A Blue Cruise Over Land At The Bozburun Peninsula
How about exploring tranquil fishing villages and playing hide and seek with the sea along the shores of Bozburun, one of the two peninsulas that extend to the Mediterranean from the south of Gökova Bay?
The most practical way to travel the Hisarönü–Bozburun route is to arrive at Dalaman by plane and rent a car upon arrival. The Dalaman–Marmaris road, which is 90 km long, is a pleasure to watch. The Hisarönü Bay falls into view after a few minutes. A wealth of history lies hidden on the steep hillside of Mount Eren across the bay. The locals say that the ancient ruins of Kasbatos can be reached after a one-hour walk. After strolling around the villages of Hisarönü, which are famous for their horse farms, we head for the virgin bays of the Bozburun peninsula.
WalkIng on the sea
Colorful sailing boats take shelter in the port at the entrance to Orhaniye village. Kızkumu, which sits on the shores of the Orhaniye Bay that shines like a gem between the mountains, is one of the most popular beaches in the region. The 400 meter-long, narrow stretch of sandy beach contains large particles of sand, reddish in color. One feels as if they are walking on the sea in its shallow waters, barely reaching up to the ankles even 50 meters offshore. It is said that the ruins of an old wall on the island in the middle of the bay remain from the Byzantines. You may rent one of the fishing boats located at the far end of the bay and explore Dişilce Island and the surrounding bays. Turgut village, 3 kilometers from Orhaniye, is in the middle of a large valley.
The stone huts surrounding the village that once served as shelter for the shepherds have long been deserted. Along the road that leads to the waterfall, we notice a sepulcher with a pyramid shaped roof on top of a hill nearby. After climbing up 35 meters of steep rocky foothills, our reward is a panoramic view of the entire valley. The tomb with its roof rising high and its walls still intact is one of the fine examples of the graves unique to the Bozburun region. The tomb dates back somewhere between the 2nd and 4th centuries B.C. and was originally built for the Egyptian warriors who arrived in the region. The waterfalls are located in a green valley 3 kilometers from Turgut village.
Between Isolated bays
Selimiye, which is an old fishermen’s village, was only accessible by the sea until the 90s. The village is famous for its fish restaurants that serve rare varieties of fish that can only be found in the Mediterranean, such as grouper, sea bream, and swordfish. These little shore-side restaurants are favored by blue cruise boats, too. Kameriye Island is the most famous of the islands located off its shore and is ornamented with ancient mosaics. Surrounding the forest on the peninsula is a pleasant hiking trail. After a long feast of seafood, our next destination is Bozburun. The road that curves along the high cliffs after Selimiye promises a highly exciting and pleasant trip. The pine forests alongside the road are replaced by scrubs near Bozburun. Bozburun Bay, 6 kilometers after Selimiye, resembles a huge lake at first glance. The town of Bozburun, which gave its name to the peninsula, is a typical Aegean town, situated on the south side of the bay. Bozburun Harbor, which opens to the Aegean on the south, is full of boats. The harbor, which looks like a big pool, is surrounded by fish restaurants and a port shadowed by palm trees. The rocky hillsides are covered with roses, bay, thyme, and sage. The islands to the east of the bay are named Söğüt and Zeytin; the ones to the west are named Kızıl and Kiseli.
In Bozburun, where the locals have been earning a living through sponge diving and fishing until the 70s, visitors used to be given natural sponges as gifts. Nowadays, with its dozens of workshops, Bozburun is the region’s most important center for the manufacture of boats. The majority of the schooners used in blue cruises are built here. We learn from the boat builders in the workshops of Külbaşı that the boats they mainly build are schooners and fishing boats called “piyade,” which are unique to the region and feature flat prows and high decks. It is a real pleasure to sit by the sea shore in Bozburun and watch the sail boats out at sea blow around like paper boats...
Myrtle leaves and “ehram’”
We encounter a variety of magnificent views on each bend along the 8 kilometer road from Bozburun to Söğüt. Söğüt village, located in a distant and plain corner of the peninsula, is one of the rare beauties on the Mediterranean and is unknown to most. It is hardly a village, in fact; rather, it is a collection of small residential areas scattered between a series of coves and steep hilssides. It is an old tradition to hang leaves of myrtle, which grows in abundance in the region. These leaves are believed to bring prosperity and are also used by local women in perfume making due to their pleasant aroma. The making of colorful rugs, known in the region as “ehram” (literally, “pyramid”), is a traditional craft. Unfortunately, few people left in the region continue this endangered Anatolian tradition. Saranda Cove, Söğüt’s exit to the sea, boasts an impressive panoramic view and is enclosed by the Simi island of Greece. There are many small islands offshore that are about half an hour away by boat. The terraces located at the entrance of the cove are ideal for a quick break with spectacular views. One feels very grateful to be here when resting on these terraces overlooking the cove.