Wake up to Village Life

Agriculture, fishing, cooking, and handicrafts in Kapıkırı on Bafa Lake

Our car slows as asphalt turns to gravel. Around the next bend we brake behind a dozen dairy cows, heavy with milk, being cajoled home by a village woman from the back of a donkey, shalvar pants ballooning out in the wind. Our daughter exclaims something in gurgling glee. We look beyond the road. The sun is just setting. The lake is bathed in liquid gold. The colossal boulders strewn across the hillside look like a giant was playing marbles and forgot to clear the mess. We roll into Kapıkırı village, not faster than our bovine friends, and take it all in. Our home for the next week, we will discover life in the village and show our children that eggs, milk, and vegetables come not from a supermarket, but from chickens, cows and soil.

Overview

The Village

Unlike other villages close to ancient sites in the region that have been cleared to provide unhindered access to tourists, the picturesque village of Kapıkırı on Bafa Lake has been left largely to continue the alluring entanglement with its predecessor, ancient Heracleia. Village houses are interspersed with the ruins, the bases of columns used as garden tables or integrated as fence posts in livestock pens. Children play soccer in the agora and laundry has been hung across the bouleuterion (ancient council chamber). The village is officially protected as a cultural and historical heritage site which helps keep construction of new buildings or changes to traditional ones in check. Historically Heracleia was a trading port until the Latmus Gulf was cut off from the ocean by the silting of the Meander River. Heracleia welcomed its first tourist back in 1764 when English antiquarian Richard Chandler stayed here on his two-year journey through Asia Minor. Nowadays, the local economy is based largely on subsistence farming, with milk and olive oil the most important agricultural products.

Highlights

  • Collect eggs and milk for breakfast every morning
  • Plant, pick or harvest seasonal and regional agricultural products
  • Picnic in a centuries-old olive grove
  • Explore the ancient ruins of Heraclea
  • Prepare Turkish delicacies with local women
  • Set off on a boating or fishing trip to Bafa Lake
  • Visit nearby Milas on its vibrant market day
  • Try carpet weaving and other handicrafts in the home of a local family

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to Turkey! Arrival in Izmir or Bodrum, airport pick-up and transfer to Bafa Lake and the Agora Guesthouse in Kapıkırı Village. Welcome dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 2
Wake-up to the sound of the rooster crowing, the donkeys braying and the cows mooing. Collect eggs from the guesthouse’s chicken coop, milk the cows and bring both back to the guesthouse for an amazing Turkish breakfast. Get the lay of the land by exploring the ruins of the ancient city of Heraclea, upon which the village is built, with a local guide. Lunch and a break at the guesthouse. Afternoon saunter to an olive grove. Dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 3
Daily option to participate in collecting the eggs and milking the cows in the mornings. Abundant Turkish breakfast. After breakfast we will walk to a vegetable garden close by in an olive grove beside Bafa Lake and, depending on the season, seed, plant, weed, pick, or harvest diverse agricultural products for the day. Getting your hands dirty desired! Picnic lunch in the olive grove, we will make a fire. Return to the guesthouse. Free-time until dinner.

Day 4
After breakfast we will leave on an excursion to the nearby city of Milas, which has a vibrant weekly market day that is not to be missed! Depending on the interest of the group, we offer the option to visit a school classroom in Milas. We will have a lunch of Turkish pide in town. Lazy afternoon at the guesthouse. Another amazing dinner with local specialities by the women of the family.

Day 5
The imam and his wife invite you to their home in the morning for a demonstration of the ancient tradition of weaving kilim rugs and will show you some that have been in their family for centuries. We will return to the guesthouse for lunch and a break, before setting off again in the afternoon to watch some of the women in the village with their handicrafts (olive soap, lace). Opportunity to support the local economy in a relaxed atmosphere. Another Turkish culinary creation by Mrs. Serçin for dinner.

Day 6
After another copious breakfast we head off strengthened to an excursion day on Bafa Lake. Weather permitting we will go on a boat trip to the islands, go fishing from shore, or observe nesting birds, see the ruins of Byzantine monasteries, and visit a pristine sandy swimming beach. Picnic lunch will be provided for the excursion. After a break back at the guesthouse, we will try our hand at helping Mrs. Serçin in the kitchen. Depending on the interests of the group we will make Turkish jam with seasonal fruits like mulberries or strawberries or learn how to prepare some of the dishes we will eat for dinner.

Day 7
We will accompany our guide to bring the donkeys to the olive grove in the morning, visiting some of the breathtaking frescoes and underground cave paintings for which the Latmos region is famous along the way. Leaving the donkeys to graze we will return to the guesthouse in time for lunch. As this will be the farewell evening, guests can choose to follow their own interests for the afternoon, or choose to help with the preparations for an extravagant barbeque. A local musician will accompany the dinner on his saz and serenade guests late into the night.

Day 8
Return day and transfer to Izmir or Bodrum airport. Farewell!

Included in the Price

  • airport transfers on arrival and departure days
  • 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner); water, coffee & tea included
  • English-speaking, local guide
  • 7 nights at the Agora Guesthouse, based on double occupancy with your own facilities
  • Children and infants 0-6 years old are free, children 7-12 years old receive a 50% discount

Excluded: return flights to Izmir or Bodrum, personal expenses & drinks

  • easy
  • 7 nights
Booking Code: VILALIFE
Region: Kapıkırı Village, Bafa Lake
Duration: 8 days
When to go:
Group size: 12 max, guaranteed departure starting at 1 person
Price per person: 730 €
Single Room: add 70 €
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