Things to Do in Turkish Riviera
Alanya Castle is a medieval castle located in the coastal town of Alanya, Turkey. It was built in the 13th century on top of earlier Byzantine Era and Roman Era fortifications. During the Ottoman Empire, the castle was no longer needed for defensive reasons, and today it is a museum. The castle sits 820 feet high on a rocky peninsula that sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea. The sea protects the castle from three sides, and this high vantage point gives visitors an impressive view of Alanya, the sea, and the surrounding countryside, including the Pamphylian plain and Cilician mountains.
The walls that surround the castle stretch for four miles. Inside the castle walls, visitors can explore the ruins which include the remains of 400 cisterns that once provided water to the castle, an 11th-century Byzantine church, several mosques, monuments, and the battlements. There are also several impressive towers along the walls including the 95-foot Red Tower.
The beautiful spot known as Kelebekler Vadisi, or “Butterfly Valley,” holds an almost mythical attraction for many travelers to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, perhaps because of its relative isolation: the narrow, steeply walled cove can only be accessed by boat or on foot. To add to the mystique, the valley takes its name from the many species of butterflies and moths that breed here during the winter, including the brightly colored and rarely seen Jersey tiger.
From the secluded beach at the entrance to the verdant gorge that leads to a 60-foot waterfall at the back, the setting is simply delightful. Although there is a well-trodden path to the waterfall it’s a good idea to bring waterproof shoes, as some wading through the streambed is necessary.
Butterfly Valley makes an easy day trip by boat from Ölüdeniz, but in order to fully soak up the atmosphere you might want to stay a few days.
The Dalyan River runs through the town of Dalyan, Turkey, which is located in the southwest region of Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Life in Dalyan revolves around the river. It's an important source of fish for the residents. The river also flows through a special environmental protection area. There are also several boat tours that go up and down the river, taking visitors to see the ancient sites of the area. One of the main attractions for tourists are the facades of Lycian tombs. They are located above the river's sheer cliffs and were cut from the rocks around 400 BC. Just a short boat trip away, you can also visit the ruins of the ancient trading city of Kaunos.
Nearby you can experience the Sultaniye hot springs. Here you can enjoy the warm water and the therapeutic mud baths. You can also go for a swim in Köyceğiz Lake, which is connected to the sea by the Dalyan River.
The town of Alanya lies on the southern coast of Turkey in the Antalya region. It is a popular beach resort town and draws tourists from many countries around the world. One of the city's best beaches is Kleopatra Beach located on the west side of the peninsula near the Damlataş Caves. The name comes from the legend that says the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra stopped in Alanya during a voyage in the Mediterranean Sea and swam in the bay.
The beach is a sandy one with clear water. It is a Blue Flag beach due to its high standards for water quality, safety, and environmental services. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. When you get hungry, there are plenty of nearby cafes and restaurants serving Turkish and international dishes. Other activities in the area include exploring the dripping Damlataş Caves, wandering through the old town, and learning about the region's rich history.
More Things to Do in Turkish Riviera
The remains of the ancient city of Perge, lie just 17km (11mi) northeast of Antalya and is the region’s most significant Roman ruin. Dating as far back as the Bronze Age, Perge was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC and under Roman occupation grew to become one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world. An important city for Christians during the Byzantine period, Saint Paul is said to have preached his first sermon here in 46 AD.
Excavations began on the site in 1946 and have since uncovered a large Greco-Roman theater with fine marble reliefs, a stadium that could seat over 12,000 people, a Hellenistic-Roman city gate flanked by ruined towers, a long colonnaded street, a large agora (central market), public baths and a gymnasium. Of these ancient remains, the theater and the stadium are Perge’s best-preserved sites.
Dotted with a dozen islands interspersed with secluded bays and inlets, and set against a backdrop of forested hills that slope dramatically up from the shore, the Gulf of Fethiye offers one of Turkey’s prettiest stretches of coastline and is deservedly popular as a boating destination. One of the most enjoyable ways to see the area is on a daylong “12-island cruise” that takes passengers around the gulf. Most cruises make stops at about five or six of the islands (all of one of which are uninhabited), allowing time for swimming, snorkeling and other activities. Highlights might include exploring the remains of a Byzantine church and Roman shipyard on Tersane; swimming off the long, sandy beaches of the Yassıca Adalar (“Flat Islands”); or taking a dip amidst the half-submerged Roman ruins known as “Cleopatra’s Baths.”
Sedir Island is best known as Cleopatra Island, named after the pharaoh who allegedly met her lover Marc Antony on its shores. Forever romanticized by its connection with the iconic lovers, this small island in the Gulf of Gökova is now a popular stop on boat cruises and jeep safaris from Marmaris.
Cleopatra Island’s second claim to fame is its unusually textured sands, made up of smooth white, ground seashells. To preserve this one-of-a-kind sand, visitors are required to leave their belongings and shoes at the entrance to the beach. Removing the sand is strictly prohibited. Typically, such sand can only be found on Egyptian shores, fueling the legend that Marc Antony had it shipped in to Sedir Island from North Africa in an attempt to woo his mistress.
The island also has an additional sandy beach, popular among swimmers and sunbathers, that is home to a number of Roman ruins, including an agora and an amphitheater that dates back to the fourth century B.C.
Known in English as St Nicholas Island, Gemiler lies along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, south from Fethiye and west of the sandy beach at Ölüdeniz. Separated from the mainland by a narrow sea channel, it is a tiny speck of an islet, just 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide and 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) long but is renowned for its wealth of Byzantine ruins, which date back more than 1,500 years. Gemiler Island was once one of Christendom’s most popular pilgrimage points with devotees heading for Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. They came to honor the tomb of St Nicholas – the original Father Christmas, who was Bishop of Myra on the Turkish coast opposite – even though his remains were moved to the mainland in 650 AD. Also around this time, the little Byzantine settlement on Gemiler came under threat from pirates and was abandoned as the residents moved to the mainland for protection.
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