Sunday 25 February 2018

Turkey - need to know

Gerry McCarthy

Getting There

Turkish Airlines (01-878 3772; flies once a day from Dublin to Istanbul. The price of a return trip, including taxes and charges, starts at €225. A round trip from Dublin to Antalya, involving a flight change at Istanbul, starts at €310.

Where to stay

Currently, the five-star Kempinski Hotel The Dome (0090 242 710 1300; has an offer running until the end of April this year. From €840 per person, you get seven nights' accommodation in a superior room, including breakfast and dinner, four rounds of golf and a range of discounts on drinks. Flights not included.

Five things to do

  • Visit Antalya's old quarter Kaleici, with its winding streets enclosed in ancient city walls. It's best to enter and leave by the charming Hadrian's Gate, built by the Roman emperor Hadrian.
  • About a 45-minute drive from Antalya, you will find the Aspendos Theatre. Possibly one of the most beautiful and best-preserved ancient theatres in the world, the Aspendos is still used for classical music concerts and operas in the summer. The acoustics are phenomenal. Check if there are shows on while you are there.
  • Take a drive of about one-and-a-half hours to Koprulu Canyon, where you can go white-water rafting (above). The rapids are not West Virginia-esque, but the setting is gorgeous. It's quite inexpensive. Most tour companies, or the hotels themselves, arrange the entire day and, for around €30, you get transportation, the ride, wet suits and often lunch.
  • The town of Olympos is also about an hour-and-a-half from Antalya, and the highlight of this area is the Chimera, or eternal flames. These pop up in various guises in ancient Mediterranean mythology, either as fire-breathing monsters or strange, inexplicable flickering lights that appear during the night.

In actual fact, the reason for the flames is far more mundane and has to do with natural gas seeping through cracks in the earth. To truly appreciate the effects of the Chimera it is best to visit the area in the evening, when the almost pyrotechnic effect is at its most impressive.

  • About 30 minutes away is the old Lician city of Termessos, which is situated at about 4,000ft and commands magnificent views. Be warned, though, you have to hike the last 30 minutes to get there.

Irish Independent

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