Do you ever close your eyes and imagine transporting yourself somewhere amazing, that’s how I feel when I think of Turkey. I have been travelling to Turkey for over 10 years and each year I see something new, experience something better and come home with memories to cherish forever. I have seen places transform as tourism has grown and I have gained amazing friends all of whom I still keep in touch with today.
My most recent venture was to the sunny, pine clad mountainous region of the turquoise coast, called this because of the amazing blue coloured sea that laps up against the beautiful coves and beaches in this area. I wanted a place where I could relax and be transported away yet still within easy reach of the hustle and bustle if I wanted to go there. I chose a village called Ovacik which nestles in the mountains between the two main tourist resorts of Hisaronu and Olu Deniz and also near the traditional Turkish town of Fethiye. My chosen accommodation was the all inclusive Hotel Greenland which was located in a secluded area at the base of the Babadag mountain surrounded by green beautiful pine forests and nature. The hotel gardens were like a little slice of paradise with hammocks swaying under the trees, chickens and turtles running around and the sound of birds all around.
A short bus ride through the mountains we arrived at Olu Deniz. This beach is a protected beach by UNESCO and is one of the most photographed beaches in Turkey and I can understand why. The scenery is simply breath taking and the sparkling blue water is like something from a movie.
This beach is famous for its paragliding and you can watch countless people jump from the mountains around and land safely onto the sand. We were lucky enough to try this and the views were out of this world especially the aerial view of the famous blue lagoon.
The atmosphere around Olu Deniz is lovely and relaxing and there are many shops, cafes, restaurants and bars to satisfy your every need. I especially loved visiting the cafes for a dark syrupy Turkish coffee during the day to keep me going as I was so laid back with the relaxing aura of the place. This was served with traditional Turkish Delight which you can find all around this area. Of course I never strayed to far away from the warmth of the beach and its lovely white sands.
I first travelled to Fethiye over 10 years ago when tourism hadn’t yet taken its grip and I absolutely fell in love with the place. This bustling town doesn’t look anything from the outside but once you get in it captivates you with its maze of streets and underlying energy. Fethiye has changed over the years and has certainly got busier due to its growing popularity, however due to its restrictions on high rise buildings its overall look hasn’t been destroyed by the influx of tourists. I love this place because of its location, surrounded by pine clad mountains and the impressive Amintas Rock tombs that hang on the cliff tops above the town and can be seen from various viewpoints. The old town is filled with shops with leather goods, perfumes and spices and a great place to stop of for a drink and shisha and absorb the call to prayer that echoes around the town. Not so far from there is the beautiful harbour, where a mass off boats and yachts of all different sizes wait to whisk you off to the nearest island or beach. There is a huge array of restaurants here where you can try out the fresh local fish and at night it is wonderful for a walk as the cool breeze laps against the coast and gently rocks the boats back and forth.
There are many trips available to places from Ovacik and I would highly recommend Dalyan. Dalyan is a small town located along the banks of the Dalyan Cayi River. Here you can take a small boat which navigates and meanders around the natural reefs that grow from this amazing river. You are transported to a natures paradise here and you simply sit back and watch the world go by.
As you sail along you aren’t prepared for the sights that await you…high above the flowing river a historical treat appears, the Lycian Tombs. These tombs have been carved out the cliff sides and are believed to be as old as 400 bc.
While continuing along the river you are yet again bombarded with further magical images. These now come in the form on Turtles. The famous and protected Iztuzu Beach is located at the end of the river. It is here where the loggerhead turtles lay there eggs. Of course during the day they have managed to separate the turtles from the beach so that us tourists can enjoy the wonders of this area, it is no wonder why they chose this beach. Fresh water on one side and salt on the other it is a strip of beautiful sand which is so unspoilt.
We were then whisked away ready to meet the famous residents of the area. We were taken by boat to the local fishermen who took it in turn to throw pieces of crab into the water. To our amazement the famous turtles appeared from the depths. It was a sight that will remain in my memory forever.
While here I recommend tasting the local blue crab, this is caught and cooked in front of your eyes and with a twist of lemon, the taste is to die for.
While driving towards the Saklikent canyon yet another historical sight awaits you, this is the oldest and largest Lycian settlement called Tlos. To wander through something this old is out of this world and it has a very strange but captivating energy. There are ruins of tombs, amphitheatres and castles and it is a must see for the tourist who is interested in anything historical.
Near this historic site you can also stop of at yakapark, a place where you can enjoy the natural waterfalls, fresh fish and even try your hand at trout tickling.
Another great trip is to visit the Saklikent Canyon. This canyon is an impressive 300 metres deep and 18km long. It can only be accessed in the summer months when the water levels have gone down. Here we crossed a very very cold river in order to walk inside of the canyon which was an amazing experience and although we didn’t venture along the 18km’s even just what we saw at the entrance was a wonderful sight.
It is a must for any adventurous person when visiting this area to try the white water rafting down the amazing river rapids. For me who usually doesn’t do anything like this, it was one of the biggest highlights of my trip. The water is very shallow and therefore is okay for the non-swimmer among you. You are seated in an individual dingy and pushed out into the river and for 3km’s you glide down the river through the spectacular scenery.
After a very adventurous day you can then head to the nearby natural mud baths, which apparently make you look thirty years younger! (do not all rush at once).
As previously stated I have visited many parts of Turkey and the Turquoise coast is definitely my favourite. It has everything from history, nature, clubbing, beaches and more to satisfy any kind of traveller. The people are wonderful and are not pushy unlike other places in Turkey that I have been too. When you step foot in this country and feel the warmth of its sun, see the green of the pine trees that invade the surrounding mountains and hear the haunting sounds of the mosque call to prayer you will undoubtedly know why I am so hooked on this place and why you will also never forget your Turkish Delight.