If you are looking for turquoise blue waters, sunshine and kiting in nothing more than your boardshorts just a short flight from Europe, then Gökova Bay, Turkey, is a cracking option. Flat waters, constant daily winds and a country steeped in history will keep the kiter and non-kiter coming back for more.
Three kilometres wide and with shallow water up to 150 metres out, the bay is suitable for all levels of rider. There are no obstacles such as trees, buildings or rocks and, with seven rivers entering the bay, the water is clear, clean and remarkably unsalty! Gökova Bay is essentially a flat water spot with tiny waves developing as you enter the deeper water. There is no noticeable tide in the bay to effect the kiting conditions. Other kiting spots nearby are Didim, Fethiye and Patara, approximately two hours drive away.
The location, orientation and surrounding land/sea mass make Gökova Bay the picture perfect thermal location, giving wind probability as high as northern Brazil. The area isn't dependent on the Meltemi wind, like Greece and Northern Turkey. A light sea breeze starts around 9am and accelerates to around 18-20 knots by noon in the summer season as the air temperature increases. The clean, smooth wind makes it the ideal place for beginners, intermediates and advanced riders to learn and progress. The season runs from April to the end of September; the strongest winds in July, August and September with higher temperatures, ranging from the early to late 30 degrees centigrade. Thermal winds keep the air temperature in the late 20's though, making it ideal for non-kiters to kick back with a book or swim in the bath-warm waters. This is a thermal location and therefore Windguru will not give you a precise forecast. As a rule of thumb, if it's sunny it's always windy! A shorty is recommended for April and May and something warm to wear for the evening. The rest of the season will see you in boardies and a T-shirt all day and night.
The Bay is a ten kilometre drive from Akyaka, so a hire car is advisable if you wish to come and go freely. Taxis will get you to the beach for around 40TL per day.
Gökova Bay is a nature reserve, so there is no accommodation at the kiting bay itself, making it an outstandingly natural and beautiful spot to kite. Self-catering apart/hotels and pensions to boutique hotels and private villas available in Akyaka. All are within walking distance of the village and bathers' beach. Pre-booking accommodation for July and August is advised. The Always Windy House in Akyaka contains apartments with WiFi, chillout space, projector screen, BBQs and bar.
Don't miss a Balik Ekmek for lunch - £2 will get you a traditional fish sandwich leaving you stuffed! Akyaka has three supermarkets and restaurants to suit all budgets, serving mainly Turkish. If you like your kebabs and köfte (meatballs) then you are in for a treat! Two weekly farmers' markets in Akyaka and in Gökova sell cheap, local, fresh produce. For amazing local fish, the river restaurants are not to be missed. Akyaka is very relaxed in the evenings, so for a more lively night out head to Marmaris, 25 minutes' drive away.
The Sakar Pass for stunning views of the bay and the islands. Walk/mountainbike in the forest, discovering secluded coves with crystal clear waters. Boat trips from the harbour head to Cleopatra's island for snorkelling and more. Visit the Ephesus Ruins and Pamukale's hot springs or the Blue Lagoon at Ölüdeniz is just an hour and a half's drive. Ölüdeniz also has many paragliding schools for joy rides and more. Turtle Beach in Dalyan is good for all the family.
Dalaman (DLM) is one hour away and Bodrum (BJV), two hours. Transfers are available from both airports but must be pre-booked. Taxis from Dalaman to Akyaka should cost no more than £60 each way.