The southwestern corner of the Bodrum peninsula is often overlooked. But come a little closer and you’ll see why the fishing village of Akyarlar is quietly peeping out from the shadows. It’s nestled in a sweet little bay. At one end is a tiny harbour, at the other a moon-shaped beach. A handful of family-run restaurants and a few well-kept traditional houses grace the shoreline. And further up the hillside is the charming village centre.
Not so long ago, fishermen and sponge divers used to make the most noise in Akyarlar. Now, boats with a cargo of tourists rather than just-caught fish fill the harbour, and holidaymakers flock to its soft white sands. But that doesn’t mean Akyarlar has lost its charm. You only need walk up the hill to the heart of the village to get a real feel for Turkish life the way it’s always been. Here, wild flowers add splashes of colour to the balconied streets, and friendly locals discuss the catch of the day between games of backgammon.
Akyarlar’s real star is its moon-shaped beach. It’s framed by dramatic cliffs plunging down to azure waters, and the sand is talc-soft and white. The sea is shallow and warm, so it’s safe for kids who want to paddle. It’s a popular hangout for windsurfers, too.
One of the best ways to explore the peninsula’s nooks and crannies is by boat. There’s the choice of visiting the seaside villages along the north-bound coast towards Camel Beach, or steering a course for blink-and-you’ll-miss-them sandy bays. A lot of scuba diving boats travel to different dive sites in the summer, too