I wanted to show the other side of my family (in-laws) the beautiful sea side of Turkey, hence so called Turkish Riviera. As you see below it is from Alanya to Çeşme.
We made half of the way (Antalya to Datça) in 2 weeks changing 6 hotels. If you’re ready for the road trip we begin:
So, I should begin with Antalya city center. Antalya is the fifth most populous city of the 81 cities in Turkey with 2,5 mio. Well I call it city, but we better call it a province, as the term city has a different perception in each geography. Antalya has an international airport; so especially in summer there are many direct flights from many European cities.
We stayed at the old town also known as “inner fortress”. The old town has structures dating from the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman and Turkish republican eras. We stayed at a mansion which was sort of a boutique hotel. Looking like this:
Because of Corona, we were the only guests so we occupied three of their rooms. In the old town you can find nice restaurants with full sea-view, you would be amazed by the sights of Bey Mountains meeting the Mediterranean.
We ate at both Marco Terrace Restaurant & Castle Cafe Restaurant. They are next to each other and both offer wonderful views:
There is also a bar street in the old town where you can watch live performances, gigs etc. We watched a local band called Skoll, they were pretty good.
There is a very nice gourmet restaurant where we celebrated my birthday:
7 Mehmet ( it was really very delicious!!!) You need to reserve before you go and it also sees the sea.
There is a very long sandy Beach area called Konyaaltı Plajı. There is also an area at Lara, where you can go to the blue flagged public beaches, and you can jump directly into the water from the cliff shore, there is no sand or stone.
- Erdal İnönü Felez Plajı
- İnciraltı Plajı
Some cultural activity?
We paid a visit to Antalya Museum. It is one of Turkey’s largest museums, with 13 exhibition halls and an open air gallery.
20 min drive from the Antalya city center you reach Kurşunlu Waterfall Nature Park. I highly recommend it if you also plan to visit Perge
So in Aksu close to Kurşunlu Waterfall, there is the ancient city dating back to 1209 BC. Its ruins include a theatre, a palaestra, a temple of Artemis and two churches.
Second stop: Çıralı
We drove to Çıralı as the second stop. It is an hour drive from Antalya. Nice sea village which is walking distance from the ancient ruins of Olympos and Chimaera permanent gas vents. I really love the beach there it is also a Caretta caretta beach.
I would recommend doing boat tour there. Including “Sulu Ada”, it a small island with wonderful blue colour. Normally it is closer to Adrasan bay but you can also find boat tours from Çıralı to Suluada.
Suluada is a composite word meaning “watery island” referring to fresh water sources of the island.
We even saw a caretta caretta
Let’s switch to some greens now I have to mention none of the photos are filtered.
Ulupınar Waterfall & Restaurant
15-20 min drive from Çıralı you can reach Ulupınar village. And have your dinner by the waterfall, here the specialty is trout casserole.
Chimera / Yanartaş
Connected to a Greek mythology here is an area close to Çıralı where you can reach within 20-30 minutes of hiking. The area has dozens of small fires which burn constantly from vents in the rocks. The vents emit burning methane (87%) . Not to forget that the flames have been burning for at least 2500 years! A natural beauty, wonderful by sunset.
Myra & Kaş & Kalkan
We switched to Kaş as the third stop. On our way there we visited the antique city “Myra”. It had been an ancient Greek, then Roman Greek, then Byzantine Greek, then Ottoman Greek town in Lycia.
We skipped the Santa Claus Church in Demre this time. The church was built in AD 520 on the foundations of an older Christian church where Saint Nicholas had served as a bishop. I have visited there before so I have a video
In Kaş, we rented a villa at the Peninsula. We were 7, it made much more sense to rent a villa instead of a hotel. There are many villas with own pools and sea view. These villas exist in Airbnb but you can always find them much cheaper when you contact the company yourself and make the payment up front
Peninsula is 10 min drive to the city center. Kaş has developed a lot in the last 10 years and many local tourists are a fan of this town. If you are a scuba diver or interested to learn how to dive, Kaş is also a very nice spot.
Famous Kaputaş Beach
You can see this one in many Turkey advertisements. As it is at a narrow valley towered by steep cliffs, you need to take the stairs and walk down around 180 steps. It is a bit hard to find a parking place and sun beds if you do not come early, with early I mean around 09:00.
Kekova Boat Tour
Kekova region includes the island of the same name as well as the Kaleköy and Üçağız villages. When you make a boat tour around, you will see the underwater ruins of the sunken city “Dolchiste”, an ancient Lycian settlement. The ancient city was destroyed by earthquakes during the second century.
As Kaputaş was so crowded this time we preferred to bathe at Kalkan. Kalkan is an old fishing town, and the only safe harbour between Kaş and Fethiye. Most of the tourists coming to Kalkan are from the UK. Among 3000 permanent inhabitants of Kalkan 1000 are British.
Xantos & Letoon / UNESCO World Heritage
Xanthos used to be the capital of Lycian Empire. It was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycians, and later for the Persians, Greeks and Romans. The Xanthosians were full of pride, twice in the history instead of surrendering to the invaders they committed mass suicide.
Letoon was the sacred cult center of Lycia , the ancient federal sanctuary of the Lycian province and Lycian League of Cities located less than 10 km to the south of Xanthos. In the sanctuary of Letoon, three temples are dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo.
We took the shortest way to the Kabak bay from Xanthos but apparently it was a very slopy road full of bends. So if you want to avoid it, you can take the way from Ölüdeniz. Kabak is a small village and it is described as the perfect place to escape the package tourist groups and to have a truly laid-back experience.
It is also very adventurous to drive down with the car. As we were staying at Sea Valley Bungalows we were able to drive until the bay which is not allowed if you are a regular visitor. I have to mention the road is very earthy, full of dust and stones
Sea Valley Bungalows are the most up-market place in Kabak with the best location in terms of proximity to beach. So the breakfast looks like this:
Why butterfly? The valley is home to diverse butterfly species. Scientists recorded some 147 flora species belonging to 54 families and 105 butterfly species from 15 families native to the valley. We did not stay here this time but took some photos from a panorama view cafe.
The breathtaking Ölüdeniz
In 2017 I tried paragliding here! It was a nice experience, you float in the air with the Ölüdeniz view & lagoon.
A long drive to Datça
It took us 4 hours to get out of Kabak Bay and reach to Gabaklar Bay of Datça. Again lots of bends. Our cove is located on the Datça Peninsula where the Mediterranean embraces the Aegean Sea.
The bays are 30 min drive to Datça City Center and old town is close to the current city center
Last Stop: Marmaris Saklıgöl
Our hotel was by a lake which connects to the sea.
Azmak is the name in short of a short but deep stream which joins the sea in Akyaka and formed by springs. Our hotel had a private beach which could be reached by 10 min boat trip
Sedir Island / Cleopatra Beach
We drove to Çamlı harbour for 10 min from our hotel and caught a boat to the island.
Sedir island is famous for its beach made from seashells. It is said that this organic sand was brought by ships from the Red Sea especially for Cleopatra. According to legend, Anthony and Cleopatra swam here and the sands were brought by ships from North Africa. It has been said that this type of sand can only be found in Egypt.