Turkey has been a destination that people have fallen in love with and for many it continues to be a destination without parallel.
Given its popularity it may not be a first choice as destination for a quiet relaxing getaway but there are regions that lie away from the main tourist trail and allow you to encounter genuine people and unique cultural experiences that form life-long memories. One such area is the Lycian Coast which combines dramatic scenery with wonderful hospitality, sublime food and an eclectic, still-visible ancient history. Warm and hospitable by nature, broad smiles and open arms welcome you throughout city and coast.
Nestled between the harbour towns of Datça to the west and Kaş to the east, the Lycian Coast is a dazzling stretch of deep blue Mediterranean offset by dense pine forests dipping down to fjord-style inlets, wide open bays and unspoilt villages along its winding shores. Strict conservation orders have preserved the lush vegetation, wildlife, ancient settlements and prevented high rise development along the sea front. With the exception of the urban sprawl of Marmaris, pretty, coastal villages with Hellenistic origins retain a low-key atmosphere and day-to-day rural lives remain intact.
The perceived inaccessibility of the vast Bay of Kalkan and the Kaş Peninsula has allowed tourism to develop slowly and modestly and the area deserves its reputation as home to Turkey’s most stylish coastal retreats. Characterful pensions, family-run boutique hotels and luxurious private villas coexist harmoniously with the traditionally sea-faring community. Stylish beach clubs and decked bathing platforms are the perfect eyrie to watch the myriad of boats meandering in and out of the harbour. The area has long been renowned for its wonderful sailing and small lokantas (cafés) established to serve the yachting community have evolved into high quality, seafood restaurants. Turkish-Mediterranean cuisine is now matched by exceedingly fine Turkish wine and can be taken on candle-lit roof-terraces and floating pontoons. In the back streets, small eateries still thrive with inventive and mouth-watering cuisine from octopus meatballs to cuttlefish stew.
The region overflows with the opportunity to immerse yourself in Turkey’s culture and is littered with ancient sites you are likely to have all to yourselves: basilica arches, floor mosaics and ancient amphitheatre lie as they fell and are all the better for it.
Those looking to escape to the sun at Easter will welcome news that Turkey specialist, Fairlight Jones, is set to open early for the season, from April 2019. Two of its leading boutique hotels will offer stylish sunshine break for guests looking to escape from the UK, while Turkey – which is outside the Eurozone – looks set for a continued bounce next season.
Late April is the perfect time to visit: temperatures are in the mid 20’s and the spring flowers are at the best. It’s also incredibly quiet as the main holiday season doesn’t officially kick in until May and it is cool enough to enjoy trekking and visits to cultural sites.
Guests looking to escape to the sun can choose between two of Coastal Turkey’s leading hotels:
Adult-only seafront hideaway on the Kaş Peninsula – Mandalina Suites opened in 2017 and welcomes guests aged 14 years and over. It comprises an array of beautifully designed suites which tumble down to meet the sea shore. Each boasts high ceilings, glass balconies and endless sea views. Bathrooms are built in hammam-style with drench showers, while each suite has a large outdoors area and four have a private infinity pool.
On route to the shore is the freshwater infinity pool and the terrace restaurant. A little further below is the private waterfront which is scattered with day beds and wooden parasols and has diving platforms built into the rocks at intervals. There are kayaks to explore the bay and mountain bikes for discovering the surrounding area.
The restaurant serves a selection of fresh, seasonal and local produce with a daily changing menu. Enjoy a sun-downer facing the westerly sea horizon, without doubt one of the finest sunsets in the entire region. The harbour town of Kaş is less than 10 minutes’ away. The charming tangle of streets, restaurants, bars and tea gardens provides something for all tastes.
Price: Departing 19 April 2019, seven nights’ B&B at Mandalina Suites costs from £1,000pp based on 2 sharing, including return flights from to Dalaman and transfers. Three nights’ B&B on the same basis costs from £730pp.
Family-friendly, foodie Estate on the Bozburun Peninsula – The Dionysos Estate is perched atop of a canyon with stunning views overlooking the unspoilt bay of Kumlubuk. There is a Decelor and Elemis spa with open-air hot tubs, which have stunning sea views. Guests can use the gym, mountain bikes, join yoga classes, play tennis and use the golf net and artificial putting green.
The focal point of the hotel is large infinity pool which is surrounded by terraces and is the perfect spot for the friendly bar. There are three restaurants which use fruit, vegetables and herbs grown on the organic estate, and olive oil and wine are also produced – it’s possible to visit the farm and have lunch with the owner. There is a varied à la carte menu and tasteful special evenings held twice weekly, plus a separate ‘pop up dining experience called Nar, which offers 12 tiny, but typically Turkish dishes.
Price: Departing April 19, seven nights’ B&B at the Dionysos Estate for a family of four sharing a 2-bed pool suite costs from £790pp, including return flights to Dalaman and transfers. Three nights’ B&B on the same basis from £600pp based on 4 sharing. Or seven nights’ B&B from £920pp based on 2 sharing, with three nights’ B&B from £675pp based on 2 sharing, with return flights and transfers.
Fairlight Jones has unrivalled knowledge of this stunning country and welcoming people and in particular the special region known as The Lycian Coast. For reservations please contact fairlightjones.com or call 020 3875 0351.