My name is Diana and welcome to my article on the Turkish Riviera. I have been living in Faralya, a village on the Turquoise Coast, for about five years now. I was born in Moscow and raised as a ballerina. However, being a professional ballet dancer as a career was never really a goal for me. I’m named after Diana – the twin sister of Apollo and the goddess of the moon – so I have always felt connected to Roman and Greek mythology.
All my childhood I was reading books about myths and history, and visiting museums with artifacts from that era. In 2006, my mother organized a trip to the southwest coast of Turkey for the whole family. I remember that bus journey from the airport like it was yesterday. I felt like I was in the exact place where ancient myths were created and I started crying. There were mountains, the Mediterranean and ancient ruins. It was a dream come true.
Afterwards, I began to learn more about Turkish culture and traditions. It resonated with me on a deep level. Since 2006, I have been coming back to the Turkish Riviera every year – staying not just for weeks but for months if I could. I have also visited other countries around the world such as Thailand, the Maldives, France, Switzerland, etc. but my affinity has always been with the south of Turkey – a place so captivating that words can’t describe it.
Working at a Guesthouse in Faralya
When I received a scholarship for journalism, my trips to Turkey stopped as I became a bookworm. After graduating, I started my big trip (like a gap year). I wasn’t just traveling but also volunteering via popular workaway platforms. What an experience. I worked as a tour guide on an island in the Indian Ocean, an English teacher for Buddhist monks, a photographer for a furniture factory and then I decided to look for volunteer options in Turkey.
There was one I fell in love with, although it was full. Another opportunity popped up close to where I would spend my holidays. It was located in Faralya (just 15 minutes from my favorite resort). It was a small guesthouse with an organic garden. I was interviewed and accepted for three weeks. From day one, the team there loved me so much. It was the perfect fit for both parties. Three weeks passed and I was offered to stay permanently.
I never dreamed of living abroad as I’m a conservative person from a big family. Yet, I had a massive reason to stay (I met a special someone) and we are still happily together. Five years have passed since first coming here and for the first four I was working 12 hours a day from March to November. My role was to manage the guesthouse and cook for guests. Unfortunately, our beautiful little place was sold by the owner (we were renting).
Why the Turkish Riviera is Amazing
So now we are on our way to opening a new project and busy running boat trips along the Turquoise Coast in the meantime. I have also spent my time writing a detailed summer travel guide for this area and developing my blog as much as possible, which takes quite a lot of attention to be honest but I love doing it. It’s easy to write about the Turkish Riviera because it has some of the most incredible nature, history and culture in the world.
There are ancient civilizations, wild coves with ruins, sunken pottery and Lycian tombs in the middle of the forest – how special is that. Add the famous Turkish hospitality and the delicious food, and you have the recipe for a perfect holiday. Wild bays beyond Faralya are my favorite spots but I also enjoy Kas, Kalkan and Datca. One place I also want to mention is Lake Salda. It’s not a coastal destination but it definitely is a must-visit.
If Faralya is my favorite place on the Turkish Riviera, then number two is the peninsula of Datca. There are two seas: the Mediterranean and Aegean. You can witness the sun rising from one and setting at another. Isn’t that a good enough reason to go? The water is crystal clear even in the harbor of the town, there are amazing olive and almond gardens everywhere, and the best fish ever. And not to forget the ancient city of Knidos.
5 Must-Dos on the Turkish Riviera
To broaden it out to five must-see destinations on the Turkish Riviera, I would recommend Fethiye (Faralya, Gocek and Oludeniz in the off-season), Datca (old town and the villages towards Knidos), Kas (Kas town, Kalkan and Patara), Cirali (beach and the ancient city of Olympus) and Kalekoy with the sunken city of Kekova. Experiencing all of these places will give you the best picture of what the Turquoise Coast of Turkey has to offer.
My advice is to stay for three nights at each location to have an active holiday. However, there is so much to see in Fethiye that I suggest five nights in Fethiye where you can drive to other places or take a bus, and five nights in Kas. At Kas you can book a hotel on the peninsula with a private entrance to the sea and rent a car to explore other spots towards Antalya. Ideally, you would fly into Dalaman Airport and fly out from Antalya.
Hotels on the Turkish Riviera
After running a guesthouse, I appreciate even the most simple types of accommodation. What I look for the most when traveling along the Turkish Riviera is soul. Here are some recommendations of the most famous and high-rated hotels in the area: Yacht Boheme Hotel (Fethiye), Hotel Unique (Fethiye), Gokce Gemile (Fethiye), La Boheme Kabak (Faralya), Nautical Hotel (Faralya), Perdue Hotel (Faralya), Soap Lady Cottage (Faralya).
Some more options include: Flamingo Hotel (Oludeniz), Jade Residence (14+) (Oludeniz), Kassandra Hotel (Oludeniz), Bizim Ev Datca (Datca), Pier Marine Hotel (Datca), Peninsula Gardens Hotel (Kas), Deniz Feneri Lighthouse Hotel (Kas), Lycia Boutique Hotel (Kas). You can’t go wrong with these. However, if you would like something a bit cheaper and with more of a “guesthouse feel” then do research online to see what you can find.
Travel Tips for the Turquoise Coast
When visiting the Turkish Riviera, expect people to be more traditional rather than conservative. You don’t necessarily have to feel uncomfortable wearing clothes that don’t cover your shoulders or knees, for example. However, I always advise not to wear something too provocative – especially in the villages where the population is religious. It’s very important to respect the local culture and do your utmost to fit in with their way of life.
Don’t rely on paying by card. Most authentic places only accept cash. A boat trip is always a good idea as the best spots are not easy to reach by car or foot. Try to avoid commercial pirate boats though. Renting a speed boat for a tour is not too expensive. Visit the awesome Friday Farmers’ Market in Fethiye to get the best fruits, vegetables and gifts (olive oil, honey, sun dried tomatoes), and try the local pancakes with potatoes and cheese.
Make a rough plan for your trip but leave some space for those unexpected adventures. Turkey is quite a chaotic country full of surprises, you will have a few stories to tell after traveling here for a few weeks. As mentioned, try to stay at each location on the Turquoise Coast for at least three days and give yourself more time in the Fethiye and Kas regions. Thanks for reading everyone. I hope you enjoy this beautiful part of the world as much as I do.