Dikili is a coastal town in the Northern Aegean region of Turkey, and also gives its name to a district of a couple of dozen villages. It's a resort within easy reach of Izmir, and in 2021 had a population of 46,587.
This coastline has been settled since about 5000 BC, as primitive ships first hugged the shore then ventured out across the Med. It was easier to get about by sea than by land, but the sea also brought foreign interference and attack. And if it didn't some day wreck your harbour and erode your waterfront, then it did something worse, beyond human remedy: the sea might retreat and leave your city stranded. That may have been the fate of Atarneus, now abandoned rubble several km inland.
Not much happened for the next few thousand years, as the great convulsions of world affairs largely bypassed Dikili. The last major conflict was 1919-1922, when it was part of Smyrna, the territory seized by Greece in the aftermath of the First World War. For the most part it was a sleepy agricultural district with a side-line in tourism. Meanwhile Izmir, the former Smyrna, burgeoned to the south, and better highways brought Dikili within a day-trip of Izmir and an away-weekend of Istanbul. The population soared. So in summer this is a busy resort strip, but in winter it remains very quiet.
Dikili is 120 km (75 mi) north of İzmir, follow E87 / O-33. Driving from Istanbul, follow O-7 then O-5 past Bursa to Soma, then D240 west to the coast.
Buses from Istanbul run every couple of hours, heading for Izmir, and take 8 hours for an adult single fare in 2022 of 450 TL. Buses from Çanakkale take 3 hours, 65 TL. Operators on these routes include Metro Turizm, Pamukkale and Flix Bus. From Izmir look for a local bus or dolmuş.
1 Dikili Terminal is the inter-city bus station, 2 km northeast of the centre. However a local bus might drop you downtown.
Ferries no longer sail to Dikili from the Greek island of Lesvos - travel via Ayvalık. Cruise ships often call, bussing their passengers to nearby Pergamon. With your own boat, make sure you know where the international boundary lies, and clear Turkish immigration and customs.
2 Dikili port is central in town.
Bus 837 runs roughly hourly from Dikili Terminal to town centre and the port, then south to Demirtaş, Deliktaş and Çandarlı. It then loops along the gulf coast to Aliağa, the north terminus of Izmir's IZBAN metro system, and with a frequent Bus 835 to Bergama.
For Bademli and the coast road to Denizköy look for a dolmuş, but you might need a taxi. There's no bus this way - timetables you see online are referring to Bademli the north suburb of Bursa.
- Merkez Cami the town centre mosque is 100 m inland from the port. It was built of wood in 1789, without using nails.
- 1 Atarna is the local name for Atarneus (Ἀταρνεύς). It was a great city in the 4th century BC, when Proxenus was tutor to young Aristotle. It was abandoned in the 1st century BC, perhaps because the sea was receding and becoming too shallow to navigate, and has yet to be explored and excavated in detail. So you'll have to use your imagination with the jumble of overgrown masonry on the hillside.
- 2 Demirtaş and Delitaş are villages with trails up into the pine woods, and caverns in the mountainside.
- 3 Nebiler is a village in the hills. Nearby is "Weeping Cave", more like a cavernous overhang, and hot springs. A 30 min hike brings you to a pleasant waterfall.
- 4 Kane Antik Kent: again use your imagination, as the stone blocks littering the shore are the last relics of an ancient port, from the days when this was Argennusa island. It was probably just a stopover or entrepôt rather than a cargo terminus.
- 5 Garip island together with Karem island closer inshore are resorts, although development on Garip has stalled. The third island to the north, Argennusa, has become fused to shore as the Kane Peninsula. In 406 BC this archipelago was the site of the naval Battle of Arginusae, when a scratch Athenian fleet routed a stronger Spartan fleet. The victorious commanders perhaps expected a homecoming parade but were put to death for not doing enough to help their own wounded and drowning.
- 6 Kara Göl ("Black Lake") is in a crater, stained by its mineral content - don't drink it or swim in it. It's easiest reached by a 2 km hike up the track from Bimeyko on the coast. This track continues north through the hills to Merdivenli, so you can approach by a longer hike that way. Near Merdivenli the route passes a smaller crater lake which is more greeny-beige, almost as enticing, but asking directions to Bej Göl will get you nowhere.
- 7 Çandarlı is the largest and most interesting of the villages around the peninsula, a fishing harbour morphed into a holiday resort. The castle is 15th century, well-restored but seldom open. The ancient city of Pitane was centred a little south of this.
- The main beach is north of the port, sandy and stretching for 10 km. South the coast is rugged, with pebbled coves round the peninsula to Çandarli.
- Alder Aquapark[dead link] is on the shore 2 km north of the port. It's open daily in summer 10:00-18:00.
- Thermal springs bubble out in many places, including Bademli, Nebiler and Kocaoba, but they haven't been developed into spas.
Supermarkets and small stores cluster around the harbour, and along Atatürk Cd towards the bus station. Carrefour is the largest in that direction, open daily 08:00-22:00.
- The town offers the standard East Med fare of fish, kebabs, veg and meze. Eating places are by the harbour and include Ikizler Aile Lokantasi, Neşeli Mantı, Levent Et Balık Restoran, Levent Cafe, Dikili Isele Balik Rstoran (below) and Sayın.
- Dikili Iskele Balik Restaurant, Atatürk Cd 23, ☏ +90 533 035 9322. Daily 10:00-00:00. One of the few places outside the hotels with white-table restaurant dining. Reasonably priced fish, and you're paying for the sunset views.
- Along the beach strip north of the port are Gravity Cafe, Narkiss, Calypsodikili Beach Club, Aegean Cafe and Atarna Bar.
- South are Ahpub, Brothers Cafe, Kavun çekirdeği and Secret Club.
- Dikelya Otel, Uğur Mumcu Cd 5, Dikili (500 m north of port), ☏ +90 232 671 5007. Boxy modern beachfront hotel, extended in 2022. B&B double 1500 TL.
- Dikili Sunset Club Hotel, Uğur Mumcu Cd 13, Dikili (next to Dikelya Otel), ☏ +90 232 671 8856. Comfy friendly beachfront hotel. B&B double 1500 TL.
- 1 Malena Hotel, Cumhuriyet Bvd, 385 Sk, Dikili, ☏ +90 232 671 0112. Tiny rooms, but clean and comfy enough. B&B double 800 TL.
- Perla Hotel just south of the port remains closed in 2022.
- Pansiyons are found in Dikili and all the associated small resorts, but mostly remain closed.
- Çandarlı also has half a dozen hotels, which get discouraging reviews.
Dikili and its approach roads have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Aug 2022, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.
- Ayvalık north has traditional Cretan architecture, bridges to its resort islands, and ferries to the Greek island of Lesvos.
- Bergama east has the impressive Graeco-Roman ruins of Pergamon.
- Izmir south is a lively city.
- Istanbul to Izmir is a long-distance itinerary with one loop passing through Dikili.
|Routes through Dikili|
|Çanakkale ← Ayvalık ←||N S||→ Bergama → Izmir|