at home in Turkey

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We have called many places home throughout our lives - the Netherlands, America, France, Canada and Turkey, but the latter is where we have always gravitated to. We met in Turkey in 2006 and lived in a small village near the sea, but moved to France in 2009 to assist Ellis's aging parents on their small farm in northern France until the health of her mother dictated that they needed to move back to the Netherlands. France is a delightful country, but it simply did not have the feel of home to either of us.

So we decided to go to stay in the empty bunkhouse on a working cattle ranch owned by my niece and her husband in the panhandle of Texas. The plains of Texas seem rather barren and lifeless until one spends time living on them. The ranch had a diversity of wildlife and the 360 degree panoramas offered a quietness that was only disrupted by spectacular thunderstorms that would build high into the sky during the day and then unleash impressive rains and hail in the afternoon. But again, America no longer seemed like home to me and Ellis was dreaming of being back in Turkey. So in 2014 we went back to the south coast of Turkey and rented a house in the holiday resort of Dalyan with the intention of building a house across the river in a small village named Çandır.

Top Tourism Destination

According to the European Travel Commission, Turkey out-performed 33 countries to become Europe's top performing tourist destination during 2018 and even more visitors are expected to visit in 2019. Turkey is one of Europe's most affordable destinations and guests can expect not only great value for their money, but also a wide variety of destinations, activities and stunning beaches.

Hiking and Trekking

The Lycian Way is a 540 kilometer, way-marked footpath around the coast of Lycia in southern Turkey, from Fethiye to Antalya that can be completed in 29 days. The trail consists mainly of Roman roads, old footpaths, mule trails and goat paths - often hard and stony and not suitable for mountain bikes. Lying between the coast and mountains, there are often steep gradients. It was researched, designed and waymarked by a British/Turkish amateur historian named Kate Clow. As Turkey’s first long-distance walking route, it was mapped in order to identify and protect some of Turkey’s old roads and trails.

Another trail mapped by Kate Clow is the The St Paul Trail. It is a 500 kilometer way-marked footpath from Perge, 10 km E of Antalya, to Yalvac, NE of Lake Egirdir which requires 27 days to complete. There is a second branch starting at Beşkonak, the entrance to the Köprülü Kanyon National Park 80km NE of Antalya. The trail is over Roman roads, footpaths and forest tracks; suitable in places for mountain bikes. It is a wilder route than the Lycian Way - starting at sea level and climbing up to 2200 meters, with two optional peaks at around 2800 meters. It's name is due to it traversing the countryside that Paul traveled through on his first journey through Asia Minor.

There are over 20 long-distance trekking routes established in Turkey. Four of them cross international borders and continue into other parts of Europe and Asia. From spectacular scenery to historic roads and ancient ruins covering everything from rugged wilderness to local village ambiance. Accompanied tours are available for several of the walks with guides steeped in information about the routes, accommodation options and transport to and from them. Guidebooks and maps are also available.

These are the better known treks that can be walked in Turkey: The ECOTrails, Lycian Way, St Paul Trail, Evliya Çelebi Way, Carian Trail, The Kaçkar, Phrygian Way, Sultan’s Trail, Abraham’s Path, Via Egnatia, Hittite Trail, Gastronomy Route, Mount Ararat Trails, Küre Mountains Trail, Independence Trail, Idyma Way, Sarıkamiş Trails, Fethiye Alternative Trails, Yenice Forest Trails, Between Two Seas, Ephesus-Mimas Route, Tolerance Way and Via Eurasia.

Top Ten Beaches in Turkey

1. Kleopatra Beach, Alanya

Kleopatra Beach was voted the best beach in Turkey by Trip Advisor reviewers. This outstanding sandy stretch offers great views of the Alanya Fortress and attracts more than 2 million tourists each year. It has blue flag status. It is said that Queen Cleopatra liked swimming in the bay so much that Roman Emperor Mark Anthony gave the area to her sometime between 69 B.C to 30 B.C. Kleopatra Beach is undoubtedly beautiful and a 'must-see' on any trip to Alanya.

2. Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan

This magnificent 5 kilometer stretch of white sand is a Mediterranean nesting site for endangered loggerhead turtles so falls under strict environmental protection laws. Located within easy reach of the Dalyan resort area, it boasts a couple of cafes, rental sunbeds for hire and can be accessed via road or by a unique riverboat trip down the Dalyan River.

3. Icmeler Beach, Marmaris

Icmeler is a laid-back seaside resort 8 kilometer from Marmaris. For decades the area has attracted tourists seeking a mix of sun-drenched beach life and entertainment. Icmeler Beach is long, sandy and is ideal for families. Behind the beach are numerous hotels, cafes and bars that are ideal for escaping the hot noon day sun.

4. Blue Lagoon, Oludeniz

Almost all coastal advertising for Turkey features an image of the Blue Lagoon. This captivating sandbank with its white shores and turquoise waters have brought tourists to the area for decades. The main arm of the lagoon is a national park and a small entrance fee is charged. The inner shores are shallow and calm - making it ideal for kids.

5. Kaputaş Beach, Antalya

Kaputaş is a picture perfect beach located off the main coastal road between Kalkan and Kaş. This small stretch of sand and rocks is nestled into a gorge which can be accessed via a set of steep cliff side steps. The waters off Kaputaş are crystal clear and deep blue. There are a few sun beds and umbrellas available for hire, and snacks and beverages are available from a kiosk.

6. Cirali Beach, Antalya

Some consider this the best unsung beach-front holiday resort in the Mediterranean. Cirali Beach, much like Iztuzu, is another nesting site for sea turtles and is therefore protected. The 2 kilometer long sand and pebble shore is clean with sun loungers available and a number of restaurants and bars within easy reach. The ruins of Olympos are at the end of the beach.

7. Patara Beach, Fethiye

One of the largest and most impressive beaches in Turkey is Patara Beach - just a 40 minutes drive from Fethiye. This 18 kilometer sandy stretch is backed by sand dunes and framed by mountains - a great beach and it's remarkably deserted. Due to its size, even during peak season the beach never appears to be crowded. There's a cafe which sells snacks and rents umbrellas and sun beds. Patara is another breeding ground for turtles so it is often closed at night during the summer months from May to September.

8. Lara Beach, Antalya

Lara is an upscale and glamorous resort just south of Antalya's city centre. This wide and seemingly endless stretch of sand is backed by all-inclusive resorts and luxury Turkish homes. Considering the popularity of the beach, it is remarkably clean and offers visitors a wide variety of water sports, facilities and attractions. Lara Beach is busy during high season yet still a great place to spend time and ideal for those on vacation in the area.

9. Altinkum Beach, Altinkum

Altinkum when means 'golden sands' - which is a fairly apt description considering the resort has three beaches. The main Altinkum beach is a sandy stretch backed by shops, hotels and bars. The second is smaller and a little quieter, and the third is found by the marina and great for those that enjoy water sports. All three beaches have facilities making them popular with vacationers, especially during July and August.

10. Konyaalti Beach, Antalya

Konyaalti is the more central of the two main beaches in Antalya, Lara Beach is the other. Konyaalti beach is an impressive 7 kilometer stretch of fine sand and rock with hotels, shopping centres, restaurants and luxury apartments in Antalya all spread out to its rear. The mountains in the distance make for an impressive backdrop, and the superb cafes, facilities and it's water sports ensure it is one of Turkey's most popular beaches year round.

The Turkish coastline possesses so many great beaches to visit that some of the quieter and more exclusive ones escape being mentioned. Be it a fun-packed stretch with cafes, jet skis and sunbathers, or a deserted cove, visitors are sure to find a beach in Turkey that will suit them.

Questions or Comments?

Mountain and Seas Travel
Murat Demirci and his wife Sonja have years of experience in the travel industry in the Mugla area and can speak Turkish, English, German and Dutch.

This makes planning your holiday excursions totally hassle free. They offer trekking, seakayaking, biking, camping, outdoor family trips with seasoned professionals.

Murat has recently mapped out 470 kilometers of hiking and 700 kilometers of bicycle trails in the area. His EcoTrails of Caria and Lycia app is now available at I-Tunes and Google stores for download.

Many of these marked trail hikes can be seen on our YouTube Channel in the menu.

Click on the image above to go to their Facebook page for further information and to contact them.

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