Last summer I went to a place where I had never heard of before, somewhere that you can forget the troubles of the modern world and where relaxation is at its most peaceful. Olympos is located along the turquoise coast very close to Antalya, a pristine little beach is hidden between the 2 hamlets of Cirali and Olympos both known for their history and natural beauty.
Getting there from Antalya centre requires a bus heading to Kas or Fetiye and then getting off at a junction (leaving you in the middle of nowhere really), then hopping on a dolmus bus down to the village. The buses down to the village are not frequent so you could either be lucky and get straight on one or be waiting around for a while but either way you will be greeted by the most amazing location once you arrive. We had a short wander to our pension in the heart of Cirali village which was clean and basic, nothing special but we knew we would be out of our accommodation more than in it. We went to for an evening stroll around the village and along the nearby beach, then dined with a Turkish casserole before bed.
After waking up to great views over the village and a fulfilling breakfast at our pension, we treat ourselves to an ice cream as the temperatures had soared today, it was probably the most posh and delicious Orange flavoured Magnum I have had too, even had its own box! We headed down the stream past the rocks and made our way to Olympos ruins, A large rocky gorge seperates the village with olympos, however a short 15 minute wander down the beach brings you directly there.
Once one of the most important cities of the ancient Lycian Civilization, impressive structures, monumental buildings, and winding paths all lie in the forestation in the valley. A lot is still undiscovered as excavation is still ongoing. There are very scenic spots to take photos and you feel like you have just landed in a mystical land with the peacefulness and seclusion in between the valley. As you walk further inland you exit into the more ‘touristy’ area with treehouse accommodation, souvenir shops and funky cafes. Many of them were serving Gozleme (a flatbread made on a specific hot pan filled with your choice of traditional Turkish foods), we went for aubergine and a tahini one. Both delicious and I loved the traditional Turkish style floor seating set up they had.
Next we needed a relax after all that walking, so went to the star attraction – Olympos Beach! Now I have never been on such a beautiful beach, the views of the mountains either side of you, the pebbles and sand were just perfect and the sea was impeccable, they don’t call it the Turquoise coast for no reason, the water was as clear as day. The beach gets a reputation for being one of the quiet hidden beaches on the coast, though it wasn’t as sparse I would have liked, actually quite busy but we were there on a peak summer season weekend. But then again, it was still dramatically quieter than the other beaches.
For the evening we had planned to take the walk (or climb!) to Chimaera flames. These are something of a natural wonder, gas seeps from the rocks and as it contacts with the air it bursts into flames creating a natural sight to be seen to be believed. Or instead of the scientific explanation, ancient people attributed this extraordinary occurrence to the breath of a lion, goat and snake monster that terrorised Lycia. Unfortunately we decided against the trip as we didn’t like the idea of a draining uphill trek in the dark with nothing but a torch, but if we get the chance to go again, which I would love to, I will definitely make the effort to go! Instead we had a relaxing evening in the village, eating homemade goats milk ice cream, swinging on the hammocks and stargazing. The silent, unspoilt and unpolluted village was the perfect place for this!
Tomorrow we headed to Pammukale!
More from my Turkish Travels:
Istanbul – Days 1-3
Cappadocia – Turkey’s Grand Canyon
Antalya – history & fantasy