black and white

Merhaba from Türkiye,

If you are the type of traveller who eschews crowded places, the Türkish Riviera still has options for you. Not every resort destination has been spoilt by over-exploitation and congestion. And you will already know that there are marketing campaigns specifically tailored for you and your cohort.

The best way to guess this in advance of blind travel is to look at a map and measure the distance each resort destination is from an international airport. The greater the distance, the quieter and less ruined will be the spot. Let’s call this the proximity co-efficient. The fact is that a majority of the international arrivals are guided by travel agents who judge that their paying clients are interested in being with other similar people and not too keen on a long road journey after their flight. In the case of Bodrum and Kuşadası, the ocean liners also bring these same large numbers.

Places like Bodrum, Marmaris and Kuşadası actually serve a crucial purpose in the whole equation viz. to house a high proportion of the crowds in a small number of places, thereby leaving the others to remain quaint and relatively unspoiled.

The Black Sea (Karadeniz) is to the north of the Anatolian peninsula and the White Sea (Akdeniz) is to the south. In the 1980s, those same marketing gurus mentioned earlier coined the exotic-sounding expression “The Costa Blanca” to lure British tourists farther and farther east (after they had clogged up other Mediterranean coasts).

Ever since then, the tourists have been clogging up Türkish coasts as well. Marmaris and Bodrum have their own function but you might like to visit the smaller, unspoiled places. How about we devote a paragraph to four particular tips.

Kaș is a small coastal town tucked away at the base of steep hills leading down to the sea. “There are no sandy beaches,” Onür quickly says but there are plenty of nice swimming spots. And, every day charter boats leave the artificial harbour and head along to some idyllic swimming spots.

Didim is a great alternative to Bodrum, which has become the playground of the rich. There are also great boat trips available from the port at Didim but the beach has a long and wide stretch of soft sand. Within the township of Didim is Didyma which was the Temple for Apollon.

Dalyan is a quiet inland spot on a lagoon. This is where the Lyceans carved their tombs high on the cliff faces. About ten kilometres away is Turtle Beach, where your nominal fee helps protect the egg-laying grounds of the turtles. Also, the ancient city of Kaunos is walking distance.

Datça (see “Paradise and Paradise Lost”) is a quiet place along the peninsula. If you wanted to visit Knidos at the end of the peninsula, Datça is the logical spot to stay.

It’s sometimes a comfort to know that the bigger places soak up most of the odious elements of the tourist trade. The resort towns like Bodrum have their contrived water sports and other man-made attractions (like a chocolate museum!?), with the compounding effect of the agglomeration of services, with each one causing a tiny diminution in the appeal, rendering such places no longer the natural attractions they once were.

If you are looking for something a bit more quaint, a bit closer to nature and a bit less asphyxiating, there are still some options in southern Türkiye.

Güle güle from Türkiye


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