Akyaka is an lovely beach resort at the head of the Gulf
of Gökova, nestling in deep pine forests and eucalyptus woods.
With a backdrop to the north of the majestic Sakar Tepe mountains
which rise to almost 1,000m and bordered to the south by the
wetlands of the Gökova plain ("heaven's plain") with it's multitude
of species, particularly water birds, it's easy to see why this
village continues to captivate so many visitors.
A quiet fishing village until the 1970s, Akyaka was then
"discovered" by Turkish people seeking an escape from the big
cities. One of those who came to the region in those years,
with his wife Halet Çambel, on doctor’s orders, was
Nail Çakırhan - poet, journalist and architect. Çakırhan
bought half an acre of land and immediately set about building
his dream house. Combining traditional Muğla architecture
with modern detail, the
Çakırhan House was highly acclaimed for its extraordinary
aesthetics and was awarded one of the period’s most respected
architecture prizes, the Agha Khan International Architecture
Award, in 1983. Providing a role model for newcomers,
it rapidly spawned similar houses in the region and has emerged
today as authentic Akyaka architecture. Çakırhan
died in 2008 but his legacy is preserved at the Nail Çakırhan
and Halet Çambel Culture and Art House in Akyaka. Opened
in 1998 the building, which was completely built by Çakırhan
according to his famous Muğla architecture, features a particularly
spectacular ceiling. It was given by Çakırhan to the Friends
of Gökova-Akyaka Society. The exhibition house whose
walls are mostly composed of windows, is open to light from
everywhere and is built in the garden of the original Aga Khan-prized
Akyaka has two main areas - upper and lower village.
Between the two you can walk down the cobbled streets or take
the path through the woods. The village centre is at the top
of town with shops stocking all daily necessities, ATM cash
machines, Ataturk square, bus stop, cafes, a few restaurants,
post office, daily fruit & veg market and weekly general
market on a Wednesday. At the lower part of town there is the
beach, harbour, forestry commission area, conservation beach,
shops, restaurants, bars, bus station, council park, and the
The long sandy beach of Akyaka is in a sheltered bay with
shallow waters and is ideal for children. At the
end of the beach, there are watersports available such as kayaking,
kite surfing, windsurfing, also bicycle hire. Beyond
the beach you enter Gökova Park. There are plenty
of restaurants on the seafront promenade and a couple of relaxed
bars. Past the waterside cafes and restaurants, you can
go up into the woods, with woodland walks, picnic areas and
If you feel inclined, you can take a boat trip to explore
the crystal-clear waters and many untouched bays and islands
on this beautiful stretch of coast. Daily trips from the
boat co-operative on the quayside, depart around 10 a.m. back
about 5 pm., lunch is often included and there will be plenty
of stops for swimming. Sedir
(Cleopatra's) Island is a very popular destination for the
boat trips, there are some ancient ruins and an amphitheatre
(admission to the island is extra).
Away from the coast, the crystal clear Kadın Azmak ('Woman
river`) meanders through the verdant countryside of fields and
woodlands. Daily River Boat trips operate from the harbour,
down the Azmac river and back - these take about 30 mins.
To experience this unique natural setting at its best, visit
one of the traditional fish restaurants set on the river, just
outside Akyaka, where trout is served, freshly caught from the
river, along with traditional Turkish delicacies, in an idyllic
As you drive out of Akyaka towards Gökova, there are the
castle ruins, C16th water cistern, Inisdibi mosque, and the
ancient Lycian rock tombs, which were uncovered by chance when
the road to bypass the village was being built. They are
virtually all that remain of the ancient city of Idyma and date
from the Carian period of 330-30 BC. From Inisdibi (between
Gökova & Akyaka) you can walk across the plains, and down
the one mile long avenue of Eucalyptus trees, to the village
of Akçapınar, where in spring you can see storks nesting.
If you are visiting Akyaka independently, by car - do stop
off for breakfast at the delightful little village of Akçapınar.
It's on the right-hand side of the road about 1Km from the
main Gökova junction of the Dalaman-Muğla highway.
Our favourite is the Bodur café - frothy ayran (yogurt drink),
pide (Turkish pizza), menemen (eggs poached in tomatoes,
peppers and onion), served with succulent tomatoes.
It's a great stop for breakfast just an hour or so after
leaving Turunc. They also have a small shop selling
amongst other things local honey and olives.