From the beginning of this trip I have been talking to Rochelle about my favorite place in Turkey and our upcoming destination Kas. It may not sport the finest beaches in the region but it’s centrally located, has a mellow atmosphere and a huge range of adventure activities. Kas– pronounced (roughly) ‘cash’ – is an ideal base from which you can launch yourself to the surrounding area. As for us divers, this is Turkey’s hub for underwater exploits with some excellent wreck diving just off shore. We couldn’t wait to visit the intact Dakota that lies on the seabed, in perfect shape, just further out of the small port. While a plethora of boat trips, kayaking tours and hikes are all easily arranged from here, we didn’t bother doing any of that. We just enjoyed the sun on the wooden decks of our campsite Kas Camping. (I have been here before coming back from my Tunisia-to-Iran trip).We limited our exploring thirst in Kas itself, where several Lycian rock tombs in the mountain walls can be seen even at night when they are illuminated. After having been in Kas three times I still believe that it’s my number one favorite place in all of Turkey.
Moving forward we visited Olympos, an important Lycian city in the 2nd century BC. Olympos is more famous nowadays for being the beach resort of choice for backpackers. Staying in an Olympos ‘tree house’ at one of the dozen or so camps, that line the 1.5km-long track along the valley down to the ruins and beach, has long been the stuff of travel legend. The former hippy-trail has made the place lose its authenticity in the past years and as local people have told us, during the summer it can be pretty overcrowded. Love it or hate it, Olympos still offers good value and an up-for-it party atmosphere in a lovely setting. We got there in low season so we kind of had the place to ourselves thankfully. Just keep in mind that ‘tree house’ is a misnomer; huts are very firmly on the ground. They are made out of wood and they are very basic. As for us, we couldn’t change the comfort of our overland villa on top of Voukefalas.
Since I’ve mentioned Voukefalas, he was the main reason for our next stop. Having completed the 10000 km it was time for the car to have a checkup at the Honda Service in Antalya, though Antalya is very much a destination on its own right. It’s situated smack on the Gulf of Antalya and is the largest Turkish city on the western Mediterranean coast. The city is both classically beautiful and stylishly modern. At its core is the wonderfully preserved old city district of Kaleiçi – literally ‘within the castle’ – which offers atmospheric accommodation in finely restored Ottoman Houses. The old city wraps around a splendid Roman-era harbor with cliff-top views worth raising a toast to. Although that was enough for us to start our toast, we had one more reason to do so. Remember our camping chairs that we bought on line? One of them broke. We emailed the company and they accepted to replace it. We were expecting the replacement in Antalya. Instead, we received a huge box with six of them. A great, although unnecessary, upgrade to our outdoor living room (that is the back of the car by the way).
With Voukefalas loaded to the top with camp chairs we headed to our last stop in the Mediterranean, the small seaside village of Kizkalesi. The highlight that made us pick this place was the two castles, one on shore and the other a short swim from it. Here it was time for us to leave the sea and head to mainland Anatolia…