A long-time summer hotspot for well-heeled Istanbulites, enchanting Alaçatı has somehow managed to retain a sophisticated, unspoiled character. Largely undiscovered outside Turkey, Alaçatı is one of the most idyllic and authentic towns in the country, its pastel-blue shuttered, whitewashed stone houses draped in purple bougainvillea and its cobbled alleyways buzzing with outdoor cafes, art galleries, boutiques, and courtyard restaurants.
Punching far above its weight when it comes to its culinary scene, Alaçatı is packed with alfresco foodie hotspots, each celebrating the recipes and traditions of Aegean cuisine. You’ll be feasting on endless plates of meze bursting with local produce handpicked from the town’s market and the surrounding countryside.
Inhabited by the Greeks until the 1920s, Alaçatı spent decades as tiny farming village forgotten by time. It was discovered by the windsurfing community in the 1970s – thanks to the ideal sea and wind conditions – and also by Turkey’s cultured elite who yearned for a summertime retreat but ended up liking the place so much that many eventually settled here, restoring crumbling buildings into boutique hotels and restaurants.
This well-preserved, laid-back town is quieter by day when most flock to the nearby white sandy beaches that are lapped by crystal-clear, warm Aegean waters. Just be sure to discover the entire peninsular – whether it’s exploring the castle or hiring a boat at Çeşme marina, eating at one of the excellent fish restaurants in Dalyan or heading further afield for wine tasting at Urla’s vineyards.
There’s one thing that’s clear – Alaçatı will not remain Turkey’s best-kept secret for much longer.