In summers, when the weather in Bodrum is perfect for those looking for an amazing beach vacation, the Bodrum reaches full bed capacity. With the arrival of summer house vacationists, a quiet fishing town is transformed to a popular touristic destination.
However, I do not feel comfortable in crowded places. Wherever I go, I look for peace and tranquillity.
The calmness that I am going after is everywhere in The Aegean from autumn to spring. When it gets crowded in summer, I need to be more proactive to get what I am looking for. Beaches are included.
In the town centre, you do not have many beach alternatives. The beach strip lying along the Bars Street is visitors’ first choice who want to stay close to the action in the town. Kumbahce Public Beach is the second option if you do not want to leave the town. Both beaches are in plain sight of visitors making them always popular based on their central locations,
There is one more beach which is close enough to walk to, but far enough to stay hidden for most of the visitors: Yelken Beach.
The Yelken Beach, also known as “Yelken” or “Yelken Club”, is a small beach which is just 1.9 kilometres away from the Bars Street.
Most of the tourists do not know Yelken beach, so the regulars of this little cove are usually locals who prefer to enjoy the sea and sun at a non-touristic piece of nature.
Yelken means “the sail” in Turkish. Yelken Club is the place where municipality’s sailing club is located. It is not a beach club where you can party all day.
Sadly, this is one of the few spots where locals can still enjoy the sun and sea around Bodrum. I think it is sad because in my conversations with Bodrumians, they always talk about the times when they used to swim just in front of their houses before tourism arrived. Today, their lands may be much more valuable, but they have to go somewhere else to freshen up under the hot Aegean sun.
Facilities at Yelken Beach
This is a public beach maintained by the municipality. There are no entrance fees, and you will not be charged for using the changing cabins, rest rooms, showers, sunbeds and umbrellas.
Besides these free services, the facility has a self-service café offering various types of food (pizza, hamburger, omelettes, sandwiches, salads, etc.) and drinks (hot or cold soft drinks and some alcoholic beverages).
Just behind the Yelken café, the building of the sailing club stands. If you have time, feel free to pay a visit to one of the instructors for sailing courses. It is fun!
The upper floor of the club building is an a-la-carte restaurant with a wider selection than the beach café. It is not a “gourmet” restaurant but it is a place where you can enjoy the great view at affordable prices.
The coastline of the Yelken is about 100 meters long. It is a narrow strip of sand and pebbles. The width is around 5-6 meters getting narrower to the east end. It lies on east to west direction welcoming the sunshine from early in the morning until sunset without interruption.
At the end of the pebble beach, just in front of the café, a wooden platform also provides space for some extra sunbeds. If the slippery pebbles make it hard walking into the sea, you can use the ladders of the platform as well.
The whole facility is owned and run by the Bodrum municipality. The municipality owns 16 more cafes and restaurants across the Bodrum Peninsula, and they all have the same menu and prices.
Yelken Beach is not open all year round. You can use the facility from mid-May till the end of September, sometimes mid-October. The working hours are between 08:30 to 21:00.
You can always go to the Yelken Beach even though it is closed in the low season. I think this is one of the best spots for watching the full moon. Take your drinks with you (red wine is the best) and walk to the end of the beach. Find a rock, sit on it and enjoy the silence with a spectacular night view.
Although this is not a crowded beach, finding an available sunbed in the afternoons can be a problem in the peak season. Therefore, I usually get there early in the morning. Since I usually stay around the Bodrum Marina, a 40-minute beautiful walk along the seashore takes me there. It is a good morning exercise.
After I get there, the first thing I do is to jump into the sea. Then I dry up and have a breakfast at the café. I usually stay there and read my book until the noon. Then I leave before it gets crowded.
The restaurant behind the beach café has a beautiful Aegean view. After relaxing on the beach, you can take your dinner here for a fair price. Do not expect some extraordinary local tastes but you would not regret ordering a “garaova kavurma” or “cokertme kebabı” which are tasty local red meat dishes.
Getting to Yelken Beach is very easy.
First alternative is to walk if it is not too hot for you. The walk takes 35 to 40 minutes from the castle.
Taking an Icmeler minibus from the minibus station is the second alternative, which is the easiest and fastest way to get there. They depart from the station and follow the Cevat Sakir Street before taking a left turn to Ataturk Street. You can also wait at one of the minibus stops on the route. In Summers, Icmeler minibuses depart every 10-15 minutes (20-30 in winters) so you do not wait too long. Just tell the driver the word “Yelken” and, he will drop you off right there.
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