The Turquoise Coast : Places to Explore


Datça Peninsula

If you make it all the way to the Datça Peninsula, you may never want to leave. Winds keep pine forests to sheltered hollows, and habitations are few and far between. Driving along the thin neck of land between the Aegean Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south feels like entering the gateway to another, older world. This is not somewhere to drop by for a day or two: you need at least three days to savor the uncluttered joys of this unique destination—it's a place with few pressures, but wide horizons and more than 50 little beaches for inner contemplation. The best time to visit is in spring, when the hills are carpeted in poppies, daisies, and wildflowers, and restaurants offer dishes concocted with wild thyme, rosemary, and other herbs that flourish in the hills and by the sea.

The timeless stone alleys of Eski Datça give a similar sense of being in another, less stressful world. The ancient ruins of Knidos and Loryma, both best reached by boat, are some of the loveliest and most evocative sites along the whole coast.

Datça is a small, little-developed port town with some characterstics of a resort. In itself it's not the best place to stay—Eski Datça and Reşadiye are older and have more charm—but if you're here, it's pleasant to spend an evening wandering around the harbor and sipping a drink at one of the quayside cafés. The weekly market is on Saturday, which is what attracts Greek islanders from nearby Symi. It's also the best place to arrange a boat trip to Knidos. A lovely day out and a meal at an unspoiled beach can also be had at Kargı Koyu, 3 km (2 mi) east of central Datça.