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Turkey’s Turquoise Coast

With the crowds gone, the breathtaking beauty and warmth of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast can be savored well into October. The seaside resorts are more authentically Turkish than those on the west coast and filled with hidden treasures for adventure-seekers.

The Sakikent Gorge, a vast water-carved chasm not far from Fethiye, can only be entered on a narrow-planked walkway. Once inside, you are invited to rest against large pillows spilling over colorful rugs laid down over smooth boulders. Here you can enjoy grilled snacks prepared by Turkish women sitting beside tiny fires. Afterwards you begin your walk. Young guides assist less able hikers. When you emerge from the gorge you can flop into an inner tube and float down the river.

To get there drive east from Fethiye 20 kilometers on highway 400, continue east on highway 350 for three kilometers, then south on a small signposted road to the Sakikent Gorge. Camp along the river at River Bar Camping (0252-636-8767) for less than $15 for two persons, or just come for the day.

Further east on highway 400, Kas is a popular stopping place for sailboats. Kayaking out into the calm, crystal clear, sea channels to peer down onto the ancient sunken city off the island of Kekova is fascinating. The ancient stairways, walls, and walkways are amazingly easy to see. If you are an experienced paddler you can go on your own; otherwise, join a small guided trip.

Take a paddle break at the village of Kale, where you can clamor up the hillside to the ruins of the ancient Byzantine fortress and theatre.

Kayak rentals and guided trips depart from the village of Ucagiz but are booked in Kas at Bougainvillea Travel. Call ahead to the English-speaking staff (0242-836-3142) or just walk in at Cukurbagli Cad 10. You might want to stay overnight in one of the simple pensions or just pitch your tent. For more amenities stay at Olympus Mocamp, right on the beach, one kilometer west of Kas on highway 400. The cost for camping for two persons with a car and a tent is just over $20. Cabins for four are about $50.

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