Explore Cirali: A Hidden Jewel on the Turkish Coast
Cirali, a charming coastal village, is one of Turkey’s hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Nestled between the sparkling Mediterranean sea and towering mountains, this unique destination is known for its stunning beauty, historical intrigue, and laid-back lifestyle.
Where is Cirali in Turkey?
Cirali is situated in the southern region of Turkey, right on the famed Turkish Riviera.
It’s a small coastal village enveloped by the majestic Taurus mountains, offering breathtaking views and the tranquil atmosphere of the Mediterranean.
History of the city
Çıralı, a quaint settlement gracing the province of Antalya, is snugly positioned by the picturesque Mediterranean Sea.
This small town finds its roots in the historic Lycian region and can be reached via a two-hour drive from the bustling city of Antalya.
While Cirali enjoys a rich heritage, its urban history is relatively recent, emerging just around the 1960s.
Before the 1960s, Cirali was primarily a canvas of natural wonders, brimming with marshlands and forests.
It was around this time that the neighboring town of Ulupinar’s families started migrating to Cirali. Initially, it was a humble settlement with only three homes, its humble beginnings a testament to its organic growth.
Cirali experienced a notable demographic shift during the 70s. The population spiked to accommodate 90 families, marking a significant milestone in its development.
Primarily an agricultural hub, its residents relied on cultivating fruit trees and maintaining greenhouses for their sustenance.
The town embraced modernization in the mid-1980s when it was finally illuminated by electricity.
Part of Cirali’s appeal lies in its ability to maintain a balanced influx of tourists throughout the year.
The town has successfully managed to avoid becoming swamped by hordes of holidaymakers, preserving its serene and safe ambiance, an ideal setting for families.
The tranquility that envelopes Cirali is largely attributed to its minimal nightlife, allowing for peaceful evenings under starlit skies.
In addition to its natural and cultural allure, Cirali is renowned for playing host to the magnificent Caretta Caretta sea turtles. Every year, from May to August, these majestic creatures visit the town’s sandy shores to lay their eggs.
To safeguard the turtles and maintain the tranquil atmosphere, the town imposes specific beach regulations, particularly at night.
What to Do in Cirali
The main attraction is, undoubtedly, the Çıralı Beach.
This untouched 3.5 km stretch of beach offers crystal-clear water and a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxation.
The beach is also an important nesting site for endangered loggerhead sea turtles.
Explore the Olympos
When in Cirali, don’t miss the chance to delve into history by visiting the captivating ruins of the ancient city of Olympos.
A true testament to Turkey’s rich historical tapestry, Olympos promises a fascinating journey through time.
Enveloped by a deep gorge, the city straddles the mouth of the Akcay River, blending the grandeur of history with the allure of natural beauty.
As you walk the stone-paved paths, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back to a time when the city was a bustling center of trade and culture.
Start your exploration by strolling along one of the city’s old main roads by the river. It’s a beautifully serene path lined with remnants of structures, showing how life must have been in this thriving ancient city.
Next, head over to the warehouse area. The large stone buildings give you an idea of the bustling commerce that once took place here. Imagine traders bartering their goods and services, filling the air with lively chatter.
Activities such as bonfires are restricted, ensuring a peaceful, quiet environment that respects the turtles’ nesting habits and contributes to the town’s serene allure.
Now, proceed to the baths area, where the ancient inhabitants would gather for their daily rituals of purification.
It’s easy to picture the city’s residents, draped in their togas, indulging in leisurely baths and engaging in lively discussions.
One of the most intriguing parts of Olympos is its necropolis. Among the numerous tombs, you’ll find one purported to belong to Marcus Aurelius, a clear indication of the city’s historical significance. Standing before these age-old tombs, one cannot help but ponder the tales they could tell.
Olympos has two entrances. If you’re staying in Çıralı, I recommend using the one on the beach, offering a pleasant stroll along the sandy shore before you dive into history.
The other end is accessible by driving down from the next junction along the D400. However, be mindful of the taxi journey back, as it can be a bit pricey!
From the echoing silence of its old roads to the age-old tales whispered by the ruins, the ancient city of Olympos is a history enthusiast’s dream come true.
So, lace up your best walking shoes, grab your camera, and embark on a journey through time in this remarkable remnant of Turkey’s past.
The Eternal Flames of Chimera
A trip to Cirali would be incomplete without witnessing the awe-inspiring Eternal Flames of Chimera, a natural wonder that combines myth, history, and science.
These perpetually burning flames shoot out of the earth, creating a spectacle that is as fascinating as it is surreal.
According to local mythology, the Chimera, a fire-breathing beast, tormented the ancient Lycians until it was slain and buried in the ground.
The flames you see today are said to be spouting from the mouth of the deceased beast. A riveting tale, isn’t it?
On the other hand, science offers a more grounded explanation. It suggests that the flames are caused by combustible gases escaping through cracks in the rocks.
Upon contact with the air, these gases ignite, creating the eternal flames. Whether you subscribe to the myth or the scientific explanation, there’s no denying that the sight is a marvel to behold.
However, getting to the Eternal Flames of Chimera is no easy task. The climb is quite challenging, with uneven steps, loose stones, and a steep gradient. It would be best to come prepared with sturdy walking shoes and a bottle of water.
The hike up to the lower chimera should take around 20-30 minutes, but the sight that greets you at the end makes every bit of the effort worthwhile.
For the best view of the flames, plan your visit around dusk. The sight of the flames flickering against the backdrop of the setting sun creates a truly magical atmosphere. But remember to pack a torch!
The path up the mountain is unlit, and you definitely wouldn’t want to navigate your way down in darkness.
So, if you’re up for a bit of adventure and mystery, make sure to add the Eternal Flames of Chimera to your Çıralı itinerary. This stunning natural phenomenon is sure to leave you spellbound.
Hike the Lycian Way
Exploring Cirali isn’t just about soaking up the sun on the beach or stepping back in time with ancient ruins.
Cirali is also home to stunning mountain ranges that offer a tantalizing invitation to the outdoorsy at heart.
Don your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as you hike the mountains of Cirali.
The mountains around Cirali boast an array of trails that cater to both novice hikers and seasoned climbers.
As you navigate the rugged terrains, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the sparkling blue coastline, the lush forests, and the quaint Cirali village nestled in between.
One popular route is the trail leading up to the Chimera, famed for its eternal flames. However, this isn’t just a trek to see the mystical fires.
Along the way, you’ll encounter a rich diversity of flora and fauna, punctuated by the melodious song of native birds. So don’t forget your binoculars!
A different path leads you through pine forests and along cliff edges, with occasional clearings offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
Be sure to take frequent breaks and soak in the tranquil beauty that surrounds you. Don’t forget to capture some photos – the views are genuinely postcard-worthy!
The mountains are home to several natural springs, perfect for a refreshing pause. Here, you can refill your water bottles, enjoy a quick snack, and perhaps even dip your toes in the cool waters.
Remember, when planning your hike, always consider your fitness level and prepare accordingly.
Sturdy shoes, sunblock, hats, and plenty of water are must-haves. Consider starting early in the morning to beat the heat and make the most of your day.
In Çıralı, each mountain trail presents an opportunity for a new adventure and a new discovery.
The mixture of peaceful serenity and wild beauty is bound to leave you enthralled. Whether you’re an experienced mountain climber or a casual walker, the mountains of Cirali have something extraordinary in store for you. Happy hiking!
Best Restaurants in Çıralı
Feasting on local cuisine is an integral part of any trip, and Cirali, with its vibrant food scene, does not disappoint.
Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty meal or a sweet treat, this coastal village has got you covered.
Yes, the restaurant prices in Cirali might be slightly higher than in Antalya, given the tourist-focused nature of the area.
But worry not, the value you receive for your money is well worth it. Ready to tantalize your taste buds? Let’s embark on a culinary journey through Cirali’s best restaurants.
Yoruk Restaurant is a must-visit. We ended up dining here on two separate occasions and were impressed each time.
The staff’s friendly demeanor and the incredibly delicious food make for a memorable dining experience. A meal here typically costs around £10, which is a steal considering the quality of food and service.
As soon as you settle down, the restaurant treats you to plates of fresh salad and buttery bread, even before you’ve placed your order.
As soon as you settle down, the restaurant treats you to plates of fresh salad and buttery bread, even before you’ve placed your order.
Don’t fret about the extras – these treats are on the house, just like the Turkish coffee they invite you to enjoy after your meal.
Every dish at Yoruk is worth trying, but the Turkish pizza and kofte come highly recommended. Oh, and do make sure to try that buttery bread. Trust me, it’s something special.
Asma Alti Cafe & Patisserie
For those with a sweet tooth, Asma Alti Cafe & Patisserie is a paradise. This quaint café, adorned with white wooden tables, chairs, and Turkish evil eyes hanging from the trees and trellises, is the perfect place for an afternoon treat.
But what truly sets Asma Alti apart is its provision for dietary requirements.
The region is not particularly known for accommodating dietary needs, so finding a place that offers gluten-free dishes is quite a rarity. Asma Alti, in this regard, is a pleasant exception.
In conclusion, dining in Cirali is about more than just filling your stomach; it’s about experiencing the region’s rich culture through its food.
So whether you’re feasting on the delights at Yoruk or treating yourself at Asma Alti, the flavors of Cirali are sure to make a lasting impression. Bon appétit!
Where to Stay in Cirali
Choosing the right place to stay can significantly enhance your trip. In Cirali, there are accommodation options to suit every type of traveler, from beachfront hotels to cozy apartments.
Here, we’ll delve into some top recommendations to help you find your perfect base in Cirali.
Located near Kemer and just a stone’s throw away from the beach, Cirali Hotel is a fantastic choice for beach lovers.
The hotel’s vicinity to local landmarks such as Olimpos Ruins and Phaselis offers guests ample opportunities for exploration.
The hotel is nestled amidst the area’s stunning natural beauty, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Çirali Beach and Olympos Beach.
If you’re seeking water adventures, the location couldn’t be more ideal with opportunities for engaging in activities such as boat tours.
Naz Apart Cirali
If you’re more of an independent traveler, the Naz Apart Çıralıi is an excellent choice.
This beach aparthotel offers convenient amenities such as a playground and barbecue grills, ensuring a comfortable and entertaining stay.
The apartments feature a fully-equipped kitchen, free WiFi, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, providing a homey atmosphere.
The dining area, sitting area, balcony, and room service add to the convenience, making this an excellent option for families or long-term stays.
Koyevi Olympos Countryhouse
For a more rural experience, consider Koyevi Olympos Countryhouse in Kumluca.
The country house’s location allows easy access to local landmarks such as the Olimpos Ruins and Gelidonia Lighthouse, perfect for the history buffs.
Being near Olympos Beach and Chimaera, the natural beauty is simply unmissable. For water enthusiasts, activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling are available nearby, adding a dose of adventure to your stay.
So, whether you’re seeking the convenience of a hotel, the homeliness of an apartment, or the charm of a country house, Cirali has something for everyone. It’s just a matter of choosing the right fit for your unique travel needs. Sweet dreams!
How to Pronounce “Cirali”
As for the pronunciation, “Cirali” is pronounced as “Chee-rah-lee” in Turkish, with a soft ‘ch’ sound at the beginning.
Navigating Your Way to Cirali: A Comprehensive Guide
Positioned off the beaten path, Cirali’s remote location adds to its charm but can also pose travel challenges.
This guide will help you chart your route to this picturesque holiday destination, setting the stage for your exciting getaway.
Journey from Antalya to Cirali By Car
For those traveling from distant parts of Turkey or international locations, your journey will start at Antalya International Airport, the nearest air link to Çıralı, located approximately 94 km (58 miles) away.
Affordable and brief flights from various parts of Turkey make Antalya a convenient gateway to Cirali. For instance, a journey from Istanbul to Antalya is a swift one-hour flight.
Upon touchdown at Antalya International Airport, car rental services are readily available.
Renting a car not only lets you traverse at your leisure but also offers convenience for local explorations during your Cirali sojourn.
Whether you plan a day trip or a spontaneous outing, having a rental car at your disposal is a definite plus.
Opt for a Private Transfer
If driving in Turkey doesn’t sit well with you, pre-arranging a private transfer from the airport to Cirali is an excellent alternative.
Whether you prefer a car or a bus, these services are particularly beneficial for larger travel groups heading to Çıralı.
Travelling by Bus
Close to Antalya’s airport, you’ll find a local bus or tram that will take you to Antalya’s main coach station.
From this station, a minibus route includes an exit for Cirali. Please remember to inform the driver of your stop beforehand.
The final leg of your journey to Cirali consists of a brief bus ride that drops you in the heart of the town.
Best Time to Visit Cirali
The best time to visit Cirali is from April to October when the weather in Cirali is pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. Remember, timing is crucial for a memorable trip to Cirali.
Cirali is a place where ancient history, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality come together to offer a truly unique experience.
Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or a foodie, Cirali has something to offer you. So, why wait? Pack your bags and start planning your trip to Cirali today.
Experience the magic of this hidden paradise and create memories that will last a lifetime. Explore our Turkish Riviera guide for more insights on this breathtaking region. Turkey is waiting for you!
Cirali is located in the southern part of Turkey, on the famous Turkish Riviera. It is nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains.
The main attractions in Cirali are the Cirali Beach, the ruins of the ancient city of Olympos, the Eternal Flames of Chimera, and the beautiful mountains for hiking. The local restaurants also offer a rich culinary experience.
Reaching the Eternal Flames of Chimera involves a challenging climb with uneven steps and a steep gradient. It's recommended to wear sturdy shoes and bring a bottle of water. The hike usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
Yoruk Restaurant is highly recommended for its delicious Turkish cuisine. For dessert or an afternoon treat, Asma Alti Cafe & Patisserie is a great option, especially for those with specific dietary needs as they offer gluten-free dishes.
Some recommended places to stay in Cirali are the Cirali Hotel for beach lovers, Naz Apart Cirali for independent travelers and families, and Koyevi Olympos Countryhouse for those seeking a more rural experience.