Foça, Turkey

Phokaia Beach Resort

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Discover Turkey's extraordinary natural beauty, vibrant bazaars and outstanding hospitality

Turkey has long been a destination for heavenly holiday moments. The country’s Izmir Province is synonymous with its charm, offering up kilometres of pristine coastline, unforgettable sunsets, plus a rich, multi-layered history.


Foça, Turkey Weather

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Get out and explore

Our love for the area meant we had to add the Phokaia Beach Resort to our collection in 2018. Not only does our private stretch of Phokaia beach provide the ideal conditions for water sports, but the beautiful fishing village of Foça is just a 30-minute walk away. An evening stroll along the promenade, among the hum of the restaurants, sway of the fishing boats, and warm glow of the sunset, is exactly the kind of magical holiday moment we want our guests to experience. Get ready for the holiday of a lifetime and say hello to Phokaia Beach Resort.

Old town Foça, Turkey
Phokaia Beach, Foça Turkey

Local highlights

If you fancy a break from watersports, tennis, or basking in our Balinese beds, there’s lots to explore in the area surrounding Phokaia beach. 

With its rolling green hills and sparkling shores, the natural landscape is stunning—ideal for exploring on a Mark Warner bike. For the most romantic sunset views, hike (or bike, if you dare) to the top of Phrygian Hill. 

Take a 10-minute stroll north of the Phokaia Beach resort and you’ll find a handful of charming cafes and restaurants at the other end of the bay. Just a 30-minute walk in the other direction—or a 10-minute cycle—you’ll get to the pretty fishing village of Foça, where there’s plenty to see, eat and do. 

You may hear locals referring to Foça as Old Foça (Eski Foça), as the village has a younger relative 20km away, known as New Foça (Yenifoça). Old Foça is in fact very old, built on the ancient city of Phocaea. A number of historical landmarks still remain, from the medieval-era Foça Aqueduct, to the 18th century windmills, to the Beskapilar castle from the Ottoman era. With great restaurants and cafes too, you’ll no doubt want to pay more than one visit to this lively village. 

Siren’s Rocks

Looking out across the Aegean from the resort, you’ll spot Orak, one the Siren Rocks—otherwise known as the islands of Orak and Incir. The rocks were famously mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. In the text, the mythological creatures—who are half bird and half woman—would cause ships to crash into the rocks with their mesmerising song.

Beskapilar castle

This ancient fortress was the boathouse section of a castle which dates back to the Ottoman Period. The Northern end was marked by the Athena temple, and the five gates known as Beşkapılar (which means ‘five gates’) mark the southwestern end. In the 14th century, the Ottoman prince Şehzade Halil was kidnapped and held prisoner in the castle. The fortification has been restored a number of times, most recently in 1984. In 2013, the castle was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in Turkey.

Monk seals

The Mediterranean Monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. There are thought to be fewer than 700 left globally, and the coastal area of Foça is home to one of the three remaining populations. The endangered seals live on the Town’s small offshore islands, where access has been restricted to protect them. There is a long history of human exploitation and persecution of Mediterranean monk seals, stretching back to prehistoric times. It’s likely the seals used to rest and give birth on sandy beaches, but after years of harassment have retreated to isolated caves.

Local food and drink

There are a few lovely eateries in the area immediately surrounding the resort, but for a greater choice, and a lively atmosphere, head to Foça. In the evenings, we run a boat from the resort that takes you directly into the village harbour.

The food in Foça says a lot about the town itself. Many restaurants serve the best of traditional Turkish cuisine, reflecting the town’s loyalty to its values and culture. Living up to its coastal location, the seafood in the village is exceptional. Some of the best seafood restaurants are right on the coast, so you can enjoy ocean views as you dine. Look out for fish with yoghurt, plus a savoury pastry called an Albanian borek, which are both local specialities. 

There are also plenty of options if you’re in the mood for international favourites—or have a few fussy eaters within your ranks. Many places offer local takes on global classics, and there are also a number of pizzerias across the town. For lighter refreshments, Foça has a great selection of ice cream parlours, plus cafés serving teas, coffees and small snacks. 

Finally, foodies—listen up! Every Tuesday, there’s a local market supporting the international slow food movement. The Foça Earth Market was started to help promote the area’s endemic herbs and medicinal plants. Come discover local growers’ fresh and entirely organic agricultural products, from fresh fruits and vegetables to preserves, fresh herbs, cheeses and yoghurt. And if you’re visiting during August, make sure you stop by the Tarhana Festival taking place in the market square. The traditional food festival showcases organic, locally made products and is a wonderful way to learn more about traditional Turkish cuisine. 

Retail therapy

Foça is a great destination for a little retail therapy. Come browse the market stalls of the old town, selling leather goods, textiles and silver—and brush up on your haggling skills while you’re at it! Meanwhile, in the centre of Foça, there are some small shops selling gifts, food, drinks and clothing. 

If you’re looking for international brands, there are two great shopping centres within easy reach of our Phokaia Beach Resort. The Hilltown shopping centre is only a 50 minute drive from Foça and has a great selection of shops, including Tommy Hilfiger and GANT, plus restaurants and even a tailor service. 

Meanwhile, the Agora shopping centre is one of the best in Turkey, with many higher-end brands, as well as shops for your everyday essentials like Sephora and the Body Shop. 

For a shopping and cultural experience in one, nothing beats the Kemeralti Market in Izmir. The labyrinth-like bazaar dates back to the 17th century and is just an hour and 20-minute drive away. Along with a huge variety of shops, there are artisans' workshops, mosques, coffeehouses, tea gardens and synagogues to explore. With plenty of historical sites to see in the city too, you’ll be glad you made the trip.

Best days out

Whether you want to explore the hustle and bustle of a Turkish city, take a trip out into the Aegean or discover some of the country’s ancient wonders, it’s all up for grabs during your stay at the Phokaia Beach Resort. There are various guided tours available locally, or, you can hire a car and set off on your own adventure. 

Izmir

Come spend a day exploring the colourful bazaars, buzzing seafront and laid-back local lifestyle of Izmir. An 1 hour and 15-minute drive from the resort, this liberal-minded city is the third largest in Turkey. Don’t miss the historic clock tower on Konak Square, and if you’ve got time, the Arkas Art Center and Izmir Museum of History & Art are both exceptional.

Island boat tour

There are some beautiful islands surrounding Foça, including Orak, Incir and Fener which are best visited by taking a boat tour. Some tours will even invite you to catch your own lunch! If you are lucky, you might spot the rare Mediterranean monk seals sunning themselves on the rocky shores.

Dikili

Venture north up the Agean coast and spend a day exploring the blue flag beaches, thermal springs and pretty villages of Dikili. The coastal town and district is around a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from the resort. Nature lovers should look out for the Ataturk Botanical Garden, plus the Nebiler Village and waterfall.

Best beaches

The beaches around Foça are among the best in Izmir, offering crystal clear waters and stunning sunset views. Whether you fancy sand or shingle, peaceful or party vibes, there are plenty of nearby coves to choose from.  

Voodoo beach

Just around the corner from the resort sits Voodoo beach, a 10-minute walk away. Here you’ll find more golden sands and clear waters, plus the popular Voodoo Beach club known for its top hospitality and food.

Mersinaki beach

With white rocks and rugged plantlife overlooking its bright turquoise waters, Mersinaki is one of the area’s most colourful beaches. It’s just a 6-minute car ride from the resort, but make sure you pack some snacks—there are no bars or facilities along this peaceful cove.

Çanak Bay

This pretty, sand and shingle bay is close to the centre of Foça and around a 10-minute drive from the resort. It’s a lovely spot to watch the sunset, especially during the week when the beach is at its quietest.

Culture and history

Foça is built on the site of the ancient city of Phocaea. Named after the Mediterranean monk seals living in the nearby islands, Phocaea was founded by the ancient Greeks in the 11th century BC. 

The city later thrived in the middle ages, thanks to its active port and the region’s rich alum reserves, a material used in textile production. In 1275, Phocaea was taken over by the Genoese, and later the Ottoman Empire seized control in 1455. 

The population of Phocaea was mostly Greek, until the Ottoman Empire forced out the town’s Greek inhabitants in 1914. Much of the historic city was destroyed. The Turks replaced the churches with mosques and renamed the town Foça. 

There are still some remains of the ancient city, including the ruins of a theatre, a monumental tomb and Beskapilar—a fortress which has been partially rebuilt. From the well-preserved Greek-Ottoman houses, to the mosques and the ruins, you can discover much of Foça’s rich history as you wander around its streets.

If you fancy a day trip to further explore the region’s rich culture and history, the city of Izmir is just over an hour’s drive away from the resort. Come discover the many historical monuments, plus museums and galleries, dotted around this dynamic coastal city. 

Ephesus

Located just an hour and 45 minutes’ drive from the resort is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus. Wander around the expansive ruins of this ancient city and take a trip through history, from classical Greece, to the Roman Empire through to the spread of Christianity. Once one of the best preserved ancient cities in the world, you’ll discover town squares, baths and monuments and temples.

Izmir Museum of History & Art

History buffs will adore the Izmir Museum of History & Art, which has one of the best collections of ancient artefacts in the country. The museum is made up of three pavilions, including the Sculpture pavilion and Precious Objects and Ceramics pavilions. In the Sculpture pavilion you’ll discover masterpieces from ancient Smyrna, Teos, Miletos and Pergamon. Some sculptural fragments date as far back as the 3rd century BC. Look out for the statue of the river god Kaistros from the Roman-era and the Hellenistic three-figure stele from Tralleis. Meanwhile, the Precious Objects pavilion houses coins dating back to the early 7th century BC and a stunning collection of ancient jewellery.

Pergamon

An hour and 20-minute drive north east of Foça lies one of the region’s most fascinating historical landmarks. Pergamon was an ancient Greek city and its remains are a UNESCO World Heritage site, continuing to attract visitors from all over the world. The Theatre of Pergamon is often said to be the site’s most spectacular landmark. Originally built in the mid 3rd century BC, the theatre is thought to have once seated 10,000 people and is the steepest theatre seating in the ancient world. With a breathtaking view over the Selinus valley, the site invites you to marvel at the region’s rich history and landscape at once.