Updated: Apr 21
I had envisaged quiet coastal roads and finding secret hidden coves along the south coast of Turkey. I definitely did a terrible job of finding both of these (note to self: must cycle Turkey again), but I still loved the small section of the coastline I cycled.
I decided my next city stop would be Akyaka, some 130km away. Akyaka has a stunning bay and is famous for its chilled backpacker vibe and windsurfing! I wanted to avoid the main highway and try to cycle as close to the coast as possible. I was at a junction when a friend I had met in the Balkans a few years earlier texted to say he was in the area.
Despite wanting to avoid the highway, I ended up detouring to cycle mostly along the highway so I could meet up with this friend. It was worth the detour to catch up and have dinner together, but I then found myself in a rather undesirable area trying to find somewhere to camp. I asked the restaurant owner if I could camp beside their restaurant, and despite how strange this request must have seemed it was no problem at all. They even informed the night watchman that I’d be there and to keep an eye out for me. The following night I decided not to be so lazy and found an interesting wild camping spot.
In the mountains not far from Muğla I found a quiet back road near a dam and spent a secluded, reasonably undisturbed night there (I had the usual wild boar drop by for a visit). I had one more day of cycling until I reached Akyaka, and then I would have a day or two off to explore the little seaside town. The hills in Turkey are so deceptively tough but once I made it to the peak of the cliff overlooking Akyaka, the drop down was a real treat. Unbelievable views and a fantastic glide down the switchbacks to the bottom.
Akyaka being a touristic hub, was more expensive to stay in that I’d expected. For the first time I booked into my accommodation to find that there actually was zero space to store my bike. Without a doubt there is always a corner indoors or in a courtyard to lock the bike, however, this place really had nothing. I was a bit stumped. The property owner suggested I go a few doors down to a bike shop that they sometimes recommend for bike rental, and ask if I could store it there. It seemed quite the odd request but I decided to give it a go and at least offer some payment to hold onto the bike. The bike shop was crammed to the brim with bikes, and yet the guy wasn’t bothered and didn’t ask any money in exchange for holding onto my bike.
With the bike secure I was free to explore the town on foot. After my scheduled 2 days off I decided I wasn’t quite ready to leave Akyaka. However, I also didn’t want to continue paying the high prices in town, so I relocated down the road to a sweet little campsite connected to the town by a footpath.
The little campsite was a brilliant find and I probably should have just stayed there from day one. It was really close to town and quite comfortable. I quickly befriended the local character of the campground, Hasan. He initially made contact by offering me a camp chair when he saw me reading against a tree, then I was invited me over for tea.
Hasan was a sculptor, but whether or not he made any money off this was uncertain. He lived in a patchwork of tent and bits of curtain and moved around to various parts of Turkey seasonally, becoming the temporary home for ALL of the campsite dogs as well.
On my last night in the campsite an almighty storm hit in the middle of the night. The rain was ferocious and I got pretty worried about my tent leaking, because whilst I had pitched it on a nice flat area it was a little too flat and was pooling with water. I started considering my emergency plans should the tent start filling with water and decided I could sleep in the toilet block. The storm eased off and I drifted back to sleep to wake in the morning and observe the destruction.
Everything was wet and muddy, but actually had withstood the heavy downpour quite well. It was however extremely unpleasant to have everything wet and muddy on departure day. I hate packing up a wet tent, let alone a wet, muddy tent so I airdried what I could and visited Hasan to see how his accommodation had withstood the storm. He was pretty nonchalant about it all even though it didn’t look like he’d stayed terribly dry. I caught a glimpse of his blow-up mattress and realised how all the dogs managed to escape the storm – on his bed.
I got on the road, heading for Fethiye the next city stop, but also my last on the Turquoise Coast before I would turn inland.