Whenever we visit Turkey we end up doing the same things and going to the same places, so this year we fancied a bit of a change and did a few days exploring. After spending a day in Denizli and the village, we left in the early afternoon and drove a couple of hours to Akyaka.
The road down to Akyaka is very winding and bendy, and has a place you can pull over and take photos of the view – we stopped there when we were passing by last September and it looked really pretty so that’s what made us chose there to visit!
By the time we arrived it was late afternoon and we were really tired, hot and bothered so we found our hotel and freshened up before going out for dinner.
We went to the first restaurant we came across, which was more of a lokanta, selling traditional Turkish dishes which are cooked in bulk and then you can chose which you want. There were a lot of those type of small restaurants around, advertising home cooked food – Berkay chose it expecting it to be cheap, but it wasn’t really! He had Etli Nohut (beef and chickpea stew) and rice, and I had Karniyarik (aubergine stuffed with mince) and rice. We also had künefe to share for dessert, yummy!
After dinner we went for a walk, totally clueless about where we were actually going or where anything was! We came across a river and walked across the bridge to the other side and followed the little marina around and then walked back again. I’d heard about the boat trips down the river Azmak and when we were crossing the bridge we saw one returning so we went to ask about it and ended up on one 2 minutes later! I will write another post about that as I have lots of photos to share.
When we got back from the 20 minute boat ride, the sun was close to setting so we followed the path from the river towards the main marina where the big boats were docked. Whilst walking along the promenade we came across lots of little stalls selling handmade goods and souvenirs like jewellery, painted pebbles, dream-catchers, fridge magnets etc – they were really pretty. We also came across a ‘phone box’ in the shape of a seagull, which I just had to get a photo with, I loved its quirkiness!
All the wandering around we had done and we hadn’t yet found the beach… until we turned the corner and finally reached it, just in time for sunset. It was really beautiful small beach, the shallow waves lapping on the sand, the red glow on the horizon and the mountains framing the view perfectly.
The beach in Turkey wouldn’t be the beach without some street food vendors selling Midye (stuffed mussels) and salted corn on the cob, so we just had to get some before heading back to our room for the night.
The next morning we went for a early morning walk before breakfast, we went straight to the beach and saw it in all it’s glory – blue sky, palm trees, calm sea and crystal clear water. The best thing about the beach is the fact the sea is so shallow, you can walk really far out and it only be up to your knees, perfect for children paddling. The water was so clear you could see the pattern of the sand on the floor, and little fish swimming around. I wish we had a little more time to spend there, so we could have swam properly!
After our walk we went back to our hotel’s restaurant for breakfast (it was a separate building a few feet down the road, owned by the same people). There was a bit of an issue getting it, since the staff didn’t turn up to open it until after 10.15am, and that was only because we asked someone to ring them and wake them up! But when we finally did get it it was a nice, traditional Turkish breakfast with eggs, honey, jam, tomato, cucumber, cheeses, olives and bread.
We stayed in the Ala Butik Hotel, a small boutique hotel. It didn’t have a pool but the rooms were lovely, modern and clean and it was in a perfect location a few minutes walk away from the marina, but honestly the staff weren’t very friendly or helpful at all (even before the breakfast incident!) I don’t think either of the receptionists smiled once which made us feel more of a nuisance to them than a welcome guest!
Something we loved about Akyaka was the fact that the houses, hotels and buildings were all the same design, white buildings with carved brown wooden roofs, windows and balconies – they looked really impressive and pretty.
Unfortunately, like most places, too much tourism is having an impact on Akyaka. In the 1970’s it was a small fishing village, but it’s becoming more popular and struggling since it’s not built for so many people. Before we went, I was warned to avoid it on a Sunday, since that’s the day when a lot of Turkish people have their day off and flock to the beach for a free day out, often leaving lots of rubbish behind. We arrived on the Sunday afternoon and it was really, really busy, with cars everywhere, parked in really random places, leaving us struggling to find a spot anywhere near our hotel. The streets are fairly narrow too, with lots of the restaurants and bars having tables and chairs along the paths, leaving us no choice but to walk in the road and having to dodge cars here there and everywhere! Thankfully, by Monday the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed with a lot less people and it was much more enjoyable, so I would stick to the advice one of my blog readers gave me and definitely avoid Akyaka on a Sunday! We also noticed the restaurants and shops were more expensive there, I think they rely a lot on organised tours and day trippers for their income, so raise the prices a bit to reflect that.
I definitely want to visit Akyaka again as we loved it, especially Berkay, he loved it so much he looked to see how much it would cost to buy land there, unfortunately for him it was in the millions of lira! It’s definitely worth a visit, especially for the beach and the boat trip down the river, I’ll share some photos of that in my next post.
If you’re looking to visit Akyaka yourself, it’s around 2 hours drive from Fethiye, or 30 minutes from Marmaris and the Mugla city centre.
If you want to visit again, I can recommend the Gokova Hotel. It’s small, clean and the staff/owners are fabulous. They can’t do enough for you. It’s a little bit further out but worth the walk. They have a pool too.