Not too far from Izmir, the third-largest city in Turkey is the Aegean resort town of Didim. Though the ruins of the sanctuary of Apollo are an impressive sight, the history behind it just as appealing. Back in that era, this town was a sacred precinct. The Oracle Temple of Apollo famed to have healing abilities was under the care of a clan of Delphi priests. It is also supposedly the place where Zeus gave birth to Artemis and Apollo. Quite fitting that the sanctuary for the God of Sun once stood here. The Aegean town has long sandy beaches with clear blue water and skies. To top it off a climate that makes water sports and swimming possible even in January. The combination of ocean, nature and mystic history make Didim an intriguing destination.
Things to do in Didim
The Oracle Temple of Apollo that you will see is not the original temple. This archaic shrine was first built in the eighth century. During an Ionian revolt in 494 BC, the Persians raided the temple and plundered its treasures. Reconstruction started after the event, overseen by Alexander the Great, but the temple wasn't ever completely reformed. From the ruins that remain, some sit on the tall grass and others on a bed of daisies. But the most popular one is of Medusa’s head with her hair of serpents. There are souvenir shops and restaurants nearby should you want to stick around long enough for a sunset photo of the temple. It is truly postcard-worthy when the light of dusk illuminates the ancient masonry. Or if you prefer, in between visit the nearby temples of Priene and Miletus. After your temple run hit the beach of Altinkum, just five kilometres south from Didim. It is a sandy sloping beach with gentle waves. Some boat touring, kitesurfing and windsurfing is available there. It is also a great beach for families with children to visit.
At Didim, it is easy to find quiet bays to relax at. The natural wonders surrounding Didim are very popular yet, making them great options off the beaten track. Visit the Lake Bafa Nature Park or the Buyuk Menderes River basin to reconnect with unspoilt nature. Within the town area, there is a weekly market where you can go bargain hunting, souvenir shopping or street snacking. There is also he Didim Aqua Park in case you are looking for a more fun-filled water activity. For the night time, there are a few seafront taverns with outdoor seating so that you can ponder over a glass of raki and watch the twinkling lights of the other towns across the sea.
How to get to Didim
Didim is small enough that the nearby towns and attractions are not too far to visit. The best way to reach Didim is by land. One can take a bus from Kusadasi and then transfer. However, if you want a break from the long journey or explore other resort towns do visit Cesme or the Grecian counterpart Samos Island.