Explore holidays in Bozburun Peninsula

Reaching out from a forested coastline towards the nearby Aegean islands of Symi, Tilos and Rhodes, the Bozburun Peninsula is one of the most peaceful and picturesque corners of southwest Turkey.

Azure bays and sheltered coves, woodland, olive groves and mountains set the scene for a holiday fragranced with fields of lavender and wild thyme. Centred around the seaside town of Bozburun itself, famous for boat building, this discretely luxurious destination is a protected conservation area, made for leisurely boat trips, sea-view restaurants and walks along the cliff tops.

To complete the scene, choose from our handpicked collection of Bozburun Peninsula villas and boutique hotels.

Read our guide to Bozburun Peninsula

Our guide to Bozburun Peninsula

Introduction to Bozburun Peninsula

A land of secrets

Stretching ever westwards, the Bozburun and Datça Peninsulas are elegant slithers of rich, fertile land – fingers reaching out towards the Greek island of Symi, which floats upon the mingling waters of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.

The more southerly, Bozburun, is the wilder of the two. An enchanted, tranquil, seemingly forgotten land, where white sails dot azure bays and secluded villages can be reached only by boat, and ancient tracks, a thousand years in the making, continue to carry captivated visitors through timeless vistas and into undiscovered pasts.

Where traditions forgot to fade

Their land almost entirely wrapped in coastline, the Turks of the peninsula have forever turned to the sea as their richest bounty. Fishing and sponge diving are the mainstays of activity here – along with the timeless craft of building the little wooden schooners, called gülets, which pepper the bays at dusk as fishermen return with their catch.

Ancient traditions thrive inland, too, where olive oil and almonds are harvested from groves that have been generous in giving for thousands of years. Distinctive blue beehives can often be found here too, scattered across the landscape – once brightly coloured beacons, now bleached pale in the hot sun.

A walk on the wild side

The very best of this protected area of outstanding natural beauty is discovered on foot. Happily, the peninsula is home – in part, at least – to the Carian Trail, a network of ancient shepherd’s trails and goat tracks to wend the wide-eyed explorer through 500 miles of unspoilt Anatolian history.

This is the real Turkey. The hidden side of the hill far beyond the tourist traps, where headlands covered in carob trees plunge to immaculate bays, and the remains of ancient oil presses lie among oleanders and rock roses, patiently awaiting rediscovery.

The time, the place

Life on the Bozburun Peninsula ticks along at its own pace, unconcerned with – unaware of even – the more hectic ways encountered beyond the headlands.

Cove after cove uncovers a traditional village interrupting a breathtaking natural shoreline, arguably the most picturesque and unspoilt being the tiny fishing village of Söğüt. Here, effortless, authentic charm offers the ultimate antidote to the daily grind – an experience echoed in Hisarönü, a little farther to the north.

But explore. Discover the less obvious villages and more personal eateries off the beaten track. And do so knowing you’ll be afforded front-row seats with unrivalled views wherever you choose to dine.

At a glance

Currency
Turkish Lira
Flight Time
4 hours 20 minutes
Time difference
+3 hours
Language
Turkish
Visa required
VISA REQUIRED for UK citizens

Map and other regions

Food & drink

A taste of Turkey

Turkey is the world's largest producer of pine honey and the Bozburun region is one of the main suppliers. To find out more, visit the Honey House Museum in Osmaniye village which takes you on a journey through centuries of beekeeping and honey-making history.

Turkey, as a whole, is foodie heaven, tailor-made for stimulating the tastebuds. Almost every town has a bountiful weekly market. In larger towns, they are so vast they deserve several hours of exploration, whilst in smaller places they are laid back and local.

At the heart of Turkish cookery is the concept of meze: small hot and cold dishes, invariably vegetarian, which are full of tantalising tastes and served before the main course. Typically, they include seasonal vegetables and pulses, coated in tomatoey sauce, garlicky yoghurt, fresh salads and irresistible dips.

Oven-warm fresh bread is always at hand to scoop up every last morsel and jars of crisp, pickled garden vegetables grace the table for diners to help themselves. Be sure to leave room for a choice of succulent chargrilled kebabs, slow-cooked stews or the locally revered octopus – simply cooked with garlic, herbs and a squeeze of lemon.

Desserts are super sweet, drenched in syrup – and that famous Bozburun honey.

Turkish tipples

Throughout Turkey, you’re never far away from a glass of warming ay tea, grown on the shores of the Black Sea and served black and strong in small, tulip-shaped glasses. Cooling, yoghurty ayran is a great accompaniment to pide (Turkish bread) and pancakes, or if you’d prefer something alcoholic, try a refreshing Efes, Turkey’s most popular beer. However, if you’re tucking into a fresh fish dish, act like a local and choose an aniseedy raki on the side.

Eating locally

The Bozburun Peninsula offers a wonderful variety of different eateries, cafés and traditional, family run restaurants in some spectacular locations. On Söğüt’s seafront, you’ll find excellent fish restaurants, while Bayır is the place to go for gözleme, traditional Turkish pancakes. Selimiye has one of the nicest waterfronts in the area, lined with colourful cafés, superb seafood restaurants and attractive boutiques.

Bozburun Town has several waterfront restaurants and cafés, popular with visiting yachts, or take a day trip into Marmaris, where in the oldest part of town you'll find a selection of traditional lokantas, perfect for a leisurely lunch. The simple food is displayed freshly cooked and you’re invited to point to what you want rather than ordering from a menu. For inspiration (and guaranteed success!) copying the locals is the done thing.

Beaches

Söğüt

A stone and pebble beach runs alongside this wonderfully unspoilt village. It has inviting, crystal-clear waters with several pontoons. Sunbeds are also available.

Getting there…

Söğüt beach is about an hour’s drive from Marmaris and on the doorstep of some of our Söğüt villas.

Footnotes…

The beach beyond Deniz Kizi restaurant tends to be quieter and is our favourite spot for a swim.

Phoenix

This quiet beach boasts a purpose-built swimming platform above beautifully clear water. Our guests appreciate the natural beauty here, as does the odd inquisitive goat.

Getting there…

Driving south from Söğüt village, take the turning for Serçe Limani at Taşlıca (you’ll need to open the gate). The beach is signposted on the right. Follow the dirt track, then park and walk down.

Footnotes…

There’s a little restaurant, toilets, showers and parking. Although not suitable for young children, the water is ideal for snorkelling. Look out for ancient pottery in the water.

Delikli Yol

This is a very pretty, stony beach surrounded by lush greenery. Its quaint little restaurant is the ideal place to stop for lunch with a quick swim to work up an appetite.

Getting there…

Delikli Yol is just a five-minute drive from Selimiye.

Footnotes…

Tranquility is the theme here, with the beach boasting a single, and very good, fish restaurant.

Hisarönü

This lovely, narrow red sand and shingle beach is ideal for families, with clear waters, stunning scenery and beachside restaurants.

Getting there…

Turn left at Hisarönü junction, 18km from Marmaris, and follow this road for another 4km until you reach the beach on the right.

Footnotes…

Sunbeds, parasols and watersports are all available and this is also a great spot for settling down with a sundowner to watch the sunset.

Çiftlik

A crescent of pebbles, sand and shingle edges this bay of crystal-clear water. A popular spot for boat trips, several long jetties reach out to welcome visitors to the beach cafés and restaurants.

Getting there…

Çiftlik is 10 kilometres outside Bayır on the Söğüt road. From here, a steep lane winds downwards through pine forest to the beach.

Footnotes…

Boat trips leave from here to visit Gebekse Cove, which is popular with divers.

Kumlubük

Turkish for ‘sandy bay’, Kumlubük is described as the most beautiful beach on the Bozburun Peninsula. Here, 2km of sand and shingle shelve gently into the azure waters.

Getting there…

From Bayır, take the Marmaris road and turn right for Turunç. Head straight through the village to Kumlubük.

Footnotes…

A handful of hotels and beach clubs call Kumlubük home, as does a rather nice restaurant.

Turunç

A pretty beach with great watersports at the end of a fantastic drive down from the mountains.

Getting there…

From Marmaris, drive through Içmeler and then follows the signs up the mountain to Turunç. From the Bozburun Peninsula, drive through Bayır and follow the road here to Turunç.

Footnotes…

The beach can get busy, but there are a couple of very good restaurants in Turunç and you can combine your visit with a trip to the Amos ruins.

Amos

The ruins of a Roman amphitheatre overlook the pebbles of Amos beach, which is renowned locally for its unspoilt, authentic charm. A restaurant serving fresh fish on the beach completes the experience.

Getting there…

A ten-minute drive from Kumlubük, Amos beach can also be reached by water taxi.

Footnotes…

Those visiting Amos won’t find themselves wanting for restaurants and facilities. Be sure to head up to the ruins for stunning views.

Palamutbükü

A long, stunning pebble beach on the Datça Peninsula with wonderful turquoise waters and some laid-back seafood restaurants.

Getting there…

From Marmaris follow signs for Datça and 20km after Datça you will see the sign for Palamutbükü. The road from here is a winding but beautiful drive, offering great views.

Footnotes…

If you're travelling from Söğüt, set off early and combine a visit to the beach with a tour of Knidos.

Things to do

Enjoy a dinner of seafood and sunset

Eat in one of the quiet little seafood restaurants in Söğüt at a table poised over the sea. Especially memorable if you can time your visit with the sunset, when glistening views across to the Greek island of Symi are at their best.

Take the high road

Drive the loop round the Bozburun Peninsula, passing through pretty coastal villages and remote mountain hamlets, and wonder at how spectacular this corner of the world truly is. An easy day’s exploring, perhaps, including a quick stop for homemade ayran and pancakes.

Tread the Carian Trail

Incredible scenery and authentic villages await along Europe’s recently charted long-distance hiking trail. Ask your local representative for tips on the most impressive scenery and best-kept secrets on this walkable string of ancient tracks and paths.

Soak up chic Selimiye

The boutique fishing village of Selimiye is perfect evening stroll territory. Here, a sundowner at a friendly café can be followed by a delightful seafood dinner on a jetty above sunset-dappled water. A largely undiscovered jewel in Bozburun’s crown.

Have a close shave

Men who prefer an olive-smooth face are in the perfect place to experience a traditional Turkish shave. Head to Bozburun Town, Selimiye or Söğüt for the real deal – complete with a cut-throat razor, flames, heady balms and a hearty slap round the face.

Set sail for Greece

A pleasant hour and 15km sail from Bozburun harbour brings the relaxed seafarer to the stunning Greek island of Symi. For those who’ve remembered their passport, the faded neo-classical beauty of the eastern Mediterranean’s other star turn awaits, before your skippered yacht sails you home.

Step back in time

Impressive ruins await at Knidos on the neighbouring Datça Peninsula. A shipping stronghold from the 4th century BC, this historic sight is rarely visited by British tourists. Along the way, stop off for a delicious lunch and a swim at beautiful Palamutbükü beach.

Take in Eski Datça

Datça’s partially restored Old Town is a place of intriguing narrow lanes and glimpsed courtyard gardens, accented with billowing bougainvillea at every turn. Welcoming cafés and quaint shops make it impossible to rush through this delightful highlight of the Datça Peninsula.

Dive for ancient treasure

At Phoenix beach, the sea is eye-wateringly blue and wonderfully inviting. Float on the crystal waters, doze on the shore or take a snorkel to catch glimpses of brightly coloured fish and fragments of ancient pottery buried in the sand – the last remaining evidence of ancient Phoenix.

Helpful phrases

Hello Merhaba (Mehr-hah-bah)
Good morning Günaydın (Goonayden)
Goodbye Hoşçakal (Hosh-chakal)
Please Lütfen (Loot-fen)
Thanks Sağol (Rhymes with howl!)
Yes Evet (E-vet)
No Hayır (High-yer)
Good morning, how are you today? Günaydın bugün nasılsın? (Goonayden, boogoon nasilsin)
I’m fine, thank you Iyiyim, teşekkur ederim (Ee-yim, tesh-e-cur e-derim)
Nice to meet you Tanıştığımıza memnum oldum (Tan-ish-turm-iza mem-nun old-um)
I don’t understand Anlamadım (An-la-ma-dum)
Do you speak English? Ingilizce konuşabiliyor musun? (Ingiliz-je konusha-biliyour musun)
My name is… Adım… (Ah-duhm…)
The bill, please Hesap lütfen (Hess-app loot-fen)
How much is it? Ne kadar? (Ne ka-dah)

Events

What’s on in April

23 Apr

Celebrating the first assembly of the modern Turkish Parliament, combined with National Children’s Day, celebrated in schools.

What’s on in May

1 May

Labour Day, banned by the government for years due to fear of protests, has been on the agenda since 2009.

19 May

The highly patriotic Commemoration of Atatürk Youth and Sports Day, with performances from local children.

27 May

Ramazan, the Islamic Holy Month, a time for prayer and reflection, during which Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Dates change every year.

What’s on in June

25 Jun

A three-day national holiday called Ramazan (Şeker) Bayrami: the Sugar Feast. Lots of sweet treats are enjoyed and children receive small gifts. Dates change every year.

What’s on in August

30 Aug

Victory Day is a very patriotic celebration of the end of the Turkish War of Independence.

What’s on in September

1 Sep

The eve of the Feast of Sacrifice (Kurban Bayrami), a four-day celebration of charity and compassion for the less fortunate. Dates change every year.

What’s on in October

29 Oct

Republic Day commemorates the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 and is marked by processions and fireworks.

The Road Less Travelled

We asked our representatives to share a few of their favourite ‘off the beaten track’ Bozburun Peninsula experiences. Here are some of their suggestions…

Snorkel the anfora

Turks flock to the tiny fishing village of Söğüt, testament to its rural charm and allure. The best view here is of the village itself – looking back from a boat out on the bay. Trips leave regularly from the small port, and many offer the chance to try a little snorkelling over ancient anfora pots.

Discover Karamaka

From Söğüt, it’s a short boat trip to the nearest bay, where a pleasant stroll up the hillside reveals the deserted Greek village of Karamaka. Imagine life in an ancient civilisation as you explore the ruins of an olive oil press, a windmill and the remains of the inhabitants’ houses. You can even gain an insight into local wine production, now 2,000 years old.

Meet the Taşlica horses

At the end of a dusty road, high above Söğüt, the village of Taşlica casts a watchful eye over the Aegean Sea. This is the very last village of the Bozburun Peninsula – the final stop before mountainous terrain dips its toe into cooling water. And the views here are simply breathtaking. If you’re lucky, your visit might coincide with an appearance by the mysterious Taşlıca horses.

Visit the end of the world

The road to Serçe, at the extremes of the peninsula, makes for a dramatic drive. Having marvelled at the remains of the ancient Greek settlement of Loryma, a boat trip to Bozukkale (which means ‘crooked castle’) uncovers further history. It’s an opportunity to wander the atmospheric ruins of an Hellenistic citadel that’s been standing guard over the bay here for 2,000 years.

Enjoy the perfect picnic

Head out to the start of the peninsula, between Hisarönü beach and Orhaniye Marina, where the pine forests reach down to the sea. To make a day of it, take a picnic and find a secluded cove for a sumptuous, lazy lunch and a swim in lake-like waters.