Literally meaning ‘with apples’, Elmali lives up to its name and is full of orchards which heave with the fruit in the late summer/autumn. High on a plateau beyond Seki, a day trip to Elmali is easily do-able by car and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of treats along the way.
We left Fethiye at around 9.30am and headed out to the Antalya Road via the village of Esen – It cuts a big triangle off the route and is more interesting than the main road.
Soon the road steadily climbs up through the pine forests and after around an hour you’ll see a turning marked Seki on the right hand side. As you make the turn look left and you’ll see a charming old Selcuk Bridge. We stop here to go and have a closer look and find a gorgeous little stream and clearing which would make a nice picnic site.
In the autumn the road to Seki is particularly delightful as the poplars change colour to gold and reds, fifteen minutes later and we’re at the village centre and a well received tea break. It’s a Monday and there is a tiny market set up in the town square.
Head on out of the village and follow signs for Elmali. After a climb you arrive at a junction. Either way will take you to Elmali and usually we take the more popular left turn up through the mountain pass. Today we decide to go left going via the village of Ova. It’s a little off-putting to begin with as it is a dirt track and you seems to be passing through farms, but no problem in the Renault Symbol in which we’re travelling.
The views are breathtaking and we stop several times to take snaps. Within 20 minutes on the weaving track we’re at the top and as if we’ve met the boundary with another, better funded county, the road instantly improves to a proper surface.
There are lots of places tempting you to pull in and admire the views, and we stop at a roadside water fountain intrigued by the ancient stones which have been used to build it – including some with Christian cross symbols. A short walk past this to the other side and the plateau on which Elmali sits is revealed.
The road switchbacks down and the next bit of civilisation is the village of Yuva, crammed with traditional mud brick houses, and a long boulevard lined with topiary bushes shaped into fruit baskets.
A few kilometres later and we join the other, main, Elmali road, we have not passed or seen another car since we turned off.
We’ve not hurried and we’ve stopped a number of times to look at things, views and for tea and we arrive at Elmali just before 1pm, ready for lunch!
Elmali is a fair sized town with some beautiful old style houses and an interesting Mosque. Monday is market day so, after lunch, we head off to find the large covered market which is just off the main street.
Nearly every town in Turkey has some kind of speciality dish and for Elmali it is the Doga Dondurma – burnt milk ice cream made from goats or sheeps milk. It tastes better than it sounds and worth seeking out.
We leave Elmali around 3.15 and decide to make it a circular route, heading out on the Finike/Kas road.
Just out of the town we turn right, before the garage to check out an interesting cave where, in spring the water gushes into and disappears. There was no water going down at this time of year but we could therefore see down into the cave.
A few miles down the road, we take a right turn marked for Akcay/Kas and go through the village of Beyler which has old wooden barns used for apple storage, and some small ones which look like ancient Lycian tombs, made of wood.
Presently we come across the large reservoir which is an impressive sight and holds back translucent turquoise waters.
Soon we have to leave this road, taking the Sutlegen/Kalkan turning and head though the village. We stop in Sutlegen briefly to check out the rather bizarre fountain effort and get some cold drinks for the road before climbing on up through pine forests heading now for Fethiye rather than Kalkan.
The road is generally good, but near the top there was a short stretch which was quite rocky – we took it easy and the Renault Symbol hire car got through none the worse.
We were now heading on down through Arsa and then down to the Saklikent road. As the winter weather can be harsh the roads were quite pot-holed so the driver needs to keep their eyes on the road. Once on the Saklikent road we follow the signs for Fethiye and are home by 7pm.
We’ve had a great day out and covered around 250km door to door.
We wrote about Elmali and the mosque back in 2007 when we took the other road, you can find that article here.