Chasing beauty in Turkey: sunken ruins of Cleopatra’s bath

Cleopatra is known for her timeless beauty. Coincidentally, there’s a lot of timeless beauty to be found in Turkey. And where better to look for it than to go chasing the sunken ruins of Cleopatra’s bath near Göcek? A hammam where she is said to have bathed on several occasions. The reason for our visit was not the hope of finding eternal beauty ourselves, but only to admire the magical interplay of turquoise waters and submerged ruins. Something about it is fascinating, even on a warm but in the end rather greyish November day.

Inside The Ruins

Inside The Ruins

Cleopatra’s bath myth

As is the case with plenty of ruins, there’s a myth belonging to Cleopatra’s bath. And, as usual, there are different versions of the tale. But all have the location and Cleopatra in common. So, here we go! According to the myth, Cleopatra used to come and bathe in this bay. It is said that friends had built a Roman Bath for her here. Not all sources agree that the sunken ruins are those of a Roman Bath, some mention these are the remains of a monastery. Still, whether it was a Byzantine monastery or a Roman bath, the story of Cleopatra swimming in these waters survives. Legend has it Cleopatra visited the bay twice around 40BC, once on her honeymoon with Marc Anthony.

Scenic Cleopatra's Bay

Scenic Cleopatra’s Bay

We Have A Weak Spot For Arches Still

We Have A Weak Spot For Arches Still

Why would Cleopatra swim here? Apart from the undeniable beauty of the bay with its crystal clear waters bordered by pine tree forests? It seems hot water springs were coming from a crater lake behind the hills. The water was rich in minerals with elements such as Magnesium and Calcium proving to be healthy and embellishing the skin. Some say that even to this day, there is still some hot water released from the sand beneath the ruins. To witness it, you need to get there very early in the morning, when there is no wind yet, and the waters are supposed to be still. Word has it that if you look carefully, you’ll witness the movements in the soil.

Crystal Clear Water And Marvelous Ruins

Crystal Clear Water And Marvelous Ruins

Submerged Ruins At Hamam Koyu

Submerged Ruins At Hamam Koyu

How to get to Hamam Koyu and Cleopatra’s bath?

Hamam Koyu is situated between Dalaman and Göcek. The easiest way to get to Cleopatra’s bath is by boat. It is an anchorage spot for the many boat trips visiting the Göcek islands. The downside of joining a daily boat trip is that you’ll have to share the beauty with plenty more people. If you prefer to have it (almost) to yourself, go early in the morning, or very late afternoon when the day-trippers have left. Another option is to hike from Sarsala Koyu. Take the scenic route from Dalaman past Kapıkargın and Kocagöl for some pretty amazing vistas. You can park at Sarsala beach, which is lovely and very authentic and walk from there. As a bonus, you’ll find some ruins near the beach too, like an old olive cistern.

Kocagöl Just Past Dalaman Airport

Kocagöl Just Past Dalaman Airport

Sarsala Beach, The Start Of The Hike

Sarsala Beach, The Start Of The Hike

Scenic Route! Sarsala Is In Sight

Scenic Route! Sarsala Is In Sight

Whether you are hiking, or you are going by boat, you have the option to get some refreshments from the restaurant in the bay opposite Cleopatra’s bath. To say it isn’t cheap is putting things mildly, but the setting is stunning, so spoil yourself!

Nice And Quiet

Nice And Quiet

More Signs For Hikers Alongside The Bay

More Signs For Hikers Alongside The Bay

Use the map below to prepare your hike to Cleopatra’s bath. You’ll notice the hike is waymarked from Sarsala Beach. If you are hiking, consider hiking up to Lydae, an ancient city just up the hill from Hamam Koyu. It’s an untouched place with the remains of Roman and Byzantine times such as cisterns, temple walls, and inscribed columns and tablets.

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Prepare your trip to Turkey

Are you thinking of coming to Turkey? Great idea! We want to help you to come prepared. Have a look at our Turkey travel resources page and make sure you order your tourist visa for Turkey online before your travels. You’ll find a direct link to the official e-Visa website, and plenty more, such as biking routes and train travel in Turkey, or what emergency number to call when needed. Play around with our interactive map of Turkey to find the best itinerary for your trip. If you like the look of Cleopatra’s bath, but you’re not traveling in this area, check out the sunken ruins of Kekova, near Antalya and Kaş.

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All pictures ©. @aegean.images

Cleopatra's bath

Cleopatra's bath
Mediterranean Sea, Turkey
Direction

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