For those of you who have visited Turkey I need not remind you of the fantastic scenery, towns and the hospitality of the people. Kalkan has been a draw for British travellers since the start of the 20th century and still retains its charm with roof top restaurants and narrow streets, Gocek is a great place for chilling out and sailing and Side offers you one of the best combinations of Roman antiquity and 21st century nightlife. But to experience Turkey and the Med as it was before the tourists arrived you should visit Sogut Koyu.
Sogut Koyu is on the Bozborun peninsular about one hour’s drive from Marmaris. The road to Bozborun is pretty straightforward and is easy to drive and to follow the signs. As you take the turning to Sogut Koyu things start to change rapidly. The terrain is much rougher and arid and at some points you are convinced that you are never going to make it. Imagine the relief and sheer joy as you reach the village with its tiny houses, cultivated vegetable plots and the best view of the Mediterranean anywhere. Our instructions told us to turn right when we reached the sea and to follow the road to the end of the bay to Villa Julia.
We did as we were told but became a little nervous when the road stopped and the only route to the villa was a track washed by the sea. Not quite what we were used to nor were we used to the fantastic greeting that we received from Salih. Salih and his family run one of the local restaurants and he confirmed in brilliant English that the watery path was the route to the villa and it was very safe to cross. He also suggested that we might like a beer and something to eat since we had been on a long journey from England. We accepted and had a superb lunch of fresh fish and local wine and an update on where we were and what we could expect. All seemed fine and we set off to complete the final 500 yards to the villa.
Villa Julia is owned by Penny and David. It used to be a hotel but is now rented as a villa which can sleep up to 15 with all bedrooms having the benefit of an en-suite bathroom. It is simply furnished but has all you need for a holiday including a large terrace and pool with a ten yard walk to the beaches of the Med where you will find a private jetty and kayaks to use as you please. There are no bars a few restaurants and the odd yacht or Gulet coming in to view the peaceful surroundings. As for the tourists, that’s you and your party.
Salih and the team cook simple fresh food with many ingredients coming from the sea, the local vegetable gardens or from Salih’s sister’s supermarket. The food and serivice are very good and you could easily eat here every night in the company of the occasional yacht crews who tie up on the restaurant jetty. Further along the beach you will find a more sophisticated establishment, the Octopus, offering a full range of dishes, together with accommodation and a marina quay which will take up to 20 yachts.
A quick check of the area will tell you that there are other restaurants in the surrounding hamlets. If like us you do not drink and drive you sense that there may be a difficulty in reaching them and enjoying the fine local wines. No problem Turkish hospitality and a cellphone quickly come to the rescue. The family at the Palamut restaurant, under a plane tree in the main village, will send a car for you as will the team at the Manzara restaurant which boasts a fantastic hillside view of the sea and a beautiful sunset in the evening. For us the best restaurant trip was when the folks at Deniz Kiri (The Mermaid) sent a 40’ power boat to collect us from our own private jetty to a table by the sea.
A short car ride will take you to Selimye which has a small beach, a local market and a handful of restaurants or to Bozborun which has a long promenade for yachts lined with very pretty houses. In the centre of the village you will find some very good restaurants including our favourite, Osman.
If you get lonely for the trappings of the 21st Century Salih will cook you a breakfast and arrange for the local Dolmus to collect you and drop you off in Marmaris centre with clear instructions for the return journey. Marmaris is a busy place with modern shops and a covered bazaar. There are some good restaurants as you might expect but you will find yourself longing for the time to come for your Dolmus to take you back to the village.
If you like bars and clubs then Sogut Koyu is not for you. If like us you want some peace, a dip in the pool and the sea, the occasional fast boat to take you to lunch and a quiet chat with the locals over an evening meal, then this is as good as it gets. Pure Turkish delight.