Tucked away, along the Western coast of Turkey sits a little idyllic town named Alaçatı. Known for its’ quaint, high-end and delightful atmosphere, many Turks escape to this village for a perfect summer day. The charming architecture of the buildings and the abundance of windmills are noticeable from miles away. While the town is not directly located on the water, it sits just a few minutes away from many gorgeous beaches.
I’ve been able to visit Alaçatı many times and even recommened the village to visiting friends - it is always a hit. Organic and natural foods are an important part of the Alaçatı culture therefore visiting in the spring, summer or early fall is especially wonderful because you can enjoy the optimal time for the seasonal food of the region. It should be noted that this is one of the more expensive Aegean holiday spots but absolutely worth every penny - or kuruş.
If you are coming from Izmir, Alaçatı is just an hour drive away. There are many bus, shuttle or rental car options available from Izmir directly to Alaçatı. Once you have arrived in Alaçatı, ditch the car and explore the town on foot. The gorgeous aesthetic of the village is darling - white walls, colorful flowers and cobblestone streets. Make sure to charge your phone, the photo opportunities are endless!
This town is rich in history and it has undergone many influences since its’ origin in the 14th Century. In the 17th century Ottoman Greeks settled in the village and in the 1900s, during the “Exchange Agreement,” Greeks vacated the Turkish land and were sent back to Greece. However they certainly left their mark on Alaçatı as seen through the architecture and design of the village. In recent years, the town has seen a revival due to its proximity to Çeşme (a popular beach town) and its ideal weather conditions for windsurfers.
Market in Alaçatı
We planned our day trip to Alaçatı on a Saturday because we wanted to visit the weekly farmer’s market (Alaçatı Pazarı). While I love all Turkish markets, the Alaçatı farmers market is particularly special. The variety and quality of seafood, vegetables, honey and nuts is a beautiful representation of this verdant and bountiful region. I bought a jar of dandelion tea (papatya cayi) because Spring happens to be the best season to consume this type of tea.
What to Eat
The restaurant and eating options are so decadent in Alaçatı. If you are there for a limited time, here are some staples of the town that anyone would be sad to miss.
In the town square, there is a corner coffee shop called Köşe Kahve (köşe = corner) that serves more than just coffee. They have delicious main dishes, desserts and a great alcohol selection. This is the best place to people watch and experience the town energy.
Another staple restaurant in Alaçatı is called Asma Yaprağı. It is the most beautiful farm-to-table Turkish food experience I have ever had. After being seated in one of their beautiful gardens, they pull you into their kitchen where you can choose from a gorgeous assortment of dishes. This the ultimate place to indulge in Turkish rakı or Turkish wine.
For the most authentic Turkish desserts, I love to stop by Imren Tatlicisi. If they have a table outside, snatch it up, order a dessert, then some Turkish tea and enjoy. I personally love their Kazan Dibi (caramelized milk pudding) which is a popular Turkish dessert originating in the Ottoman E mpire.
If you are looking to learn more about Turkish wines, please visit Arven Food & Wine. One of our favorite Turkish wines brands is called Paşaeli. Arven is stocked with a wide variety of delicious Turkish wines, including Paşaeli, and we always love to explore new brands and learn from the experts.
The town is stocked with gorgeous boutique shops. They are designer boutiques selling clothing, shoes and the latest beach fashion. There are also a number of stores selling hand-made food products like jams, jellies, oils, etc. But one of our favorite things to do is pop into the antique shops to find treasures. There are a number of vintage stores selling furniture, clothing, pins, gramophones, typewriters and more. Eskiden is a vintage store full of antique riches and it is not too far from the town center.
There are many events in Alaçatı that bring in large crowds to the town. Every April there is an annual Herb Festival called the Ot Festavli. Two years ago, I was able to attend. While the event was extremely fun and there were many free foods to sample, it was also a bit overwhelming. The narrow streets were full of tourists and vendors from all over the Aegean region. This event was very special but I do not feel the need to visit Alaçatı again during the Ot Festavli.
Alaçatı is a must-see destination when visiting Turkey. It is the perfect balance of a quaint town and a beach village vibe. I highly recommend at least one day to experience the charm that Alaçatı has to offer. If you chose to stay for more than one day, there are so many adorable boutique hotels in the area. Last Fall, my family stayed inside a windmill (Alaçatı Değirmen Otel) and it was adorable! Alaçatı’s laid-back and natural environment makes the perfect place to escape from everyday life.