Beautiful Kalkan

Kalkan is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated and picturesque resorts in Turkey

A visit to Turkey is an unforgettable experience

Beautiful Kalkan

Kalkan is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated and picturesque resorts in Turkey

Vibrant Istanbul

Istanbul – one of the most cosmopolitan and popular cities to visit for a short break

A visit to Turkey is an unforgettable experience

Vibrant Istanbul

Istanbul – one of the most cosmopolitan and popular cities to visit for a short break

Magical Cappadocia

Explore the surreal lunar-landscape and fairy chimney dwellings

A visit to Turkey is an unforgettable experience

Magical Cappadocia

Explore the surreal lunar-landscape and fairy chimney dwellings

Boutique HOLIDAYS TO Turkey

A visit to Turkey is an unforgettable experience, with most visitors returning time and time again. Whether you are looking for a short city break, a relaxing holiday on the beach, or a tailor-made holiday exploring many fascinating regions, a holiday in Turkey has something for everyone.

The hustle and bustle of the bazaars of ancient Istanbul, the magical underground cities and caves of Cappadocia, and gentle lapping waters of the Mediterranean against the dramatic mountain backdrop of Kalkan on the south-west coast, Turkey is a wonderfully diverse country, rich in history and renowned for its friendly and very welcoming locals.

Regions IN Turkey

Kalkan
Gocek and Fethiye
Kas
Bozburun Peninsula
Cappadocia
Gulet Cruising

Luxury GULET CRUISING

One the best ways to explore Turkey has to be on board a traditional Turkish gulet. These beautiful wooden boats are the perfect choice for a family or group of friends wishing to be waited on hand and foot and simply looking to relax in style and be utterly pampered.

Find out more >

Destination guide to Turkey

This welcome to Turkey guide has been put together by all of our colleagues here at The Discerning Collection and is meant to give you additional information to make your stay or potential visit even more interesting and fulfilling. All of us here have been massive fans of this delightful country and it seems only natural to pass on our thoughts and knowledge to you to access at your leisure. We hope you will find it helpful and that it will make your visit to our resorts all the more fascinating.

This welcome to Turkey guide has been put together by all of our colleagues here at The Discerning Collection and is meant to give you additional information to make your stay or potential visit even more interesting and fulfilling. All of us here have been massive fans of this delightful country and it seems only natural to pass on our thoughts and knowledge to you to access at your leisure. We hope you will find it helpful and that it will make your visit to our resorts all the more fascinating.

Before you Travel

British nationals currently do not need a visa to enter Turkey.  (as of 17/2/2021)

Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Turkey and must have at least 3 months validity from the date you leave.

In one form or another, Turkish is spoken by around 150 million people, in an area stretching from Belgrade to Xinjiang in China. The closest European languages are Finnish and Hungarian.

One of the group of Turkic languages, it was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic during the Ottoman period and later restructured in Ataturk’s Great Language Reform of the 1930s. It was under his direction that the Arabic alphabet was changed to Roman and many Persian and Arabic words were replaced by new Turkish ones. The result is a simplified and logical language with phonetically pronunciation.

There are twenty-nine letters in the Turkish alphabet. The letters Q, W and X are omitted. There are two versions of S, C, U, O, I and G and three different variations of A. You will be able to notice the difference, as some of the letters are plain and some have umlauts (two dots) over the top. The different letters have different sounds and each syllable is pronounced with equal stress.

Initially the language may seem complex and very different, but if you master a few essentials and a smattering of words your efforts will be appreciated. It is well worth the time and trouble to bring pleasure and certainly a few smiles to friendly Turkish faces. So practice some phrases and you’re bound to impress! One of the hardest, yet most important everyday words is Teşekkür ederim, pronounced tesh e kur e derim – thank you!

English Turkish Pronounced
Hello Merhaba Merhaba
Please Lütfen Lootfen
Thank you Teşekkür ederim Tesh e kur e derim
Where? Nerede? Nerede
Good Morning Gunaydın Goo nay din
Good Evening Iyi akşamlar Ee ak sham lar
Good Night Iyi geceler Ee gej ee ler
Goodbye – staying Güle güle Gerlay gerlay
Goodbye – leaving Hoş çakal Hoshchakal
Yes Evet Evet
No Hayır Hiyir
No thanks Yok sağol Yok sal
Hello how are you? Merhaba, nasılsiniz Merhaba nas is siniz
I’m fine thank you Iyiyim teşekkür ederim Iyim tes ekur edrim
One Bir Bir
Two Iki Iki
Three Ooch
Four Dört Dirt
Five Beş Besh
Six Altı Alti
Seven Yedi Yedi
Eight Sekiz Sekiz
Nine Dokuz Dokuz
Ten On On
Hundred Yuz Yuz
Thousand Bin Bin
Tea Çay Cheye
Milk Süt Suit
Water Su Sue
One beer please Bir bira lütfen Bir bira lutfen
Sugar Şeker Sheker
Soup Çorba Chorba
Chicken Piliç Pilich
Vegetable Sebze Sebze
How much is it? Kaç para Catch para
The bill please Hesap lütfen Hesap lutfen

Turkey’s geographical location, the fact that it is surrounded by four seas and its relatively late development in both industry and agriculture means that the country is extremely rich in flora and fauna. It is thought that Turkey has as many species of flower as the rest of Europe combined, of which more than a third are native to the country.

The most famous of all is the tulip which is Turkey’s national emblem.

Turkey is also the home of over thirty species of wild wheat, along with barley, chickpeas, lentils, apricots, figs, cherries and many types of nuts.

With regard to fauna, it is thought that there are over 80,000 species and Turkey is the original homeland of pheasant, fallow deer and domestic sheep. Today many of the national parks and, of course, the natural mountainous countryside still abound with wildlife such as brown bears, wild boar, lynx, wolves and leopards as well as over 4,000 types of bird.

The Mediterranean Region

Much of the coastal and more temperate areas of Turkey are covered in maquis (dwarf forest) or Red Pines, which require little water to tide them over during the dry summers. In higher areas cedar and fir trees are more common. These dryer parts of the forest are obviously vulnerable to fires and it is thought that each summer approximately 20,000 hectares are destroyed.

The Mediterranean climate also enables more exotic fruit- growing which, in recent years has included the kiwi fruit, bananas and avocados, all of which are readily available at the local markets. The region is also particularly well- known for its olives, grapes, cotton and tobacco.

The coastal areas of both the Mediterranean and the Aegean are well known for providing a safe haven for the endangered monk seal and the logger-head turtle. Within this particular region, the Olympos area, including the beach, is a national park and a breeding ground for the turtles.

General Etiquette

Mosques – As a place of religious importance, dress rules must be respectfully adhered to by all those entering a mosque. For women, bare arms, legs and heads are not acceptable inside a mosque. Men should avoid wearing shorts and heads must be covered with a scarf. Before entering a mosque, shoes must be removed. Avoid visiting mosques at prayer time, on Fridays (Muslim Holy Day) and at times of religious festivals.

Beach – Topless sunbathing can offend the traditionally minded and to be naked is illegal.

Dress – Turkey is a fairly modern country and the wearing of shorts and T-shirts around towns and cities is quite acceptable. In more remote villages and places of worship, it is advisable to wear something a little more formal, such as skirt or trousers with a blouse or T-shirt. It would be considered offensive to go shopping in bikinis or swimming trunks. If you are scantily clad you will attract the attention of the locals, both male and female!

Tipping – In restaurants service is generally 10% of the meal cost. Some restaurants will include a service charge in the bill (added on at the bottom). It is optional to add further if you wish.

While travelling on coach trips and jaunts no official tipping is expected. Having said that though, it is always appreciated if you tip the driver.

Blue Eye

The belief in the malevolent powers of ‘nazar’, the evil eye, is one of the most widespread superstitions in the country. The blue bead nazarboncuğu will guard against evil wherever it is adorned with its powers of sympathetic magic. For this reason, they will be seen providing protection everywhere – children and babies wear them, homes and new buildings often exhibit one and even domestic animals may have one!

Centuries of Ottoman Empire rule helped to spread Turkish cuisine and ingredients throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East, where many well-known recipes show an influence. A few examples are: yoghurt salads, stuffed vegetables, fish cooked in olive oil and syrupy filo pastry desserts.

The Turkish cuisine is regarded as one of the world’s greatest and the Mediterranean diet is certainly a healthy one to follow. Despite the now heavy influences of fast- food chains and more western-style foods in the major cities, restaurants and indeed family homes have managed to hold on to the more traditional Turkish recipes. In recent years, Turkish restaurants have certainly become more popular in European cities as chefs re-create an authentic meal for the ever inquisitive customer.

The sheer size of the country and her seasonable climate enables Turkey to grow produce such as tomatoes, melons and red peppers in the hotter south, and Turkish tea and wheat in the cooler north. Turkey also lies on four different seas (Black sea, Mamara sea, Aegean sea and the Mediterranean sea) and these provide the country with endless fish and shellfish. In fact, Turkey is one of the few countries in the world to be completely self-sustaining as far as food is concerned.

Laws passed by the Ottomans insisted that food should be served fresh at all times, and modern Turks have certainly abided by the same rules. Just wandering around the local village markets proves this, as you see the displays of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, olives in huge barrels with bay leaves and lemons, bottles of olive oil, Pekmez (grape molasses) and Tahin (sesame paste) and local cheeses just waiting to be tasted. Every village has a bakery where bread is baked at least twice a day, delicious served hot with butter and local cheese or simply just dipped in olive oil.

To sample a selection of delicious Turkish dishes, simply visit one of the more traditional styles of Turkish restaurant such as a Lokanta (soup kitchen) or a kebap Salon. Listed below, are a number of the more common dishes that are certainly worth a try during your stay

Starters (Meze)

A grand selection of hot and cold starters, either served on one or several plates. Similar to Spanish Tapas, though more substantial.

Famous mezes include: Zeytinyağli Fasulye (green beans), Kalamari, Ezme (spicy tomato salsa), Haydari (yoghurt and mint) and Dolma (stuffed vegetables) to name but a few!

Muçver (Courgette fritters) – A delicious combination of grated courgette, white cheese and dill in a batter, lightly fried and generally served warm with a yoghurt dip. Must be eaten fresh from the pan!

Sigara Böreği – Deep-fried filo pastry, rolled into a cigar shape and filled with white cheese and parsley. They are served hot and appear on every Turkish menu!

Yaprak Sarma Dolması

Vine leaves stuffed with either rice

or minced lamb mixed with mint and Turkish spices.

Imam Bayildı – A split aubergine filled with tomatoes and onions. This dish translates as the priest fainted! According to legend, when the Imam was served this dish he fainted in shock at how delicious it was, hence the name!

Caçik – A very tasty, albeit strong, garlic dip traditionally made with yoghurt and chunks of cucumber. Generally served with main courses consisting of meat.

Main courses

Iskender kebap – Slices of döner meat (lamb) served on a bed of pide bread, covered with a spicy tomato sauce and yoghurt served on the side. Hot clarified butter is poured over the top of this dish as it is being served.

Şiş kebap – Diced chicken or lamb, barbequed and served on a skewer with rice and salad.

Köfte – Homemade grilled meatballs of either ground beef or lamb, generally served with rice, salad and chips.

MantıTurkish-style ravioli covered in a delicious garlic yoghurt sauce topped with paprika and melted butter.

Güveç – A meat or vegetable casserole topped with melted cheese, served in a clay pot.

Pide – A Turkish-style flatbread pizza with a selection of delicious toppings such as ground mince and onions, white cheese and peppers and spinach and egg.

Gözleme – Turkish pancakes cooked on a hot iron plate and served with a variety of fillings such as white cheese and parsley, potato and meat and chocolate and banana!

Desserts

Baklava – Layers of filo pastry filled with nuts, often pistachios or walnuts, soaked in honey syrup. Sickly but delicious!

Sütlaç – Turkish rice pudding with a burnt cinnamon top, always served cold!

Künefe – Layers of shredded wheat, with a white cheese centre drenched in honey syrup served straight from the oven. A definite favourite!!

Helva – There are many different varieties of this delicious sesame honey dessert. More often it is served in slices at the end of a meal.

Drinks

Ayran – A refreshing drink made from yoghurt, salt and water mixed together and generally served ice-cold in a tall glass. The best hangover cure yet invented!

Turk Kahvesi – A thick and strong local coffee, served in thimble-sized cups as Sade (no sugar), Orta (medium sugar) or Sekerli (a lot of sugar)

Çay – Turkish black tea, served day and night in tulip- shaped glasses with lots of sugar.

Beer – You will found that most restaurants and bars serve either Efes or Pilsen, a Turkish lager.

Raki -An aniseed-flavoured spirit distilled from pressed grapes. Generally drunk mixed with water and ice with an extra glass of water on the side. An excellent accompaniment to Meze and fish. Rumour has it that if you had a lot of Raki to drink the night before, clearing your head with a glass of water the next day will only start the process off again!!

Raki is also known as ‘Aslan Suyu’ or ‘lion’s milk’, and is the national alcoholic drink of Turkey.

Şarap

Turkish wine is excellent and all licensed restaurants will offer a generous selection of red, white and rose wines produced in Turkey.

There are two main producers ‘Doluca’ & ‘Kavaklidere’.

Here are a few popular wines that you may come across:

Cankaya – A dry white

Angora Beyaz – A fruit dry white

Narince – A dry white with an oaky taste

Lal – A fruity dry rose

Yakut – A fruity light bodied red

Angora Kirmizi – A well rounded red

Şerefe! – Cheers!

There are two types of lager widely available. Efes Pilsen is the local brand and is extremely palatable. Tuborg is a Danish beer produced under licence in Turkey. Both are served either on draught (fıçı bira) or in a bottle (şişe bira). However they come, they provide welcome refreshment!

Imported spirits are available and while you may find them quite expensive, they are usually served in double measures. For an equally big measure, Turkish spirits – gin, vodka and brandy – are cheaper than their UK equivalent and when served with appropriate mixers, they are equally as enjoyable. There is also a wide range of Turkish-produced liqueurs (mint, almond, banana and orange) which provide a more interesting end to a meal!

A wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks is also available such as Coke, Fanta, Sprite and mineral water. Also look out for the endless range of soft fruit drinks sold in cartons, such as Vişne (sour cherry), Şeftali (peach) and Portakal (orange).

The local çaybahcesi (tea garden) is a meeting place for friends and families to enjoy a leisurely ‘chat and çay’. During your time in Turkey you will definitely be offered tea at some stage, whether in someone’s home or even while browsing in shops and markets. If you prefer a different taste, there are various herbal and fruit-flavoured teas available, such as elma çay (apple tea) which is lighter and refreshingly sweet!

Çaysız shobet, aysiz gok yuzu gibidir

(Conversation without tea is like the night sky without the moon)

Recipes
Piyaz

Piyaz- bean salad- is served differently through-out Turkey; this is the way it is served in the Antalya region with Tahini (sesame paste and garlic)

1 tin cooked white beans
1 onion, cut finely in half-moons
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp crushed pepper
1 or two hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 tomato, diced

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced

  1. In a bowl mix the tahini, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic for the dressing. It shouldn’t be too runny or thick. If the dressing you make with the measures above is thick then add some of the juice from the can. If it is too runny you can thicken it with Tahini.
  1. Pour the tahini dressing over the beans and mix them well.
  1. Slice the onion thinly. In a bowl mix it with 1 tsp of salt and then rinse.
  1. Mix the beans with onion and parsley.
  1. Decorate the bean salad with tomatoes and slices of hardboiled egg.
Muçver (Courgette Fritters)

3 Courgettes
5 Spring Onions, sliced
50g white cheese, diced
½ bunch dill, chopped
2 small green peppers (mild), sliced
2 eggs
2 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon salt
4 heaped dessert spoons of flour
1 cup oil

  1. Grate the courgettes coarsely
  1. Mix the courgettes with onion, dill, peppers, eggs, mint, cheese and salt.
  1. Stir in the flour. The texture should be like a lumpy cake mix.
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and use a spoon to drop heaped desert spoonful’s of the mixture into the oil.
  1. When the patter is cooked on one side turn them over. The patties should be soft to touch.
  1. Drain them on kitchen paper

They are best served warm (they will spoil if reheated)

Kabak Kizartmasi

(Fried Aubergine with Yoghurt sauce)

2 aubergines, peeled and cut in round slices
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sun flower oil

Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup yogurt
1 garlic clove, smashed with salt
2 tbsp. dill, chopped

  1. Put the aubergine slices into a bowl of milk and leave for about 30 minutes.
  1. Put the flour into another bowl and dip the aubergine slices into them until they are fully covered.
  1. Heat up the oil and fry the aubergine slices until both sides take a light golden colour, you might want to soak them on kitchen before serving just to get rid of the excess oil.
  1. Arrange on a serving plate and serve with the yogurt dip while the slices are still crunchy.This is a perfect dish as a meze and to accompany a barbecue.
Menemen

3 tomatoes- diced
2 mild peppers – sliced
1 onion – chopped
10-15 sprigs parsley -chopped
4 eggs
¼ cup oil
Salt & pepper

  1. Gently fry the onions until soft, add the peppers and stir for a few minutes.
  1. Add the tomatoes, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.
  1. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Keep stirring until the eggs are cooked but not dry.
  1. Towards the end of the cooking stir in the parsley.
  1. Serve with some fresh bread.

You can also add sujuk (spicy sausage) to give it a bit of a kick. This dish can be served for breakfast as well as throughout the day.

Cacik

1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
Olive oil
Fresh dill, chopped

  1. Mix the garlic, salt, yogurt and water in a medium sized bowl.
  1. Add diced cucumber and mix again. With a ladle pour into small bowls and then add 1 tbsp. of olive oil on top of each. Garnish with fresh dill.

This is also a great side dish to go with barbecued meats and rice.

Patates Salatası (Turkish Potato salad)

2 medium sized yellow potatoes
Sauce:

60 ml extra virgin olive
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

Garnish:
2 fresh spring onions, chopped
some red onion, sliced

  1. Boil the potatoes in water. Remove the skin and cut them in medium sized chunks. Whisk all the sauce ingredients.
  1. Toss it with the potatoes while they are still warm. Sprinkle fresh spring and red onions all over, serve
Ayran

This is an acquired taste but is very good for you especially if you are suffering from de-hydration. It is thought to have originated from preserving yoghurt with salt. In rural areas of Turkey, ayran is offered as the standard drink to welcome guests.

1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt

  1. Add all the ingredients and mix well (use a blender if you have one). When it is ready you will see bubbles and that’s the best part.

The drink shouldn’t be thick and should be served cold.
The word “yogurt”:
The word comes from the Turkish word “yoğurt”, deriving from the verb “yoğurtmak”, which means “to blend” – a reference to how yogurt is made.

Turk Cayı  (Turkish Tea)

Wherever you go in Turkey tea is offered as a sign of friendship and hospitality. Nearly all the tea in Turkey is produced in the Rize province on the eastern Black Sea coast. It only really became popular in the 1930’s though when Ataturk encouraged people to drink tea rather than coffee which had become expensive and sometimes unavailable after World War 1.

4 Tsps. Turkish Tea leaves (can be bought from any market)

3 Cups of bottled water

To make Turkish tea you should really use a Caydanlık which is a small tea pot-brewer (demlik) on top of a kettle.

  1. Pour the 3 cups of water into the larger kettle.
  1. Put the Turkish tea leaves into the teapot and place it on top of the kettle. Bring the water to the boil over a medium heat.
  1. Pour half the boiling water from the kettle over the leaves into the teapot and let it brew for about 5 minutes.
  1. Pour the brewed tea into tea glasses using a small tea strainer but only half full. Fill the rest of the glass with hot water
  1. Serve with sugar cubes to sweeten to taste
In Kalkan

The majority of the restaurants are situated at the heart of Kalkan’s maze of cobbled streets. In the evening, the pretty harbour-front and the picturesque streets come alive and you will doubtless be tempted to sample the local cuisine by the aromas drifting into the street. The village offers a high number of quality restaurants and lokantas serving a variety of cuisines, including traditional Turkish, Mediterranean specialities, and locally caught fresh fish. After dinner you may wish to try one of Kalkan’s few late night bars to relax further into the evening.

In Kas

In the heart of Kaş, hidden away on narrow cobbled streets and in flag-stoned courtyards you will come across many good restaurants serving classic Turkish cuisine, while rooftop bars are ideal for an aperitif.

In the Nearby Villages

The area around Kalkan is renowned for its trout restaurants – in particular the village of Islamlar (a 25-minute drive from Kalkan). The trout restaurants offer wonderful views and provide very memorable meals, which are simple and freshly cooked. Typical food on offer consists of local meze (similar to tapas), fried goats’ cheese, salads, sumptuous local trout and fresh fruit.

Shopping and Markets
In Kalkan

Amongst the winding, cobbled streets of Kalkan and the terraces of whitewashed houses lies a whole array of shops and boutiques. Diving down the narrow alleyways you will soon find all manner of carpet bazaars, antiques, arts and crafts and jewellery shops. The weekly market is held on Thursdays, opposite the school on the hill following the road out of Kalkan village centre. It is open from 09.00 – 17.30 and sells, among other things, T-shirts, jeans, watches, tablecloths, household items and local produce.

In Kaş

Kaş is a busy market town and although tourism is prevalent, it does remain a lively and charming place where you can get a real sense of Turkish life. The streets are packed with shops spilling out their wares of trinkets onto the pavements.

The small, traditional market is held out of town every Friday, on the main road to Kalkan. Typical goods available are much the same as you would get at other markets but you can also find local designers tailoring to order from hand-woven fabrics produced in the nearby villages.

Kalkan

The coastline around Kalkan is rich and rugged, with many secluded bays and rocky inlets, which are great to explore. The stretches of rocky coastline are extremely inviting, lapped by clear aquamarine waters and perfect for cooling off and snorkelling. Although the Town Beach is small and services limited, the shallow rake to the sea is perfect for timid swimmers.

Dotted around Kalkan are many beach clubs – essentially sun-bathing platforms cut from the rocks.

Yali Beach Club

Situated right on the water’s edge the beach club is a favourite with Discerning’s guests. For Discerning Collection guests there is no cost for use of sunbeds and umbrellas, water sports are available all day, just ask the staff and they will call the Aristos Water sports who offer all manner of activities including water-ski, ringos, jet ski, banana and many more.

The beach platforms have direct access to the sea and comfortable sunbeds with shade. The Yali’s bar and restaurant serves food and drinks throughout the day

Other beach clubs are:

Kalamar Beach Club – in Kalamar Bay

Indigo Beach Club – Kalkan Harbour

Palm Beach Club, Mahal Beach Club, Zest & Kalkan Beach Club – Kisli Bay, to reach these they each have their own water taxi from Kalkan harbour – by the lighthouse.

Kaş

During the day Kaş becomes deserted as everyone heads for the beaches. The town has two beaches imaginatively named Buyuk Çakıl (Big Pebble Beach) and Küçük Çakıl (Little Pebble Beach). These are the immediate beaches in the area, however, not the nicest.

Other delightful beaches may be reached by using the water taxis that leave the harbour throughout the day for the 10 or 15 minute journey across the bay.

Around Kaş the coastline is rich and rugged with many secluded bays and rocky inlets great for exploring. The stretches of rocky coastline are extremely inviting, lapped by clear aquamarine waters and perfect for cooling off and snorkelling.

Local Beaches
Kaputaş Bay

A little further afield, Kaputaş Bay (between Kalkan and Kaş) offers a delightful sand and pebble cove at the mouth of an impressive gorge. Please be aware, however, that there are no sun beds or umbrellas available – and be warned, there are many steps!

Patara

Regularly featured as one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful beaches it is an uninterrupted eighteen-kilometre stretch of soft golden sand, punctuated with the evocative ruins of the ancient city previously mentioned.

The entrance fee is minimal and goes towards maintenance of the site.

All of the beaches around Kalkan (with the exception of Kaputaş) have plenty of sunshades and sun beds for hire to provide a welcome respite from the midday sun.

Turkey’s geographical location, the fact that it is surrounded by four seas and its relatively late development in both industry and agriculture means that the country is extremely rich in flora and fauna. It is thought that Turkey has as many species of flower as the rest of Europe combined, of which more than a third are native to the country.

The most famous of all is the tulip which is Turkey’s national emblem.

Turkey is also the home of over thirty species of wild wheat, along with barley, chickpeas, lentils, apricots, figs, cherries and many types of nuts.

With regard to fauna, it is thought that there are over 80,000 species and Turkey is the original homeland of pheasant, fallow deer and domestic sheep. Today many of the national parks and, of course, the natural mountainous countryside still abound with wildlife such as brown bears, wild boar, lynx, wolves and leopards as well as over 4,000 types of bird.

The Mediterranean Region

Much of the coastal and more temperate areas of Turkey are covered in maquis (dwarf forest) or Red Pines, which require little water to tide them over during the dry summers. In higher areas cedar and fir trees are more common. These dryer parts of the forest are obviously vulnerable to fires and it is thought that each summer approximately 20,000 hectares are destroyed.

The Mediterranean climate also enables more exotic fruit- growing which, in recent years has included the kiwi fruit, bananas and avocados, all of which are readily available at the local markets. The region is also particularly well- known for its olives, grapes, cotton and tobacco.

The coastal areas of both the Mediterranean and the Aegean are well known for providing a safe haven for the endangered monk seal and the logger-head turtle. Within this particular region, the Olympos area, including the beach, is a national park and a breeding ground for the turtles.

Turkey’s history is as extensive as it is diverse, and whichever part of the country you find yourself in will certainly offer an abundance of ancient sites to amble over and museums to peruse. If you were to complete an in-depth study of Turkish or Anatolian history, you could fill a library with books, so here is just a brief sample of what this fascinating country has to offer in terms of both ancient and modern history.

It is understood that the world’s oldest settlement, Cakal Hoyük, approximately 60 km from modern day Konya, was inhabited as early as 7500 BC in the early part of the Stone Age, and throughout this age and the Copper Age, more settlements were erected in Hacılar on the outskirts of Burdur, in the northern part of the Mediterranean.

During the old Bronze Age (2600-1900BC) civilisation continued developing and people known as the Proto-Hittites settled further in to Anatolia, building cities and establishing themselves as rulers, dominating the middle Bronze age between 1900-1600 BC. In fact the Hittite empire was secured right up to the Trojan War in 1250 BC.

As the decline of the Hittite empire continued after the war, the great Hellenic period (1200-600BC) was surfacing and kingdoms such as Ionia, Pamphylia, Lycia, Lydia and Caria were formed.

Throughout the centuries, these kingdoms grew, until 550BC when they were invaded by the Persians, and their emperor Cyrus conquered city after city as he stampeded through Anatolia.

Relatively speaking, the Persian control lasted only a short time, as in 334 BC, Alexander the Great swept (from Macedonia) through the entire Middle East, from Greece to India, conquering all on his way.

After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, many small wars continued within Anatolia until the next invaders, the Celts, arrived in 279BC. They created the kingdom of Galatia with Ancyra (Ankara) as her capital and in fact parts of the citadel in Ankara today date back to this period.

Also at this time, further kingdoms were flourishing, such as Pergamum, modern day Bergama, in the province of Izmir.

The next major invasion was that of the Romans in 129 BC, who established their Asian capital of Ephesus on the western coast. The Romans offered amity and good fortune for well over 2 centuries, but more significantly encouraged the promotion of a brand new world religion called Christianity. Saint Paul arrived in 47 AD to ‘spread the word’ on Jesus and visited modern-day places such as Side, Antalya, Demre (Myra), Konya and Troy. He also famously visited Ephesus, causing riots in the city as he preached his faith.

In 330 AD an emperor named Constantine established a new capital, Constantinople, and the city flourished. In 527 AD, an empire known as Byzantium – the new Rome – was born as the great emperor Justinian defeated Italy, the Balkans, Eygpt and North Africa.

He also ordered the construction of the Haghia Sophia in Constantinople, thought to be the greatest church in the world.

The next most significant date in this varied history is 570 AD when a man named Muhammed was born in a city called Mecca, and the Islamic faith was formed. Then the Seljuk Turks arrived, ruling Anatolia between 1037 and 1109 AD, from Persia, now modern-day Iran. But in 1288, what most Turks consider to be the greatest empire of all was formed, The Ottoman empire.

In 1326, Bursa became the capital city, as Constantinople was still in Byzantine hands, although it was defeated in 1453 by Mehmet the Conqueror.

The greatest period for the Ottomans was during the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent between 1520-1566, who ruled land as far as Vienna.

For centuries, the Ottomans successfully ruled, though there was not a more powerful Sultan than Suleyman the Magnificent, and slowly the Empire began to fall behind the times in terms of social, military and scientific progress.

Apart from a slight improvement between 1876 and 1909 with the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid, the Empire had all but diminished. The final straw was the invasion of the Greeks in 1919. The Turkish war of Independence lasted 2 years with the very near defeat of Ankara. A man named Mustafa Kemal finally overpowered the Greeks and renegotiated treaties of WW1 were discussed which resulted in the mass movement of Greeks and Turks between the two countries back to their homeland.

The Republic of Turkey was formed in 1923, and a constitution was endorsed. New western-style decrees were established, the Arabic alphabet was replaced by an adapted Latin one, the Fez (a traditional Ottoman symbol) was banned, civil marriage rather than just a religious ceremony was now compulsory and women were granted the right to vote. Mustafa Kemal insisted all Turks should choose a family name, a surname, and he became Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Father of the Turks). In 1930 the city of Constantinople became Istanbul, and Ankara was declared the new capital, chosen for its more central position in the country.

Ataturk is a national icon, and you will quickly realise this as every Turkish home, office, shop and business will have a photograph of him displayed for all to see. A statue or bust of him can be found in public places such as parks and squares and his speeches and quotations are written across many public buildings. His foresight in the introduction of new reforms, resulting in the modernisation and progression of Turkey, has left his face and his words embedded in the minds of Turks forever.

In recent years, the Turkish democracy has been continuously threatened, particularly after a coup d’etat in 1970 and in 1980, when civil unrest and political fighting almost brought the country to a halt. The military took over and restored order, although at the same time inflicting strict authority and sadly, abusing human rights.

At this time the head of the military government resigned his commission and became Turkey’s president. Since the 1980s there have been a number of presidents and prime ministers, including Tansu Çiller, the first female prime minister, between 1993 -1996.

The politics of Turkey take place in the framework of a presidential republic as defined by the Constitution of Turkey.  The  President of Turkey is both the head of state and head of government.

Turkey’s political system is based on a separation of powers. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, which is appointed and headed by the President.  Legislative power is vested in the  Grand National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Its current constitution was adopted on 7 November 1982 after a constitutional referendum.

Major  constitutional reforms were passed by the National Assembly on 21 January 2017 and approved by referendum on 16 April 2017. The reforms, among other measures, abolished the position of Prime Minister and designated the President as both head of state and government, effectively transforming Turkey from a parliamentary regime into a presidential one.

Islam is the main religion in Turkey, with approximately 98% of the population being Muslim (predominantly Sunni). Turkey is a secular state with complete freedom of religion and beliefs. Islam is not the state religion, as it was under the Ottoman Empire rule for 600 years. Its status as such was abolished by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924. Although the government and other social structures are not based on Islamic principles, you will find that Islam maintains some influence on society, especially in more rural areas.

The Islamic religious day is Friday; however Saturday and Sunday make up the official weekend – this becomes apparent with an influx of ‘City Turks’ visiting the coast. You will hear the Imam (priest) calling the ezan (prayer) five times a day, firstly at sunrise and lastly after sunset. Feel free to visit a mosque during your stay; however women must cover their heads, arms and legs and it would not be appropriate to visit at prayer times.

The main religious event in the Muslim calendar is Ramadan. This is a time of fasting Prayers, charity-giving, and self-accountability. The fast starts each day at sun-rise (first mosque call) and ends at sunset, with a special meal known as ‘Iftar’. At the end of Ramadan there is a 3-day feast, called ‘Seker Bayrami’ or sugar festival and you may find you are offered sweets during this time when you go into people’s houses, shops or even taxis!

The other main festival is ‘Kurban Bayrami’ (Eid). This is celebrated 2 months after the end of Ramadan. Often at this time a goat will be slaughtered for the family, with the excess being given to the poor.

Turkey’s size, combined with the variety of terrain, allows it to be one of the few countries in the world that is self-sufficient in food. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy.

Forty per cent of the land is under cultivation, with crops grown for export as well as for domestic use. Cotton and livestock are the primary exports, contributing more to the economy than tourism. As one travels around, one cannot fail to notice the abundance of sheep – a sign of Turkey’s position as the biggest producer of wool in Europe.

Government-controlled organisations (known as State Economic Enterprises) control some of the major industries such as electricity, petroleum, salt and tobacco production.

The government also plays a part in the coal and steel industries, textiles, transportation, broadcasting and also the marketing of agricultural products. Manufactured goods are becoming an increasingly important part of the export economy. Car manufacture, electrical appliances, consumer goods and engineering projects all contribute to Turkey’s rising export rate.

GBP / TRY Chart

The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira. Until 2005 inflation was very high and the exchange rate rose as high as 4,000,000 TL = £1. At this time the currency was devalued and 1,000,000 TL became 1 YTL (New Turkish Lira). The exchange still fluctuates and is currently 9.7TL to the £ (17/2/21)

The dolmuş is the best form of transport for travelling around the local area. Dolmuş in Turkish literally means ‘stuffed’ and before tighter regulations were enforced, these little minibuses were packed to the gunnels, not only with local people but with their livestock too. It was not unusual to find yourself sitting on a seat with three other people, a couple of chickens and a large sack of peppers!

The dolmuş system operates as a hail and ride service running along set routes, picking up and dropping off people on request. The local bus conductor has been replaced by the passing of your fare to the driver, via the other passengers, and your change returning in much the same way. To stop a dolmuş, simply hold out your hand as you would to stop a taxi, and jump on. When you reach your destination shout out ‘inecek var’, literally meaning ‘there is a getting out’ and the driver will stop for you.

There is a dolmuş service operating in most of our regions, please ask your Discerning host for local service information.

Alternatively taxi’s a cheap form of travel and now have prices displayed, so it’s not upto the driver how much he charges!

Akil bastadir, yasta değil

(A man is as wise as his head not his years!)

All guests must ensure that they have travel insurance, we suggest this is booked as soon as you confirm your holiday. As it should cover you for cancellation in the event of illness or changes in circumstances before you travel as well as medical cover etc when you are away.

We also suggest that you check it covers you for other activities you may wish to partake in once you are away, such as: Scuba Diving, White Water Rafting, River Canoeing, Sea Kayaking and Paragliding.

 

Hiring a car is a great way to see the stunning local coastline, beaches and historical sites.

Driving and Road Safety

Please take care when crossing roads or negotiating traffic, as driving is not to the same standard as in the UK and obviously driving is on the right, not on the left! This is especially important during the first couple of days after you have arrived.

Driving is a great way to explore but can be a bit of an experience! Please refer to the ‘Driving Tips’ on the following pages which outline local driving regulations and other safety tips – please read this before you set off.

The following tips should help you as you drive around:

Car Collection
  • When collecting your hire car, please check the car to satisfy yourself that it is in good condition and to familiarise yourself with its operation.
  • You will need to produce your driver’s licence and passport on signing for the car. Two drivers may be named for each vehicle.
  • A credit card impression may be taken on signing the rental agreement. This will be held against any accident charges.
Legal Requirements
  1. Drivers must be a minimum of twenty one years’ of age (twenty five for a jeep) with two years driving experience.
  1. If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, or if your car is damaged in any way, it is necessary to call the Police to the scene before moving the vehicle.
  1. Without a Police report the insurance is void. You must also contact the car hire company immediately. If possible, take a photograph before doing anything else.
  1. Fully comprehensive insurance in Turkey excludes damage to lights, windscreens and tyres.
  1. You will need to carry your passport and drivers’ licence along with the vehicle documentation and licence, which is normally found in the glove compartment or in the driver’s visor.

The Jandarma (Traffic Police) stop cars as a matter of routine and you will be expected to produce this documentation.

  1. It is compulsory to wear front seat belts and advisable to use rear seatbelts too, if they are fitted.
  1. The speed limit is 50km (30 miles) per hour in built up areas, or areas with housing. On open roads and motorways this rises to 90km (56 miles) per hour. Beware of exceeding these speeds, as speed checkpoints are very common and speeding drivers will be fined on the spot. If you are fined, always ask for a receipt, or you may be contributing to the policeman’s salary. The fine can be £50+.
  1. The legal drink-drive limit is 1 small beer, or 1 glass of wine. However as these can vary in size we would advise you not to drive at all after consuming any alcohol.
Fuel

It is always best to check what type of fuel your hire car takes before driving it away. Most cars take Kursunsuz (Unleaded). This should be indicated on your hire contract, or on a sticker in the rear window. For logistical reasons the petrol tank may not be full when your hire car is delivered, so it is advisable to make a note of the fuel level when taking delivery of the vehicle.

On return, please ensure it is filled to the same level. Unfortunately, if the car is returned with less fuel, a charge will be made, similarly if the car is returned with excess fuel a refund cannot be made.

Petrol stations are plentiful in the towns and along major roads. Many of them serve refreshments, have toilet facilities and car washes.

Rules of the Road
  • Driving is on the right hand side of the road
  • On roundabouts traffic gives way to the right. However, you may be expected to stop halfway round – this can take one unawares, so be prepared!
  • If an oncoming vehicles flashes at you, it means he intends to keep moving and you should stop (that is, the opposite of the meaning in the UK.)
  • If a vehicle intends to turn left, it will indicate left, but then pull over to the right to allow traffic to pass before turning – a very confusing manoeuvre!
  • If you pass a trail of small rocks or stones in the road, this may mean there is a broken down vehicle or accident ahead.
  • Please take care when driving at night especially in rural areas, where there is little or no street lighting. Unfortunately most tractors, mopeds, bicycles, pedestrians and donkeys do not have lights!
  • You will soon observe there are no restrictions on the use of the horn in Turkey, especially when overtaking a vehicle. Many drivers seem to use their ears rather than their eyes, so please feel free to make your presence heard at any time!

For further information about drives and walks in the area please speak to your host who can provide detailed itineraries for you.

Other places of Interest to visit include:
Saklikent Gorge

Also known as the “Hidden Valley”, this natural wonder is 18km, making it the longest gorge in Turkey and the second longest in Europe. After April when most of the snow from the Tauras Mountains has melted and made its way through the gorge into the Xanthos River it’s possible to walk up to 4km through the narrow canyon in the icy cold waters making it a cool refuge on a hot summer’s day.

Tlos

Tlos is the most important, oldest (dating back to 2000BC) and largest settlement of Lycia. It is believed to be the place where the mythicalogical hero Bellerophon and his winged horse, Pegasus, lived.

The site of Tlos is dominated by the acropolis. On the slope up to it there are several Lycian sarcophagi and the king type tomb in the necropolis is dedicated to Bellerophon. The legend goes that punished by the Lycian king Iobates for an improper love affair, Bellerophon was sent to kill the Chimaera, a fire-breathing monster.  With the aid of Pegasus, a gift from Athena, Bellerophon slew the monster from the air and then married the king’s daughter.  From their offspring came the later rulers of Lycia.  Today the Chimaera continues to exist as a perpetually-burning fire in eastern Lycia near Olympos.  Another carving of a lion or leopard is also seen inside the tomb.

Tlos once had the tile of ‘the very brilliant metropolis of the Lycian nation’ under the Roman Empire and was inhabited by the Ottoman Turks making it one the few Lycian cities to take it through the 19th century. The influence of different cultures has resulted in an interesting collection of ruins.

Pinara

Pinara is one of the least visited sites in the Xanthos area but is thought to have been one of the largest cities and was probably founded due to the over-population of Xanthos.

It is a beautiful and vast site. At the centre of the city sits a high rocky mountain which has tombs scattered all over it. Beneath this lies the ruins of this splendid city.

The theatre is in a very good state leaving little to the imagination. It is said to be the birthplace of Nicholas of Myra who is known today as Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. Having been ruled by Alexander the Great, Pergamum and the Romans, it gave in to the invading armies in the 9th century when it became uninhabited.

Arycanda

This could be one of the most well-preserved sites in the area. Built upon five large terraces it is quite a unique city. The people of this city were renowned for their love of entertainment and festivities!

Due to the fact that no other city was located near to it and having escaped any damage from earthquakes or landslides much of the large scale features still exist today.

Olympos and Cirali

This National park attracts tourists not only for its history but also for its outstanding natural beauty. It is a popular place with backpackers because of its tree-house style accommodation that it has become famous for and offers a vast array of outdoor activities such as trekking. Several parts of the Lycian way can be walked and are clearly signposted in red and white. The area is also the last nesting place of the Loggerhead or Caretta Caretta Turtle and is supported by the WWF.

Near to the village of Olympos is Cirali which hosts the site of the eternal flames of the Chimera known as the Yunar tas (burning stone) in Turkish. The flames are sourced by natural gases, mainly Methane. It’s a 1km walk to the top but there are seats along the way to stop and have a break and take in the surrounding area. It is thought to have had an influence on the mythological tale of the Chimera, the fire-breathing monster, part lion, goat and snake that was slain by Bellerophon. There is also a stunning 3km sandy beach at Cirali.

Ephesus

The city of Ephesus was once the ancient trade centre of the world and is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Today only one column can be seen of this wonder but it is estimated that only 15% of the site has been excavated so far but what you can see allows you to easily imagine the splendour of the original city.

The Library of Celcus which has been reconstructed with original pieces. Thought to have been built ca AD 125 and could host 12,000 scholars. The building faces east so that the reading rooms could make the most of the morning sun.

Other sites of note are St Johns Basilica, the colonnaded walkway and the theatre. You can also see the original brothel!

Ephesus is also believed to be the city of the where the Seven Sleepers. Legend has it that during the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius, seven young men were accused of believing in Christianity. They were asked to change their beliefs but instead gave up all their belongings to the poor and went up into the mountains to pray in one of the caves. Decius then had the mouth of the cave sealed whilst they were still in there. Decades later a landowner opened the cave to use it as a cattle pen and found the seven men who awoke thinking they had only been asleep a day. They are considered Saints among Christians and Muslims

Banks

There are more than adequate exchange facilities in Kalkan and Kaş. There are a number of banks in Kalkan now among them: Is Bank, Yapi Kredi Bank and Deniz Bank and it is possible to change money using all major credit cards. The bank also each have a cash machine which accepts cards with Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus symbols (including current account debit cards) normally with commission charged by your bank. The instructions are written in English.

Several shops in Kalkan will also offer exchange facilities using sterling cash and you may find a better rate than the banks are offering.

Kas is a working town so has several banks & cash points.

Post Office (PTT)

The post office (at the top of the main street in Kalkan or off of the main square in Kas) is open from 09.00 – 18.30. It is closed for lunch from 12:30 – 13.30. The times are extended during the high season, from 09.00 until midnight. Facilities include changing currency, selling telephone cards and metered telephone as well as the traditional functions of a post office.

Pharmacy (Eczane)

For minor ailments there are three pharmacies (or Eczanes) in Kalkan that are open until late evening. Opening times are from usually from 09.00 – 19.30, extending to 08.30 – 21.00 in high season. Please contact your Discerning Host if you require assistance.

In Kas there are also several pharmacies

Petrol Station

The Kalamaki petrol station is located on the hill on the way out of Kalkan. To reach it by car it is on the main road entering Kalkan behind the new bus station.

There are several petrol stations in Kas.

Almost all petrol stations in Turkey have pump attendants to fill your car and to wash your windscreen. In this case a token tip of around  10TL (approximately £1) would be much appreciated. All major credit cards are usually accepted.

Water sports with Aristos

For water sports enthusiasts, Kalkan offers a wide array of activities.

This extremely professional company, based in Kalkan, has good equipment, modified for each season. Also, most importantly, all the equipment, instructors and you are fully insured.

Activities include water skiing, ringo and donuts, jet skiing, sea canoeing and pedaloes.

Scuba Diving with Kalkan Dive Centre

This superb school offers everything from Try Dives to PADI Courses and also some of the best dives for the experienced diver in the Mediterranean as previously protected sites open up, and beginners are also extremely well catered for. You may not be aware, but as this area does not have tides, the water is crystal clear, making it an excellent place to learn to dive.

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