While being surrounded by history, Didim is in no way living in the past. You can find everything you want from a vacation and there never needs to be a dull moment, whether you are a couple or a family.
The high season is the summer months in Didim. Yet, there is a big community of Turkish people and international expats living permanently in Didim and the province is full of activities all year round.
Didim is also a favorite destination of retirees in winter due to its temperate climate, nature, and calmness in the winter months.
As a Turkish local, I will tell you all the things that you can do in Didim including the ones that only locals would know.
Enjoy Didim Beaches
Let me start with what everyone has in mind for a Mediterranean Holiday, Beaches!
There are almost too many beaches to mention in and around Didim.
The most famous is the Altinkum Beach; this long strip of golden sand and turquoise sea sits at the bottom of Didim and is full of pubs, restaurants, and shops.
If you wish for a little more luxury, the local nightclubs at the end of the promenade have beach clubs with floating jetties that have bars and music within.
My personal favorite is Yesilkent beach, it is a smaller bay east of Altinkum but no less beautiful, with crystal clear shallow waters it is perfect for families with small children.
Mavisehir area has limited sandy beaches, the best one is Gulbahce beach near Club Tarhan.
Picnic or Camp near Akbuk Beaches and Sapli Island
At a short distance, you can get to the Akbuk area, which is a small side town of Didim.
Akbuk has a beautiful coastline that is quieter than Didim all year long. Akbuk has a very shallow sea, but the other beaches more ideal for swimming.
Local buses go every 20 minutes from central Didim to Akbuk, but you can also take a taxi.
Check out my guide “Is Didim Safe?” to learn more travel tips and travel hacks that will increase your joy in your trip to Didim.
Water Sports in Didim
Water sports are a great way to get your blood pumping on a hot afternoon on the beach.
Most beaches across Didim will have a Hut with water sports activities including banana boats (great if there is a group of you), jet skis, speed boats, and more with small fees.
You can just walk up and do the activities there and then, no waiting or bookings needed.
Why not try Scuba Diving in the local clear waters. Even if you have never done it before, the teams of highly trained staff will give you a crash course in the basics and will be with you each step of the way during your experience.
Additionally, Didim has good breezes especially in the late afternoon for windsurfing and board surfing, especially in the Mavisehir area.
Yet, as of now, you will not find a place to rent surfing equipment in Didim. This tip is good only if you have your equipment.
Multiple companies across town now offer Parasailing, and it’s very popular, sending you 300 meters high over the Aegean sea while being pulled by a speedboat just off of the coastal edge.
Shop at Mavisehir Night Market
On the outskirts of Didim, there is an Evening Market that is open from May until September. Buses run here regularly or hop in a taxi for a short drive.
This is one of the favorite places of my wife and his mother where they love to spend their Didim nights. Mavisehir’s open-air bazaar continues to be open after midnight.
You can browse the stalls and pick up gifts, spices, fruit, clothing, bags, and more.
While shopping, look out for local delicacies like cheese, olives, and fruits produced by the local villages. You can buy perfect foods for a picnic at the beach the next day.
If you walk around the local seafront of Mavisehir Bazaar, you will find restaurants and cafes all with an amazing sunset view over the sea; just be sure to time it right!
Didim is a city-sized holiday destination, be sure to check my article Where to Stay in Didim to choose your hotel and the area that best suits you.
If you want to experience the real hustle and bustle of a Turkish market, then you should head up to the Saturday market, open each Saturday all year round, from early morning, till late afternoon.
Locals use this market for fresh produce, but you can also find trinkets, clothing, and accessories there.
The market is split into two halves for produce and other items such as textiles, so you do not need to navigate your way around the whole thing if you are looking for something in particular.
Saturday Market is in Central Didim.
With many restaurants and bars to choose from, you will not have a problem finding somewhere to go in the evening, all the way around Altinkum beach.
If you want to experience some live Turkish music, you will find many music bars around Altinkum, from rock to heartfelt melodies; there will be somewhere to let your hair down.
You will find something you are sure to love. Authentic Turkish cuisine in a beautiful sea view rooftop restaurant or some fresh fish caught locally that day.
After you have had your fill of food, head over to one of the open-air Night clubs for a dance; with popular DJs and artists live playing most nights; you may see someone you have your playlist already.
With multiple clubs all on the same street, it is easy to visit more than one place in an evening. These clubs have an entry fee which normally includes your first drink free.
If you have children with you, why not head over to the Luna Park situated on the hill at the end of Altinkum.
Just a short walk to the park will land you at the top of the cliffs in Altinkum, which have wonderful views.
The little ones pay no entry fee and pay as they ride.
Most rides are aimed at children between 3 and 11 years old. Yet, there are also activities for all ages.
With rides costing a little over a dollar a go, this can be a cheap and great time for all of the family.
Temple of Apollo
At the top of the High street of Didim, you will find Apollo Temple, an ancient historical site dating back 2,300 years.
Throughout the temple’s grounds, ancient stones sit among green grass and daisy flowers with the mystic head of Medusa with the snarling snakes.
The building that can be visited today is the temple erected in Hellenistic times as an unroofed building of worship.
Didim comes from the name Didyma; in its heyday, Didyma was not a city, but a place of worship, connected with Miletus by the so-called Sacred Way.
The pilgrims who arrived at Didyma used this road to seek answers to their questions.
The adjacent streets of the temple are beautiful as well, with lovely small cafes and stores overlooking the temple.
Additionally, a museum dedicated to Turkish refugees coming from the Balkans and Greece is near the temple. I found this museum very appealing maybe because both my grandfathers are one of those refugees.
Check out my guide on Things to Know Before Coming to Didim to learn more travel tips about Didim.
If you wish to discover more history, you should definitely head out to see the Miletus Ruins. With only a 25-minute scenic drive outside of Didim among cotton fields, you will arrive at Miletus from Didim.
The city, which turned into a swamp due to the flood brought by the Meander River in the Middle Ages, was cut off from the sea and gradually lost its importance.
Miletos has been the leading trade, culture, art, and science center of the Aegean since the 7th century BC.
The city, which the Persians captured in 546 BC, was completely burned and destroyed and was re-established in 479 after the defeat of the Persians.
This is a large site with a full-sized amphitheater spread over a grassy hillside. When visiting, ensure you wear comfortable footwear and take sun protection as you can easily spend hours at this site exploring.
There is a cafe at the site which offers refreshments, but we always pack and enjoy a picnic at this site among the ruins of the old market square.
There is a museum at the site with artifacts on display that have been found within the local ruins.
The site has a small entrance fee, but this can be paid when entering the site. From Didim, you will easily find tours or Taxi services that will take you there.
The region where the ancient cities of Miletus, Didim, and Priene are located is one of the most beautiful regions of Anatolia.
The word meaning of Priene is “Fortress Land”. Although it is not clear where the first settlement of the city of Priene was established.
In the middle of the 4th century, the city was re-established at the foot of Mykale Mountain in its current known place.
Two thousand years ago, Soke Plain was a sea, and Bafa Lake was a cove, but it was completely abandoned after the 13th century as a result of the swampy surrounding and a terrible earthquake.
This site gives you incredible views over the plain of Soke and the surrounding mountains, and it is a great spot to take some fantastic photos.
While the ancient city is well preserved, the roads are uphill and paved with marble stones. For these reasons, if you are wearing flip-flops, you will have a hard time walking uphill, sneakers or sports shoes will be better options.
While Soke is best known for its cotton, it is also famous for its textile factory outlets.
There are multiple outdoor shopping centers to visit, which house some of the leading Turkish brands and some western ones.
The main shopping mall is Novada Outlet, which has over 50 stores, multiple restaurants, cinemas, go-Karting, and a play center for kids.
In Novada Shopping Mall, there are outlets selling previous year’s fashion items with a steep discount. Every year, at the beginning of summer, we come here to shop for all of the clothes for the summer.
Along the outskirts of Soke, you will find multiple smaller outdoor malls.
Discover Didim Sea with Boat Tours!
There are multiple ways to get out to sea in Didim, depending on your budget and what you want as an experience.
There is a small docking area on the southwest side of the Altinkum promenade for the day trip boats here; you will find many options to choose from.
These boats range from quiet and relaxing to partying all day long.
Don’t forget to ask about their entertainment styles, I love the silent ones listening only to the sound of the sea.
Some are directed at Turkish residents but don’t let that put you off; they dance and sing more than all of the others!
With some offering foam parties mid-afternoon, this is a great day spent out at sea. The price for entry includes your meal of chicken, pasta, and fresh salad, which is normally $13.
Stopping off at local islands and coves, you will swim in bays most people can not reach on land. With most boats stopping at 5-6 places, it’s a great way to explore.
If you want to experience something a little more luxurious, you can rent a private boat for the day at the local Marina; most of these boats fit around 8-10 people and are a great option for adults.
Fishing trips can also be arranged in the morning and evening; most tour companies will be happy to help you organize a trip with a local company. All equipment is supplied, so no rob is needed!
Aqua Park Didim
Didim has a waterpark on the outside of town; while it is small, the aquapark has great amenities for children. ,
With most of the activities within the park being within small proximity to one another, older children can go and do their own thing while the parents relax.
Mid-afternoon, there is a foam party held in the middle of the park, which is loved by young people, and everyone is encouraged to get involved.
Some of the most popular attractions in the park are the slides for adrenalin lovers, deep swimming pools, and a large wave pool.
This park is close by and accessible by bus and taxi, it is a good option if you do not wish to travel to the larger parks in Kusadasi.
Karina Beach and Doganbey Village
If you follow the less beaten road after the ancient city of Priene, you will arrive the Karina beach. The beach is the delta of the Meander River.
Karina Beach is also one of the most romantic spots where you can take your loved one and enjoy Turkish tapas and fresh fish.
Additionally, be sure to stop at Doganbey village. The village is a castle of tranquility and you can literally write a book enjoying the breeze and the view of the sea.
Horse Riding and SUV Safari
How about a tour of the local lands on horseback or an open-top SUV.
Local companies offer these trips at nearby sites, which scale the surrounding counties.
What little one doesn’t want to ride a horse? Low prices for a great experience and the opportunity to take great photos, which can be done by a professional photographer on-site.
Some Tour companies could arrange for the ride to be at the beach if you wanted it to be by the sea.
Or join the private four-wheel-drive jeep tour known as the most incredible off-road adventure around Didim / Altinkum.
Get the chance to see the beauties of the environment along the roads passing through the mountains and enjoy lunch while enjoying the beautiful mountain-forest views.
Why not find a Turkish bath to visit and wash away any stress. Drop your swimsuits, wrap yourself in a towel and step into the marble-lined hammam or steam room.
In the second phase, you will lie down on the warm stone pavement for body cleansing, and after that, you will unwind with a massage with warm soapy bubbles.
After cooling down, you will feel completely refreshed.
Baths have existed in Turkey for centuries for a good reason; A serious refresher for the mind, body, and spirit.
Turkish baths are also great for helping increase your tan and exfoliating your skin.
Take a trip to Bafa Lake for a bite to eat with a beautiful view. A 30-minute drive will bring to you a huge lake crowned with mountains on each side.
There are two popular restaurants where you can sit on a waterside deck, and enjoy the beauty of nature at its finest.
There is a myth of a beast that lives within the lake (must be the cousin of Nessie :). This lake was once a bay in the Aegean Sea.
While a major highway runs along the lake’s southern edge, the northern side is home to little more than steep slopes and wild olive trees.
If you are a bird watcher, this and the surrounding rivers are a perfect place to see some of Turkeys’ finest birdlife.
There are countless hiking trails and great historical finds around the lake including the Yediler Monastery and Kerdemlik cave paintings which date back to 6000-5500 BCE.
The contrast between what we typically expect of the Aegean region and the area surrounding Lake Bafa will surprise you. It truly makes for the perfect holiday for almost anyone.