While many of us associate the Aegean coast purely with the east coast of Greece, the Aegean Sea is also the body of water found on Turkey’s west coast, so don’t limit yourself when considering holidays on the Aegean coast. Because of its geographical position, the coast here enjoys a warm climate all year round, though it can get hot in summer.
Most visitors to the Greek Aegean coast seem to head to the Aegean Islands. The island of Samos is arguably the most popular, which can result in some overcrowding but also means that it is well supplied with amenities for tourists. Thassos holds some archaeological sites and possesses some attractive villages, while the other islands are somewhat off the tourist routes so they are a bit quieter and more authentic. In the past, these islands were part of the Ottoman Empire and that is clear to see in some of the architecture on Lesvos, Hios and Limnos, particularly in old mosques.
The Aegean Islands have some great villages and beautiful mountain scenery, together with traditional Greek villages. Be warned, though – it isn’t always easy to island hop because not all the islands have ferries running between them, so make sure you research and plan your transportation options carefully before you go.
The Aegean coast region is one of the poorest areas of Greece and few travel itineraries reach this part of the country. While it does mean there are less tourist facilities, it also means you’ll see more authentic Greece. For example, the Pelion peninsula is a fantastic drive, full of winding roads and stunning coastal scenery. This area has fantastic villages as well as great beaches and treks which hikers will love.
Though some of its history is shared with its neighbours in Greece, Turkey has a noticeably different culture. It is a great place to go for history lovers. Ephesus, for example, is an ancient city which you can wander around for hours, admiring and learning about buildings spanning hundreds of years of ancient history.
The city of Bodrum boasts the coastal Bodrum Castle, which was built by the Knights Hospitaller and is in excellent condition considering its age. There’s also a Museum of Underwater Archaeology with exhibits spanning the centuries.
The New York Times called Bodrum ‘the St Tropez of Turkey’ and once you see the beaches and coastline, it’s clear why. Enjoying the coastal views is a great way to enjoy your time on the Aegean. Best of all, it’s free! If you want to explore further, consider hiring a car, but make sure you have appropriate insurance and consider getting car excess insurance.
For those not interested in history, or who want to kick back and relax in the evening, Bodrum has dozens of bars and popular clubs for night owls! When daytime rolls around again and you drag yourself, bleary-eyed, from bed, blow away the cobwebs by taking a boat trip or going diving.