Any good Yalikavak guide should start with paying homage to its transformation from a nonentity to Turkey’s star performer. Throughout history, locals relied on sponge diving and fishing for an income, but around the 1980s, mainstream package tourism appeared in Turkey.
Yalikavak embraced it with open arms and enjoyed an alternative way of generating money. However, although it was popular with British holidaymakers, it remained “off the map” with many nationalities.
Around 2002, when Turkey made it legal for foreigners to own property, many Brits moved to Yalikavak, but the golden goose was when the Mega Yacht Marina opened to much hype and media attention. It transformed the town to superstardom status on the yachting scene and boosted its reputation into a desirable place to live.
Yalikavak is part of the Bodrum peninsula in western Turkey, also known as the Aegean region. The peninsula belongs to the larger Mugla province that also includes Marmaris and Fethiye.
Yalikavak, on the northwest side of the peninsula, is 20 kilometres away from Bodrum town on the southeast. By cutting across the peninsula, car drivers can reach the town centre in 30 minutes or 50 minutes if using public transport.
The Bodrum region has a Csa Koppen climate classification so average winter temperatures of 9 degrees and summer temperatures of around 35 to 40 degrees, make it an ideal destination all year round. Rainy months occur from January to March, and chilly nights kick in from late September to early April. Beach lovers should visit between May to October when the official tourism season starts. Otherwise, exploring attractions or hiking is done during April, May, October or November when daytime temperatures are cooler.
The nearest airport is Milas-Bodrum (BJV) with a transfer time of one hour. This airport has frequent flights during summer from many other places and countries. During winter, locals use Izmir or Dalaman airport which are both 3 hours’ drive away.
The local community agenda comes alive on Thursdays when an all-encompassing market sells everything and anything under shaded canopies. For locals and holidaymakers in self-catering accommodation, organic fruit and veg are cheaper and fresher than in supermarkets.
Otherwise, stalls at the far end sell an assortment of goods. There is a Turkish tradition to bargain on prices but only do this on non-food items like clothes, jewellery, and souvenirs for people back home.
Mediterranean Turkey has Kayakoy, but Bodrum has Sandima, a deserted Greek village with an eerie ambience. A 45-minute walk takes you to 80 crumbling houses displaying old-style architecture of whitewashed stone walls with wooden shutters. Only one house is occupied, and it doubles up as an art gallery for visitors.
Self-indulgence is the only thing going on at the Palmarina, and among Bodrum’s social elite circles, is the place to hang out. The 620-berth marina accommodates mega yachts reaching up to 135 metres. Otherwise, the agenda revolves around spending money in 106 luxury brand name shops and to stretch out your streak of self-indulgence, book into the Boutique hotel with spa and fitness centre.
We prefer to put it all on our hips in top quality restaurants serving quality food, albeit at higher prices than your average take away. 27 establishments serve up every cuisine and drink, but our favourite is a juicy steak in Nusr-et steakhouse, who also opened restaurants in Dubai and New York. During summer, the marina also hosts many music concerts, so keep on eye out for big names. The latest sell out performance was Anastasia!
Even though the Palmarina transformed Yalikavak into an upscale destination, the old town part still lures people in with nostalgic traces. Browse through small shops, and boutiques, then walk past men in the traditional Turkish tea shop to reach the harbourside. This is another favourite place of ours when we want to dine Turkish style on mezes, fish and seafood. It is also a brilliant place to watch the sunset.
Backed by cafes, bars and restaurants serving food and drink, the pebble beach in the centre stretches for 200 metres and umbrellas, sunbeds and water sports activities are available to rent. Other choices include Pasa, Agacbasi, and Tilkicik coves, and Kudur beach, noted for its breeding Mediterranean seals. Xuma, a famous beach club, sells wellness, Pilates and yoga lessons, and the quaint restaurant serves a varied menu of delicious food.
Yalikavak’s journey to international fame has attracted both foreigners and Turks to purchase property in the area, either for long-term real estate investment, to use as a holiday home or for permanent living.
The population growth prompted many businesses to open, so every facility is on your doorstep, and with an effective transport network with the rest of the Bodrum peninsula, property owners enjoy an idyllic, carefree lifestyle.
Property prices start from £120,000 pounds for an apartment, but ultramodern architecture as seen in millionaire hillside villas, also feature in the property portfolio. Email us to ask questions about this Yalikavak guide, or to receive details of current properties for sale either off-plan, new or re-sale. Also read our Bodrum property portfolio here.