Turquoise water. Ottoman architecture. Lycian tombs. Roman ruins. Amanda Lobell and Neil Roach found all that and more when they traveled along the gorgeous Turkish coast. Following a week in Istanbul and Cappadocia, they flew to Izmir to visit the incredible ruins of Ephesus (which they told Travelogged.com all about here). After a night in Selcuk (the town by Ephesus), they set out for some beach time. They spent one night in Fethiye, two nights in Kas and the last one in Antalya, from where they caught a flight back to Istanbul and then back to Boston. Here, they share their travel tips for Turkey.
Best Beaches: There were two clear favorites: Patara and Kapitas (pictured right). Patara is located next to some small Roman ruins (named Patara), and is a huge beach with good surf. Kapitas is a small, idyllic beach wedged between two cliffs with warm, calm water.
Favorite Ruins: For a more cultural experience, we enjoyed our trip to the ruins of Olympos (pictured left). Although we found the extremely crowded town, which is overrun with backpackers staying in the many “treehouse” style hostels, to be unpleasant, the ruins are much quieter. It’s also interesting because they aren’t totally excavated and also are quite grown-over with foliage. You get somewhat of a feeling that you’re exploring the past as you climb over streams and vines to look at the ruins of the old city.
Kayaking Over Kekova: We were a little disappointed by our kayaking trip to the “sunken city” of Kekova, which is advertised to have submerged ruins. Although it was nice to be kayaking in the Mediterranean, there really aren’t many ruins to see with the exception of that one amazing Lycian tomb (pictured at top). Also, the beaches we visited on the trip were really crowded with passengers from large party boats, and we thought it would have been nice to take advantage of the kayak’s ability to get somewhere a little more remote.
Travel Advice for Turkey’s Coast: We just enjoyed being in this area a lot, with its many Lycian tombs, Roman ruins, beautiful beaches and amazing Mediterranean views. This is an area in which you can really tailor a trip to your travel style, depending on which towns you chose to stay in and which hotels you pick.
Some areas, like the towns of Oludeniz and Kusadasi, have been heavily developed by mid-range-to-budget European tourism, while others, like Bodrum and Marmaris (which we didn’t visit) have also have a large foreign influence, but are much more upscale with the option of luxury hotels and restaurants. We decided to stay in Fethiye and Kas because they were less developed but still had plenty to see and do. But there are also very remote areas you can stay in, like the tranquil Butterfly Valley, or some of the smaller towns between Fethiye and Kas.
Also, we found that having a car allowed us the freedom to be a little more spontaneous and visit more sights, like how we were able to stop and see the Lycian tombs in Myra (pictured right) on the way to Antalya, whose Old Town we loved. Overall, the driving in Turkey was pretty easy, with the major roads well marked.
Wondering where they stayed along the Turkish coast? You can read about their hotels here.