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Resort Towns, Swimming, Beaches
The province of Mugla includes the popular holiday cities of Bodrum, Marmaris, Datca, Koycegiz (Dalyan) and Fethiye. Beautiful resorts, comfortable hotels and motels, cozy guest houses, impressive ruins of past civilizations and magnificent landscapes offer holiday- makers plenty of choice. Mugla, the province's capital, lies inland and is known for its traditional architecture. In the village of Ozluce, a veritable open-air museum east of Mugla, is Turolian Park, where you can find fossils that geologists claim are from 5 - 9 million years old.
The Datca Peninsula provides a natural boundary between the Gulf of Gokova in the Aegean Sea to the north, and the Gulf of Hisaronu in the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Along the 75 km from Marmaris to Datca, the road winds among trees and hills, opening onto lovely views over the blue expanse. Campers have many wonderful settings to choose from. Those who are less adventurous can stay in one of the many comfortable holiday villages. The beautiful blue-flag Aktur beach is 25 km from Datca. In Datca white-washed buildings hung with bougainvillaea decorate the town. The marina is on the southern bay and swimmers prefer the northern bay. Around the marina bars, cafes and a wide selection of shops keep the tourist's interest.
As you travel out of Datca either by road or by boat you will find unspoiled flays and golden sandy beaches. Kargi is one of the most popular.
At the end of the peninsula (38 km from Datca stands the ancient Carian city of Knidos, described by Strabo as "a city that was built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas." Famous as a center of art and culture in the fourth century B.C. the city had two harbors: one on the Aegean and the other on the Mediterranean. The remains of a circular temple dedicated to the goddess of love overlook the two harbors. The arcaded walkway was built of white marble in heart- shaped columns. Praxiteles' legendary statue Aphrodite, one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, once graced this temple.
At Ekincik, a delightful yacht mooring, you can enjoy some of the breathtaking beauty of this area. Only a half hour's drive from Dalaman Airport, Sarigerme has wonderful sandy beaches, and a pleasant holiday village discreetly situated in a pine forest. The Dalaman River is the best place for rafting, the best time for it being between May and October.
The road to Fethiye winds up and down hills through a heavily forested region that offers occasional glimpses of the sea and an islet or two basking in total seclusion. The Gulf of Gocek and its friendly marina is one of the best sailing spots on the Mediterranean. Dotted with islands and sculpted by many coves, its land and seascapes are irresistible. The ruins of Arymaxa, an ancient city at the southern tip of the gulf, lie at the edge of the azure water. Opposite, on Tersane Island, stand Byzantine ruins, including those of the ancient shipyards.
The popular resort Fethiye, 135 Ian southeast of Marmaris boasts an important marina at the head of a beautiful bay strewn with islands. A hill crowned by the ruins of the crusader fortress built by the Knights of Rhodes overlooks the little port. Above the town, (called Telmessos in antiquity), numerous Lycian rock tombs, reproducing the facade's of ancient buildings, were cut into the cliff face. The Tomb of Amyntas, which probably dates from the fourth century B.C., is the most remarkable.
The road to Belcegiz Bay takes you through the mountains where cozy guest houses cater to those seeking mountain scenery. Ocakkoy is a mountain village that is a must to see. Stay in one of the lovely guest houses and enjoy the numerous hiking possibilities. Hisaronu, also in the mountains, has very nice hotels. Kayakoy, 4 km from Hisaronu, is a picturesque ghost town of old houses and churches. Explore the bay and the beautiful Blue Lagoon (Oludeniz) where the calm, crystal clear water is ideal for swimming and other water sports. The Blue Lagoon is one of the best places in the world to do absolutely nothing but soak up the sun amid stunning natural surroundings. From Mt. Baba (1,969 in), you can paraglide into the Blue Lagoon. For those seeking accommodation, Belcegiz beach is highly recommended. Intoxicating scenery surrounds the beach and shady park at Kidirak. On Gemiler Island (St. Nicholas Island), Byzantine ruins lie tucked amid the pines. South of Kidirak beach, Koturumsu Bay is reachable only by boat. Beyond the idyllic beach, a forest, waterfalls and a valley filled with hundreds of varieties of butterflies await the intrepid explorer. High in the mountains above Fethiye a rushing torrent cuts a narrow gorge through the mountains, creating Saklikent (Hidden City) Canyon 44 km south of Fethiye. A cool refuge on hot summer days, Saklikent is a favorite picnic spot, with rustic restaurants serving delectable fresh trout. Yakakoy (Tlos) 36 km south of Fethiye, is the oldest city in the Lycian region and the home of the Lycian Hero Bellerophon. Visitors can see the remains of a castle, the agora, the necropolis, the theatre, Roman baths and a good view of Esen Valley. Two kin east is Tlos Park, ideal for picnicking. Pinara, 49 km south of Fethiye, is another ancient mountain city. It is ideal for hiking and visitors can see the remains of a theatre, an agora, a rock tomb, and baths.
About 65 kin southeast Fethiye, near Kinik, are the ruins of Xanthos, an important Lycian capital in a splendid natural setting. Nearby Letoon was formerly an important religious cult center where temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo stood in ancient times.