In Turkey, where east meets west, it seems as though the possibilities for exploration are endless. You could spend hours getting lost in the colourful capital of Istanbul, or let days pass you by in the coastal resorts. When it comes to ecotourism in Turkey, you could spend weeks exploring the vast and varying landscapes this ancient country has to offer.
Hit The Seas
Turkey’s southwestern coastline is visually compelling and historically impressive, with its sparkling waters dotted with islands, and its never-ending monuments, ruins, and relics. The best way to absorb it all is by hitting the high seas on a gulet, a Turkish sailboat. There are a number of foreign-owned sailing companies that operate sailing charters and tours in Turkey, but for the best and most responsible adventure, consider a locally-owned and operated company like Blue Cruise.
Blue Cruise has an extensive fleet and some fantastic itineraries from the popular ports of Bodrum and Fethiye, as well as other hot spots like Olympos and Kekova. If you’re having a hard time deciding between all the varying itineraries, consider the four-day “Trip to the Treehouse” from Fethiye to Olympos via ?l? Deniz, Kas, and Kekova. It takes you through an incredible array of history and natural beauty including Byzantine ruins and castles, a ‘blue lagoon’, and even a pirate cove. You also have plenty of time to relax, swim, and even participate in a variety of water sports. The pinnacle of it all is when you reach your destination, you’re given a free transfer to a treehouse – how cool is that?!
Climb To New Heights
You can’t get dropped off at a treehouse and not stay there, so consider sleeping at Bayrams Treehouses for a few nights after your adventure on the high seas. Not only is the concept a great one, but the treehouses are ideally located near Olympos Beach, which is perfect for kayaking, the ancient natural phenomenon of the eternally burning Chimera Flames, and a portion of the Lycian Trail, perfect for hiking excursions.
Hike To New Lows
Along a different part of the Lycian trail you’ll find the Saklikent Gorge, the second-longest gorge in Europe and the longest and deepest gorge in Turkey. While hiking the gorge, you’ll be surrounded by sky-high sculpted walls and floors of water. If you hike long enough, you’ll find the Ulupinar springs, hot springs that fill the air with bubbles and steam.
Sleep In Caves
One of the most exciting things to do in Cappadocia is sleep…in caves, that is. There are a number of cave hotels that have cropped up in Cappadocia, including Cappadocia Cave Suites, Kelebek Special Cave Hotel, and Gamirasu Cave Hotel.
Kelebek offers its guests a variety of tours and activities, but the highlight of staying here is that one of the caves has been converted into a Turkish Bath, perfect for relaxation and pampering.
Soak In Mud
Thermal Baths aren’t just about soaking in water. In Dalyan, the Thermal Baths are all about mud. The natural mud baths of Dalyan are famous for their warm healing properties and their exceptional exfoliating capabilities. Once you’ve sailed the coast, slept in a treehouse, hiked a gorge, and slept in a cave, you may very well just want to soak for ages in these idyllic, yet mucky, natural jewels of Turkey.
Ecotourism in Turkey
Ecotourism in Turkey, as an industry, is less refined than in other countries, however this shouldn’t be interpreted as being a non-existent industry. There are endless opportunities to embrace ecotourism in Turkey, however many of these will not be outright branded as eco-friendly activities or accommodations. The best way to engage in ecotourism in Turkey is to look for local, natural, and responsible operators and attractions, like the ones listed above, and you will certainly not be disappointed with what you can find where east meets west.
Photo Credit: Feature Image: whl.travel; Sailboat: aliza; Lycian Trail: Simon Taylor; Dalyan Mud Bath: Rev Stan