Most of what you see today as “Göcek” is actually a town built on a grid plan in the late 1980s/early 1990s to boost and serve the then newly-emerging tourism in the area, on what was hitherto the coastal plains of the village of Göcek. Up to that date, much of the plains was covered with marshes and some farmland, along with a small port used for exporting logs harvested from the surrounding forests for paper-milling, and chromium ore, found abundantly and extracted since the late 19th century in the surrounding mountains and the reason of many men from surrounding towns—who are now commemorated by a bronze mine worker statue at the town plaza—immigrating to look for a job at a time when, in the absence of tourism, there were little alternative ways of earning livelihood in this hilly region unfit for large agricultural operations.
The “real” village of Göcek, lying about 2-3 km uphill from the waterfront and north of the main highway, is still extant and retains its village atmosphere to some degree, with freely roaming sheepdogs and roosters here and there, and omnipresent mulberry trees casting their deep shadows much needed in this sunny and hot climate—quite a different world from the modern centre, in short. However, the village itself is now being slowly engulfed by summer villas of urban dwellers from elsewhere.
GOCEK’S PLACES TO VISIT
While the town of Göcek has very little to see, its major draw is the coves and isles—which are collectively called Oniki Adalar, i.e. “Twelve Islands”—of the Gulf of Göcek, surrounded by mountains and pine forests rising right from the coastline.
The beautifully-landscaped and palm lined waterfront promenade can be a sight in itself.
The pleasant Central Mosque (Merkez Camii), just behind the waterfront at the side of town plaza, with its non-traditional red-tile roof and colourful tiles with illustrations relating to Göcek’s history and seafaring on its outside fountain, might be worth a check.
WHAT TO DO IN GOCEK?
Yachting. This is the best way to explore the coves of Göcek. If you don’t own one, you can rent a yacht in town monthly or weekly. If doing that leaves a hole on your wallet, then you can join hordes of families taking a daily cruise around the gulf. They depart from the promenade on the coast.
Swimming. While heavy yachting together with little environmental regulations make it unpleasant to swim directly in the town centre, outer coves still (partially) retain their former beauty—well, the land is as beautiful as it could be, but it is not very uncommon that the yachts directly dump their bilge water, especially in the evenings, and even at outer coves. One of the easily accessible coves is İnlice, run by town council, east of the town of Göcek, with dolmuş services from town centre. Travellers preferring to head their beach on their own stream may check out Ayten, about 6 km west of the town (also attainable by car). Start your walk from in front of the factory with a big “Mopak” sign, then walk past the marshland (don’t worry, you’ll be walking on a wide tarmac road through it) and then the Club Marina. If Ayten is far too crowded for you, keep walking to find a secluded little cove. You’ll come across one soon! Behind Ayten beach is a black hose with very cold water coming from the top of the mountain. It’s possible to take a free -and quick- shower there.
Boat Tours, Public boat tours are arranged from almost all the island and beaches.With daily yacht tours you can leave at 10:00 in the morning and return at 17:00 in the afternoon. Or, you can make early reservation with the tour operator of your choice. Boat tours are a good way to explore various beaches and Gocek gulf, surrounding Gocek, In the meantime, you can see many bays and islands that cannot be reached by land in Göcek Bay.