Situated at the northernmost point of the Gulf of Fethiye, the picturesque harbour village of Gocek is blessed with a wonderfully scenic position, gazing out across the shimmering turquoise waters of the gulf and backed by steep, densely forested mountain slopes. An important port for the export of copper in Ottoman times, Gocek slipped into obscurity as the copper trade declined, and subsequently reverted to being a sleepy seaside backwater.
Over the last two decades, Gocek's harbour found a new lease of life as a popular anchorage for gulets, yachts and other pleasure craft, unsurprisingly so as it offers the perfect base from which to explore the countless bays and coves of the gulf and the "Twelve Islands" which lie scattered just off the coast. In the 1980s, it became one of the favourite vacation spots of Turkey's late President Özal, a fact that further enhanced its reputation amidst the international sailing community.
Before long, the village began to adapt in order to cater for the demands of its discerning visitors, as appealing watering holes, surprisingly sophisticated restaurants and all kinds of tempting shops and boutiques started to spring up. And yet in spite of the excellent range of facilities, Gocek has managed to avoid succumbing to mass tourism, and contains no high-rise hotels or other signs of over-commercialisation. In fact, for all its air of sophistication, the village retains a traditional Turkish feel, especially in the backstreets that fan out from the original village square. Here, stylish fashion boutiques, souvenir and craft shops sit side by side with good old- fashioned hardware stores, traditional grocers and other shops catering for the local population. Similarly, the choice of eating places ranges from simple cafés where you can grab a Turkish pide for a few lira to smart restaurants serving international gourmet cuisine.
The long, pedestrianised promenade that runs along Gocek's seafront linking the original harbour and the new marina makes the perfect venue for a relaxed stroll at any time of the day or evening. The shore here is mostly rocky, although there are a couple of shingle patches which are adequate for a swim in the calm waters of the gulf. As an alternative, excursion boats and water taxis ferry beach-lovers to some of the beautiful off-shore islands for the day. A fairly regular dolmus service links Gocek with Fethiye, should you occasionally fancy a day out in a larger, livelier town.
Thanks to the recent inauguration of the new tunnel between Dalaman and Gocek, the journey from the airport is now even quicker, so you can get settled into your hotel and start relaxing in these appealing surroundings with the minimum of delay.