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DATÇA

Mini Marmaris                      Population: 10,000

datca1Market day: Saturday

On the far western Reşadiye Peninsula beyond Marmaris, the most obvious destination for holidaymakers is the growing resort of Datça, a sort of Marmaris-in-miniature that clings to the southern side of the peninsula.

Getting to Datça requires a one-and-a-half-hour drive along a twisty, motion-sickness-inducing road from Marmaris, but once you arrive you will almost certainly think the effort well worthwhile, if only because of the relative peace and quiet.

Around town

The town mainly consists of one long street of mundane shops interspersed with a few selling organic honey, almonds and olives, and hand-made sandals with a thin strip of beach behind them. At the end of the road Cumhuriyet Meydanı sits beside the sea overlooked by a statue of Atatürk in his opera-hat-clasping incarnation.

Beyond that is a small headland on which perch a cluster of small hotels. Cross over it and to the right you'll find a harbour full of excursion and fishing boats.

Another smaller headland straight ahead along an isthmus is dominated by the hulk of an abandoned hotel which is slated to be pulled down. In its place will come a park supposedly. 

Datça is low on specific sights, but it does have its own coarse-sand beaches, and a modern amphitheatre where, in high summer, you can watch Hollywood movies against a spectacular marine backdrop. There are also some pretty statues dotted about town including an especially fine one of a seal in the harbour. 

Otherwise, this is basically a place to come to chill-out and eat well in the fish restaurants that line the harbour. More pleasant restaurants, some of them unexpectedly stylish, spill onto the sand on the other side of the headland; I ate at Kekik and CafeInn and enjoyed both meals.

A couple more places to eat sit in isolation beyond the harbour keeping company with more beach, a restored house that was once the mill and the prettily restored millpond which is now home to a group of ducks and geese. The ramshackle cafe beside it, full of faded books, yellowing drawings, dogs, cats and ducks, seems to belong to the more laidback Turkey that is so quickly vanishing. It said it all for it really that it didn't even appear to have a name.

Overlooking the millpond is a small park full of the glorious shimmering eucalyptus trees that are such a feature of this part of Turkey.

datca2

Datça makes a great base for boat trips, particularly to the ruins at Knidos. All such trips allow plenty of time for swimming amid stunning, unspoilt mountain and island scenery. Bringing your own food and drink on board doesn't seem to be frowned on quite as much as it is elsewhere even though lunch gets thrown into the price and there are drinks on sale.

Much of American writer Vendela Vida's novel The Lovers is set in Datça.

Sleeping

Datça is primarily pension county with lots of small places to stay both on the headland above the harbour and in the centre of town. In the past I stayed happily at the high-street Tuna Pension which has rooms overlooking the beach and a large restaurant.

Huzur Apart & Pansiyon

Transport info

The nearest airports to Datça are in Dalaman (185km) and Bodrum/Milas (260km). In high season there are ferries from Bodrum to Datça as well as ferries to the Greek islands of Simi and Rhodes.

Otherwise, almost hourly buses link Marmaris with Datça, dropping off and picking up at the Pamukkale ticket office within easy walking distance of the beach and harbour. Local buses from Datça to Eski Datça and Reşadiye leave from Cumhuriyet Meydanı.

Day trip destinations

Eski Datça

Knidos

Palamutbükü

Reşadiye

Rhodes

Simidatca3

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-328114-the-remote-romance-of-the-datca-peninsula.html

 

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