Read about traveling the South-west coast of Turkey in a camper van – the must do’s, the must see’s, where to eat and where to stay!
Zoë Van mil
Adventure & Nature, Coffee hunters.
Destination: South West Coast, Turkey. July 1 – 8 2017
Why Turkey? It’s unsettled. It’s dangerous. It’s overrated. There are better places to travel than to Turkey.
Luckily we had my parents, and a fair few of our friends say otherwise, so off to Turkey we went. After riding in Hot air balloons in Cappadocia. We originally wanted to try Sail Turkey (it’s meant to be just as amazing as Sail Croatia), however we had no friends who we keen to join us so we decided to campervan around the South – West Coast instead.
It was probably the best ‘by chance’ travel decision we have made to date! The only place on the map we had heard about was Bodrum from novels!
A quick 4 hour flight with Fly Dubai from DXB to Istanbul SAW and a connection the next morning to Keysari got us to Cappadocia for two days before we took at overnight bus (10 hours) to Antalya where we grabbed a taxi to meet Cargi from Lets Go Camper who we rented our campervan from.
From there it was just us and the road for 8 days.
Along the coast you’ll find tiny villages with the old men drinking Turkish tea and playing backgammon. You’ll also find massive resort towns that can seem touristy but worth staying in one or two to check out the culture and night life.
Bodrum is often talked about in novels and movies. Probably the most famous of the resort type towns along the coast. Worth visiting for sure!
Ephesus is an Ancient Greek city very close to the present day town of Selcuk. It holds the Library of Celsus and a massive amphitheater. The Temple of Artemis is also here.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra apparently frequented the coast.
The Aegean Sea and some of the Mediterranean Sea.
The stray cats and dogs are well looked after by local people and vets – pat them, they are friendly 🙂
Where To Stay:
Free camping in Beymelek, Demre (kus cenneti), Kaputas, Eckincik, Haydar Koyu. Free camping is safe and legal in Turkey – we loved it and would recommend doing this as you can stay out of a town and just be with nature!
Sarsala Koyu – we paid 12 lira and stayed two nights (no other people were camping here, it was stunning)
Bodrum Eco Farm and Camping (30km out of Bodrum on the peninsula) we grabbed a local bus into the city centre. Great because we got free breakfast and dinner at no extra charge.
Yat Camping in Kusadasi. In the middle of the town, would recommend only for a night.
What To Do:
Sarsala Koyu was by far our favourite ‘hidden gem’ place. We never would have gone here but asked Cargi from our campervan company of any awesome local hangouts and this is where he sent us! Such a sweet spot!
Touristy – explore the Ephesus site and Bodrum night life, make sure you drink some Raki!
Migros – these supermarkets were the cheapest and in most towns.
Sait restaurant opposite the Marina Yhact club in Bodrum. Probably the best fish we have had overseas! Their Melon and feta entre was also outstanding. Take it easy on the Raki though!
Bodrum Eco farm and Camping sorted us out with a traditional Turkish breakfast every morning. They also give you a free vegetarian dinner if you stay with them. They have a small Turkish front shop and their Kofte, made by Ahmad, was the best we had in Turkey.
Make the trip down to Sarsala Bay. It’s worth it just for the adventure down the dodgy winding road! The Bay has beautiful views of Greek islands and Turkish Coast. The people are all mainly locals and the Life Guard there is your go to English speaking helper! There are numerous bays you can find if you clamber around the small rocky paths, you’ll be all by yourself – bliss.
Climb up one of the Turkish Coasts numerous hills for sunrise and take a shot looking over the bay, sea, islands and beyond!
Number 1 Travel Tip:
Try to stay out of the main beach towns. Do as much free camping as you can. Talk to the locals, most of them have basic English. ALWAYS drink their tea if they offer. Say ‘Sal’ for thank you as their proper thank you is too hard to get right! Use your sense of a place to see if it’s worth eating at, check to see if the locals are dinning there and you’ll figure it out. Tourists are sought after as Turkish tourism has taken a big hit over the past 2 years. Only half of the tourists are coming than before. This is good for you, but the down fall is that everyone wants to sell you things, don’t fall into the trap of buying unnecessary things because of it.
5 Word Travel:
Beaches, History, Relaxing, Locals, Sunrise
We would recommend staying in the campervan longer, starting in Antayla and dropping it off in Istanbul. That way you can make your way further up the coast up to Izmir, Troy and Gallipoli before ending in the vibrant city.
Lots of camping sites were cheap to stay in. Take turns at free camping (this is easily done) and plugging in your campervan!