A trip to Nif this weekend is an essential outing for anyone whose says life is not complete without a great big bowl of … you guessed it, cherries.

Nif is full of cherry blossom in the spring
Nif is full of cherry blossom in the spring…
...and cherries in June, July
…and cherries in June, July

This Saturday evening the 15th Nif Cherry Festival will take place and it’s an important date for every cherry lover’s calendar. This year the event will start at 19:30 with rousing music from the Fethiye Municipality Janissary Band and followed by a Sufi music concert. At sunset (8.30pm) there will be İftar, the meal eaten during the Holy Month of Ramazan to end the day’s fasting, followed by a display of Turkey’s iconic whirling dervishes.

Posters for the Nif Cherry Festival
Posters for the Nif Cherry Festival

Short but sweet

The internet is full of information about cherries. From their life enhancing properties and health benefits to curative properties from all kinds of diseases. All we know is that some cherries are sweet, some sour, they are low in calories and all are delicious but the season is relatively short. What better reason is there to eat them by the kilo, or make a supply of jam, while Nif and Fethiye’s markets are full of them?

Biggest bowl of cherries in the world

According to the ever useful Wikipedia, Turkey is the world’s largest producer of both sweet and sour cherries. For cherry fans no better excuse is needed to live there.

Wow! That's a big bowl or cherries...
Wow! That’s a big bowl or cherries…

Where is Nif?

In the mountains behind Fethiye there is a valley cooled by mountain breezes. At 900 metres above sea level, Nif is nestled within forested slopes fed by crystal clear streams and surrounded by rustling plane and walnut trees. The combination creates a rural idyll and the altitude means the temperature is usually 10 degrees lower than on the coast.

The view from Çaldağ, one of the mountains near Nif
The view from Çaldağı, one of the mountains near Nif (Gulf of Fethiye is in the distance)

Also the winters are colder and the rainfall higher than at sea level. This means that the climate in Nif is perfect for growing large, juicy cherries. Nif is one of several villages in the region where cherries are the economic mainstay and is a wonderful place for visitors to discover the traditional Turkish village lifestyle.

The festival is simple, and far from sophisticated, so don’t go dressed up and do remember to take an extra layer of clothing as, once the sun goes down, there can be a nip in the air.

For more information about how to get to Nif click here.