There are a number of places within an easy drive, whether that be half an hour to the coast or to Muğla, or the 1,2, or 3 hours to visit some of the major Graeco-Roman sites such as Ephesus. This section of the website describes some places that are well worth a visit. If you are interested in looking at more photos of any of these sites, then please visit here.
Driving in Turkey
Turkish roads, especially the main roads, are in good condition, and relatively free of traffic. Driving in the main towns can be a bit more challenging, but in general the rules of the road are much the same as in England, and reasonably well followed - with the exception of rounadabouts, which are complete chaos! Read more.
Akyaka is the nearest beach, and is also the home of many good restaurants, both on the beach, and set beside the crystal clear waters of the Azmak river. It is situated at the end of the beautiful Bay of Gökova, and tucked in between the sea and the Sakara Tepe mountains. From here you can hire boats to take you on day trips out into the Bay of Gökova, with numerous swimming stops. Journey time approximately 30 minutes. Read more.
Aphrodisias is one of the most stunning Graeco-Roman sites in Turkey. It covers a similar area to the more famous (and more visited) Ephesus, and has some wonderful buildings, including the fabulous stadium, and the restored Sebasteion (temple). It is very easy to walk around (though it is quite a long, un-shaded walk), and you will share every building / structure with no more than a couple of other people. Journey time approximately 2 hours. Read more.
Bodrum is located on the southern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula, at a point that marks the entry into the bay of Gökova. The city was called Halicarnassus of Caria in ancient times and was famous for housing the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This can still be visited, but little remains, indeed, most of the friezes are in the British Museum. Bodrum Castle, built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century, overlooks the harbour and the marina, and today includes an interesting Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The marina contains some stunning boats, and there are many good restaurants set along the harbour. There are also many small villages around the coast of the Bodrum peninsula that are well worth a visit. Journey time just under 2 hours.
Dalyan is a wonderful all-round day trip. The prime attractions here are the delta itself, with the famous Lycian rock tombs, the ancient city of Kaunos, the mud baths and sulphur springs at Sultaniye, the massive (5,200 hectares) freshwater Köyceğiz Lake, and the famous Iztuzu (Turtle) beach. The best way to see all the sites is to hire a river boat (and driver) for the day - book in advance and arrange for lunch to be included. Journey time approximately 1.25 hours. Read more.
Ephesus (Efes in Turkey) is the most famous, the most complete, and, on the downside, probably the most crowded ancient site in Turkey. Nevertheless, it really is a ‘must see’ – if not on your first visit to Turkey, then certainly at some point.
The admission ticket also cover the house of the Virgin Mary. Though this is obviously of interest for religious reasons, it is not otherwise the most interesting of buildings – and has somewhat tenuous religious links anyway. Journey time approximately 2.25 hours. Read more.
Marmaris, or Green Marmaris as it likes to be known, is, at least to tourists, the most famous town on this part of the coast, as is evidenced by the crowds of tourists packing the beach, the cafés, and the hotels. Although it will come as a huge culture shock after the peace of the valley, it is still worth the occasional trip, if only so that you will enjoy Yenice that much more when you come back. Having said that, there are a few interesting parts of Marmaris that are well worth a visit. Journey time approximately 50 minutes. Read more.
Muğla is the county town (in English terms) of the province of Muğla, which covers most of the South West corner of Turkey (i.e., the main tourist areas).
As Muğla is inland, it is sufficiently far from most of the resorts to have retained its charm as a traditional Turkish town, albeit one that is growing very rapidly, and with an increasing influence from the students at the university, one of Turkey’s finest.
And this contrast runs throughout Muğla. Everywhere you go you see old and new. In the streets you find delicious modern cake shops together with traditional köfte shops, the market stalls sell power drills next to scythes, and even the 13th century hamam (Turkish bath) has a website and an email address.
The hamam is well worth a visit, to enjoy a traditional Turkish Bath, with an optional oil massage to follow.
Market day is on a Thursday – unless you particularly want to visit the market, then the traffic and the fun of trying to park is to be avoided.
Muğla also has a small museum, covering everything from prehistoric bones through Graeco-Roman, and on to Ottoman times.
The centre of Muğla is well worth a wander – there is an old quarter, with many small shops crammed in, with life going on as it has done for many years.
Between Muğla and Yenice are a number of new shopping centres, all with easy parking.
Just outside the town is an area which consists of traditional ‘Coffee Shops’ – nowadays, these are all restaurants, excellent quality and value.
Journey time approximately 30 minutes.
Saklikent Gorge and Tlos
Saklıkent gorge is a dramatic natural feature – a deep narrow gorge, running some 18 kilometres back through the mountains (only the first couple of kilometres are walkable). And whilst it is perfectly safe, albeit wet, it has the feel of exploring about it, so kids love it.
There is a reasonable sized car park just over the road from the gorge’s entrance, where there are a number of stalls, some restaurants lining the river (cheaper and quieter than those inside the gorge itself, and very pleasant to sit on the platforms overhanging the river), and public toilets / changing rooms (there are none in the gorge itself).
A visit here can also be combined with a visit to the ancient Lycian site of Tlos, with lunch at a mountain trout restaurant. Journey time approximately 2.5 hours. Read more.
Unlike most of the coastal ancient sites, which were slowly deserted as the area silted up, being well inland Stratonikeia was in use as a town up until well into the middle of the 20th century, when it was deserted due to the next door lignite mine.
This considerably adds to the interest of Stratonikeia. As well as ancient ruins (theatre, bouleuterion, temple, gymnasium) there are relatively modern ones too, including a mosque and a shop / workshop. The lower levels of the walls of many of the modern buildings are made by reusing the ancient stones, columns, etc., and there is a fascinating ancient arch in the middle of a working farmyard. Whilst this is probably not very sound archaeologically, it does make for an interesting stroll round. Journey time approximately 1 hour. Read more.