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Introducing Foça

Sometimes called Eski Foça (Old Foça) to distinguish it from its newer (and rather dull) neighbour, Yeni Foça, over the hill, this happy-go-lucky holiday town straddles both the Büyük Deniz (Big Sea) and the picturesque Küçük Deniz (Small Sea). Its Ottoman-Greek houses are among the finest on the Aegean coast and open onto a storybook esplanade where children fish and couples stroll from pension to restaurant in the shadows of Beşkapılar castle.

Foça was the site of ancient Phocaea, which takes its name from the seals (phoce in Greek) basking offshore at Siren Rocks, and was founded in the 8th century BC. During their golden age (5th century BC), the Phocaeans were great mariners, sending swift vessels, powered by up to 50 oars, into the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Seas; see a replica opposite Beşkapılar. They also founded Samsun on the Black Sea, as well as towns in Italy, Corsica, France and Spain.

More recently, this was an Ottoman-Greek fishing and trading port. It’s now a prosperous, middle-class resort, with holiday villas gathered on the outskirts and a thin, dusty beach with some swimming platforms. There are some more secluded beaches to the north heading towards Yeni Foça.

The otogar is just inland from the Büyük Deniz. Heading north from here, with the Büyük Deniz and its accompanying tour boats on your left, takes you through the centre of town to the Küçük Deniz. You’ll pass the tourist office, the PTT, belediye (town hall) and banks, before reaching the harbour after around 350m. Continue north along the Küçük Deniz’s shore for most of the pensions.