I’ve previously covered secluded Butterfly Valley which is included on dozens of “must see” Turkish beach articles found online. Unfortunately as I wrote on my blog post, I found something quite different and controversially I wasn’t impressed by it.
While beautiful, Butterfly Valley has become a typical tourist trap in recent times. It’s no longer the paradise it once was and instead today I’m featuring the 4 best beaches Turkey ‘s Turquoise Coast that are off the mainstream tourist radar – for the time being at least!
Backed by epic Roman ruins, the 11 kilometre long Patara beach has miraculously avoided development in recent years. It’s home to an abundance of wildlife and it’s one of the few remaining beaches where loggerhead turtles lay their legs. The closest village, Gelemis, hosts a number of charming pensions and restaurants.
On the beach itself, endless sand dunes fall into a beautiful deep blue sea that is perfect for swimming. The Roman ruins, featuring an amazing restored theatre and other landmarks, is a fun place to explore at sunset.
How to get to Patara and where to stay can be found on my blog post about Patara.
Featuring gorgeous beaches and stunning waterfalls, Kabak is one of the most chilled out places in Turkey. However the secret is out and recently the townspeople have been fighting against the commercialisation of the village. Several camp sites and backpacker retreats dot the area between the beach and the steep pine clad hills. There is healthy completion among the campsites and deals from 35TL including dinner and breakfast can be found. Take cash as there are no ATMs in the area.
Red and white painted trees lead hikers up into the valley to discover beautiful waterfalls and pools in which to swim, perfect relief from the hot summer sun. Kayaks and boats can hired on the beach for day tours or trips further on to places such as Cennut Golu.
Frequent dolmus (every 1-2 hours until 19:00) can be taken from Fethiye for 8TL along the hair raising winding dirt track down to Kabak valley.
Paradise Beach (Cennut Golu)
Difficult to reach and really one for adventurous travellers, Cennut Golu is a world away from the tourist resorts of Fethiye and Oludeniz. This pristine area is known as Paradise Bay and can only be reached by foot along the Lycian Way or 4×4 from Kabak. In 2017 a boat ferry began. It leaves Kabak at 11.15 and 18.30, returning from Cennet at 09.15 and 18.00.
A small, well run campsite – Cennet Camp – is right by the beach and run by some really lovely people. It’s a truly idyllic campsite, a type that is hard to find these days. Their special offer is 95TL (~€25) per person for a tent, breakfast and fresh BBQ dinner on the beach. Alternatively you are welcome to bring your own tent and supplies.
So close to Antayla, yet so far removed. Due to the difficulty of reaching the village, Cirali has retained its laid back charm over the years. There are no large hotels but instead plenty of quaint pensions and open air restaurants. For 40 million years loggerhead turtles have been returning here to lay their eggs. Visitors can see baby turtles if they visit the beach early in the morning during hatching season (July – August).
Other highlights include the ruins of Olympos at the southern end of the beach, and the fascinating Yanartaş Chimaera. The legendary chimaera are a series of natural gas flames that have been burning through rocks in the hills of Cirali for thousands of years.
To reach Cirali, take a dolmus from Antayla or any other large town along the main highway. Another dolmus will drop you at the Cirali junction, from where a second dolmus will take you down the hill to the village.