Turkish Turquoise: discover a real gem
Mention ‘the Med’ as a holiday destination and you would be forgiven for immediately picturing row upon row of bodies basted in suntan lotion gently frying on a beach before they stream back to their multi-storey hotels to gorge from the all-inclusive hotel buffet. That is one way of ‘enjoying’ the glorious combination of almost guaranteed sunshine and warm waters of the Mediterranean coastline, but at Exodus we know that there are far more interesting and enjoyable things that you can do - if you know where to go.
Ever has it been our mission to provide opportunities for our clients to discover tucked away places and new ways of making the most of them. And we don’t make any exceptions for destinations that are closer to home such as Turkey – one of our favourite countries of the region.
Turkey is in the unique position of being part of Europe while having an equally firm cultural footing in the Middle East. While the early morning call to prayer echoing past intricately decorated minarets conjures images of Arabia, the lively nightlife in the bars and restaurants has a more Western feel. Turkey’s rich history has provided an array of ruined cities, castles and aqueducts for today’s visitors to enjoy, but the real jewel in the Turkish crown is its fabulous Mediterranean coastline. The justly named ‘Turquoise Coast’ is a feast for the eyes with the rugged, rocky shoulders of the Taurus Mountains reaching down to be lapped by the sparkling sea water below.
Such natural delights have long attracted tourists and now sadly, the beauty of parts of this wondrous coastline has been marred by insensitive over-development. Luckily, being over 900 miles long, there are still plenty of tucked away places which have managed to retain their original charm. It is such parts that Exodus has sought out and included in a range of itineraries designed to appeal to a variety of interests whilst also providing our guests with a genuine feel for the country.
A natural outdoor playground
The close proximity of rock, river and sea make it easy to pack a wide range of activities quite comfortably into a week-long holiday. It is partly for this reason that Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular adventure destinations. An activity week here provides the perfect antidote to a desk job, giving you fantastic ways to reinvigorate yourself by being truly active.
The dramatic rocky Lycian landscape is punctuated by a series of canyons, all connected by the river that created them. The relatively new sport of Canyoning allows you to literally ‘jump right in’ to this striking setting as you walk, scramble, climb, jump, abseil and swim along the route. Canyoning is guaranteed to test your nerves at times but it’s great fun and gives you a marvellous sense of achievement at the end. You can try out this exciting activity on our ‘Gulet Activity Cruise’ and ‘Lycian Activity Week’ trips. No previous experience is necessary, although you do need to be able to swim to take part.
Just a few miles inland, the rugged hills are criss-crossed by a network of dry tracks - perfect for off-road mountain biking. With a support vehicle to take you into the hills, the majority of riding is either downhill or on flattish terrain, leaving you plenty of time to admire the frequent views of the Turquoise Coast below. On our ‘Trails of the Turquoise Coast’ trip you can enjoy a whole week of biking while on our ‘Lycian Activity Week’ and ‘Gulet Activity Cruise’ trips you can give it a go on a day ride.
White Water Rafting
What better way to get to know your fellow travellers than by plunging through the rapids with them in a rubber dinghy? Your date with the Dalaman River and its grade 3 rapids will be wet, exciting and memorable! Hang on tight for an exhilarating ride on day 2 of our ‘Lycian Activity Week’.
Travelling by Gulet
Relax on board a traditionally built ‘gulet’ and cruise along the coastline enjoying the spectacular views. If you fancy a cooling dip in the sea, just hop over the side of the boat (although this is definitely not recommended when the boat is sailing along – unless you are a very fast and strong swimmer!) If you are after a week of relaxation, our ‘Lycian Cruise’ is hard to beat or for the perfect combination of activity and lazing about try the ‘Gulet Activity Cruise’.
You can get a completely different perspective of the rocky coastline by kayaking in the calm waters just offshore. Kayaks give you the flexibility to explore the many nooks and crannies of the intricate coastline as well as the opportunity to view the underwater ruins of Kekova. Beaches which are only accessible by boat provide tranquil places for lunch and snack stops. Keen paddlers will enjoy our ‘Kayaking on the Turquoise Coast’ trip or how about a taster on our ‘Lycian Activity Week’, ‘Gulet Activity Cruise’ or as an option on ‘The Turquoise Coast’, ‘Lycian Cruise’ or ‘Trails of the Turquoise Coast’ trips.
Rugged terrain and spectacular views – two key ingredients for an enjoyable trek which the Turkish Mediterranean coast has in abundance. There are also ancient ruins to discover and a surprising array of flora and fauna. If you like more challenging walks, try doing ‘The Ultimate Lycian Way’ which includes climbing to the summit of Mt Olympos. For something a little easier try doing ‘The Turquoise Coast’ – a centre-based trip taking in the best of the area around Kas.
By Louisa Richardson Exodus' Senior Marketing Executive for Exodus Extracts Summer 2009 magazine