Didim, taken from Didyma – an Ancient Greek sanctuary, contains a 2,300-year-old Temple of Apollo that is in excellent condition and is connected via a “Sacred Way” to the old civilization of Miletus, a few miles to the north. The temple, as well as the remnants of other antique settlements that formerly flanked a gulf that was wiped off the map hundreds of years ago when the Meander River Delta silted up, impressed even non-classicists. Modern Didim shines for its beaches on sandy bays and tiny rocky coves, all with crystal clear waters, in addition to its rich heritage. Let’s spotlight the things to do in Didim Turkey.
Temple of Apollo
Didyma’s centrepiece is one of the biggest ancient temples ever built, both then and now. This Hellenistic edifice was built on the site of two predecessors dating back 400 years in the 4th century BCE. This structure’s platform (crepidoma) has seven steps and measures almost 60 metres by 120 metres.
A double row of Ionic columns, each about 20 metres tall, surrounds the temple, two of which remain at their original height. A vestibule (pronaos) with three rows of four columns sits atop the massive staircase. One of them has been preserved in near-perfect form.
The main beach in Didim has an unmistakable allure. There’s a wide crescent of soft and light sand on a scallop-shaped bay that’s roughly 500 metres long. Altinkum Plajı, one of the best things to do in Didim Turkey, is Didim’s tourism hub, and the Yal Cd. behind it is lined with apartment buildings with cafes, restaurants, grocers, and souvenir shops on the lower levels.
Between the two is a paved promenade that follows the bay and features benches and flower beds shaded by swinging palms. The shallow and quiet surf at all of Didim’s public beaches is something to cherish, especially on windy days. If you wish to relax on a sun lounger, there’s a beach club just a few yards away.
Ancient Greeks revered the large archaeological site on the northwest edge of modern Didma. Didyma was a sanctuary known for its Apollo oracle and a temple that was known throughout the old world. The Temple of Apollo is in excellent condition, and we’ll dedicate an entire paragraph to it next.
While this is the pinnacle, Didyma has a lot more to offer, including some recent discoveries. A Roman theatre, a stadium, and the huge remnants of an Artemis temple can all be found in Didyma – one of the best things to do in Didim Turkey.
Didim was on the south side of a peninsula that jutted out into the Aegean in antiquity. The ancient city of Miletus, a harbour at the mouth of the now-dried-up Latmian Gulf, lay on the north side. Miletus dates back 5,000 years to Neolithic times, and it was at its peak before the Persian Invasion in the 6th century BCE. This was one of Ionia’s wealthiest and most powerful communities at the period.
Thales, the mathematician and philosopher, was born here and is credited with being the first Greek to deviate from mythology and employ science to describe the natural world and universe.
The shoreline cuts in and out on a series of little bays southwest of Didim’s centre, with almost no trace of mass tourist among the rocks and vegetation. Manastr Koyu, which is named after a neighbouring monastery, is one such cove. This location offers the barest of amenities, which is part of its allure.
A narrow, curving sandy beach leads into the cove, which is flanked by a large expanse of dazzling turquoise sea. This, like most of Didim’s beaches, is a kid-friendly spot, as safe as a paddling pool. On the outskirts, there’s a temporary cafe and three-deep rows of sun loungers and parasols.
Miletus Archaeological Museum
It’s no wonder that Miletus has given up a large number of artefacts, even if many of them made their way to Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Miletus Archaeological Museum is worth visiting if you want to learn more about Miletus’ history.
The galleries are presented in historical order, starting with the Minoan and Mycenaean periods, when Miletus had significant relations to Crete and Ancient Greece. The majority of the exhibits date from the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods, and include Sacred Way sphinxes, numerous ceramic vessels, Hellenistic gold cups, a plethora of jewellery, terracotta figurines, and an imposing statue of the river god Meander from the Faustina Baths.
Lake Bafa, now preserved as a natural park 15 minutes inland from Didim, was formerly the eastern curve of the Latmian Gulf, which was home to many of the area’s ancient cities. As the Büyük Menderes River’s delta sank, the coastline migrated west throughout the centuries.
If you have a car, the D525 road climbs high along the southern shore, providing spectacular views of the lake and the hilly, pristine north side, which is studded with a mix of natural and cultivated olive orchards. There are areas to stop along the coastline and take in the scenery, as well as see the flamingos and other birds that call the lake home. Contemporarily, it’s one of the best things to do in Didim Turkey.