ISTANBUL: There is a place where you will find peace at the end of the winding roads where blue and green embrace each other, that place is Datca, where there are a total of 52 coves and inlets, such that you can enjoy swimming in a different cove every day in the turquoise waters of the Aegean
For some reason, returning home after summer travels is sadder for me. I wish to hug the sea and bring it home with me, and particularly on the way back from Datça – in southwestern Türkiye’s Muğla – my suitcase is always heavier. You can’t begin to imagine what I can fit in that tiny suitcase.
When I return home and open my suitcase, the smell of iodine fills the house. I bring the pinkness of bougainvillea, the breeze from the sea in the evenings, the starfish I collect from the blonde beaches, a deep blue infinity, a thousand and one shades of green, the sound of crickets, the evening sun and a lot of peace to our home in that suitcase.
I love the memories, experiences, learnings, surprises, sadness and laughter that come to our house with me in my suitcase. I am sure that no holiday I spend lying by the pool can give me as much pleasure as the holiday I spent visiting the coves.
Although it is tiring, I prefer a route consisting of different stops in summer travels, and Datça is just such a travel route. It is full of wonderful coves where you can cool off in the clear, clean and cool waters.
There are many coves and “bük”s in the north and south of the Datça peninsula. In the following parts of the article, you will hear the word “bük” a lot.
If you think “I’ve heard of coves, but what is a bük?” Well, “bük” is a Turkish term given to narrow coves by sailors. You can think of it as an inlet. We can say that there are 52 coves and inlets on the peninsula. Therefore, it is impossible to describe the various coves and inlets of Datça in this article.
If we start with the ones closest to the city center, we can talk about Kumluk and Taşlık Beach.
If you want to swim in the center of Datça, one of the beaches you can choose is Kumluk Beach. As the name suggests, it has a sandy beach and a shallow sea. Frankly, this became a beach where I did not prefer to swim in the later days of my holiday. Since I came to Datça late on the first day, I left myself to the cool waters of the Aegean on this beach, which is closest to the center, but there are so many untouched coves in Datça that I did not prefer this place on other days and went on to explore other spots.
There are many businesses along the beach. In the evening, these businesses collect the sun loungers on the beach, throw their dining tables on the sands and start preparing for the evening. Therefore, the sea event ends here at around four or five in the afternoon and the beach turns into a magnificent dinner setting.
You must have dinner in Kumluk at least once and you should definitely make a reservation at one of these establishments along the coast for the evening during the day. In the evening, the atmosphere of this place is really different. The tiny waves that hit the beach slowly reach your feet as you rest them on the sand while you eat the magnificent local appetizers, along with the sunset, a light breeze blowing from the sea toward your sun-scorched face and the smell of iodine, all come together for an unforgettable unique dinner experience. When it gets dark, all businesses light their colorful lanterns hung on tree branches and the beach becomes a bright environment. You can end your night here by sipping your coffee with the colorful sparkles hitting the sea.
Another of the beaches close to the center is Taşlık Beach. Taşlık Beach, as the name suggests, is a mixture of pebbles and sand. There are businesses along the beach where you can satisfy your food and beverage needs. Just behind the beach is the Ilıca Pond, which is said to be good for your health with its soda and sulfur water. This lake, or pond, which has survived from Ancient Roman times and is located at the junction of the sea and the land, is also called the Byzantine Pool. It is said that the water and mud of the lake are good for some diseases thanks to the minerals in it.
Kargı Cove is one of the coves you can prefer due to its proximity to the center, it being only a few kilometers away.
The fact that the water is very clear and the wind is low in Kargı Cove, which is quite crowded due to its proximity, may be one of the reasons for your preference. I must say that the businesses found here are very convenient. If you come by car, there is a parking lot just behind the beach part of the cove. When you come to Datça, especially to this cove, you should definitely come with your sea shoes. At the same time, you should definitely use snorkeling in Kargı Cove and almost all coves in Datça. You can take great shots here with your underwater camera.
It’s time for the büks, the inlets, of Datça. Palamutbükü, one of the three beautiful inlets of Datça, is located on the road to the ancient city of Knidos. There are many business and accommodation options in Palamutbükü, which has a long coastline. I can say that it is a place that can be preferred especially by families with children. I don’t need to tell you how clear and clean the sea is here. Wherever you swim in Datça, you will be very pleased.
The beach in Hayıtbükü, which is another of the three inlets, is not very long. The cove, which is mostly preferred by families with children, gets very crowded as it attracts a lot of attention.
You can also hear Kızılbük, which is just ahead of Hayıtbükü, as Gabaklar Cove. Gabaklar Restaurant, which gives its name to the cove here, offers you incredible comfort. You can have your meal and drink your coffee in the shaded area among the trees of the restaurant, which is spread over a wide area, also offers accommodation, and you can have a pleasant afternoon sleep on the huge sun loungers with giant pillows. The property, which also has sun loungers on the beach, is ideal for families with children. You can hold hands with your children at the pier and jump into the clear blue waters of the Aegean.
Ovabükü, another inlet on the same route, is a cove with a long sandy beach where there are generally hostel-style businesses. Ovabükü, which is among the top 10 cleanest coves in Türkiye, is also a very good alternative for those who want to camp.
Let’s come to Gerence Cove, where I left my heart and regretted not coming early in the morning. Gerence Cove, also known as Aquarium Cove, is located close to the inlets. After swimming in Ovabükü and Hayıtbükü, and continuing to follow the sea route and pass Palamutbükü, you will be greeted with a magnificent view. If you are traveling by car, you can park your vehicle at a convenient place on the road and walk down the hill from the dirt road through the trees to reach the cove. Be sure to enjoy the view before you go down the hill. I don’t know how to express the clarity of the sea, but let’s just that you can even count the stones on the seabed when you look from above.
There are no businesses in this very small cove. Honestly, there is no area to accommodate a business. If you didn’t come in the morning, you may encounter a crowd here. I recommend coming here in the morning to enjoy the aquarium. I guess I don’t need to tell you to come here to snorkel at the same time.
Karaincir, Mandalya, Kurubük, Akçabük, Domuzbükü and Tekirbükü are some of the other inlets and coves of Datça.
In many of the coves, there are businesses where you can benefit from sun loungers, and most of the businesses do not charge extra for sunbeds. You can use the sun loungers in most places for free if you also have a certain amount of food and drink expenses. At the same time, the shower and changing cabins that you can use free of charge, which I have seen in Kargı and Palamutbükü, offer you additional comfort.
Datça is like a corner of paradise where you can’t get enough of the blue and green even if you stay for days.
As I said at the beginning of the article, when you return from Datça, do not forget to pack the delicious smell of iodine, the pinkness of the bougainvillea, the breeze blowing from the sea in the evening, the sea stars you collect from the blonde beaches, the thousand and one shades of green, the evening sun and a lot of peace in your suitcase.