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Datca boat tour and sea

Datca Peninsula and Knidos Ancient City

Datca Peninsula is a hidden heaven of Turkey and also the home of the Knidos Ancient City where is having 4000 years of history. If you are looking for a place where you can see historical places while on holiday, the Datca Peninsula is the answer. Datca Peninsula is also the home of several small but very authentic villages with charming nature.

Where is the Datca Peninsula?

Datca Peninsula is located at the edge of the south-western part of Turkey. The length of the Datca Peninsula is around 75 km from Hisaronu village after the Marmaris. That means there are a lot of places to discover during your holiday at the Datca Peninsula. You find all the places mentioned in this post on the map given below.

This map will be updated within couple of days.

How to Go to the Datca Peninsula?

Going to the Datca Peninsula means to go to the Datca. There are a lot of small villages through the Datca Peninsula but Datca is the biggest settlement of the Datca Peninsula with is 20.000 of the population. Datca maybe not like other major tourist spots of Turkey but it has its own unique properties that attract people. Because of its own beauty especially during the summer, its populations spike up to almost 100000 people. But it is still quiet and worth to see and spent some time.

Aerial view of Datca
You wanted to dive right away, didn’t you? (Source).

If you want to go to Datca, the shortest way is taking a flight to the Dalaman airport and arranging a private transfer to the Datca. Of course, there are multiple intercity bus lines to the Datca from major cities of Turkey like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Eskisehir and more. But keep in mind going to Datca with bus takes at least 12 hours from Istanbul. Also, don’t forget to arrange your transfer before your arrival and get confirmation about it.

Where to Stay in Datca Peninsula?

Datca isn’t a big place. Where you stay ou will always be close to the beaches. I stayed at Bademli Konak Hotel once and it was quite fine, the price for the bed and breakfast. The hotel was just 5-10 minutes’ walk away from the beaches which is great. If you book a hotel very close to the beaches get ready for the noisy night. I’m strongly suggesting booking a hotel like this one. There are two beaches in Datca, Taslik and Kumluk beaches, so it is better to stay close to them, check the map above!

Datca Kumluk Beach
Kumluk beach will be full of people during the summer (Source).

If you are looking for more quiet and alone time in the Datca Peninsula, of course, there are different places to stay. You can check places from booking.com to find a place to stay at Emecik, Kızlan, Resadiye, Karakoy, Mesudiye, Yaka and Yazikoy. These are all small villages. So, don’t expect a five-star hotel quality places to stay. You will find couple of small lodgings runs by the local families. But the food especially breakfast will be fascinating. Because most of those local families grow their own food, not chemically exposed and mutated.

Datca Mesudiye Kizilbuk Beach
Each cove and beaches of Datca worth to see (Source).

If you coming to Turkey from a country where its currency higher than Turkish Lira like Euro, Dolar or Sterlin I’m strongly suggesting you rent a car from Dalaman airport and be your own driver. Because at the Datca Peninsula there are so many places to see it is always better to have your own car. There are a couple of worldwide known car rental companies at the airport so it not a problem. You can use your car except for going to the Knidos Ancient City. Because there is a better way to go there 🙂 Just wait a bit longer and continue to read 🙂

When to Visit the Datca Peninsula?

The temperature at Datca Peninsula is between 22 to 32 Celcius between May and October. Generally, a local tourist spends their holiday in July and August. So these months will be very crowded. It will better for you to plan your trip to Datca on May-June or September-October. As long as you booked in advance there won’t be any problem but the traffic will be mess between July and August especially within the city center and Marmaris road. You can check the Datca weather information from here.

Places to See in Datca Peninsula

Datca Beaches

You will now understand why you need to rent a car during your time in Datca. One side of the Datca Peninsula is the Aegean sea and the other side of it is the Mediterranean sea. I’m writing the list of the beaches below you can find the position of all on the map of the post given above.

  1. Kumluk beach (Datca center)
  2. Taslik beach (Datca center)
  3. Kizlanalti beach (Close to the Kızlan village)
  4. Gebekum Natural Park
  5. Kargı cove (South of the Datca center)
  6. Kizilbuk (Close to the Hayitbuk village)
  7. Hayitbuku (Hayitbuk village)
  8. Ovabuku (Mesudiye village)
  9. Palamutbuku (Palamutbuku village)
  10. Knidos Ancient City beach

There is not even a single factory or processing plant at the Datca Peninsula. That means no pollution, just nature. Each of the places on the list given above is a perfect place to spend a day. Trees, sun, nature and more, even you can camp at any of them except Knidos Ancient City. You will find facilities for food and drink, also for the toilet. Probably no one will overcharge you try to scam at those places. As I told you before the Datca Peninsula is the hidden heaven of the Turkey and not very popular, yet…

Datca Kizilbuk Beach
Places like Kizilbuk will be quiet and calm between September and October (Source).

Datca Old Town

Very north of the Datca with its narrow stone-lined streets adorned with bougainvilleas, Datca Old Town offers a visual feast to its visitors. Also, Can Yucel who was a very famous Turkish writer spent some part of his life at the Datca Old Town. Datca Old Town’s history is dating back to the 11th century. You will learn more information about him at the Can Yucel house on the Can Yucel street. I marked the street on the map given above 🙂 There are active archeological studies over the area. Also, you can have breakfast or lunch at the Datca Old Town. There are a couple of nice places to spend some time during the day. I think that the Datca Old Town worth to see, probably a couple of hours will be enough.

Datca Old Town houses
Don’t forget to inhale the fragrance of flowers (Source).

Kizlan Windmills

You will see the Kizlan Windmills while you are going to the Datca center. They will be on your right at the Kizlan village junction. There are a couple of windmills on the Kizlan village and some of them are waiting for renovation. If you rent a car to come to the Datca turn at the Kizlan junction and visit the Kizlan windmills. All of the windmills are owned by the people. That’s why they are still waiting for renovation. But one of the bough by the Datca Governorship renovated and rent it to the private person to build a cafeteria for the visitors. You can visit the windmill and see the operating system of it. You can also visit the partly damaged ones but always be careful. They can be collapse anytime.

Knidos Ancient City

I just left the most beautiful, most impressive and most perfect thing to end about the Datca Peninsula, Knidos Ancient City. Knidos or Cnidus is one of the biggest ancient cities in the souther-west part of Turkey. Knidos Ancient City is famous for its statues built for the Dionysus, Athena, and Aphrodite. From Datca center, Knidos Ancient City is around 35 km away. But driving to the ancient city will be a little tiring for you because of the forest roads and also be a little dangerous if you are not enough experienced. I will tell the best to go there in a minute 🙂 I just embed a YouTube video below about Knidos Ancient City. It is in Turkish but I think it will be helpful to take a quick look at the Knidos Ancient City from above and dream the life of the people thousands of years ago.

History of Knidos Ancient City

I just want to give you a brief history of the Knidos. Because I always believe that knowing something about a place before you will help you to understand and live the discovery experience better. Knidos, where is also known as Cnidus, was a Greek city of ancient Caria. It was also the part of the Doric or Dorian Hexapolis. It is believed that the first foundation of the Knidos was very close to the Datca city center around 4th century BC.

When you go to the Knidos Ancient City you will and you may see on the video above it is located on a located where is the passing point between Agean and Mediterranean sea. Historians believe that there was a bridge over the see to reach the Tekir Peninsula (Cape Deveboynu or Cape Krio). But today this passage is full of soil and you can directly to the Cape. You will also see two harbors at the Knidos Ancient City one of them is small and the other one is bigger.

Knidos Ancient City remains
The archaeological studies in the Knidos Ancient City continue (Source).

I don’t remember where but I read that the population of Knidos Ancient City may be up to 100.000 people during its peak. Even during the Byzantine rule over the area, it was possible that there was a serious population because many Christian remains found over the site. Artemidorus, a minor character in the Shakespeare play “Julius Caesar”, was from Knidos. Also, Eudoxus, the astronomer, Ctesias, the writer on Persian history, and Sostratus, the builder of the celebrated Pharos at Alexandria, were also the most remarkable of the Knidians mentioned in history.

Excavation and Loot of the Knidos Ancient City

The first expedition to the Knidos Ancient City carried out by the Dilettante Society in 1812 and the excavations started by Charles Newton in 1858 under the allowance of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the historical artifacts found on these excavations stolen by Newton and taken back to the United Kingdom. He also even given a sir title after this mission. You can see the Lion of Knidos at the entrance of the British Museum. I always believe that the artifact like this should be given back to its original country and let be seen in their original place.

Lion of Knidos at the British Museum
Lion of Knidos at the entrance of the British Museum (Source).

After Charles Newton, Iris Love who was an American archaeologist carried about 10 years long excavation studies over the Knidos Ancient City. He was trying to find the lost Aphrodite statue. Knidos partly damaged during this excavation and his studies stopped by the government. Today, excavation studies are carrying out by the Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey. If you go to the Knidos Ancient City you will see the holes opened by the Iris Love, even today. Despite of everything it lived and suffered, Knidos Ancient City still offers you a lot to see and experience.

Knidos Ancient City theatre
Knidos Ancient City theatre is a quite big one (Source).

How to Go to the Knidos Ancient City?

You have two ways to go to Knidos Ancient City. The first is to rent a car if you are not already rented one follow this route. Route signs will help to find the Knidos Ancient City and the trip will take around 1 hour and 35 km. But I’m strongly suggesting to take the second option, from the sea! Yes, from the sea 🙂 You can join the daily boat tours departing from the Datca center. I marked the departure point on the map above. There are several boats leaving from Datca harbor and stops at a couple of coves and lets you to swim for a half-hour then moves to the next one until you arrive at the Knidos Ancient City. If you have enough money you can even rent your own boat to go where you want, not only Knidos Ancient City. Generally, boats leave around 09.00 and comebacks around 18.00. So you should spare a day for this attraction. As you can see from the video below joining a boat tour would be a great idea 🙂

There two types of boat tours; short and long tours. Yours should be the long tour to go to the Knidos Ancient City. Prices vary every summer but it should be around 80-100 Turkish Lira per person. They will also offer you a lunch included with the ticket price but not the drinks. Lunch will be fish or meat and pasta. It is also free to bring your own foods and drinks but they won’t allow using their refrigerator 🙂

Things to See in the Knidos Ancient City

Probably you will discover the Knidos Ancient City by yourself but I just want to help you a little. There are couple of must-to-see things at the Knidos Ancient City. The first one is the Dionysos terrace and the Stoa building.

Because of the geographic properties of Knidos, the city was built step-by-step and there were terraces on each step and the Dionysos terrace is one of them. The second one is Liman avenue. From the staring of the 4th BC, Knidos started a new type of urban planning system. Based on these systems they built seven avenues from north to south and all they merged with one main avenue from west to east. Liman street is the first one of the north to west avenues. Also, there is a chapel at the west of the Liman street which should be seen.

You will also find the remains of the Karneios Karneios Karneios at the middle terrace located at the intersection of the West to East avenue and Liman Avenue. It is possible to see the Altar and other structural remains of the Apollon Karneios Temple. There are of course other important things to see but I’m leaving them to you 🙂 Also you can buy almonds and natural soap from the local villagers around the Knidos Ancient City. You will see them as soon as you get off from the boat.

Remains of the Apollon Temple at the Knidos Ancient City
Remains of the Apollon Temple at the Knidos Ancient City (Source).

Knidos Ancient City Entrance Fee and Hours

The entrance fee of the Knidos Ancient is 12 Turkish Lira. If you have a museum pass which can be buy from here, free. The ticket price is very cheap for a place like this. It is possible to visit between 08.30 to 19.30 from 1 April to 1 October and between 08.30 to 17.30 from 1 October to 1 April.

Things to Do in the Datca Peninsula

I’m writing a list of the thigins to do in the Datca Peninsula. Try to make as many of them to maximize your Datca Peninsula experience.

  • Join short and longboat tour
  • Swim at least 5 different coves and beaches
  • Visit the Kizlan Windmills
  • Eat the pan ice cream
  • Eat seafood on the Kumluk beach at night
  • Spend a day at the Knidos Ancient City
  • Buy almond and soap from the local villagers at Knidos Ancient City
  • Join the mini-concert of the singers at one of the local bars

If you are planning to visit the Datca Peninsula and Knidos Ancient City I hope that this post will be helpful for you. Please share your questions and thoughts in the comment section to help others. Also, don’t forget to share this post with your friends 🙂

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