Yalikavak, a small coastal resort of the Bodrum peninsula in Aegean Turkey, has come a long way since the nostalgic days when it was a small fishing village. Now boasting of an international, luxury marina with enough capacity to hold mega yachts, expats permanently living there have boosted its population, and it enjoys a healthy trade from tourism. A wide range of things to do in Yalikavak, from relaxing and stress-free activities to cultural Turkish traditions and heritage can explain its popularity. Indeed, whether you are young or old while staying or living in Yalikavak, boredom will never be an active word of your vocabulary.
Exciting Things to do in Yalikavak
1: Indulge in a Traditional Turkish Breakfast at Havva
In the green hills of Yalikavak, a small village house with an esteemed local reputation serves up traditional Turkish breakfast that could possibly be the best you will ever taste. At Havva, tables on the wooden veranda surrounded by beautiful flowers and large trees fill up quickly with hungry diners so make reservations. Delivered buffet style for everyone to choose from, the breakfast includes many organic kinds of cheese, homemade jams, delicious olives, and the speciality, warm oven bread. This family run business is particularly popular at weekends with Turks but is also a local expat secret.
2: Get Creative in Art Classes
Behind stone garden walls, of the old Greek cottage in the Gokcebel district of Yalikavak, creativity is on the agenda with the Turkish Painting Holiday’s crew. Open to novices or experienced painters, classes include drop-in sessions or weeklong holidays with food and accommodation provided. Professional art teachers combine one-to-one lessons with day trips to nearby sites of attraction, so inspiration and support are always there. Evening meals also included a varied menu of homemade Turkish dishes prompting you to indulge yourself in a cultural as well as creative way.
3: Beaches and Beach Clubs: Relax in the Day and Party at Night
Naturally being a coastal resort, beach life is famous in Yalikavak. The main town has a long section of sand where sun loungers are free if you buy food or drink from restaurants behind it. Many small bays and coves exist on the outskirts. Alternatively, beach clubs with man-made jetties jutting out into the Aegean also provide the summer vibes of sun and sea. Turning into nightclubs after dark, beach clubs with esteemed reputations for excellence include immaculate Xuma with its tagline of “All in the Name of Love,” and Sebastian that regularly holds parties with famous Turkish singers.
4: Bargain at the Local Market
Every Thursday, a splattering of stallholders sells various items in the weekly pazar of Yalikavak. Locals and expats prefer it for cheap and organic fruit and vegetables. Small stalls also sell souvenirs, clothing and household stuff but this is a perfect place to practise your bargaining skills. This time-honoured Turkish tradition generally applies to items with no set price and depending on your skills can save you a lot of money. The stalls are set out in the old Ottoman tradition of grouping them together depending on products they sell. For lunch, indulge in the traditional market street food of Gozleme, a cheap pastry pancake filled with spinach, cheese, and/or potatoes.
5: Watch a Vibrant Sunset and Feast like a King in Gumusluk
The Aegean coast of Turkey enjoys vibrant and colourful sunsets. Have your camera ready because it is a moment that turns into favourite memories. However to make it extra special, head to Gumusluk, a small village near Yalikavak known for its landmark Rabbit Island and seaside fish restaurants.
Easily reached using public buses, famous Turks and wealthy executives, often descend on the old fishing village in summer thanks to the countrywide reputation of the restaurants. Selling a broad range of fresh food including calamari, prawns, and the latest catch of the day, there are many restaurants to choose from, but our favourite is Melengec with its white wooden chair and tables, and a large splattering of pink bougainvillaea.
6: Visit Bodrum Town Centre
Jump on the local public bus and within a short drive; arrive at the heart of Bodrum town. Prestigious restaurants like Marina Club sell excellent and delicious food, but if indulgent cuisine is not your passion, the local landmarks of Bodrum castle and the Underwater Archaeology Museum make fascinating exploration.
The Knights of Saint John built the castle in 1402, and as well as exploring its ruins, the small theatre sometimes holds concerts in summer. The museum is a marvellous collection of underwater artefacts uncovered from shipwrecks around Turkey. They also display the remains of the Uluburun, a sunken ship from the Bronze Age. Famed for its white sugar cubed houses, Bodrum town also is the king of partying in Turkey with places like Halicarnassus Nightclub and the Party Catamaran attracting Turks from all over the country.
7: Get Nautical at the Palmarina and on a Cruising Boat
The large, state of the art marina put Yalikavak on the map, as the place to be seen for mega yachts and international boats. During summer, a nautical atmosphere and wide range of facilities and amenities attract visitors from all around the world. Dine in a five-star restaurant, break the bank in some of the luxury brand name shops, or simply stroll around to get a feel of what coastal life in modern Turkey is really all about.
Alternatively, from the harbour district every morning, daily boat cruises depart for a leisurely day touring the coastline. Enjoy a day of sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and good company as well as a hearty lunch cooked onboard. These trips are remarkably cheap and a great activity for groups of friends, couples and families. Large groups can also club together, and rent a private boat for the day, complete with crew, and cook. Now that really would make a special memory for everyone.
8: Victoria’s Fun Centre
Families who want a safe and clean environment for children will enjoy Victoria’s, an entertainment centre with plenty to do. Their stables include Shetland ponies, or older children can ride horses in the enclosed paddock. Mum and dad can relax and swim at the pool, and at lunchtime, the restaurant serves a full menu. Alternatively, spend the day, relaxing in one of their wooden beach huts with fantastic views, just a short walk from the calm waters of the Aegean.