They may say canoe, we call it a kayak, but the boat will probably be the same, so don’t get hung up on the words as what the sport is called in Turkey can vary by who is talking about it. This is because the word "kayak" in Turkish also refers to skiing, so the word "kano" can sometimes be used to replace it. But, what I refer to is strictly sea and river kayaking on small, sleek fiberglass vessels and not the long lumbering canoes of the Native Americans we might have referenced. So, don’t get lost in translation, any kayaking or "kano" will be a fun and a relaxing journey that can be tacked on to any trip or become the sole purpose of one, because trust me, Turkey has some amazing spots to kayak in and the following just happen to be favorites.
Some readers may recall how I recently took part in a travel documentary series called Hidden Aegean hosted by America’s most well-known travel journalist aka the Travel Detective Peter Greenberg. The series features lesser-known but spectacular places along Turkey’s Aegean coast and I had the opportunity to share a bit about life as an expat in Dalyan. But, what I didn’t share is that I not only enjoy kayaking in the Dalyan River with my own canoe, but I also kayak from a very special place called Kargıcak Bay. In fact, the location is so spectacular that the activity and the beach club that rents kayaks are also one of the more secret locations that will be uncovered in the travel series.
Kargıcak Bay is located about a 25-minute drive from Dalyan and is the direct southern neighboring bay from the expansive 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) İztuzu Beach, well-known for being a protected area for nesting Caretta carettas (loggerhead sea turtle). The drive is admittedly windy and while a Google search may pull up results of how it is one of the most treacherous roads in the world, the road has been rerouted since then to avoid the most intense hill-hugging stretch of just a single lane. Nonetheless, do not let the drive deter you, as if you do it yourself, it is well worth it, but Kargıcak Bay also offers shuttle services to and from Dalyan.
Kargıcak Bay is a pristine and seemingly private beach club that is more well-known for its gourmet cuisine prepared from produce grown on their organic farm as well as their weekend sunset sessions with residents and visiting DJs and the occasional live music performance. As for kayaking or venturing on the SUP boards, there is a natural turquoise pool to the left where one can make a pit stop or head to the right toward turtle beach and see the cave-like coves along the way. This is sea kayaking at its best and the wind and waves pick up past noon, so you’ll want to get out there early in the day or as the sun sets because in between, it is also unbearably hot
Just an hour’s drive distance northeast of Ula, which these days is better known for its subdistrict of Gökova’s Kite Beach and Akyaka, there is a village that could easily be mistaken for a town by the name of Akçapınar. Fast becoming a hub for digital nomads and with an Italian restaurant, two coworking spaces, a vintage clothing store and more, there is already a lot to do, but this village actually has a creek that runs straight through to the kite beach. Kayaks and SUP boards can be rented in both Akçapınar or from the Mercedes Benz Kite School on the Kite Beach, and the creek has a spectacular natural pool area referred to by locals as the "amazon."
Speaking of the amazon, Club Amazon in Marmaris’ Bördübet is a campground with gypsy-caravan bungalows to stay in and a creek to kayak to the sea along. Set in a forest of pine trees, located approximately 500 meters from the beach, Club Amazon is a great spot to spend the day canoeing from the creek to the sea and stay overnight to feast on a home-cooked buffet and watch the sky light up at night with stars. This "glamping" spot has long been a hidden paradise for a hip crowd of professionals and families seeking some time away in nature.
The region has unfortunately suffered from forest fires, but the Club Amazon experience and the kayaking route from the creek to the sea still remain to be a highlight and is well worth visiting; however, be forewarned the road there comes with some twists and turns.
Indeed one of the most intriguing experiences to be had in Turkey overall is to kayak above the sunken city of Simena, now Kaleköy and located on the island of Kekova. This uninhabited island off Antalya’s Demre offers one of the most spectacular kayaking trips ever. You can kayak above ancient buildings, mausoleums and structures that date back to fourth century B.C. The area is protected and thus uninhabited, but there are guided kayaking tours that can take you there from popular holiday destinations such as Kaş, Kalkan and Antalya.
Last but certainly not least is a place close to my heart called Bafa Lake. Located near Milas in Muğla and visible from the main highway, Bafa Lake is a sublime slice of nature with a tropical feel and the plants and birds that enhance it. The lake leads to the sea and has a small islet you can canoe around and spot cormorant and kingfishers, while the rock formations along the lake are what the region is even more famous for. You see, Bafa Lake actually houses the Latmos Mountains, which is a popular rock-climbing destination, but it is also the site of the ancient town of Herakleia and there are prehistoric rock paintings that date back to 4,000 to 8,000 B.C. considered to be the earliest form of these paintings ever seen.
These can be seen by staying in the town of Kapıkiri, the top tourist destination spot in the region, with a dozen low-key hotels and restaurants serving the outdoor sports lovers and nature and bird lowers the area draws. Kayaking on the lake is pure bliss and it feels like you are traversing the seas of a different planet, sort of as if the Star Wars film had a lake. I stayed at the Silva Oliva Hotel and Farm on the highway in Pınarcık. While this hotel may be located on the road, you would never realize it once on the premises. There are dozens of rooms with views, all cleverly landscaped with pebbled paths and terraces that offer privacy and full relaxation. The restaurant uses much of its own produce grown organically and the owners are an expat family that regularly host educational tours and groups on the premises, but they also have kayaks and so I used to just pull over to pay a visit whenever I was driving by, which is often because it is conveniently located on the road between Bodrum and Izmir making for the perfect pitstop.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.