Altinkum is a fun-loving beach resort on Turkey’s southwest coast. It’s grown quickly over the past few years, and has merged with its neighbour, Didim – a town with thousands of years of history. Altinkum means golden sands, and it’s for the three impressive beaches that so many visitors head to its shores. But the stellar nightlife, the vibrant bazaar, and ancient historical sites are equally big draws.
Main Beach, an 800-metre stretch of sand in the middle of town, is a prime tanning spot, backed by a restaurant-packed promenade. At its end is a harbour where banana boats, doughnuts and glass-bottomed boats come and go all day long. The smaller Second Beach is five minutes’ walk away. And a five-minute dolmus minibus ride further is Third Beach – a favourite with families for its shallow waters.
Packed along the promenade, and in Dolphin Square just behind it, are dozens of local restaurants, bars, nightclubs and a bazaar. Come evening, crowds stream through the streets where the smell of shish kebabs wafts from the restaurants, bars beat to Turkish music, shops do a brisk trade, and locals perform traditional dances in the street.
Ataturk Boulevard, the road that runs perpendicular to the seafront, connects Altinkum to Didim. This modern town has a large shopping centre, a Sunday market, plus the Temple of Apollo. This was one of the biggest temples of Ancient Greece, and although only two of its 122 columns still stand, it’s an impressive sight.