1. Karakaya Retreat – Bodrum
This paradisiacal valley in the Aegean is, as its name suggests, surrounded by black rocks. An Aegean corner filled with olive trees, mountain lavenders, yellow daisies and colorful flowers and plants that you may not have seen before. Birdsong will be your background music, breathtaking sunsets your backdrop, and you will love it here. Forget the crowds, the hills filled with houses and the crowded beaches that usually typify Bodrum. This is a completely different Bodrum, accessed after crossing the hills of Gümüşlük. Karakaya Retreat is fully integrated with the region’s nature: No Wi-Fi, no television, no fuss, no noise. What there is: fresh air, healthy eating, friendship, sincerity and excellent conversation.
Karakaya Retreat is a family business that welcomes guests seeking to explore a holistic lifestyle. In addition to stunning views, the Retreat offers detox programs, as well as yoga, meditation and workshops. Moreover, it is only an hour’s drive from Milas-Bodrum Airport. Now is the time to get away from the city and explore this delightful corner of the Aegean.
2. Pastoral Valley – Fethiye / Muğla
Pastoral Valley – a farm nestled in a valley surrounded by pine forests in the Yaniklar Village of Fethiye – is the ideal setting for an eco-friendly holiday. Here, you can stay in stone, wood and adobe houses, and eat produce grown on the farm. If you wish, you can participate in kitchen and garden activities, or try weaving in local culture and handicraft workshops. As well, there’s pottery making and wood carving, along with tarhana, noodle, jam and pickling workshops.
Pastoral Valley, which periodically hosts yoga and meditation retreats and personal development seminars, is 15 km from Fethiye and 40 km from Dalaman Airport. It is a gem waiting to be discovered by those seeking an authentic Aegean village experience.
3. Doğanbey Village – Aydın
Let’s discuss a very different Aegean village. In Doğanbey, residents are committed to sustaining a simple and natural life, while protecting their village from the harsh effects of tourism and capitalism. The doors are always open to guests who wish to experience a true retreat, but the village has remained free of touristy cafes and restaurants.
In the streets, you can see signs requesting that visitors “please respect our silence” and “refrain from taking commercial photos”. This is a village that deeply respects nature and life, and Doğanbey will embrace guests who share that respect. Note: There is just one café in the village, and only two hotels, so plan your retreat accordingly.
4. Hızır Camp – Kaz Mountains
Considered the pearl of the North Aegean, the Kaz Mountains feature abundant nature, stunning views and wonderful areas for camping and hiking. Hızır Camping is among the most beautiful of the Kaz Mountains destinations. Set on the outskirts of the Kaz Mountains, also known as “The Mountain of Goddess” in Ilyada of Homeros (Binbir Pınarlı Ida Mountain in Turkish), Hızır Camping is 2 km from Mehmetalan village of Edremit, and within walking distance from the border of Kazdağı National Park.
Be prepared for a completely natural environment where vegetables are collected from the camp’s organic garden and where electricity is generated from solar panels. You can simply relax and enjoy nature, or you can participate in yoga and meditation sessions, hiking activities and more. Whatever you do, it will be in a peaceful setting far away from crowds of people.
5. Yediburunlar – Fethiye / Muğla
This is true seclusion in the South Aegean. A fascinating view, endless vistas, and a unique – and isolated – setting. Naturally, it is not easy to reach: Yediburunlar village is 50 km from Dalaman Airport on an uphill road surrounded by pine forest.
After taking a short break in the village, you travel another 10 minutes to Yediburunlar Lighthouse, where you will stay. The drive is worth it. Six hundred meters above sea level, the facility overlooks the magnificent Aegean bays. You’ll dine on fresh local food and enjoy yoga sessions in an airy lounge with sea views. Trekking in the region allows you to access deserted bays and even see part of the celebrated Lycian Way.