Çıralı Beach, Çıralı
This long sandy beach, backed by verdant citrus groves, palms, oleanders and mulberry trees, has a tropical-island feel which seems at variance with more typically arid stretches of Turkish coast. Here are the lush gardens and grounds of low-key hotels and pansiyons – wonderful places, not least for the welcome lack of boundary walls or fences, an articulate expression of this enlightened tourism community’s non-territorial attitude. Loungers, parasols and shaded timber platforms have been laid out for hotel guests on the beach, though there’s little sense that non-residents would be shooed off unoccupied ones. Beyond its extraordinary beauty this, then, is the basis of Çıralı’s appeal. Both the beach and its green, lane-threaded hinterland are a wanderer’s paradise.
The best walk of all is to the south western end of the beach which is marked by a prominent rock outcrop. A wade may be needed, depending on the season, to reach the path which follows the Olympos River upstream from its mouth. The path starts among sarcophagae at the harbour of ancient Olympos, a city of Lycia, where a ticket kiosk stands. It then disappears into a marvellously moody netherworld of classical ruins beneath a dark canopy of laurels and figs. The huge sarcophagae in the necropolis are particularly spectacular.