Why You Should Visit the Remote Port Town of Datça, Turkey
Located in the southwest of Turkey, Datça has successfully maintained itself as an idyllic Aegean port city without the influx of large scale tourism and its consequent mammoth structures. In Datça you’ll find peaceful beaches, old villages, and plenty of undisturbed nature.
The inhabitants of Datça are clearly opposed to tourism that is not in tune with the natural surroundings and have therefore only supported the openings of small inns and boutique hotels. The result is a collection of traditional settlements, newly built accommodations that are small and in harmony with their surroundings, and many beautiful coves and bays. Datça’s city center is called the İskele Mahallesi (Pier Neighborhood) and has 12 different neighborhoods. One of the greatest things about Datça is its abundance of nature and that even in its city center, the beaches are pristine, which means that no matter where you are, you can simply go and take a swim in the beautiful sea.
The City Center
Parallel to the main street, you’ll find the Kumluk Yolu (Sandy Path), where locals and tourists stretch out and enjoy the sun and sea until the evening, after which the many cafes and restaurants begin to fill up. Make sure to drop by the nearby Sanatçılar Sokağı (Artists Street) where local artists set up shop in the evening to sell their handicrafts. At the end of this main avenue, you’ll find Datça’s port, which is especially beautiful at sunset and you can take a seat at one of the many cafes and restaurants to enjoy the view and even stay a bit longer into the night at one of the bars. Another important sight in this area is the Ilıca Gölü (Ilıca Lake), a small freshwater lake filled with fish and ducks. One of the area’s most popular beaches is the Hastane Altı Plajı (Beach below the Hospital), with a name that harks back to the time when Datça’s State Hospital used to be situated here. After spending a few hours strolling by the beaches, taking a swim, and lying in the sun, make sure to visit the city center’s up and coming neighborhood, Ambarcı Caddesi (Storekeeper Avenue), where you’ll find some excellent bakeries, cafes, restaurants, and taverns.
The old stone houses of Datça’s historic neighborhood have become quite famous, especially because the renowned poet Can Yücel lived and died here and his house is open to visitors annually on August 12th (Yücel’s death anniversary). Spend some time wandering around this beautiful neighborhood, where the old stone houses are covered in brightly colored bougainvillea bushes. If you fall in love with this neighborhood, you’ll be happy to know that some of the houses have been renovated into lovely boutique hotels.
This cove is another one of Datça’s famous areas with a beach that is 2.5 km long and beautiful turquoise waters. You can sit under the shade of trees and go swimming in the refreshing waters. The cafes and restaurants in the vicinity are mostly run by local families and are great for an afternoon snack in the sun. If you happen to have a car, make sure to explore the beaches further on such as the Akvarum Koyu and Akçabük.