This Whistle Stop Tour was written exclusively for Fethiye Times by Casey Russell.
The large gulf that is almost sandwiched between the Bozburun Peninsula and Datça’s Peninsula is an area that sailors will know all too well. The pine tree covered hills, pretty bay’s and coves combined with perfect wind, make it an area that rivals Göcek Bay for incredible sailing.
Indeed, on land as well as from sea the two peninsulars are areas that can be explored and enjoyed at a more leisurely, relaxing pace as this is an area where peace and tranquility reigns and there is a space for everyone to call their own. With incredible ruins, breathtaking bays, astonishing views and laid back towns, there’s no reason not to!
Bozburun Peninsula is the lesser known of the two areas. For this reason, it’s not as busy as its neighbour, Datça – yet it has fine bay’s and a town which is equally as good as its more renowned neighbour, albeit in different ways.
Bozburun oozes old charm chic, its few boutique shops stand alone for quality and unique style, yet it’s bars and beach clubs can rival that of any larger town! This is the quietly confident village by the sea that knows how to throw a party like the big boys and has a happy, bustling vibe throughout most of the year. The restaurants along the bay are personable and welcoming and the tiny wine bars and cafes ooze their own small town charm.
Bozburun sits on a small, bustling harbour. Surrounded by hills, the naturally protected bay has clean, warm waters, and small islands that have Roman ruins hidden amongst their hills.
If walking is your hobby, why not find the Ancient Roman road. This walk is quite a hike, so make sure you’ re well kitted out and take water with you because there are no stores on this route. The start of the walk brings you across an old boatyard where if you’re lucky you might see the skeletons of new fishing boats or small gulets, as boats are still being built here today. Bozburun as an area is in fact famous as one of the best places for ship building, even today.
If exploring the shops is more your thing, then how about spending a few hours browsing the boutiques and traditional shops, which are reasonably priced, friendly, and sell everything from traditional clothing, bags and jams to sheep bells and axes! If you visit on a Thursday, you can wander around the local Market, where people from nearby villages come and sell their own freshly grown produce…
After exploring every street and alley, take a stroll on the promenade and sit by the sea at one of the many restaurants, sipping at the best local wine, and eat the freshest locally grown foods and delicious mezes.
South of Bozburun town, you’ll find many, hidden pretty bay’s, the closest being Söğüt.
Söğüt is a wide bay that is rather secret and secluded, and has two pebble beaches that are clean and well maintained. If you go snorkelling from the beach, you may find ancient artefacts, such as vases, jugs and amphoras. This is because there was a Roman village close by to here. If you find any relics like this though, don’t be tempted to take them out of the water. These kind of artifacts must remain wherever they have been found, as there’s a high penalty for removing any!
The village spreads into the hills too, but the tranquil area by the sea is most well known and its restaurants that are situated right beside the turquoise waters offering the freshest caught seafood around.
Going around the peninsula, you’ll eventually reach Bozukkale. This bay is situated close to the very tip of the peninsula, and it has a strategic position overlooking the stretch of water between Turkey and the Greek island of Rhodes.
This Gulf had strategic defensive values in the past. Above the bay, you can find remains of the ancient city of Loryma, which date from the 7th century BC. Since then, an incredible castle which has stunning views of the spectacular landscape and sea, was built.
A rough path goes up to the castle from the bottom. It is worth making the hike for the view in early morning or late afternoons, and thankfully, there are three restaurants in the bay which make fresh bread and cook fresh fish and goat from their farms.
On clear days, it’s possible to make out the grand castle of Rhodes town.
To get to Bozukkale you will have to drive to either Bozburun, or Serce Limani (another bay just along the coast from there) and from either of these places you can board a boat that will take you around to the bay.
Serce Limani is a popular sailors bay we call it “Windy Bay”, as whenever you go there’s always twisty winds. The man who owns the restaurant there is known as Bob (it’s not his real name, he just likes people calling him that!), and his brother and mother are very friendly and the restaurant is open to everyone. You can drive here easily by car from Marmaris, look out for his restaurant, it’s called ” Nemos Place ” ( after his son ) enjoy the view, sit back and prepare to be entertained
The other main town on the peninsula is Selimiye. This town is smaller then Bozburun, and doesn’t have as much going on. Despite this, the town makes for an interesting place to visit, since it’s close by to several traditional villages, such as Bayır
Bayır village is known for its natural honey production, and it has become a popular place for jeep safaris tours. What’s famous about the village though is the tree which grows in the centre of the square. The gigantic plane tree has become a center of attraction, because it’s thought to be over 2,500 years old. Planted beside the villages mosque, people now use the tree to symbolise ‘Long and happy life’.
Visitors to this pretty, secluded place walk around the tree and pray for their longevity and peace and happiness in their life.
Close by is another fascinating village.
Turgut is known for its carpet industry by the locals, but foreign tourists know it for the beautiful Turgut falls. The garden where the waterfall is shaded by hundreds of trees, and the gardens themselves are clean and planted with lovely scented flowers.
At the end of the day, If you are planning on exploring this secluded and beautiful area, Selimiye and Bozburun are the places to stay, since there are many pensions and hostels that are more then welcoming to locals and visitors.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want to explore the land-based secrets of Turkey, or to explore the hidden gems of its delightful coastline…
In my next whistle stop tour, I will tell you about the neighbouring peninsular, Datça…
“I am Casey Russell, a 14 year old home schooled traveller, writer, photographer and sailor.
I live aboard my familys Oceanis 45 foot sailing yacht and travel extensively throughout the mediterranean for most of the year exploring the lost islands and hidden archaeological treasures of the region.
Photography is a hobby of mine and this year i am keen to explore new techniques and effects, the articles that I write are always accompanied by awesome images.
So, Come along with me on my travels and let me show you the hidden corners of this magical region…”
To read more articles by Casey please visit his blog, “Adventurer in Training”
Featured photograph courtesy of ALTAY ÖZCAN