Category Archives: Beaches

Beat the Heat: Kabak Koy

0139f6284770bcf33043df0b697cf36542a63c86bcBeat the heat (and the summer crowds) with a short jaunt to Kabak Koy.

Literally named “Pumpkin Cove”, this secluded beach-front valley is just forty-five minutes from downtown Fethiye.  Drive southeast of town and head over the hills, passing street-covering streams, cliff-hanging village houses and bickering bunches of goats to reach a cove you would never guess could be so close to Fethiye’s commercial resorts and crowded summer streets.  Park your car in the small village atop the cliffs and take a jeep-minibus down deep-rutted dirt roads to the cove below.

reflections camp kababk koy

Outdoor Seating at Reflections Camp

Local zoning laws and the long winding roads (which offer breathtaking views of Fethiye and the surrounding shores) ensure that, while Kabak Koy is no longer quite so hidden, the summer crowds are still minimal and residential development near non-existent.  Join university student hippies hiking across the forests between bays, seclusion-seekers, nature-lovers and a few vacationing families in relaxing for the weekend.  Splurge and indulge in a bungalow at Sea Valley Bungalows, or even bring your own tent and sleep on the beach.  Stay closer the nature with a rugged wooden bungalow at Natural Life, sleep half-outside in a purple-painted tent and relax on shaded cushions in a sculpture-filled garden in Reflections Camp or Kabak Valley Camp encompassed in colorful murals a few hundred yards back from the beach, perch yourselves up on the cliffs at Shambala, PureLife Village or Olive Garden.

Sunset at Kabak Koy

Sunset from Sea Valley Bungalow’s Infinity Pool

While the beach is superb, with aquamarine waters protected by the cove and shaded sands, the area is also connected to Butterfly Valley and other sites by a net of hiking trails along the Lycian way. If you’re feeling tight from your travels, at least once a year the area holds a yoga festival (video here, article here).  Or you could just lie back and enjoy a book.

Practicalities

How to get there:  Go south-east on the coastline road out of Fethiye, climbing up and over the hills by either private car or Fethiye-Kabak minibus. Park where the road ends at the small village atop the cliffs.  By the general store there should either be a waiting minivan or people waiting for the next minivan to bring them down to the cove.  Transport is 5-10 lira/person.

Prices: There is a small store by the cove and most guesthouses have restaurants.  Food prices are about 20-30% more than in Fethiye, due to difficulty of transportation.  Nightly accommodation prices range from 60 TL for a 2-3 person tent to 300+ lira for a deluxe bungalow.

Bring: Sunblock, a swimming suit, beach clothes, a good book and a bottle of wine.

The blogging couple at Turkey’s for Life make a yearly birthday jaunt to Kabak from their home in Fethiye.  For more great recommendations, reflections and travel inspiration, check out these posts on their page:

One Night in Kabak: It’s Not Enough

Falling for Kabak

To Kabak: What Goes Up Must Come Down

OluDeniz to Kabak in Photos

Chakra Beach at Kabak Koy – Stay in a yurt!

Glorious Summer Feasts at The Olive Garden

A Day at the Olive Garden

Staying at Sultan Camp

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Turkey’s Best Beaches

Personally, we can’t decide between Olympos (Çıralı), where the adventurous can stay in tree houses (our old favorite is Orange Pansiyon for its grape vine-covered outdoor terrace and proximity to the beach), gorge on gozleme and fresh mussles during the day, and wander Roman ruins in between dips in the sea; Kabak Koy for the beach’s beauty and seclusion; and Iztuzu for the miles-long shallow water beach backed by an arc of protected pine forests. If you’re heading on the road to Bodrum (from Antalya) make sure to check out Kaputas Plaj too.  There’s no sign for the beach but the parked cars backed up on the winding road.  Head down a hundred cement steps and find yourself confronted with the clearest crystal water you’ve ever seen.

If you’re looking for great food to compliment your trip to the beach, check out Turkey’s Best Beach Food.

Gallery before the Guardian post is our own.

Originally posted in The Guardian here.

Winning tip: Çıralı, Antalya

Nestled in a valley, overlooked by the ruins of Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı), lies one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Çıralı is so special due to its two-mile sweeping beach which remains undeveloped thanks to the loggerhead turtles that nest on the sands each year. At one end of the beach lies the town of Ancient Olympos, while at the other is the natural phenomenon of the constantly burning Chimaera flames. The tiny hamlet is full of charm, with each impressive garden full of pomegranate and citrus trees. Stay in one of the simple pensions: favourites are Hotel Villa Monte and Anatolia Resort.
villa-monte.com (doubles €60 B&B), ciralipansiyon.net (doubles €65 B&B)
Emilylouise09

Kelebek Vadisi, near Fethiye

Kelebek Valdisi beach, Turkey

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Only accessible by boat, Kelebek Vadisi (Butterfly Valley), close to Fethiye, feels like a south-east Asian paradise beach. It has remained undeveloped, with just a few wooden buildings and a campsite dotting the lush valley. The stunning walk to a waterfall and the gorgeous beach make a popular day trip from Fethiye for TL10 (£2.50) return, but if you want to escape the crowds and totally switch off, this is your place. Camping and basic huts with restaurant and bar available on the beach.
Brid Doherty

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Interview with a Real Estate Agent: Onur Arık

Onur Arık is an Ankara native and the owner and manager of Milan Estate Agents, a boutique personal real estate agency and consulting business in the popular seaside resort of Didim, Turkey. He has a background in Finance, is currently studying Law to better advise his clients, and speaks Turkish, English and some Dutch.

1. Introduce yourself in one sentence. Two things are the most important for me: the first is honesty and the second is being helpful. These are also important for business. When people understand that you are honest and you will always help them everything goes smoothly.

2. Tell us a little bit about your company. My company is a real estate company but we also provide consultancy and after sales services. This is because when you sell a property buyers also need those services. This means we are with clients throughout the whole sales procedure. We have been working for more than 5 years in this sector. We have a lot of clients from Europe, especially from Belgium. We have been working on Aegean side of Turkey, which includes Bodrum and Kuşadası as well. We have a lot of different properties in our portfolio with prices ranging from 30 000 Euro to 1 000 000 Euro.

3. How long have you been in Didim? I have been in Didim for more than 5 years..

4. Why Didim? Didim is developing area. Everyday it is growing.01b369162721d7a56cfb64ce469754ae7df412587f This means there is a high demand from investors. It also means that when you invest, you will see a profit within a reasonable time. Because of this, Didim is a great place to open up a real estate agency.

Didim is also a great place to live. It’s a small town, but popular seaside holiday resort, which means we have many of the amenities and options of a big city. It is located between Kuşadası and Bodrum and just 2 hours from Izmir, one of the Mediterranean’s largest cities. However, compared to Bodrum and Kuşadası prices are far more reasonable in Didim. For example, you can find a nice 2 bedroom apartment with a swimming pool from 50 000 Euro.

While a modern town, Didim is also surrounded by many historical sites, like the Temple of Apollo, Miletos, and Ephesus. Both the beaches and the archaeological sites attract a lot of different people to the area.

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5. Milan is a city in Italy – how did you choose this name for your company? My son was born in Belgium and named him Milan, as it’s a very popular name there. My company is named after my son.

6. What are your most popular properties? Most of our properties are in full-service complexes with a swimming pool, security and other facilities, following the hotel concept. 2 bedroom apartments are the most popular. Clients generally prefer closed residential areas where they can find a swimming pool, cafe and bar inside the complex. Two bedroom apartments are usually more than large enough for 4 people on vacation, and thus attractive for renters, and the price is also not so high. But demands change from one person to another. Some people want to be close to sea; some a bit farther away. Some people want to be in the centre; some people seek quietude. We have properties to suit expectations in our portfolio.

7. Who is moving here? Are they vacationers, seasonal residents, or year-long 1residents? Generally vacationers and seasonal residents, though Didim also has 6,000+ permanent British residents, and several thousand retirees of other nationalities . Most foreigners are from the UK, but we also see clients from Belgium, Sweden and France. The permanent residents are usually retired people over the age of fifty, but summer sees a lot of families vacationing here as well. Didim has over 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s still warm enough to swim in late September, and the winters are not cold, so it’s also a great place to live year-round.

7. b. Who are you selling properties to? What are they doing with their properties? As I lived in Belgium, I am focusing especially on that market. But we also have some clients from England, France and other countries. They are generally vacationers who come 3-5 times per year. If they do not have time to come they generally rent their houses out. We also provide full Rental Services.

Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor

8. What are people’s initial impressions of Turkey? Of Didim?
They really like it here. Didim, Bodrum and Kuşadası have different options. As I have said Didim is still developing, so you can find much cheaper options. Bodrum is hailed as The Saint-Tropez of Turkey, but people are generally really impressed and surprised because Didim is not big as Bodrum, but it still has everything. It does not matter if they are 20 years or 50 years old, they can find something that meets their interests and expectations. If you like history or entertaining night life you have that in Didim. If you like seafood and water sports you also have a lot of options.

9. What are the most common misconceptions about Turkey? About Didim? About living in Turkey? People generally think that Turkey is not safe, as its border close to the Middle East. But actually it is not like that. Compared to other European countries, Turkey is one of the safest places in Europe. We have a lot of advantages, such as reasonable living costs, 300+ days of sunshine, a culture of hospitality, thriving tourism, etc..

10.  What are the advantages of working with a local real estate agent like you versus a larger international real estate company with properties in many countries? We are more friendly 😀 We can offer everything that a big company can offer, but we are not just looking people as clients. We want to build long-term relationships and see our clients as friends. When they need us, we will always be there for them, whether it’s to understand an electricity bill, call a repairman, be on hand to help install appliances, or find a good cleaner. They can even reach us in the middle of the night. Our after sales services includes everything that our clients need after they buy a property, and we work with our clients individually. It makes us not only a consultants, but also permanent friends they can rely on.

11.  You majored in finance in university.  How would you assess property in Turkey as an investment opportunity? Over the last 12 years a lot of European countries have had crises (like Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland). But our economy has been growing. As we have a young population we have a lot of advantages. We are working hard, andthis is positively effecting the economy. There is a possibility to enter the European Union. When we become a member, our prices will also rise, as has happened in Croatia and Albania. So If you invest now you will see a lot of profit in the future.

12. What are the best types of properties to invest in right now?  IMG_1067 (800x533)Nowadays 2 bedroom apartments are especially popular. They can be sold and rented easily, as there’s a big market for them. We have different 2 bedroom apartment options for all budgets. So if you want to be close to sea or far but cheaper apartments we can provide those options as well.

13. What should potential buyers be most careful about when searching for a property? First of all, all the papers have to be correct. We only work with the biggest builders in our region, so all of the papers like building permissions and title deeds are checked and verified by a lawyer. Then buyers must determine their budget. Then we can show them different verified properties in their budget range.

14. What is the most important factor that people often overlook when purchasing a property? People generally think that the budget is the most important aspect, but actually it is not. First of all, the property they buy has to have all necessary papers. This means the sale has to be safe and official. After we determine the legitimacy of the papers we can continue the sale if the property is in their budget and matches their expectations.

15. What factors should buyers consider when assessing a property? Safety, legality and budget.22

16. What kind of services (pre-sale and after-sale) should clients expect from a Real Estate Agency? I think clients should expect the same kind of complete services we provide. As long as they need us we help them. We help them through all sales procedures and even after they buy their home. Our after sales services is determined by clients expectations. If they need rental services we do it. If they need car rental, organizing daily tours, airport transfer, buying furniture, preparing the house for tenants, doing inventory, checking the property after tenants leave, etc… we can provide those services. Below is a list of our usual pre-sale and after-sale services:

Pre Sale services:

  • Arrange meeting with builder
  • Completing the sales agreement
  • Making payment plan
  • Getting a tax number
  • Opening a bank account
  • Applying for the title deeds
  • Obtaining the title deeds
  • Applying for electricity and water subscriptionIMG_1141 (800x533)

After Sale Services:

  • Assistance buying furniture
  • Organizing airport transfer or daily excursions
  • Rental Services
  • Inventory for tenants
  • Organizing cleaning services
  • Organizing car rental

17. How do you help clients find the perfect property? We provide inspections trips. Before the trip we talk with the client to determine their budget and expectations, and we arrange suitable properties for them to view. I have been working and building solid relationships with the best builders in Didim for more than 5 years. When they start a new project they always inform me, and after the project is finished I get new properties in my portfolio. Because of our mutual trust and collaboration, I’m able to have some very desirable and diverse proerties in my portfolio.

For the inspection trip,we organize everything to fit into 3-4 days. We pick up our clients from airport and take them to their hotel. We visit all the apartments in our portfolio in their price range and meeting their needs. If they decide to buy we do all paper work, and last we bring them back to airport.

18. Can you briefly outline the process of purchasing a property in Didim? 

244When our clients decide to buy a property first meet with the builder. We do the sales agreement and give a deposit for the property. If the clients have the budget to pay for the property at once, we can organize everything within one day and give them their title deeds. Otherwise we will arrange a plan for payment installations.

19. Describe the typical day of a retiree in Didim. They generally start with a good breakfast either at home with fresh food from the markets, or at one of the many reasonably-priced local cafes. Then they can go to sea to swim, sail or sunbathe. If they are interested in culture or history, there are many places to visit around Didim like The Temple of Apollo, Miletos, Iasos, Ephesus… In the evening you can find a lot of people strolling the boardwalk or sitting out in cafes, chatting over a cold beer or enjoying dinner. We have superb restaurants where they can eat fresh seafood. Sea Bass and Sea Bream are especially famous. After dinner you can see people socializing, or diving into Didim’s nightlife scene.

Sehir Lokantasi

20. What’s Didim’s best beach?  Didim’s best beach is Altınkum Beach. Didim is famous for its famous sandy beaches and there are a lot of beaches around Didim, some public and crowded, some quiet and secluded.  

Best place to dine on a budget? Didim also has a lot of restaurants, cafes and bars where you can eat delicious and fresh sea foods or Turkish local foods at a reasonable price. At Şehir Lokantası you can find authentic local Turkish food.

At Kamacı Restaurant (two branches: opposite the Temple of Apollo and in Altınkum) you can enjoy delicious fresh-caught fish.

Best place to splurge for a fancy dinner? If you want to splurge on dinner, there are some luxury restaurants around the new Marina offering different fresh specials each day.

21. What is your son’s favorite place in Didim? Definitely the municipal soccer field. He really likes to play football.

22. How would you characterize Didim? For whom is it the ideal town?01c35a47822968b8751e2fc9e221872bda968d5caa I think Didim is a good place for everyone. If you stay here for a long term or come for just vacation you will find good weather, good food, sea, reasonable life costs and enjoy Turkish hospitality. 
The town has to offer:

  • Good weather ( 300 days sunshine, it never snows)
  • Good fresh sea food and local Turkish cuisine
  • Reasonable living costs
  • Sandy beaches with a blue flag
  • Hospitality and Community Warmth
  • Proximity to local arts 01cd0971ef4c80f1ef8935ef54c3cc2f5f658d5009
  • English speaking shop assistants, hospitality industry worker and doctors
  • Diving and other water sports; a world-class marina
  • Entertaining night life
  • Historical sites open to the public ( Apollo Temple, Miletos, Iasos, Ephesus)

23. Any complaints you have about Didim? Every town has advantages and disadvantages. Some people find Didim too small; for them we have properties in the nearby cities of Bodrum and Kusadasi.

24. You used to live in Turnhout, Belgium.  What are the biggest differences between daily life01d712b60614c5105f04f88dd3f90fe031c8bdcb55 in Turnhout and daily life in Didim? The weather is very different. In Belgium we had 300 days of rain; here it’s the exact opposite. Didim is a resort area, so people come here for holiday. The pace is much more relaxed, and people are here to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Also, the food is better.

25. And…what’s your favorite food?  Where’s the best place to try this dish in Didim?  Fish of course. I especially like the sea bream, sea bass and octopus at Kamacı Restaurant in Altınkum.

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Turkey’s Best Beach Food

Turkish Cuisine is most known for its fragrant, nutty desserts, succulent meats, and lavish breakfast platter.  But what do people eat when they’re hitting up the beach? Obviously not hotdogs and cotton candy.

Turkey’s many beaches have an abundance of food on offer, from the universally popular stuffed mussels to more unusual creations like melon icecream bowls. You’re likely to buy your beach food from one of three places: open-air cafes selling popular dishes all day, usually located just back from the beach; mobile food carts and village locals selling hand-cooked goods and cold drinks from baskets; and seasonal cafes set up on the sand.

Spinach Gözleme

Gözleme

Gözleme is the standby dish of Turkish beach-goers, delicious for breakfast, lunch, snack or even dinner.  Gözleme is made by rolling out thin sheets of dough, stuffing the dough with various fresh ingredients (traditional varieties include spinach, spinach and white cheese, yellow cheese, and cheese and potatoes), and baking it for a few minutes in a tandoor oven.  You will often see people carrying plastic tubs full of ready-made gözleme on the beach, and cafes selling oven-hot gözleme to order ring almost every watering hole.  Average price: 3-7 Lira.

Gözleme tent at Kaputaş Plaji

Gözleme tent at Kaputaş Plaji

Papery, savory gözleme is the perfect follow-up to an afternoon swim, best enjoyed from a shaded tent where you can get a little respite from the sun.

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Fresh Vegetables and Ayran

Almost every outdoor cafe will serve up a side of fresh vegetables, or a simple mixed sheperd’s salad (Çoban Salatası).  Garden-fresh cucumbers and sun-ripened tomatoes are perfect when accompanied by a glass of cold, salty Ayran, especially after a swim (or sweating in the sun).

Midye

Ever seen a man walking around with a cloth-covered dish? He’s probably selling Midye – steamed mussels stuffed with mixed pilaf and eaten with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Sari Kardesler Midye Stand, Bodrum

Sari Kardesler Midye Stand, Bodrum

Each town has their “midye barons”, the most famous probably being Bodrum’s Sarı Kardeşler Midyecilik, so well-known they even have their own facebook page. PriceL 0.5-1 Lira/mussel

Kavun Dondurma – Melon Bowl Ice Cream

If you’ve ever traveled to Turkey – anywhere in Turkey – you’ve probably noticed how popular (and prevalent) ice cream is.  Of course the tourists go for the blocks of ‘Turkish Ice Cream’ sold by men in red Ottoman caps.  But even beyond Istanbul’s most crowded thoroughfares, ice cream is everywhere, usually for sale in bright glass cares featuring twenty to firty flavors, from raspberry to blackberry to strawberry to chocolate to fudge to hazelnut to walnut to pistachio to caramel to…well, you get it.

But Turkey’s beaches offer something unique: ice cream scooped into a melon bowl.  The melons used are not as sweet or sugary as cantaloupe, and at least make your dessert choice seem a little healthier.  Price: 5 Lira

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If you do want to skip the ice cream, and just go for the fruit, several beaches have stands selling cactus fruits ( hailed – without much scientific backing – as “Nature’s Viagra”) for around 2 Lira.  But beware – make sure yours is completely skinned before handling it yourself, or you could get cacti spikes embedded in your skin (trust me on this one).

*Really* Fresh Juice

And if you’d rather avoid the prickles, most beaches (along with almost every street in most cities) will have a nearby cafe or stand selling fresh-pressed orange juice. Many places will also make grapefruit juice, pomegranate juice, carrot juice, and mixed juice for about 1.5-3 lira a cup, fresh-squeezed while you wait.

There are also plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable stands (and fresh fruit juice stands) selling local organic produce by the side of the road.

There are also plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable stands (and fresh fruit juice stands) selling local organic produce by the side of the road.

süt mısır…delivery bicycle?

Steamed Corn (“süt mısır”) is also a popular snack, both in town and on the beach.  Look for small stands with closed stainless steel containers covered in white cloth or… a corncicle. Popular toppings include vinegar, butter, salt, pepper, hot pepper, lemon juice, and pomegranate sauce. Price: 1.5-4 Lira

Rakı Balık

Rakı Balık

If you’re more than a little peckish, and fruit and corn just won’t cut it, despair not! Turkey’s most famous beach food is of course fish!  A quick dinner can be made of balık ekmek (Fish sandwich, literally “fish bread”, see the video below), but fresh fish is often best  grilled and served with a squeeze of lemon, a tart side salad, and a glass of raki.  The dinner is so popular that it’s simply known as “rakı balık” – raki and fish. A trip along Turkey’s coast cannot be said complete without a dinner of rakı balık, preferably on a terrace as the sun sets over the sea.

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