Welcome to Mediterranean Turkey AKA the Beautiful Turquoise Coast
From the large shopping malls to the local craft shops, from the western fast food joints to traditional Mediterranean cuisine, the coastline has it all and this is proven by the millions of international visitors every year. For the tourism industry of Turkey, it is an important sun and sea destination and this is your starter guide into planning a great vacation.
Everything You Need to Know About the Mediterranean coast of Turkey
Airports to Fly IntoThere are two major airports including…
Antalya: Open all year round, it hosts many international and domestic flights. In 2011, it handled 25 million passengers in an efficient and methodical manner. (The Airport Code is AYT).
Dalaman: This airport is not as large as Antalya but has recently undergone renovations to its terminals in an effort to improve customer service. It is a major hub for flights from May to October. A few airlines in the winter operate flights to and from the UK, otherwise use Antalya airport outside of the summer season.
Resorts to Stay Overnight InWith more than 1600 kilometres of coastline, it is unrealistic to explore the region in just a week. I spent a month touring the Mediterranean coastline and only discovered the surface of the delights it holds. A road trip is a good idea since the long and well maintained D400 highway runs straight through the middle of the region. Otherwise, some of the most respected places to stay include…
Antalya: This is Turkey’s second most popular holiday destination and the fastest growing city in the country. Smaller resorts include the golfing mecca of Belek, the all-inclusive hotel hub of Kemer, the historical resort of Side and the resort that hosts a variety of nationalities; Alanya.
Fethiye: Sitting at the footholds of the Baba Mountain, Fethiye is particularly popular for cheap shared cabin cruises of the Turkish Riviera. This is a popular expats destination and smaller resorts within the region include Olu Deniz, Calis beach, Hisaronu and Ovacik.
Dalyan: Despite the huge number of daytime tourists visiting Dalyan, it has remained a sleeping, rustic and welcoming spot of Mediterranean Turkey. The nearby market town of Koycegiz is well known for its beauty and off-the-beaten track lure.
Kalkan: A spot of the Turkish Riviera that is renowned for luxurious and highly priced Kalkan villas all boasting of all-encompassing views of the Mediterranean Sea. The resort is extremely hilly so you need to either like walking or rent a small moped to get around.
Kas: Another small fishing village that has maintained its charm and laid back lifestyle but still embraced modern times. This area is particularly renowned for scuba diving and paragliding.
Patara: This small rustic resort was one of the first to embrace tourism when it came to Turkey in the 1970s. These days it is not so popular but is respected for its long 9-mile beach, the longest in Turkey.
Marmaris: Some accuse Marmaris of selling out its roots to tacky tourism but it has just adapted to crowds of tourists who like their home comforts. Away from the main centre, surrounding resorts like Turunc, Bozburun and Selimeye still have the traditional Turkish fishing-village vibes.
Famous Landmarks and Historical AttractionsAnyone who wants to active in the region will be pleasantly delighted with the choices on offer. Adventure sports activities, and traditional pastimes like a Turkish bath, are in abundance but the favourite choice for daytime excursions are the natural and historical landmarks.
The Sunken Ruins of Kekova and Simena Castle: Every day during summer, boats set sail from Kas or Kalkan to sail over the sunken ruins of Kekova, an ancient city ruined by earthquakes. Nearby is the traditional village of Simena from which the castle has an amazing panoramic view of the Kekova coastline.
Xanthos and Letoon: Listed on the UNESCO World heritage site list, the invasion of Xanthos when it was a Lycian city marked the beginning of the end of the empire. Nearby are the ruins of Letoon that was an old sanctuary with three ancient temples.
Ghost Village of Kayakoy: Just a short bus drive from Fethiye centre, the abandoned village of Kayakoy used to host Greeks and Turks that lived side by side. The village is highly praised for the local restaurants serving lamb tandir (Lamb cooked in its own juices over a high heat until it is extremely tender.)
Lycian Rock Tombs and Mud Baths: All across the coastline are rock tombs left behind by the Lycian empire. They used them to lay their dead to rest but the most famous are seen at the ruins of Kaunos in Dalyan. Nearby are sulphur mud baths and springs as well as Iztuzu Beach, the protected area for the endangered loggerhead turtles.
Mount Tahtali: Reached from any of the resorts in Antalya, Mount Tahtali hosts a cable car up the summit from which there is an amazing view of the coastline. Daredevils can also opt to paraglide down on a tandem ride with an experienced instructor.
Expat Life on the Mediterranean CoastConsidering the large area and many small coastal resorts of Mediterranean Turkey, it is no surprise that is a popular expat destination for many nationalities including British, American and German Turks.
Turks from large cities like Istanbul and Ankara are also now purchasing property in the area for use as summer homes. English is widely spoken and the lifestyle is extremely laid back so the popularity of the Mediterranean region for tourism and property investment does not look like it will slow down in the near future. Welcome to one of the best areas in Turkey!