Gokcebel in the Aegean Bodrum region of Turkey is a well-kept traditional village blending old vibes with new influences. Sitting in the outskirts of Yalikavak, mainstream tourism has passed it by, yet it’s garnered favour with a small group of foreign Turkish property buyers who have made it their year-round home. The appeal is hard to deny.
A low-key reputation keeps it off the grid, yet within a five-minute drive, residents arrive in the heart of Yalikavak and its vast selection of shops, restaurants and bars. The land that old and new Gokcebel covers is elevated; hence balconies and rooftop terraces give way to magnificent sea views. There is nothing fast paced about the lifestyle, so if you want an ideal location to relax, and soak up the Turkish Aegean sun, you’ve found it.
About Gokcebel on the Bodrum Peninsula
Where is Gokcebel?
Gokcebel sits on the North-west face of the Bodrum peninsula in Aegean Turkey. It belongs to the larger Yalikavak district that in recent years has seen much fame because of the luxury mega yacht marina. It is also a short distance from Gundogan coastal holiday resort.
When is the Best Time to Visit Gokcebel?
Since Yalikavak is a major hub, many shops open all year round. However, Bodrum’s official tourism season and frequent flight schedules run from May to October. Outside these months, there are no beach facilities to rent, swimming pools are empty, and January and February are rainy. For bucket loads of sunshine, access to all amenities and idyllic weather climates for exploring and enjoying cool summer evenings, visit during the official tourism season.
How to Get There by Air, Road and Sea
By Air: Foreign holidaymakers and property owners use Milas Bodrum airport (BJV Havalimani,) that during summer, has frequent flight schedules to and from many countries. The transfer time is just 50 minutes, and flyers can rent a car at the arrivals terminal or book transfers with travel agents in the resort. During winter months, residents use Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, which is 235 kilometres away and a three-hour drive. Alternatively, Dalaman airport is 200 kilometres away and a three-hour drive.
By Sea: If arriving by sea, the nearest marina is in Yalikavak. Main ferry ports in Bodrum town centre and Turgutreis coastal resort, a 30 minutes’ drive away also connect locals with many Greek islands through their ferry services in summer.
By Road: If coming from other places in Turkey, use the bus services heading for the main Bodrum otogar. You will then need to catch a dolmus service to Yalikavak, and some stop on the main Gokcebel road. Car drivers should use the D330 Milas - Bodrum highway. Once you arrive on the peninsula, turn left at Kapuz Caddesi and keep heading towards Yalikavak. From there, signs will point the way to Gokcebel.
Delicious Breakfasts in Gokcebel
Ask any locals, and they will tell you to head to Gokcebel at the weekends for a traditional Turkish village breakfast or brunch. Three establishments make a roaring trade as they serve up regional, homemade, and homegrown ingredients like olives, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber and more, for the healthiest breakfast you’ll ever eat.
1: Havva Ana Kahvalti Evi: Sitting in old Gokcebel, this setting in among green fields and chickens running around is about as traditional as you can get. The owner sits by the fireside and makes the bread herself. Make reservations to avoid disappointment.
2: Dirmi Koy Kahvaltesi: Delicious Gozleme and Borek have earned this establishment a stellar reputation. Also serving many types of homemade jams, the green garden setting an excellent way to start your weekend on a high note.
3: Cingiloglu: This establishment is part of a chain of bakeries and dairy workshops in 3 locations across the peninsula. The organic cheese is made in their authentic dairy farm while they bake their bread.
8 Things to Do in Gokcebel and the Rest of Bodrum
1: Dibek Lihan Culture and Art Village: Just a ten-minute drive away, this establishment aims to revive the atmosphere of old Ottoman hans. Take your time as you watch artisans at work, browse through art collections, buy handmade, authentic souvenirs, and enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch.
2: Palmalife Resort and Spa: Sitting close to Dibek Lihan, Palmalife is the place to wash away your stress in their on-site spa centre. Including a Turkish hammam, and a variety of massages, they also offer beauty treatments like face peeling and detox baths.
3: Rent a Car and Explore the Bodrum Peninsula: Pack your swimming suits, camera and picnic basket for a fantastic peninsula road trip. Including highlights and landmarks like Bodrum castle, the Underwater Archaeology Museum, theatre and Mausoleum ruins, many small and coastal villages like rustic Gumusluk, upmarket Turkbuku and neighbouring Gundogan deserve to be seen.
4: Aqua Parks: This ideal family activity will keep teenagers and young ones entertained with thrilling slides, fast water rides, gentle wave pools and other activities. Choose Bodrum Aqua Park in Ortakent or Pirates Inn Cactus Park in Yalikavak.
5: Fun Town Yahsipark: Sitting a 15-minute drive away via the Bodrum-Yalikavak road, YahsiPark is another fun place to keep kids entertained from 5 p.m. onwards through activities like go-karting, table tennis, trampolines, mini golf, paintballing, remote-controlled cars and more.
6: Yalikavak Marina: Spend a leisurely day shopping and feasting on gourmet food in Yalikavak Palmarina, one of Aegean Turkey’s best sailing establishments. It's pricy but worth it. The marina’s slogan is “it’s all about you” and this reflects their spa and wellness centre with many treatments.
7: Dine in Yalikavak’s Harbour Restaurants: To do as the Turks do, head to traditional harbourside restaurants and feast on Mezes (Turkish appetisers) followed by an array of fresh seafood and fish dishes. Don’t forget to accompany it, with a traditional glass of Raki.
8: Water Fun: Being a coastal district, life revolves around sandy beaches and at sea. We love Yalikavak main beach where we can rent sunbeds and umbrellas, but many more peninsula coves and bays are also worth visiting. Teenagers enjoy the range of water sports including scuba diving. Otherwise, book a lazy day cruise that sails around the coastline to take in scenic views of Aegean Turkey.
9: Tours and Excursions: Head to local agents to book tours near and far. We like the local jeep safaris, and traditional village tours but two top recommended attractions to see for yourself are Ephesus ancient city ruins in Kusadasi and the white calcium pools of Pamukkale in Denizli. It’s a long day out but worth it because they are Turkey’s top two most popular sites.
Property for Sale in Gokcebel
Other urban destinations in Turkey focus on apartment developments with communal facilities, but the scarcity of apartments in Gokcebel means they rarely come up for sale. Instead, villas dominate the market, and they are new builds or restored authentic stone cottages.
In neighbourhoods around the coastline, new build villas portray modern Gokcebel. Most have stunning sea views with large balconies for alfresco dining, and luxury homes also include features like built-in wardrobes, smart technology and private swimming pools.
Heading inland and across Inonu main road, we enter old Gokcebel and the traditional part. You can’t get quieter than this and keeping in-line with the age-old Turkish theme, restored old villas featuring typical Greek stonework architecture are prime pieces of real estate. Portraying features like wood beam roofs, garden courtyards, and old wells, the rooftop terraces are the perfect place to end the day sipping on an ice-cold beer.
If you want to invest in Turkish property, see our portfolio of property for sale in Gokcebel and Yalikavak. Otherwise, our Bodrum guide which talks about more about Gokcebel, nightlife, shopping and other coastal resorts will be of use.
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