The ruins of Knidos (kuh-nee-dos), a once-prosperous Dorian port city dating to 400 BC, lies scattered across the western tip of the Datça Peninsula. Steep terraced hillsides, planted with olive, almond and fruit trees, rise above two idyllic bays where yachts drop anchor and a lighthouse perches dramatically on a headland. You may even see Mediterranean monk seals swimming offshore here.
The peninsula's unpredictable winds meant that ships often had to wait for favourable winds at Knidos (also known by the Latinised name, Cnidus); this boosted the boat repair business, hospitality and general trade. St Paul, en route to Rome for trial in AD 50 or 60, was one of many maritime passengers forced to wait out the storm here.
Although few of the ancient buildings are easily recognisable, the city paths are well-preserved. Don't miss the round temple of Aphrodite Euploia, which once contained the world's first free-standing statue of a woman. The 8000-seat Hellenistic lower theatre and the sundial from the 4th century BC comprise other ancient attractions, as do the remnants of a Doric stoa with a cross-stone balancing precariously on top and some fine carvings in what was once a Byzantine church.
The on-site restaurant at Knidos is only open in summer – it's worth a stop more for the great views than the overpriced food.
Knidos is a one-hour drive from Datça, along a winding and scenic road. Hiring a car or scooter allows you to detour onto the back roads on the peninsula's southern coast. Datça Koop will take up to three people to Knidos and back, with one hour's waiting time, for ₺200.
From June to mid-September, Palamutbükü dolmușes (₺12) leave from the Datça otogar for Knidos at 11am and 4pm, returning at 2.20pm and 8.30pm.
Datça harbour excursion boats also visit Knidos in summer, leaving around 10am and returning by 7pm and cost from ₺60 including lunch and soft drinks.