If your impression of Turkey runs no further than the country’s magnificent beaches then it may be time to reassess that opinion. The sun-drenched stretches of sand are just one of many major attractions in this extremely popular vacation destination.
When you think of Western Canada, images of the Canadian Rockies and the mountains of British Columbia typically spring to mind. Additionally, one might imagine strolling the streets of Whistler or Banff, admiring the peaks with winter snow hanging on even in the first days of summer, as you hunt for the perfect souvenir that will define your trip in one sophisticated trinket.
If the touristy nature of these places is a turn-off for you, don’t despair, as there are many other places throughout the Canadian west where you can enjoy the timeless vistas that this corner of North America is famous for, without having to wade through a sea of fanny pack toting tourists to get the perfect photographic angle.
The following places are favoured by Canadian locals for their natural assets, views, and their access to amenities that ensure that you will have a relaxing getaway that won’t be disturbed by a massive wave of humanity. Let’s start by profiling…
1) Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Identified by Canadian Pacific Railway officials as a site for tourism in the late 1800’s due to the presence of multiple hot springs in the area, a picturesque lake, and mountain peaks that completed the area’s stunning backdrop, a hotel and community was established here. While the popularity of this place never quite reached the proportions of Banff to the east, it slowly built up a following from those living in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Today, commercial hot spring operations are complimented by a fabulous beach on Lake Harrison, boat cruises, sportfishing, opportunities for watersports, and much more.
2) Emerald Lake, BC
Of all the national parks in the Canadian Rockies, Banff and Jasper hog much of the attention and the press, leading many to overlook the stunning views and experiences one can have in BC national parks like Yoho and Kootenay. The former park contains the jade green gem that is Emerald Lake, which has an abundance of lush plant life due to its location on the windward side of the Rockies. Trails circle this under-appreciated lake, permitting views of the towering President Range, and they play host to excellent snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter.
3) Canmore, Alberta
While Banff is the most famous town in the Canadian Rockies, it comprises less than half of the population of the Bow River Valley. The town of Canmore, a former mining town that was reborn into an outdoor recreation and lifestyle destination after coal prices crashed in the 1980’s, is a place that most tourists blaze through on their way to its more glamorous cousin further up the valley.
However, the views of the front range of the Rockies are no less impressive here, as the Three Sisters make for many spectacular photos, and many trails can be hiked from town, and Kananaskis Country is a short drive away, where even more stunning treks can be embarked upon.
While you have looked forward to your trip to the Turquoise Coast of Turkey for a long time, it isn’t for exactly the same reasons as most people coming here. While you will more your fair share of soaking up the eastern Mediterranean sun this summer, you will be busy on most days exploring the cultural treasures of Lycian Turkey.
A people that were exiled here several millennia ago from Crete by Minos, they reorganized their society here, with the remnants of their ancient lives still visible in the area to this day. In order to arrive in this culture rich region without having to deal with the hassle of overland travel from Istanbul, be sure to book flights to Dalaman (http://book.flythomascook.com/cheap-flights/to-Dalaman-Turkey/) instead of heading to Turkey’s biggest city.
Doing so will free up more time to explore the sights that await you throughout the Lycian portion of Turkey. In the following paragraphs, we will be discussing the top destinations that you should hit on this action-packed trip to a country often referred to as a crossroads of ancient civilizations.
Start by heading to Marmaris, where the primary attraction is a 17th century castle that shares its name with the nearby city. Though the present incarnation was built 300 years ago by Sultan Suleyman to serve as a defensive hedge to protect his lands while on a long expedition to Rhodes in Greece, it is posited that forts and castles have existed on this spot as far back as 5,000 years.
When you’re done pretending to be royalty, head back into the city centre, browse through the expensive boutiques and maybe pick something cute if the price is right, then look smashing as you hit the beach or the club, where foreign tourists often mingle with the nouveau riche of this country.
Once you’ve had your fill of Marmaris, hop a ferry for the town of Dalyan, where the ancient ruins of the city of Caunos awaits you. Last active in the 3rd century AD, the standout attraction here are the Rock Tombs that are carved into the side of the towering cliffs in the area, containing the remains of people that have long since passed from the earth. A short river connects a local lake to the sea, creating an ecosystem that makes for excellent birding, and warm mud baths also make for a relaxing end to the day in Dalyan.
Next up on the agenda is the city of Fethiye, which also contain rock tombs of its own if you’re game to scope out this type of ruin again. If you’re seeking out some exercise at this point in the trip, the start of the Lycian Way, a multi-week trekking trail that works its way 510 kilometres up the coast towards Antalya.
Though you don’t nearly have that much time to explore this well-regarded path, you can still make an afternoon or a full day walk out of the initial portions of this hike, as it boasts incredible views of the coast from its elevated perch, as well as scattered pockets of architectural remains of the ancient Lycian civilization.
Those who are sweating at the thought of all this walking can still check out some artifacts from the past by checking out a Roman ruin called the Fethiye Amphitheatre, one of many stadiums the Romans built to entertain the masses long ago.
Finally, make time for the city of Kaş before departing for home, as it has plentiful remnants from days gone by, and a beach scene to salt your time away in if you’re all cultured out. If you are still good to go, make an effort to see the acropolis in the hills above the city, and a trip to the sunken Lycian city in Kekova Sound will be cause for contemplation as you view places where people once lived on dry land, now covered by the watery depths of the Mediterranean.
Turkey has much in store for the culture hunter, even in its more touristy regions. By taking some days away from the beach and leaving the traveler ghettoes to explore the area, you’ll find a world that once bustled and lived for the moment, with only physical traces and spotty written records left to tell their story.