Aegean Coast Regional Overview
Welcome to the land of beautiful sky with best climate, as Herodotus described his homeland. Anatolia presents her magnificent views with superb coastline, glorious white sandy beaches, turquoise blue Aegean Sea, with vast amount of ancient sites complemented by shining green on the rolling hills.
Aegean Coast is the motherland of ancient civilizations with more than 9000 years of history, mythology, and culture. Make time available for wandering through it’s ancient remains, sailing, scuba diving, swimming in crystal clear waters, trekking along the hundreds of lovely coves, rafting, exploring picturesque islands, tasting fresh fish and delicious cuisine. Turkish Aegean Coast welcomes you by offering it’s history, nature, culture, hospitality, delicious tastes, entertainment, and leisure.
PROVINCES: IZMIR, AYDIN, and MUGLA
The three main provinces of the Aegean Coast region are; Izmir, Aydin, and Mugla. These comprise more than two thirds of the Turkish Aegean Coast. Mugla has more than 1100 kilometers of coast line, exceeding most other countries’ coastal area.
AEGEAN COAST CLIMATE
In general, the Aegean Coast’s climate is typically Mediterranean with mild rainy winters and hot summers. Temperatures rise above 30ºC in July and August. The tourism season in the region extends from April up to November. The graphs below indicate the seasonal variations of temperatures, sunshine and the precipitations, however it is still wise to have a glance at the Weather forecast of the region before starting the travel.
The Aegean Coast Region has three international airports Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport , Bodrum Airport, and Dalaman Airport in (Izmir, Bodrum, and Dalaman), providing easy and convenient access to all provinces in the region, with a variety of connections possible. If direct flights not taken, try using Istanbul connection as this may arise the opportunity of seeing this beautiful city, where you can easily find the details in MyIstanbulinfo web site. The Aegean region also has international ports that cater to large cruise ships in Izmir , Kusadasi and Bodrum, as well as dozens of marinas hosting thousands of boats along its coast line.
JOURNEY THROUGHOUT AEGEAN COAST
Let’s start our journey from the northern parts of the Aegean Coast Region through to the south via the picturesque land route. Alternatively, you can take journey through this region via the turquoise blue, crystal clear Aegean Sea on the Blue Voyage or Blue Cruise. It offers the best possible escape on water, a way of forgetting the turmoil out of everyday life. You will have an unforgettable experience while cruising the Aegean Sea’s crystal clear waters, anchoring in quiet bays, and picturesque villages, visiting historic places along the seaboard, scuba diving, and eating fresh fish while drinking raki -- the traditional Turkish drink.
Throughout this splendid journey, either through land or by sea, you will notice how Turkish people retain their traditional appeal, enabling tourists to experience the authentic atmosphere of Turkish life, while enjoying the facilities that holiday makers expect.
The land journey starts south bound, from the province of Izmir to the provinces of Aydin and Mugla , respectively. The first stops are in Bergama and Dikili . Bergama (Pergamon), a very well preserved ancient site, is one of the best archaeological sites of Turkey. Bergama’s harbour is called Dikili. Here you can enjoy the beautiful coastal line and thermal springs.
Further down, you’ll arrive in Foca (Phocaea), once formed as part of Ionian Federation. Today, Foca reflects a warm and friendly atmosphere, with its stone paved roads, small old houses, beautiful coves, pretty fishing boats and restaurants.
Another 70 kilometers south, you will set foot on Turkey’s third largest city, Izmir . With a population of over 3 million, the Aegean Region’s capital is the city of Izmir (Smyrna). As other Aegean Coast cities and towns, Izmir ’s history extends back to thousands of years. The first habitants of Izmir were located in Bayrakli, approximately 7000 B.C. in the early bronze age. From then on, several civilizations have passed, leaving an innumerable amount of historic ruins and ancient sites in Izmir and its surrounding areas. You can feel the history by wandering around Izmir, and get the taste of it while walking in the palm tree-lined promenades with the refreshing sea breeze, for an unforgettable experience. The International Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport lies in between the towns and districts of Izmir province, and you’ll find all related flights and connections easily in and outbound from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport .
If you extend westbound from Izmir, about 95 kilometers, you’ll reach Cesme (Cyssuss) and its neighbouring small town of Alacati (Agrilia). Cesme, with its healing hot springs, extraordinary sandy beaches, and turquoise blue sea, lies at the tip of the Cesme peninsula. Very close to Cesme , you’ll see Alacati , and will realize that you will not want to surf anywhere else, once you have seen the surfing opportunities in Alacati .
Your ongoing journey south bound will bring you to Selcuk , which hosts one of the world’s best preserved ancient sites, Efes (Ephesus). It welcomes approximately 1.5 million tourists yearly on its own. The House of the Virgin Mary , and many more can be seen in and around the town of Selcuk . Near Selcuk is the peaceful Sirince village, which was established by the Greeks 800 years ago, and is recommended to be visited. Its attractive old-fashioned houses, narrow streets should be seen, while tasting home-made wine.
Half an hour’s drive southbound from Selcuk is Kusadasi (Neopolis), which hold the potential of an unforgettable holiday. It is one of Turkey’s most famous active life holiday destinations, providing several beach facilities, attractive entertainment options, restaurants with delicious food, with limitless dining and wining opportunities until sunrise. Kusadasi is recommended for people looking for a lively activity-filled holiday.
If not exhausted, the southbound journey continues on Didim (Didyma), just 70 kilometers from Kusadasi . Another ancient site with marvellous sandy beaches such as Altinkum, reaching up to 53 kilometers of coastal line with around 85 marvellous coves. Thanks to its very low humidity, you won’t feel the disturbing hot weather in Didim, even during the hottest days of mid-summer. You can find a variety of accommodations to meet all kinds of demands, and budgets.
Kusadasi and Didim are located in the Aydin (Juliapoli - Tralles) province, which was the center of several civilizations since the start of the known history. The city of Aydin and the overall Aydin province, is the homeland of several wise, and educated scientists of the antique ages of Aphrodisias, Miletos, Alinda, Didyma, Nisa, Priene, and Magnesia . To the east of Aydin, do not overlook (Pamukkale Hierapolis), which is listed under the UNESCO World Heritage list. Every year, Pamukkale hosts around 1 million tourists, with its cotton-like travertine, healing springs used since Roman times, and the antique city of Hierapolis . It is one of the most spectacular natural formations of the world. Pamukkale is in Denizli province, which is neighboring Aydin province.
Leave the unforgettable experiences of Kusadasi , Didim , and Aydin behind and continue the journey southbound, toward the hub of the Aegean Coast region, the Mugla (Mobolia) province and its lovely resorts. The area is completely embraced with an irresistible nature, lined with a turquoise blue sea, a blanket of pine forests and olive groves. Amazing historical sites, relaxing days under the blue sky, lively nights under thousands of stars, await with the lure of the delicious Turkish and Aegean cuisine. This is what’s waiting for you in this region.
Bodrum , known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, is just 140 kilometers away from Didim . With its bohemian atmosphere, casual days and busy appealing nightlife, Bodrum (Halicarnassus) is the pearl of the Mugla province. Homer described it as 'the land of eternal blue for the homeland of Herodotus". Let’s close the brief on Bodrum with two sayings from another resident from Bodrum, the famous Turkish writer Cevat Sakir (Fisherman of Halicarnassus ), who said, "The heavenly bliss of life in Bodrum is better than any eternal bliss that may await us"; and, "Don’t think that you will leave as you came. Visitors before you were the same, leaving their souls and mind when they left". It is surely hoped that these couple of expressions give some impression of the chief vacation heaven of western Turkey. For the rest, this holiday heaven needs to be drilled down to the detail. Just going into further explanation, please be aware that the Bodrum International Airport presents all the convenience for you and provides connections to several destinations.
The journey continues on from the south of Bodrum to Gokova (Keramos) gulf. The Gulf of Gokova is a very popular blue cruise route, as it is a favourable destination with fantastic coves and natural beauty. Akyaka (Idyma) is a small town to the eastern end of the gulf with a small population of inhabitants. The history of this area extends back to 2600 B.C. Akyaka ’s location was the ancient Carian town of Idyma . Natural beauty, observing migrating herons, flamingos, pelicans, and paragliding from Sakartepe are some of the main attractions of Akyaka and the Gulf of Gokova .
South of the Gokova , you’ll see the Datca (Knidos) peninsula , with its traditional town Datca. It was established by the Dorians in the 7th Century B.C., near the antique site Knidos. For hundreds of years, Datca ’s natural beauty embraced by its lacy and its healing, dry climate have begged to be admiration.
The Dorians, Persians, Athenians, Romans, Germiyans, and Ottomans contributed their art, sciences, and cultures to the beauty of this ancient town.
Stopping not allowed, take a deep breath full of iodine from the sea and pine from the forests and head on towards Marmaris (Physkos) . This resort is situated on a bay, backed by pinewood rugged mountains. Marmaris is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Turkey, and has a wide range of excellent accommodation possibilities, many restaurants and an attractive resort lifestyle. It is a very large town, but still you can start swimming literally from the front step of your home. An ancient Carian town, Marmaris boasts a more than 5000 years of history and will allow you to have one of your best holidays. What ever you requirements are for a wonderful holiday, you’ll find in Marmaris and its surrounding areas.
When you are in the area, do not forget to visit Mugla ’s town center. The province of Mugla boasts several famous resorts, but the city itself is not as familiar to tourists. Mugla (Mobolia) was ruled by the Egyptians, Romans, and Ottomans, leaving many architectural samples in the city. Local houses are very traditional and worth a glance.
Now, if you would like to spoil yourself more (which is highly recommended), keep up the rhythm and continue for yet more unforgettable experiences towards Fethiye (Telmessos). You will notice the best, completely unspoilt, spiritual and very peaceful areas of the Aegean Coast region, with limitless pleasure guaranteed. The hot spots in this heavenly lovely journey are the towns of Koycegiz , Dalyan (Caunos), Ortaca , Sarigerme , Dalaman (Ahhiyava), Gocek (Daidala) , and Fethiye , all linked by lovely coves, capes, lagoons, beaches, lakes, and rivers. Just a small add-on, arrival to the area is truly simple, as the Dalaman International Airport is very close to all of these sites.
Koycegiz lies at the north of Koycegiz lake, which is joined to the sea by a strait. The whole area is preserved by a wildlife and nature sanctuary. Koycegiz, located 60 km. from Mugla, is a beautiful town, where the green of citrus trees meets the peaceful blue of Koycegiz lake. Not far from Koycegiz, there is a small resort called Dalyan. It is situated along the Dalyan strait, which connects Koycegiz lake to the Mediterranean sea. Along the Dalyan delta is the glorious sandy beach of Iztuzu, which is very famous as a breeding ground for Caretta Caretta turtles. The journey through the Dalyan strait (creek) to Iztuzu passes through bulrush and pampas grass beds. While making this journey through the strait, it is impossible to miss huge rock tombs, and the ruins of one of the most mysterious cities in the region, Caunos . Last but for sure not the least is the sumptuous blue crabs, which must be tasted before leaving. Everything is there, the only thing that you need is sufficient time in this paradise, and don’t forget to make it available.
The journey down to Fethiye still hides several treasures. Ekincik and Sarigerme (the site of the ancient city Physilis) will ensure a very pleasant holiday, with wonderful beaches secluded in pine forests. Once a Carian town, Ortaca is also on the way down to Fethiye, lying midway between Dalaman and Dalyan. Dalaman is 20 kilometers away from Ortaca , with a very busy Dalaman International Airport during summer time. It is a natural beauty with the excellent beaches, where a wide variety of water sports is available. Dalaman (Ahhiyava) is situated between the sea and the mountains, where the ancient city of Ahhiyava lied in the 3000 B.C.. The Persians, Helens, Athenians, Romans, and Ottomans have all contributed to the huge historical background of the city, which can fortunately still be seen and experienced today.
After 20 kilometers from Dalaman , you will come to the most beautiful town of Turkey, Gocek (Daidala). Preserved nature, historic ruins, a fabulous coastal line, fantastic islands all add to the uniqueness of the region. The Gocek area is the heart of ancient Lycia, and one of the most important hub for Blue Cruises / Blue Voyages . Gocek lies in a quite peaceful harbour in the secluded Gocek bay.
As a final stop in the marvellous Aegean Coast, you finally arrive in Fethiye . Known as Telmessos in antiquity, Fethiye is 30 kilometers from Gocek. It hosts splendid archaeological samples of Lycian civilization. This brief will not be sufficient enough to describe Fethiye’s beauties. Its historic places like Fethiye Castle, Tlos, Araxa, Letoon, Telmessos Antique Theatre, Cadianda, Lycian Rock Tombs, and Xanthos are some of the countless magnificent sites in and around Fethiye. Are well known natural beauties needed to be mentioned? If so, try Butterfly Valley, Blue Lagoon, Belcekiz, Kidrak, Hisaronu, Faralya, Gemiler Island , paragliding resort Babadag and many more. While taking time to visit all these beauties, do arrange some time for wandering aroundFethiye’s town center. Its pretty squares, warm and friendly street salesmen, and narrow roads all make up for a picturesque spot. Experience the delicious food, see the hospitality of locals, and enjoy the lively nightlife. This is Fethiye, the last stop of your extraordinary journey along the Aegean Coast.
Paragliding in Fethiye Babadag
Pedestrian path along the shor...
Izmir (by Metin Canbalaban)
"Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken" - Frank Herbert