Aegean villages rich in tourists
İZMİRSome villages in the Aegean provinces of İzmir, Aydın and Muğla have become a draw for foreign and local tourists thanks to its unique houses with blue shutters, rich cuisine and amiable locals.
The villages cannot offer their guests five-star accommodations, all-inclusive systems, water parks and luxurious shopping centers but they provide the opportunity of having a holiday among stone houses, flower gardens, coffee houses, friendly environments and homemade food cooked by locals.
Until 10 years ago, Alaçatı used to be a place visited in July and August only by those who wanted to have a swim; now it is one of the most visited among these villages.
Today’s famous tourist resort is now hosting thousands of tourists every season, especially after the village’s unique stone houses were restored and turned into boutique hotels. It also offers its guests various festivals of delicious dishes and designer clothes.
Alaçatı is also known for windsurfing, windmills and cookies, and daily accommodation prices range between 200-700 Turkish Liras per person.
Another highly-popular village in the Aegean is Şirince, which is close to the Ephesus Ancient City and Kuşadası. Şirince gained international popularity in 2012 when doomsday believers flocked to the village, which was prophesized as one of the two locations to survive doomsday predictions based on the Mayan calendar.
With its unique houses, viticulture, bread and olive oil, the village has 38 boutique hotels with accommodation prices ranging between 80 and 400 liras per person.
Unique architecture, regional dishes
Çeşme’s Çiftlikköy village, where a small number of Greeks live, has also been drawing interest from tourists in the recent years. The closest settlement to the Chios Island in Greece, the village, although few, has traditional stone houses.
In the past, the source of income was fishing and agriculture but now most locals are in the tourism sector.
The village is the center of red mullet and is also known for its watermelon, aniseed and fish restaurants.
Çeşme’s Germiyan village, known for its Yörük culture, was established among windmills and is entered through streets decorated with paintings and designs engraved on white walls.
One of the village locals, Nuran Erden, is painting the walls in the village.
Germiyan is also famous for its sourdough bread. With an initiative formed by women, the village was the first one that joined the Slow Food motion.
Kozbeyli village in İzmir’s Foça attracts tourists with its unique stone architecture. Day trips to the village have recently turned into overnight tourism thanks to the newly-opened boutique hotels.
Birgi village, located at the skirts of the Bozdağ Mountain in the Ödemiş district, is one of the destinations that have high tourism potential in the future.
Settlement in the village dates back to antiquity. Home to the houses, mansions and mosques from the Aydınoğulları Beylik, Birgi village has hosted many period films and TV dramas.
Historical mansions have turned into boutique hotels and began receiving guests to the village.
But away from big tourist destinations, Birgi is not able to take its share in tourism and is preferred by tourists who want to spend their holiday in a quieter area.
The visitors of Kuşadası’s Kirazlı village, known for its natural beauties, endemic plants and organic agriculture, increase every year too. Famous restaurants recently opened in the village offer local and organic dishes.
Kapıkırı village in Muğla’s Milas hosts tourists for its scene and natural beauties. The village is very close to the ancient city of Heraclia on the coast of Lake Bafa and is visited by photography aficionados.
Five to six houses are like guests houses in the village and they host hiking and climbing groups. The most eccentric taste at restaurants on the coast of Lake Bafa is grilled snakefish.
Another tourist village of Milas is Kıyıkışlacık, located close to Bodrum, and is famous for blue crab and bass.
The ancient city of Iasos is in the village, which is famous for its summer houses.