Bafa Lake, Turkey

Also known as:  Lake Bafa, Bafa Golu

Bafa Lake has been eyewitness to history since before mankind began recording it. This lake in western Turkey was once a bay of the Gulf of Miletus on the Aegean Sea. Cave paintings in the mountains towering above the ancient harbor of Latmos Heraclea have been dated as originating 5000-6000 BC. According to Greek mythology, it was here in these mountains that the moon goddess Selene fell in love with – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Bafa Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Bafa Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Bafa Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Bafa Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Bafa Lake

Lake Locations: Turkey -

Bafa Lake has been eyewitness to history since before mankind began recording it. This lake in western Turkey was once a bay of the Gulf of Miletus on the Aegean Sea. Cave paintings in the mountains towering above the ancient harbor of Latmos Heraclea have been dated as originating 5000-6000 BC. According to Greek mythology, it was here in these mountains that the moon goddess Selene fell in love with the shepherd Endymion. She asked Zeus to command Endymion into a deep sleep, where she could visit him and ultimately bore him 50 children. Legend says that the mountains overlooking Bafa Lake have hosted cults devoted to the rain and weather gods, fertility and other local deities. In the seventh century and later, the mountains hosted many early Christian monasteries, the ruins of which can still be seen. Latmos was controlled by a succession of conquorers including the Carians, Hittites, Hellenists, Byzantines and Romans before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 13th century. All left bits of their history here, as the harbor was a major trade port off the Aegean Sea and later, part of a main trade route.

The Great Menderes Delta formed over time at the neck of the bay, eventually cutting off Bafa Lake from the Aegean Sea. This occurred during historical times, and the separation was complete during the Roman era. The separation was caused mostly by sedimentation building up from the Menderes River, although some geologists believe an earthquake in 17 AD completed the disconnection. Landlocked Bafa Lake is now about five miles from the sea. This disconnection likely led to the decline of Latmos Heraclea and the other villages around the shoreline. Evolution of the lake has created one of the most prolific birding areas in Europe and has made Bafa Lake an increasingly popular place for visiting naturalists, hikers and tourists wishing to get away from the crowds of Aegean seacoast resorts. In 1994, the Turkish government placed the entire lake and the cultural treasures surrounding it under protection as the 30,300-acre Aydin-Bafa Lake Nature Park.

Also known as Lake Bafa, the lake has no water sports or Riviera-style beaches, although sea-kayaks can sometimes be rented. What it holds is a charming series of guest houses, small hotels and ‘pensions’, plenty of campsites and excellent local restaurants. Tour boats can be arranged to take visitors to the north shore to visit ancient Latmos Heraclea. Local fishermen, for a small fee, will deliver visitors to the islands to view the ruins of monasteries or to observe nesting birds. Hiking opportunities abound, both rugged rock-climbing and the more genteel trekking along ancient paths of paving stones. A few informal swimming beaches exist, and several of the small hotels have swimming pools. Extensive wetlands along the western shore provide a natural haven for over 200 species of birds, some of which are endangered. Dalmatian pelican, pygmy cormorant, storks, fish eagle, common tern and heron can be found here, along with a number of birds that arrive seasonally. Sixty different varieties of orchids grow in the Lake Bafa area, while small forests of naturally-growing olive trees dot the hillsides.

A fishing cooperative operates commercial fishing on Bafa Lake. Although a freshwater lake, the water is slightly salty and holds a wide variety of fish including Bafa grey mullet, sea bass, sea bream and a famous local variety of eels. The local fishermen declare the eels breed in Mexico, then find their way across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Aegean and up the Menderes (sometimes called the Meander) River to Bafa Lake. The eels are a favored fare at local restaurants. In recent years, fishing has declined due in part to over-fishing: government officials are attempting to increase fish stocks. Even if eels are not one’s choice for dinner, the local restaurants offer a wide variety of locally-grown vegetables and fruits, with the local olive oil a prominent ingredient in many dishes. Some farming is performed around the shoreline, using Bafa Lake for irrigation.

Most visitors to Lake Bafa plan for much sight-seeing to the local antiquities. Some of the more popular destinations are: the Carian city of Latmos, Hellenistic Heraclea, Yediler or the Convent of the Seven Brothers, Stylos Monastery and numerous other ruins, city walls and fortresses depending on the departure point. If one has a car available, side trips to other ancient cities or to the coast can be reached within an hour or so. A few of the popular coastal resort cities offer tour buses to Lake Bafa, some of which include a boat tour of the islands or a trip to Latmos Heraclea. Lake Bafa is often considered a refuge of solitude from the busy and sometimes hectic resort activities, a perfect place to relax and catch one’s breath. Lake Bafa’s popularity is becoming better-known, and private vacation villas are being built around the shoreline. Many real estate advertisements tout building lots and existing properties.

Prior to 1978, Bafa Lake was privately owned and fishing was controlled. After the lake was nationalized, fishing cooperatives formed. Bafa Lake’s water has always come from the Menderes River during periods of high rainfall, via a canal and from underground springs. Changes in the landscape such as dams and levees caused by increased agriculture have threatened the lake’s very existence. In 1985, an embankment was built to protect cotton fields from the flooding river. As a result, inflows into Bafa Lake were interrupted. Warmer temperatures have caused higher evaporation and less water flowing through the Menderes River. The lake is relatively shallow, with an average depth of less than seven feet. Consequently, the lake began to dry up to the extent that the water level had to be artificially raised in 1990. At present, park officials and private groups are attempting to correct imbalances caused by man-made alterations and more tightly control fishing. If things go as planned, Bafa Lake will be around to witness many more millennia of history. So, get away from the hustle and bustle of the coast and let Lake Bafa’s history be a part of your future.

Things to Do at Bafa Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Birding
  • Ruins

Fish Species Found at Bafa Lake

  • Bass
  • Eel

All About Bafa Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Bafa Lake

The Bafa Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Bafa Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Bafa Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Bafa Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Bafa Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Bafa Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 16,951 acres

Shoreline Length: 35 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 7 feet

Average Depth: 6 feet

Maximum Depth: 82 feet

Drainage Area: 122 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Bafa Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Bafa Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Bafa Lake photos coming soon!
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  • Share this Bafa Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Bafa Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Bafa Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Bafa Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Bafa Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Bafa Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Bafa Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Bafa Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Bafa Lake forum group? Click Here

New Bafa Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi