Forget everything you think you already know about Turkey... It’s time to book your flight, pack your bags and exchange some money! Last week, we did just that and headed to a fairly small town called Gocek that sits right on the coast by the Mediterranean Sea! With the sunshine, hot weather, luxury yachts and beautiful beaches, we had nothing but a great trip!
Where To Stay
Along with seven other family members (one of which was to turn fifty on the trip), we rented a five bedroom villa that was about a ten minute walk from town. Thanks to the villa's very own swimming pool, it was the perfect place to spend most of our days and always a great place to chill out! What took us by surprise were the breath taking mountain ranges which, always in sight from the balconies, seemed to be right on our doorstep!
Venturing into town turned into a bit of an evening routine for us thanks to the many amazing restaurants looking out to the harbour, countless souvenir shops and variety of supermarkets. The streets were clean,the architecture was entrancing and the beauty was beyond words! Admittedly, there was a language barrier with some of the locals some of the time, but nothing but friendliness from everyone that we met. One of the waiters at the Sea Shell Restaurant (our favourite place to eat, albeit with limited vegan options) even booked all of our day trips and excursions for us.
What To Do In Gocek
In Gocek, the number one thing to do is spend a day or two out on a boat. This means snorkelling, swimming and lots of jumping in off of the boat! For a big group like ours, it made sense to hire a boat for ourselves, which came with a captain and a cook! We had to buy all of the food and drink ourselves, but that kind of worked in our favour with some of us being vegan.
A few of us bought snorkels to take too, as they didn’t have any already on the boat, but there wasn’t much to see under the water anyway apart from a few big shoals of fish. That said, the sea was crystal clear and very clean! What was above the water was even better, with sheltered coves, untouched islands and stunning views of the surrounding mountains!
Day Trips To Dalyan
Just thirty minutes away from Gocek is another small town called Dalyan. Dalyan sits right by a rather special river system, so it was time for another boat trip! We had the boat all to ourselves again and also hired a minibus for the whole day which waited to take us wherever and whenever we wanted to go.
The first stop on the boat trip was a natural hot spring and mud bath! We’d never done anything like this before and we’d definitely do it again, even with the strong sulphur smell! There were lots of facilities there too, including showers, toilets, lockers and a cafe!
On the way to our next stop, we were treated to the sight of some incredible tombs that were carved into the cliffs over 2000 years ago! You could hear just how impressed everyone was with the audible “oooooo” and “wow” from the other boats around us, as well as our own!
The next stop was what appeared to be a fishery or crab farm - not something that we were necessarily fond of seeing, but the turtles in the water seemed to be big fans! The turtles would swim close to the surface of the water, presumably in search of food, but from what we saw, they weren’t purposely baited there for the tourists’ amusement.
Then, we continued quite a way up the river and ended up at Iztuzu Beach. Although there were a couple of beaches a bit closer to Gocek, this was the only beach we visited during the trip, and it did not disappoint! The water was wavy and warm and we all managed to soak up some sun on the sun loungers. There was very little litter amongst the sand and it was good to see lots of recycling bins around - a bit of a trend for what we’d seen of Turkey so far! There were also some rules as to where to walk on the beach for the sake of turtle nests, which just made us like the place even more!
The Best Bit About Turkey!
Truthfully, we’re sometimes a bit skeptical about some tourist attractions and activities like boat trips... We’ve experienced first hand how more bad than good can come from them if they’re not done right or when they’re subject to mass tourism. But, what we experienced in Turkey truly impressed us! It was surprising and very satisfying how well built for tourism everything was and never too busy or uncontrollably crowded. Even in the town in the evenings, it was simply very peaceful and very, very beautiful!