As temperatures soar on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Lake Eğirdir, hidden away in the Western Taurus Mountains – the range that forms the backdrop to Antalya – is definitely the place to visit.

Eğirdir Lake courtesy of Ole Halding
Eğirdir Lake seven shades of blue – courtesy of Ole Halding

Head into the mountains, by bus or car, to the cooler, less humid climes of the alpine environment and follow the road along the smooth curve of a rugged mountain.

Eğirdir Lake: seven shades of blue
Lake Eğirdir

You have arrived at Lake Eğirdir!

Visit throughout the year

The lake covers 425 square kilometres making it the fourth largest (second largest freshwater) lake in Turkey. At 917 metres above sea level the weather never gets too hot but is perfect for swimming, trekking and exploring. In winter there is plenty of snow and skiing is a popular sport on the surrounding peaks, particularly Davroz.

Eğirdir Lake courtesy of Ole Halding
Eğirdir Lake courtesy of Ole Halding

The town of Eğirdir stretches along the shore of the lake, backed by towering peaks. Although there still are several old wooden houses in the main part of the town, together with an old mosque and a Madrassa that is currently undergoing restoration, the most characterful and unique part of the part of the town is the part that juts out into the lake. Until the 1960s this was two separate islands: Can Ada and Yeşil Ada. They now connect to the mainland with a causeway, built from a massive chunk of one of the nearby mountains – the site of which is, even now, clearly visible in the photo above.

Friendly family run accommodation

On the main part of the isthmus are three delightful, family run places to stay, run by İbrahim, Müslüm and their team: Charley’s Pension, Lale Pension and Fulya Pension. Each has its own unique character and offers accommodation for different budgets.

Lake Eğirdir looking towards Fulya Pension
Lake Eğirdir looking towards Fulya Pension

Charley’s pension is a quirky 19th century building with immensely thick walls and many original features. The accommodation is suitable for groups and families. Fulya Pension is newly refurbished and has comfortably decorated rooms. Lale Pension, also newly renovated, is great for backpackers and has mainly dormitory style accommodation. The majority of the rooms have beautiful views of the lake.

Seven shades of blue in one day

Eğirdir Lake: seven shades of blue
Eğirdir Lake: seven shades of blue

During your stay, Lake Eğirdir will almost certainly reveal its many characters. The surrounding mountains can make the weather capricious; on one day and in different parts of the lake the water can be like an azure mirror but it could also be emerald, sapphire or indigo with white horses when it is windy. The colour of the lake changes throughout the day.

A great place to explore from or to stay

Can Island and Green island in Lake Eğirdir - Heather McMahon
Can Island and Green island in Lake Eğirdir – Heather McMahon

Egirdir is a great base from which to explore the area. There is an excellent market at Pinara, the Yazili Kanyon, St Paul’s trail, Zindan Cave, Antiochia, Eskisehir, and Sagalassos. A little further afield in Isparta and Burdur there are rose and lavender field, the harvests of the fragrant blossoms take place in May, June and July. First in May and June, for the precious rose oil – a vital part of the perfume industry – and in July, there is the lavender harvest, also used to make essential oil.

Sunset over Lake Eğirdir
Sunset over Lake Eğirdir

How to get to Lake Eğirdir

Eğirdir Lake: seven shades of blue
How to get to Lake Eğirdir

You can get there by car or bus. Turkey has an enviable public transport system. The comfortable coaches run regularly from Fethiye and Antalya and are extremely good value. Eğirdir centre is compact and there is a range of accommodation to suit different budgets located within minutes of the bus station. For more information click here to visit the Fulya Pension website.

3 COMMENTS

  1. We spent 48 hours in Egirdir, on our way from Cappadocia to Akyaka, and enjoyed a relaxing time. The sunset shown is not at all dissimilar to one we saw. Staying on Yesil Ada we found that part of the lake very peaceful. If only we lived closer to Turkey we could visit so many more places in such a wonderful country.

  2. Eğirdir is one of my favourite places to rest and relax. Unpretentious compact and reasonable prices. Just 5 hours by 🚗 car. The lake itself is stunning. Highly recommended- in fact the whole area of the Turkish Lake District is fabulous and not too many people!

  3. We love Egirdir, have been there several times either en route to somewhere or just a 2 night break. The lake is stunning as are the views & a round trip of the lake so interesting as it varies considerably. We stay in Ali’s Pension, very basic but spotless & comfortable.

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