If you are on the hunt for a place where you can surround yourself in sun-drenched nature and the rich Turkish culture, book your 2018 holiday to Altinkum. Perfectly positioned just a short drive from Bodrum resort and Izmir city, Altinkum is a resort town on Turkey's western coast. Better known as “Golden Sands”, it is a place guaranteed to satisfy all of your senses.
The coastal region will keep sun lovers occupied and with the timeworn Temple of Apollo positioned nearby, historians will enjoy meandering around ruins in this town. Water from the Aegean Sea gently kisses the rugged coastline, where boats depart in the direction of Kos. Kos island is located an hour’s boat ride away and you can even access some of Greece's other gems with ease from Altinkum, including Rhodes, Kusadasi, and Samos.
Approximately 5,000 foreigners have merged into the community, where 35,000 locals have permanently set up camp. With three beautiful beaches, marina-facing cafes, and an intriguing history that dates back to the 8th century B.C., it's not surprising that Altinkum appeals to such a diverse crowd.
You will find yourself on the Aegean coast's western edge when you arrive in Altinkum, which is just a one-hour drive from the main airport. This resort has a relaxed vibe and when compared with the more famous resorts of Kusadasi and Bodrum, a holiday in Altinkum will be a refreshing change.
At a glance
- Language: Turkish
- Time Zone: GMT +3
- Average flight time: 3h 50m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
While the atmosphere might not be as electric as it is in other resorts, everything one would need for an enjoyable holiday can be found in Altinkum. Perfect if you want to kick back and relax, Altinkum has a lazy vibe and is blessed with a large sandy bay. Spend your days floating along the Aegean Sea in a pedalo or stroll to one of the nearby sections of coastline.
Since Altinkum has a prime position close to the world's biggest continuous archaeological site (the ancient city of Ephesus), you can get your history fix here. Alternatively, watch the talented belly dancers entertain crowds inside live music bars, where the sound of traditional Turkish music fills the air.
What you choose to do when you spend time in Altinkum is up to you, depending on how long you are on holiday for. Book Altinkum holidays for September and you can be a part of the Didim Peace Festival, which started back in 1995. This friendship-building festival brings people of all nationalities and cultures together. Many year-round attractions entice tourists too.
For a night of partying and watching DJ's spinning the decks, mingle with fellow holidaymakers at Dolphin Square. Fairly lively, this area might not appeal to families, couples, or holidaymakers who want to unwind. Escape the thumping music for an organised tour to the best historic sites scattered around the landscape, like the Temple of Apollo, where three ancient columns remain their original height!
Jewellers and souvenir shops are dotted around Altinkum, while fishing charter and tours offer a fantastic way to experience Turkey's maritime traditions. Fancy some retail therapy? Check out the weekly market on Saturdays, where vendors set up stalls close to the local bus station.
Wine and Dine
Doner kebab, Dolma, Pilaf, Baklava, and the good old Turkish delight are just a few of the specialty sweet and savoury treats you can sample when you visit Altinkum. Most food in Turkey is boiled or fried and if you are a meat eater, you will be in your element.
Not to worry if you aren't a fan of lamb or goat dishes, however. A variety of casual, oceanfront, and fine dining establishments cater to people with all kinds of dietary needs. For an authentic wining and dining experience, reserve a table at popular group dining spots, such as Gusto Restaurant, Vista Restaurant, or Circus Restaurant, where the menu features Mediterranean, International, and European delicacies.
Some of the most palatable wines in all of Turkey are produced in Sirince village. Although it takes two hours to arrive in Sirince, there will be no need to travel since most restaurants will serve the region’s fruity wine by the bottle on your Altinkum holiday.
There really is something for all ages to experience in Altinkum. At the local market, you can teach the young ones some useful haggling skills and bag a bargain on souvenirs. Trinkets of all kinds can be found at the weekly market, a large portion of which are extra special, since they are handmade.
Feel revived after sweating out the toxins and cleansing the lungs with a steam bath, before taking a walk along the promenade. Altinkum main beach is sure to catch your eye or if you want to do something fun as a family, play a game of mini golf. Tennis, beach volleyball, and football are just a few sports you can get stuck into with the relatives, or as part of a group on holiday in Altinkum.
Action and Adventure
You will probably be sold on the idea of packing your bags for a holiday to Altinkum if you are someone who gets a thrill out of outdoor activities, since the landscape is a jeep safari playground. Rent a 4x4 vehicle yourself or join a group on an organised tour to absorb the environment of Akbuk from a different perspective. Remember to belt up because the terrain is fairly uneven in areas, adding to the thrill of this activity.
Soke is a town based in close proximity, so do consider visiting it if you want to cover as much land as possible during your holiday in Altinkum. Mother Nature has left her mark all over the region but in particular, at Dilek National Park. A one-hour journey by car will take you to an authentic Turkish village called Herakleia. Venture to Lake Bafa Nature Park for a rare glimpse into a peaceful landlocked lake, enclosed by protected land. Crystal clear snorkelling and scuba diving can be accessed by boat around the coastline.
Life's a Beach
Turkey has no shortage of beaches and Altinkum is no exception. Take a stroll along this part of the Aegean coast and prepare for beachfront vendors, restaurants, and local shop owners to lure you in. It will be hard to get distracted by them though, what with Altinkum's alluring beach being watersports and family-friendly.
You will understand why Altinkum got the name "golden sands" once you step foot on the powdery sands of First, Second, or Third beach. A wide range of modern facilities are made available to tourists. Family-friendly bars are sprinkled along Second beach.
During peak season, the main beach near the harbour gets pretty crowded with tourist keen to top up their tans. If you like to meet fellow holidaymakers with ocean views, this could be the place to do it. A funfair is located on Third beach and on Altinkum's outskirts are a handful of small coves.
Letting your hair down and knocking back a few drinks at one of Altinkum's bars and clubs is definitely something worth adding to the travel itinerary, if not just to bask in the atmosphere for a mere moment.
Lineker's Bar welcomes people from all corners and it is a laid-back place to start the evening, before hitting happy hour at Billy & Lee's. If you like dancing to anthems and chart music, make your way over to the Funky Forest Bar.
Enveloped by islands, it is safe to say that the breathtaking natural landscape of Altinkum lures in couples throughout the seasons. The scenery, with its sublime sunset scenes and lakeside, is a major reason why couples prefer to holiday in Altinkum, rather than other resorts.
There is something in the air in Altinkum that attracts couples. Scattered around the land near the lakeside is a Byzantine Monastery, which would serve as the ideal setting for an intimate stroll with your other half. Alternatively, watch as the setting sun drapes the entire promenade and ocean in a shade of warm red.
Connect with one another on a deeper level by taking some time out in a Turkish bath. Similar to a Roman bath, a Turkish bath is the Islamic version and will leave you both with supple and soft skin, not to mention relaxed muscles.
Turkey's roots run deep and you will notice many cultural influences when you are meandering along Altinkum streets. Sure, the resort might be pretty developed and convenient for the typical tourist, but its rich roots are intertwined into every piece of brick, stone, and local gesture!
Take a moment to really capture the beauty of derelict theatres and temples that pepper the landscape when you are on holiday in Altinkum. Expect the local people to be very friendly and welcoming. Don't be surprised if the locals tempt you into their shop or café with a cup of tea. Show your politeness by accepting and you will be pleasantly surprised by the sweet taste!
Some basic Turkish customs to keep in mind include introducing yourself to the eldest person in the room first (if you have not yet been introduced) and practicing “Asalamu alaykum” - an Islamic greeting that will earn you great respect among the locals.