Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fluffy, white sand beaches and sunken cities - Patara & Kas, Turkey


Destination: Patara & Kas, Turkey

Number of Days Spent: 6 days

Where we stayed: Akay Pension, (40 lira - $25) a terrific little family owned pension with friendly owners, very clean rooms, "pretty" mosquito nets, free wireless Internet & best of all, home cooked food on a lovely terrace (it was excellent - the homemade apricot jam for breakfast is incredible)

Best restaurant: For dinner ask for the chicken, veggie & cheese casserole at the pension. It was so good that we ate it 3 times in 6 days! 17 lira - $10 per person including salad, meal, bread, dessert & coffee/tea - A little pricey but oh so good!

Best of: Patara's white sand beach was the perfect place to relax for a few days!

Worst of: Bring mosquito repellent...the mossies in Patara are terrible.

Most Memorable: The Lycian tombs perched on a hill overlooking the Med is the stuff of postcard evident by the endless rows of souvenirs leading up to them.

Escaping from the crazy hotel owner in Oludinez, we made our way down the coast another four hours to Patara. The town of Patara is nothing like the rest of the towns along the "Turkish Riviera". While the rest of the coast line is filled with resorts and high rise hotels, Patara has a laid back feel with just a handful of restaurants, hotels and pensions. Adding to it's charm is the fluffy, white sand beach; something of a rarity in Turkey. The perfect combination of quiet and beautiful beach can be attributed to the wonderful sea turtle. Since the beach is, well, one of the few sandy spots to be had, the turtles use it as a nesting ground. By day, there is one snack shack and less than a hundred visitors playing in the surf and soaking up some rays. By night, all the lights go out and the beach is left deserted for it's original inhabitants.

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While it's a bit of a hike to get there from town (around 2km), our pension (which we highly recommend) would drive us down there and we would walk back in the cooler afternoon. Even the walk back was nice, passing by the ancient Roman ruins of columns and arches.

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To be honest, we only ate at our hotel, so I can't tell you about the restaurants in town. We did go out one night to listen to some traditional music (on the lute was the umbrella man from the beach) and try the local fire water, raki. Licorice flavored; not too bad, not too good either but definitely strong stuff :-).


In between working on our tans and reading a couple of books, we took a day trip down to Kas to check out the sunken city & Kalekoy (Lycian Tombs).

In the in-flight magazine of Turkish Airlines, we had read about the "sunken city" and how amazing it was. Similar to the boat trip we did in Oludinez (Butterfly Valley), it was a boat that stopped a couple of times for swimming, served lunch and really more of a relaxing day on a boat than sightseeing. While the cost was a little higher (40 Lira vs. 15 Lira each) it was still worth a look if you are into ruins sinking into the ocean, ancient tombs and a castle.

Don't expect the lost city of Atlantis, but the ruins were still interesting to see mysteriously beneath the crystal blue waters. The highlight of the trip was the Lycian tombs. Perched on a hill overlooking the Med, the setting of the tombs is stunning and well worth the short trudge up the hill. We skipped the castle figuring the setting is far nicer than the inside; most people just stayed on the boat and swam some more.




After plenty of days of recharging and relaxing, it was time to get back to some sightseeing business. Next stop, the flames and infamous tree houses of Olympos.

To see more photos of Kas & the Lycian coast click here!

To see more photos of Patara click here!

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