökova, is the ancient Cedrai. Its
old city walls, theatre and temples can be visited by driving from Marmaris
north to Gelibolu Bay and then crossing by boat. This voyage also offers
an unforgettable panoramic view of the mountain scenery across the bay.
At the head of the gulf is the village of Gökova whose houses seem to
cascade down the mountainside. Restaurants built over bubbling, fresh
water streams that fall from the highlands create an unforgettable setting.
The towering pines and cool breezes of Gökova Park are often a welcome
respite from the hot sun.
The Datça Peninsula
provides a natural boundary between the Aegean Sea, the Gulf of Gökova
to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Hisarönü to the south.
Along all the 75 km from Marmaris to Datça, the road winds among trees
and hills, permitting lovely views over the expanse of blue. Campers have
many perfect settings to choose from; the less adventurous can stay in
one of the many comfortable holiday villages. 25 km to Datça is the beautiful
Aktur beach. In Datça white-washed buildings
hung with bougainvillaea decorate the town. The marina is on the southern
bay; while swimmers prefer the northern bay. Around the marina bars, cafes
and a wide selection of shops keep the tourist interested. Some shops
remain open well into the evening. Relaxing over a pre-dinner drink and
then a delicious meal in a welcoming restaurant is a popular way to spend
the evening hours. Of course, the local eateries offer both fresh fish
and classical Turkish cuisine. With any remaining energy, take a stroll
and find a disco to your liking to while away until the early morning
hours. 10 km north of Datça, the Körmen Harbour
is connected to Bodrum by a daily ferry line.
As you travel out of Datça, either by road
or by boat, you will find unspoilt bays and golden sandy beaches. Kargi
is one of the most popular bays in the region.
At the end of the peninsula (38 km from Datça)
stands the ancient Carian city of Knidos, described
by Strabo as "a city that was built for the most beautiful of goddesses,
Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas." Famous as a center
of art and culture in the fourth century B.C. the city had two harbours:
one on the Aegean and the other on the Mediterranean. The remains of a
circular temple dedicated to the goddess of love overlook the two harbours;
the arcaded way was built of white marble, heart-shaped columns. The legendary
Aphrodite of Praxiteles' statue, one of the most beautiful sculptures
of antiquity, once graced this temple.
The town of Köycegiz
lies at the northern end of a lake of the same name and Is joined to the
Mediterranean by a natural channel. This unique environment is being preserved
as a nature and wildlife sanctuary. A road shaded with aromatic frankincense
trees leads to the tiny village of Dalyan on
the inland waterway. The maze of channels is easily explored by boat as
you immerse yourself in this tranquil dream world. The restaurants which
line the waterways specialise in delicious meals of fresh fish. High on
the cliff face, at a bend in the river, above the fascinating ancient
harbour city of Caunos, magnificent tombs were carved into the rock. The
Dalyan Delta, with a long, golden sandy beach at its mouth, is a nature
conservation area and a refuge for sea turtles (Caretta Caretta) and blue
crabs. At Ekincik, a delightful yacht mooring,
you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this area. Only a half hour's
drive from Dalaman Airport, Sarigerme has wonderful
sandy beaches, and a pleasant holiday village discreetly situated in a
pine forest. The Dalaman River is the best for
rafting and the best time for rafting is between May and October. The
road to Fethiye winds up and down hills through a heavily forested region
that offers occasional glimpses of the sea and an islet or two basking
in total seclusion. The Gulf of Göcek and its
friendly marina is one of the Mediterranean's best sailing spots. Dotted
with islands and indented with many coves, its land and seascapes are
irresistible. The ruins of Arymaxa, an ancient
city at the southern tip of the guff, lie at the edge of the azure waters.
Opposite, on Tersane Island, stand Byzantine
ruins, including those of the ancient shipyards.