A Day Trip from Marmaris: the flowers of Old Datca and the ruins of Knidos

After spending five days in Kas, we drove back towards the west, dropped off our Kia Rio in Fethiye, picked up a Renault Clio at another agency there and headed further west towards Marmaris. It was a busy start to our trip up the western coast of Turkey.

We left Kas in the early morning, left Fethiye around lunchtime and arrived in Marmaris around 5 p.m.

The drive west was straightforward as it wound up and down the highway, and eventually we drove down from an overlook into Marmaris. It was a bit hectic driving around the downtown section of the city, but we had chosen our AirBnb there. In hindsight it was a mistake, as parking was tricky, the Airbnb didn’t work out at all (we had to change to a hotel after the first night because of a multitude of problems) and it felt very crowded and touristy in that part of town.

This is our only pic from Marmaris. I would give the beach (and the downtown area) a 4 out of 10, although I believe there were better beaches further away

We checked out the beach near our hotel, but it was crowded, the water was murky and there was litter floating in it. It turns out the thing we enjoyed the most from our time in Marmaris was a day trip to the end of the peninsula, where we visited a quaint village called Datça as well as some ancient coastal ruins in Knidos.

We left in the morning and drove westward to Datça. The route started along the highway and eventually branched off into hills and narrower roadways. There was a lot of construction that caused the road to change from asphalt to a dirt road full of potholes. On top of that, there were construction vehicles blocking the road and kicking up dust. With some slowdowns and short delays, the trip took around and hour and a half to reach Datça. We found ample parking near the main entrance to the town and started walking around the town.

It was quiet on the day we went, and few were in the restaurants and cafes

There were some tourists in the main cafe/restaurant/souvenir area but very few deeper into the town. We walked down quaint alleyways passing old walled houses. Some were advertised as AirBnb’s, others were in the process of renovations, and still others were clearly lived in. All in all, we enjoyed a relaxing stroll through this traditional Turkish town. The main section was clearly done up for tourists, but it wasn’t overcrowded and the style of the village was very pretty and well done.

We set off from Datca in the early afternoon, heading towards Knidos. The trip took us further along simple roads through small towns, ending with narrow hill roads that were wide enough for only one car in some sections and had sheer drop-offs without any guardrails. After winding around a few of these hills and gaining a few grey hairs we arrived at Knidos.

Knidos was a Greek city in ancient Caria and part of the Dorian Hexapolis. The Hexapolis was composed of Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum, Turkey), Kos and the cities of Lindos, Kamiros and Ialyssos (all located in Rhodes).

Arriving at Knidos

The site was located on a point with water all around. It was easy to navigate although there were some sections that required going uphill.There were only a small amount of tourists there when we visited.

This was a more popular way to get to the ruins

The ruins were spread over a wide area, with the threatre and some temples located near the main entrance, and other site up the surrounding hills.

Looking toward the harbour
Ancient graffiti

On the return trip we had to make a extended detour because the road we took to get to Knidos earlier in the day was now completely closed for construction. A worker waved us away from our original route so we took the fork in the road onto a different way that went through other small towns. Our GPS seemed to be confused by the route so after ten minutes of driving we headed back to the detour spot. The worker indicated there was no other option, and the longer route would indeed get us back to the main road so we headed back that way. Although it added some time to the journey we passed through various villages before finally finding the main road again. Along the way we saw evidence of the severe forest fires that hit the area earlier in the month.

We had the option of taking a boat to Knidos from Marmaris, which would have made the trip much easier. However, we already had a rental car and we would have missed Datça, so we didn’t regret the way things turned out.It was a longer day than expected, but well worth the trip out of Marmaris.

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