A Travellerspoint blog

July 2010

Butterfly Valley and traversing the Turkish Med

Stunning coast, crystal clear waters, freezing temperatures!

sunny 20 °C

We decided to drive up the coast from Fethiye, to find Butterfly Valley, an apparently isolated beach only accessible by boat, or by car plus a hike. Boats weren't running at this time of year, so we piled into the Turkeymobile and zoomed as best we could along the coast, with a huge drop to the ocean beside us. We stopped a couple of times to take in the beautiful Mediterranean - cerulean blue and crystal clear.

We arrived at a really steep canyon with beautiful turquoise water below, which was Butterfly Valley. We followed our nose along the roads and came to a cluster of houses and pensions clinging to the side of the cliffs. We were here. The friendly locals at a pension pointed us towards the 'path' down to the valley, which were merely red spraypainted dots on rocks. "Only follow the red dots" we were instructed, advice we stuck to, having read about tourists who perished while straying off the marked trail. We were about 200m above the valley, with a lush-looking meadow and some fields at the bottom.

Our descent was hair-raising, to say the least as we climbed down the treacherous rocks - a combination of loose scree, some rock-climbing (literally), switch-back turns and some very big drops. In places the track was no more than a goat track, with some ropes to assist the descent. We found it difficult walking down in our walking shoes, and poor Lisa only had her jandals on! (Mind you they were all-terrain jandals!). After about 45 minutes we hit the valley floor and headed through the fields towards the beach, passing lodgings along the way, wooden huts. Lucky for us we arrived just in time for lunch, so we admired the grey-stoned beach and dipped our toes in the cold, clear water. Lunch was a communal, serve-yourself affair. We munched on salad, lentil soup and spaghetti and watched the bohemiem guests simultaneously eat and dance on the stony ground to the booming music.

The climb back up was a hot and tricky affair, but we made up back up and thirstily necked water and Fanta at the pension cafe at the top, marvelling at the German travellers who climbed up with bulging backpacks! We drove back to Fethiye and stopped at the Greek ruins of Kayakoy, which were about 2,000 abandoned and derelict stone ruins from the period of resettlement in the 1920s. We also stopped small town called Ölüdeniz, which was closed for the winter but typically, full of English pubs for the tourists who flock to the coast in summer.

The next day after breakfast Lisa tried to organise a boat trip for us, which was a lot harder than it sound, being a shoulder season, and even the hotel staff struggled to find operators for us. Luckily one was found, which was a 12-island cruise and was departing in ten minutes. We headed straight there and onboard in time. The tour was fantastic, the water and views amazing. We pulled into several sheltered bays to amble off the boat and also dive into the water... which was heart-attack-inducing icy! Jac had forgotten her togs so apologised to the rest of the boat for swimming in her undies and t-shirt... of course that day she happened to be wearing her most daggy grey ones! The day was spent swimming (and screaming), chilling out in the sun, listening to music and drinking lots of Efes. Hilarously, we spied another boat, seemingly full of teenagers, who were all on the hull in formation, practising a Macarena-esque dance to some Europop. After a brilliant, relaxing day on the water we pulled back into Fethiye harbour, said goodbye to our new friends and walked back to our hotel for more drinks served by Sean Connery.

A deserted patch of gorgeous beach

Jac and Chalky


Jac and Lisa overlooking Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley - a treacherous climb down

Heading down... slowly!


Butterfly Valley




Looking at the cliffs we'd climb back up

Empty Kayakoy



Chalky, Jac and Lisa on the boat

The perfect water

Grinning despite the scream-inducing icy water!




Chalky goes to try the rope swing



All chilled out

Fethiye harbour


Posted by JacChalky 19:59 Archived in Turkey Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Mugla, Eski Datça & Fethiye

More cute villages and a gorgeous harbour town

sunny 22 °C
View Jac and Chalky's Excellent Adventure on JacChalky's travel map.

After saying goodbye to rustic Herakleia, we set off for Fethiye, a popular coastal stop. Thanks to Lisa's organisation (how nice to hand the reins over to someone else for a change) stopped at the small villages of Mugla and Eski Datça, staying in Datça overnight.

We stopped at what we thought was the centre of the town (our guidebook had us looking for hills to drive up, but we found none) and left our Turkeymobile in a carpark. We found the local fruit and vegetable market, housed in a large, open, corrugated iron structure. Again, the brightly-coloured produce on offer had our mouths watering. There was an adjacent fish market, where the workers happily insisted on posing in our photos and asked us to send us copies. Our tummies rumbled so we stopped at a local eatery for lunch, perusing the simmering vats of eggplant, liver, chicken and vegetables. Team that with rice and we had a very satisfying, hearty lunch, accompanied with obligatory fresh bread.

Back on the road, we had a fair bit of driving ahead of us, along the Reşadiye Penninsula, through Marmaris, and we arrived in the tiny, narrow-streeted village of Eski Datça by 7pm. Unfortunately, pretty much the entire village was closed for winter, so we drove to bigger, nearby Datça. Again we encounted a very quiet, closed-for-winter seaside town and we only found one accomodation option open. The town was typical of seaside towns popular on the tourist trail - it was small on charm and big on relying on water to provide its atmosphere. Many of the hotels weren't very However we were very pleased to see it had a kitchen (a home-cooked meal for once!). We scoured the shops that were open for dinner (a big vegetable stir-fry, vitamin and fibre goodness!) and Jac and Lisa settled into a bottle of cheap Turkish red, and Chalky kept pace with Efes.

The next morning we bade farewell to sleeping Datça and poked our nose around cobbled Eski Datça. We tried to find the Mayor's Residence, which was supposed to be quite a nice house, but failed in our attempt, then asked a local only to discover it was closed as a closed thing. It was a nice walk around the small village, peering into the windows of the stone buildings, and people's spring gardens. We found a jewellery shop which had an affectionate stray cat hanging outside, and Lisa found a beautiful turquoise and silver ring. Up the road a bit we stopped at the 'Olive Farm' for some tapenade and olives then hopped back into our trusty steed to drive the length of the penninsula again.

We pulled into Köyceğiz, a small, lakeside town for lunch, and arrived in Fethiye by 4pm. We drove around some of the pensions and poked our heads in, but they looked pretty basic and tiny. One pension's owner, a friendly man, said he saw us in a neighbouring place and with a smile on his face warned us there were 'bad women' there. We looked imploringly at this, and he went on to elaborate that it was a brothel! A dishonest attempt to sway our choice or a genuine description? Either way, we headed away to check out other places. A few bucks more and we found a really nice harbourside hotel and settled in. The owner, Hussein "Call me Sean Connery", made sure we had drinks strong enough to pull faces at, and we had a relaxing (well, merry) time sitting in the sun by the water. We met Bill, and English guy, who was meeting his teenage daughter who was apparently spending his money touring around Turkey.

That evening we all hopped on a dolmuş into the town, to the fish market for dinner. It was a unique set-up - a square of fishmongers hawking their catch in the centre, with restaurants surrounding the square, who would cook your fish any way you wished for only 5 lira. We all bought different fish and negotiated freebies with the restaurants. Delicious! Even Jac's fish which was apparently 'unique to the area' but just tasted like seabass, which as we all know could be anything! We washed our fish dinner down with several bottles of white wine, then attempted to windily amble/stumble home.

Lisa at Mugla's produce market

Husband and wife fruit stall owners

Friendly fishmongers

Tasty local lunch

Eski Datça
Quaint Eski Datça


Lisa buying jewellery and making friends


'They say I look like Sean Connery': the hotel owner


At the Fish Market

Hmmm, what to have for dinner?

Jac, Lisa and Bill

Delicious dinner all for TL5 each

Jac, Lisa and our waiter... check out the styling!

Posted by JacChalky 17:01 Archived in Turkey Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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