Hidden seaside villages in Turkey to mark your summer holiday

SENA ALKAN @senaalkan
ISTANBUL
Published 06.06.2015 01:30
Updated 06.06.2015 01:34
Hidden seaside villages in Turkey to mark your summer holiday

To discover pristine beaches to feel Mother Nature calling you this summer, Turkish seaside villages await you with friendly locals and the best seafood ever

Remember your first step on a beach with golden sand and vivid blue water? Chances are many people before you had visited there and felt the amazing joy of being on the seaside. Have you ever imagined a seaside that is never touched before you? Have you ever wanted a bay, a beach completely to yourself? Sure, it is nearly impossible now. But still there is an opportunity to enjoy the sea and its ability of sweeping all your troubles and problems away with the sound of the waves.

With the summer season coming, Turkey is starting to be more crowded than ever. Thousands of tourists are rushing to the country to enjoy the spirit of the summer and many of them prefer crowded holiday resorts thatrequire advance booking.

What about beaches on the seaside with only boutique hotels, no huge, lavish resorts, in the middle of nowhere,only the nature? If what you need is to walk into the heart of nature to rediscover yourself, many virgin beaches along the Turkish Riviera are waiting for you.

Seaside villages in Turkey are mostly known to havefriendly locals, natural herbs used as remedies for many illnesses, hospitality that makes you feel special and rarely-touched bays. That is why tourists visiting these places feel unique compared to other holiday destinations in Turkey. To feel how special you are in the eyes of the Turkish locals that you may not have the opportunity see again and to understand that there are still people out there who will embrace you only because you are a person despite cultural and linguistic differences, where you should be in this summer are these hidden Turkish gems.

Gemiler: Not only a beach, but a historic remnant

It is impossible to believe that Gemiler Bay is only a few kilometers away from Ölüdeniz, one of the most preferred holiday resorts in Turkey. Located on the western coast of Aegean Sea, Gemiler Bay stands as a proof that old civilizations had a better understanding of nature. In Gemiler Bay it is not the vivid blue waters and serenity that you can find, but remnants of the Byzantine Empire and early Christianity with churches and cisterns. St. Nicholas Church waits there to be discovered. This place will remind you that once it was a little town visited by people to find peace to give you hope for tomorrow. Gemiler Bay is only six kilometers away from Kaya village where you can meet friendly locals. You can reach the bay either by a boat or by a bus from Hisarönü. If you would also like to experience a nice trek, you can also grab your camping gear and walk thenearly six kilometers from the village. Surrounded by olive and pine trees dotting the natural beauty of Aegean Coast, Gemiler Bay is where you can find nature and history at the same time. It is interesting, but GemilerBay is where you can find more delicious seafood than Ölüdeniz or other holiday resorts due to the freshness of the fish and the instantly embracing ambience. While you stay in the bay you must find a local fisherman and ask him to serve you the best fish of the day. You will be amazed by his generosity. Gemiler Bay is a perfect spot not only to turn into yourself, but also to live the historic time the place gives amid nature and history as a package.

How to get there: You can reach Gemiler Bay by boat from Fethiye, Ölüdeniz and by bus starting from Hisarönü through Kaya village. Trekking is another way to reach the bay with a trail leading there.

Butterfly Valley: Dance of the butterflies

Butterfly Valley, Kelebekler Vadisi in Turkish, takes its name not because its shape or other features, but because thousands of butterflies lying like a soft silky scarf. Do not expect to notice them as soon as you get into the valley. Just wait until one of them moves and triggers all the other butterflies. This hidden gem, which you cannot possibly reach either by car or plane, is declared a first-degree natural protected area, as you will understand why when you visit. It is also located near one of the busiest holiday destinations of Fethiye on Turkey's western coast. But what makes this valley different is its fascinating natural wonders completely away from prying eyes. All you can get during your stay are nature, fresh air, a vivid blue sea, colorful butterflies flying above and a hidden valley waiting to be explored. The valley is a suitable place to camp and has capacity fornearly 125 tents and power with shower and toilet facilities free-of-charge at certain times of day. There are also bungalows for those who wish to holiday in a more homey place. As you can imagine, there are no luxurious holiday resorts around the valley and no cars, no horns, only the pure tranquility of nature. When you visit Butterfly Valley, just like many others who have been there before you, you will say: "Why haven't I visited here before?"

How to get there: The only way to get to the valley is by renting a boat or using a water taxi. You can go directly from Fethiye, Ölüdeniz to Butterfly Valley. It takes around half an hour, and if you are lucky enough, your boat may stop by one of the most renowned caves in the region, the Mavi Mağara, Turkish for "Blue Cave."

Selimiye: A picturesque harbor

SELİMİYE, a picturesque harbor in the western city of Muğla that is waiting to be discovered, casts a spell on its visitors. Even though it is nearly 30 minutes away from Marmaris, which is one of the most renowned tourist cities in the country, Selimiye is a small tourist resort strung along a stunning bay. It seems as if no one discovered itbefore you, despite its proximity to one of the most renowned holiday resorts in Turkey. Most of its visitors arrive by yacht or boat to Selimiye, which features mesmerizing turquoise waters. Selimiyehas a strong local reputation for traditional wooden boat building, so on the road into town you will pass several boat yards where you will see massive wooden gullets being built with time-honored traditional methods. Friendly locals embrace you instantly, smiling tourists enjoying hidden Aegean waters or a couple of sunbeds located on a quiet beach will make Selimiye the perfect haven for you during your stay. This little harbor may also be the perfect spot for those who want to taste some of the best seafood on the Aegean coast with the best calamari on the Aegean coast. The reason for this place having the best seafood are the little restaurants where fishermen serve the fish that they have caught, their service is simple, but delicious.There are also little hostels serving as bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels where you can spend a night in tranquility. Please do not expect huge, lavish resorts since it is just a little seaside town. If you are planning to go to Selimiye, all things that you need for a holiday should be with you since it is not easy to find some things in the little shops in the town center.

How to get there: Selimiye is approximately two hours away from Dalaman Airport. After your flight, you can reach Selimiye by renting a car.

Günlüklü: An ideal spot for tranquility

Günlüklü, located on the western coast of Aegean, is an ideal spot for those who would like to a have summer holiday away from prying eyes. A little town center where you can find your basic needs, small hostels or villas built on the foothills of the mountain makes Günlüklü an untouched beauty in the nature. There are hidden bays around the town where you can swim as you like and small trails you can hike while watching the sunrise or sunset. Many small restaurants and cafes also serve the best natural food that you can try around there. Never forget to smile and say "hi" to local people while you are walking in the town, as they will probably do the best they can to show their happiness of seeing you in there. On weekends, the beach of the town is more crowded than on weekdays since many locals rush there to swim and watch the sunset. So if you want time for yourself, it is better to visit on weekdays. Surrounded by huge pine forests and sweet gum trees, Günlüklü servesas a total escape from the rush of modern life. If you think after a couple of days that you need something a bit livelier, Fethiye is only a small drive away from town. To feel nature as it is with no exaggeration or artificiality, Günlüklü is a perfect spot to visit this summer.

How to get there: Günlüklü is only 19 kilometers away from the renowned holiday province of Muğla and nine kilometers away from Fethiye. There are buses going to Günlüklü from Fethiye. You can also drive with a private car as the Günlüklü signs along the road will lead you to the town easily.

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