We continue our virtual tour of the tourist gems on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Today we will discover such a wonderful place as Datça, a town on the Datça peninsula to the west of Marmaris (one would think that wouldn’t be possible, with anything further west being a Greek territory).
Not all tourists know about this resort. And we believe that this is just wonderful – such heavenly natural places, with clean air and beautiful landscapes, should be sheltered from mass tourism. But as long as we know the secret, then quiet coves with golden beaches, pine groves, and turquoise water in this blessed land should be available to us.
FEATURES OF THE RESORT
Datça is often recommended in travel guide books as a family destination. The place is indeed excellent in many respects, though it is worth mentioning that there are few all- inclusive resort giants on the peninsula and they are mostly located away from populated areas. Despite that, Datça has been successfully sold on the travel market for a long time, which guarantees the highest quality of services.
Much of the accommodation options in Datça, so favoured by European tourists, is made up of cheap apartments, cosy boutique hotels, villas, bungalows, as well as four and five star B&Bs. We can find some very interesting options among them, such as, for instance, the boutique hotel Kargilos Hotel & Beach, located in a late Byzantine period historical building with its own private beach.
The Datça Peninsula can boast of having more than 50 bays with excellent sandy beaches, some of which are marked with the Blue flag. Some of them can only be reached by narrow mountain paths or by sea. The efforts spent to reach them will, however, be rewarded with a wonderful experience.
One of the most popular beaches in Datça is a splendid Karaincir beach. It has all kinds of water activities and a developed infrastructure: from showers and toilets to cafes and restaurants. The entrance is free of charge, but it will be necessary to pay for the umbrellas, deckchairs, and other facilities.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The holiday season in Datça starts in May and lasts until October. Those who prefer very warm water are recommended to come here between the second half of July and late September. The water in small coves warms up earlier. Rains are very uncommon during the active holiday season, starting in late autumn and continuing throughout the winter, with only local residents and rare villa owners remaining in the resort during that period.
HISTORY AND ATTRACTIONS
The central part of Datça consists of an old quarter with buildings of the traditional Ottoman architectural style – ideal for leisurely walks. Antiquity lovers can head 35 km west of Datça to visit the ruins of the ancient city Knidus (or Knidos), once an important sea port and a powerful fortress.
Knidus was founded by Spartans to control maritime trade along the coast. Austere Spartans dedicated the city to Aphrodite, the goddess of eternal spring, beauty, and love. In her honour they held Doric games here attracting athletes from all over the Greek world.
The central part of the city lay on an island connected to the mainland by two powerful levees, forming two convenient harbours – one of for merchant ships and the other for the navy. Knidus broke away from Sparta over time being governed by its citizens independently, just like an Athenian democracy.
In the 3rd century Knidus turned into an important scientific centre of the ancient world, famous for the observatory of Eudoxus, its medical school (one of the best in its time) and the precise Eudoxus sun clock. Greek sculptor Praxiteles carved a magnificent statue of Aphrodite of Knidus (which has only preserved in copies) as a gift to the city.
Having fallen under the Roman control, Knidus had been gradually withering until it was totally abandoned in the 7th century. Due to this, however, it has come down to us in its original Greek form, not seriously affected by a later Roman influence. A considerable amount of the archaeological material extracted during excavations in Knidus is now displayed in the British and Vatican museums.
THE GREEK ISLANDS
The Greek Islands of Symi (also transliterated as Syme or Simi) and Rhodes are located practically within a reach of hand from Datça. Having a Schengen visa, one can easily get there by ferry or yacht. Short-term island visas are not issued in Datça and it will be necessary to go to Marmaris to get them. Some opt for a reverse option, arriving by air to the Rhodes and then proceeding for relaxation in Datça, where the beaches are much better and prices lower.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO IN Datça?
- Diving (the town has several schools and certified instructors, and the underwater world is very nice too)
- Boat trips and excursions
- Trekking up the picturesque peninsula mountains