After a nice few days in Istanbul, we decided to fly south to Antalya, rent a car and drive along the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. The plan was to stay only the first night in Antalya and then road trip. We opted to stay in the old town area of Antalya to find a little more character.
Old town turned out to be a little gem which was well earned by driving a rental car there. Winding streets with no signs, crazy traffic and road closures made old town impossible to find by following a map… so we used blind luck. I guess we're lucky we found old town after a couple of hours of turning randomly here and there saying things like, "take that street, it looks less sketchy."
It would have been nice to get into town a little earlier. Old Town Antalya was delightful with its narrow and very clean cobble stone streets, colorful buildings, lush courtyard gardens and restaurants on the cliffs overlooking the water. We had some more great meze (see food post) at a little cafe near the marina.
Our next stop was driving across the peninsula to Fethiye. We were not sure how to pronounce this so we just called it F town. After our previous night's experience we were expecting a day or several days of being lost in a Turkish desert. We weighed down our little rental car with survival provisions such as 20 gallons of water and half a case of Doritos. Once out of Antalya, driving to F town was a breeze. Roads were well marked, the highway was beautifully paved and traffic was non-existent.
F town was interesting, it's a very nondescript little coastal town with little shops, concrete box towers for hotels and several marinas. We asked around town where we should go and were directed to the local beach. The beach was not sand, more like pea gravel and entering the water was tricky with the sharp submerged rocks.
We inquired around town again to find out what else we could do and ended up on a "12 island boat tour." This turned out to be a "booze cruise" type boat ride where you can see 12 islands, but we only actually stopped at one island. The rest of the time the captain just randomly stopped the boat, tooted a horn to signal the 60+ slightly intoxicated sunburned tourist to leap off the deck for a swim in the Mediterranean. This kind of tour is not really our cup of tea, but I have to say the views of the coast were stunning. Plus, we were there with some of our best friends from Denver, so we had a good time. The other highlight was watching the "ship photographer" torture potential clients by forcing them to do the most horrible glamor shot poses imaginable. Here's Meggan, Casey and Jevan's best effort of striking a pose:
Our next stop was driving along the coast line to Kas (pronounced cash). The 3 hour drive was incredible! The road winded along the rugged coast looking over crystal clear turquoise water. Actually, the coast line all the way back to Antalya was spectacular the whole way. The drive alone made the whole trip south worth while, we would recommend renting a car in southern Turkey to anyone.
Kas ended up to be our favorite town in southern Turkey we visited. The town was beautiful, it had tons of character, the food was great and the setting was straight out of a travel magazine. There really isn't beaches here but there are really cool rock out croppings with lounge chairs over looking the water. The water is accessed by ladders and diving boards. A perfect place to relax, read and take a dip when you get hot.
The last leg of our road trip was back to Antalya to fly back to Istanbul. If we were to do it again, we'd allow a little more time, 5 days was cutting a little too close. We had a blast with our friends and were really sad to see them go.