GOKOVA, TURKEY

Akyaka  is one of the most beautiful villages on the Turkish Turquoise Coast (South West) situated right at the tip of magnificent Gokova Bay, on the road between Mugla and Marmaris. Gokova Bay with its 6 month continuous wind and open space is naturally very suitable for kiteboarding and has become one of the most attractive locations for beginners as well as having made a memorable impression on professional kiteboarders.

The fantastic bay located  amongst high mountains gives a riding opportunity to all levels of rider due to its increasing onshore daily thermal wind every day .Right on the east side of Akyaka Town, Akcapinar Beach is considered as the best spot in Turkey to learn and improve kiteboarding with its 3 kilometre long unpopulated, structure-free, tree-free and rock-free coast line; and shallow water 150m out from the beach.

WHERE TO STAY

Susam Hotel, Akyaka

Our top pick is the Susam hotel, a small, family run hotel right in the centre of town. You won't get a sea view but for 35 euros per night for a double room with a yummy breakfast and a clean swimming pool, you won't be complaining. The Susam offers basic but clean rooms with small balconies and en-suite bathrooms. Other options include apartments if you're in Akyaka for a longer stay or larger hotels. If you're coming with your family, the best option is the Yucelen hotel, a larger hotel, closer to the main public beach with a variety of rooms to chose from and a large restaurant.

KITESURFING

The main kitesurfing beach is a little way out of Akyaka - a 20 minute drive if you've got a hire car or a 15 minute boat transfer if you can sweet talk the locals! Contact one of the local kite schools before you travel to sort out a boat if you're coming with a group. We found it to be the most relaxing and fun to travel! Huseyin at KBG will be happy to help you.

Huseyin from Kiteboard Gokova

Huseyin from Kiteboard Gokova

The thermal wind blows consistently, every day throughout the summer season (June-October) from midday until 5pm. 10-14m kites are the most used out here but don't be surprised by a few small kite sessions during your stay. The wind blows pretty much dead on-shore but the water is shallow 150m out so it's not a problem, even for beginners. The water stays fairly flat until the wind really picks up on some days when it can get a big choppy. If you're a surfer, Gokova is not the place for you.

If you're looking for some lessons, we would once again recommend Hukeyin's school - KGB.

EATING

Most hotels offer breakfast featuring Greek style cheese, tomatoes, olives, bread, yoghurt and sweet pastries and they usually serve until around 11am. If you're staying in self-catering accommodation, there's a plethora of cafe's and restaurants along the beachfront that will fill you up until lunch. Once at the kitebeach, there are few eating options. There is a small cafe at the kite school but beware of the prices. Eating out is really cheap in Gokova but the kitebeach cafe does take advantage of it's monopoly. Speak to Huseyin or Vanessa from kiteboard Gokova and other local kiters - we managed to strike up a deal with another local cafe who delivered fresh sandwiches and drinks to the beach for us, at a much lower price than the kite school cafe. Dinner is a relaxed and informal affair in Gokova and you won't ever be left hungry. Common foods served include calamari, kofte (kebab style breads) and Turkish pizza breads or Pide (yum). The nicest restaurant we found was on the roof terrace of the Yucelen hotel - try their shrimp casserole. For another nice evening meal, spray on the bug repellent and head up the river. The first restaurant you come to serves delicious sea food.

DRINKING

There's a variety of bars along the beach front and along the main road in town. If you want to be by the water, there's some great bars just past the public beach with tables and seats out on the pier - prices are a little big higher than in some of the other bars but they have a great happy hour and if you're feeling the heat you can climb down the ladder off the pier and put your table in the water. Bliss. If you want to meet up with fellow kitesurfers, the best bar is the KA bar on the main road - a small bar with a great atmosphere, they're often showing kitesurfing movies on the big screen. Efes (Turkish beer) is served out of a saxophone made into a beer tap and there's a dart board to keep everyone entertained.

If you're after big clubs and parties, Marmaris is only 30 minutes away.

NO WIND?

The gulf of Gokova has plenty to offer on a no-wind day or to family members who don't want to spend every day on the kite beach. 40kms away in Dalyan Kaunos there are stunning caves to explore and mud baths to relax in. Talk to the kite schools who will also gladly organise kayak tours, white water rafting, paragliding and canyoning.

TOP TIPS

Walk to the top of the hill in Akyaka on Wednesday morning for the local market. You can grab breakfast here as well as local spices, olive oil, plants, fruits and vegetables of every imaginable variety. Soak up the local culture and treat yourself to a souvenir from one of the non-food stalls.

Don't forget that you'll need to pay for a visa at the airport before heading through passport control.  Visit the boarder information website to find out how much you'll have to pay (varies depending on nationality)

For more information about the area visit www.kiteboardgokova.com