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Stretching from Marmaris in the west and skirting around high mountains to Antalya, the Turquoise Coast is the most dramatic, varied and unspoilt area in Türkiye.
Hemmed in by vertiginous peaks and blanketed with virgin pine forest, the coast is still wild. In places, limestone cliffs rise straight from the waves, creating myriad rocky coves lapped by the clear azure water that gives the region its name.
If you thrive on variety, you’ll enjoy spending a few days touring the Turquoise Coast. There’s plenty to see and do whether you like lazing on the beach, sightseeing from a boat, or exploring ancient buildings.
The Turquoise Coast in four days
Make your way to Dalyan to catch the 10:30am boat departure for a full days’s excursion in the area. (You can take a boat trip organised by the Dalyan Cooperative which departs from the town dock). You’ll take in a river trip, tour the ancient site of Kaunos, spend time on the 7km (4-mile) Iztuzu Beach, visit therapeutic mud baths and have the chance to swim in a freshwater lake.
Stroll along the traffic-free main street of Dalyan, then dine at a restaurant along the riverbank and spend the night at a traditional pansiyon.
Alternatively, head south to Fethiye from where it’s only a short hop to the places lined up for tomorrow’s activites.
Visit the abandoned medieval settlement of Kayaköy, in the hills above Fethiye, early in the day. Kayaköy was once a thriving Greek village until the population exchange in 1923. The deserted buildings, now resonating only with birdsong, stand on a beautiful hillside overlooking a fertile valley.
When things start to heat up, head to the beach at Ölüdeniz, without doubt, one of the most beautiful settings in Türkiye. If you don’t want to bother with the beach bar food or walking into town for lunch, take a picnic.
After leaving Ölüdeniz, visit the Lycian tombs that are carved into the hillside above Fethiye. The largest, the Amyntas Tomb, is one of the most beautiful along the entire Turquoise Coast, its facade fashioned like that of a Greek temple with carved columns and porticoes.
Later on, stroll along the narrow streets of Fethiyes’ old town (Paspatur) for some top quality shopping before dinner.
Travel south from Fethiye along the D400 to visit the impressive Saklıkent Gorge, an almost surreal landscape of smooth high limestone walls twisting along an 18km (11 miles) path into the heart of the Ak Dağlar mountains, and the ancient cities of Xanthos and Patara, which has a 20km (12-mile) turtle-nesting beach. Eat lunch at the village of Gelemiş, near Patara, where you can try traditional gözleme, a thin bread stuffed with a variety of fillings, made by the Kurdish ladies who run small restaurants here.
Continue to the pretty resort of Kaş, taking in the views along the spectacular coast road, with pine-covered hills on one side and sheer drops down to the turquoise sea on the other. Explore the town centre with its narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed Ottoman houses before having dinner at one of its excellent restaurants.
After breakfast, take a switchback ride along the narrow roads through fragrant pine forests to the small village of Üçağız where you can pick up a boat trip to Kekova Adası. Explore the streets of Simena town and its small fort before eating lunch at one of the small cafes there. Later, the boat takes you out into the bay to view the underwater remains of an ancient city submerged by raising water levels.
Drive to the modern town of Kale (also known as Demre), where you can visit the remains of ancient Myra just north of the town. Return to the town centre to visit the revered tomb of Noel Baba (Santa Claus) in a Byzantine chapel.
There is little to hold you in Myra for the evening, so head east to the coastal town of Kemer, or better still, on to Antalya, about 90 minutes’ drive away, for dinner and accommodation.
Renting a car
For information on renting a car, please read our article below:
Source: AA Guide to the Turkish Coast