Turkey’s Aegean region has it all: Beautiful beaches, fascinating history and bountiful farmland full of delicious produce. What more could you ask for?! Here’s our top 10 list for exploring the region.
Alaçatı Wind Surf
Alacati is a small town close to Cesme on the Aegean coast. Alacati features an old town full of small local shops selling locally made products, meyhanes with regional delicacies and cobbled streets to enjoy getting lost in. Alacati’s other claim to fame though, is as the windsurfing capital of Turkey.
The bay and surrounding headlands get steady wind streams that draw in experienced and novice windsurfers alike. Whether you’ve got your own board and equipment or are interested in learning a new watersport, Alacati is sure to delight all ages. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Ephesus Ancient City
Ephesus stands proudly as some of the largest Roman ruins ever excavated and one of the most important Roman cities to have existed. Located close to modern day Selcuk, this fascinating archaeological site (which is still being excavated) was unearthed in the late 1800s.
Every year, visitors delight in the beautiful facade of the Celsus Library, the Gate of Hercules, the stunning 25’000 seat amphitheatre, the Temple of Hadrian as well as baths, market places and other fragments of daily life in the ancient capital of Anatolia. Plan a trip in the cooler spring months - you’ll be able to really explore and enjoy this immense site.
Paragliding in Fethiye-Oludeniz
What could be a better way to take in the beautiful turquoise waters of the Turkish Riviera than paragliding over the bays? Paragliding is safe, affordable and available in most areas with significant stretches of sea. Water sports have long been a feature of beach life in Turkey and what could be more relaxing than watching the activity below from high in the air?
Fethiye and Oludeniz have some of the most beautiful coastlines in Turkey. Deep hues of blue, fade into turquoise as the sea meets the white sandy shore. The hills and valleys coated in verdant grasses and trees stretching for miles, as far as the eye can see. Don’t be shy, whip out the selfie stick!
Breakfast in Şirince and Şirince Wines
Sirince is a true highlight in the region. Though many only make a day trip out of it, the village is definitely worth some exploring. The town is a key site of Orthodox Christianity, is renowned for its handicrafts and its locally produced fruit wines.
Enjoying breakfast at one of the many local cafes in Sirince will feature local produce, endless cups of Turkish Tea or Turkish Coffee and a view to soothe the soul. The town is happily perched on a hill overlooking the valley and farmland below. An excellent place to rest and revive pre or post Ephesus or a delight in its own right.
Swimming in Aegean Bays
The Aegean has some of the clearest, cleanest water on the Turkish coast. Dive in, snorkel or go further out on a diving trip, each bay has something unique for you to explore. Hiking, cycling or driving along the coast will provide plenty of opportunities to stop at secluded beaches and coves. Pack your towel, your sunscreen and a good book to while away the days.
Dinner – Raki, fish and mezes in Ayvalik Cunda
Ayvalik is noted for its diving, beaches, expansive national parks and stunning architecture. After all of your hard work diving, swimming, walking, and soaking up the rays you deserve some delicious, freshly caught fish, locally sourced meze and flowing raki. We recommend enjoying the sunset with good food and lively conversation at one of the many seaside meyhanes(taverns) in Ayvalik. The gorgeous views and quaint town will have you coming back year after year.
Visit to Urla’s Vineyards in İzmir
Urla is an up and coming wine growing region close to Izmir. The wines are light and fruity and are sure to be a hit at the lunch or dinner table - don’t forget to pick up a few bottles for your friends and family back home!
Eat stuffed mussels and drink a cold beer at Çeşme Beaches
Stuffed mussels or midye dolma are a Turkish speciality. The mussels are cooked and then stuffed back into their shells with a mixture of fragrant, spiced rice and best enjoyed fresh with a squeeze of lemon. This is an excellent lunch, quick bite or casual meze to enjoy with friends, a view and a cold brew.
There’s no better way to enjoy Cesme’s beaches than with mussels and an ice cold beer on one of those blistering summer days.
Boat Tours – Göcek & Marmaris
Boat tours are a common sight in most Turkish beach towns. Tours can be simple day jaunts to nearby coves or islands or longer, allowing you to take in the coast and the stars at night.
Gocek is a beautiful cove area where steep cliffs jut into crystal clear water that stretches on for miles (or so it’ll seem). Because of the steep cliffs, boating really is the best way to explore all of the coves in the area.
Marmaris is a little easier to access, with an interesting seaside town fronting the town’s main beach and port. Joining a day trip (or a longer cruise) will allow you to explore the cloves and inlets of the area more fully.
Visit the museum of underwater archaeology in Bodrum
The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology is perfect for all ages. Located within Bodrum Castle, the museum has something for everyone. The gardens feature a variety of local plant life species native to the area. There is a glass hall that serves as an aquarium and looking glass into the beach surrounding the castle and 14 exhibition rooms with displays of sunken ships and their treasures.
Shipwrecks include Uluburun, a Bronze Age vessel dating back to the 14th Century BC discovered in nearby Yalikavak, Hellenistic wrecks dating back to the 3rd Century BC and Roman merchant wrecks dating back to the 3rd Century AD. The Bodrum coastline has a rich history well worth exploring. Come and discover the stories of the Romans, the Greeks and the Ottomans who once lived in the area.