Cirali is a piece of paradise on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey. It is an unspoiled place with an amazing sea, a great beach, amazing nature and many things to explore around. Cirali beach, Chimaera flames, Olympos antique site are only some of the things to do in Cirali that should not be missed.
Also, have a peek at my blog post “8 Reasons why I chose Cirali Turkey for vacation“
We have spent many family summer vacations in Cirali Turkey. During our vacations, we both enjoyed the beautiful Cirali beach and drove around to see and explore other things to do in Cirali. At my blog post below, you can find information, suggestions and tips about places worth visiting in and around Cirali.
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Things to do in Cirali
Cirali is a kind of a place to take it easy and relax in the nature. Eventually, things to do in Cirali is all about a restful vacation.
You can walk or ride your bike to the beach. After some leisurely hours in the clear sea and on the beach, you can walk back to your bungalow through amazing smelling orange orchards. Following a laid back afternoon at your veranda, accompanied by a symphony of crickets, it is time for a stroll to the center of the village, where you can find many restaurants to dine in. If those sound good and relaxing to you, go directly to places to stay in Cirali and book a place, you won’t be disappointed!
For the ones who fancy a little more exploration around, there is Chimaera, a mountain top rock with flames coming out from its holes on it because of natural gas. Olympos ancient ruins are a short walk away through the end of the beach. A boat trip to Suluada, renown as Maldives of Turkey, would be a great place for snorkeling. And many more…
Cirali sits on a beautiful, about 3 km long, curved cove. And, the pristine Cirali beach is set all along the cove all the way to Olympos antique site on its western edge. Cirali beach is sandy at the back and it’s pebbly and rocky at the shore and in the sea. Obviously, thanks to this rocky sea bottom, the sea water of Cirali beach is crystal clear. Usually, the sea is very calm early in the morning and at the midday it gets more choppy. In addition, because of the hot climate in Antalya region, the seawater temperatures are warm enough to swim from late spring to autumn.
I personally love the setting of Cirali beach! There are two cliffs at the both ends of the beach, mighty mountains are set at the back and lush trees stand just by the beach. And at the center of all of these sits the blue waters of the amazing Cirali beach.
There are almost no buildings by the beach. A few restaurants are set with their sun beds and umbrellas in front of them. Usually you can use the sun beds and umbrellas for free when you purchase food from the restaurants.
Just at the side of Cirali village there is Chimaera, a very unique mountaintop place mentioned in Greek legends. At this legendary place, some flames are coming out from the holes of a mountain top rock because of natural gas.
How to go to Chimaera?
Chimaera is about 3 km away from Cirali village center. Although the road to the base of the hill is all straight and very easy to walk, under the summer sun it can be challenging. Instead, you can go to Chimaera by bike, drive to the base of the mountain with your own car or you can book a tour from Cirali center (or from many towns around like Kemer or Tekirova even Antalya).
Climbing up to Chimaera
People prefer to climb up to Chimaera at night since the eternal flames are even more impressive in the dark. However, climbing in the middle of the forest to a mountaintop in the dark is not very easy. (If you are planning to do so don’t forget your flashlights.) Since we went to Chimaera with our little kids, we preferred to go around sunset, thus we could prevent a climb under the burning summer sun.
The hike up to the mountain is not very easy but it was fun. You walk through a path covered with rocks and climb up some stairs that are literally hundreds of years old. I would say the hike alone to Chimaera was very impressive! Eventually, we managed to climb up the hill with our two little kids! After we caught our breaths, we observed the flames from multiple holes burning around. Then, we roasted some marshmallows that we had brought with us. You don’t roast your marshmallows with some eternal flames everyday, hah! I totally suggest this trip.
Climbing up to Chimaera through some ancient paths
Olympus ancient site and Olympos treehouses
The ruins of Olympos, an antique harbor city, is only a short walk away through the Cirali beach. Actually, the touristic village of Olympos and Cirali use the same beach. The part called Olympos beach is only at the western edge of Cirali cove.
On the Olympos side of the beach, first, you meet the free spirited youth sunbathing on the rocks of the beach. (when you travel with kids, these settings sometimes feel jealously free :)) Then, following a stream flowing through a valley you come to the ruins of Olympos ancient city set very close to the beach.
There are two gates to Olympos antique site. One opens to the beach, and the other gate lets you pass to Olympos touristic village, that is renown for its hippie vibe and tree top houses accommodations. In other words, a vacation in Olympos treehouses is such a unique thing that you need to pass through an ancient city to go to the beach.
Tahtali mountain cable car
Mount Tahtali is the tallest peak in the area with its 2365 m hight. There is a cable car, riding up to the top of the mountain Tahtali and you can find it with about half an hour drive from Cirali. You would literally go from the sea level to an altitude of 2300 meters in a few minutes with a cable car ride. The view at the top is amazing!
Things to do at the top of Mount Tahtali
At the top of Mount Tahtali, there is a cafe and some attractions for adrenaline seekers. You can paraglide from Mount Tathtali to Tekirova beach, an attraction that actually we weren’t aware of until our trip to top of the mountain. We sat at the cafe and watched the people flying from the station, it was fun.
Also, there was the bungy-catapult or reverse bungy, oh my, even thinking of it is shaking my knees. You are tied to ropes attached to two tall polls that sit just at the edge of the mountain. Then the ropes are stretched like a slingshot and set free, of course with you attached to the ropes. It must be a total adrenaline rush! If you are interested in these activities, here is the official site of Olympos Teleferik (cable car) for information (not sponsored).
Phaselis beach and ancient site
During our vacations in Cirali, we visited the beaches of Phaselis many many times. It is such an unspoiled, beautiful place! (even more unspoiled than Cirali :)) Phaselis ancient site is half an hour drive from Cirali. You can literally swim at the beaches of an antique city there.
Phaselis is an ancient city set on the skirts of Mount Tahtali. It sits on a cape surrounded with two coves and there are pine trees all around. What makes Phaselis different from many antique Lycian cities around is its pristine beaches with calm waters. Since the coves are very protected from big waves they are perfect for swimming.
There are two main beaches in Phaselis to choose from: Phaselis small beach (orta liman) on the east coast and Phaselis beach (guney liman) on the west shores of the cape and continuing all through the south coast of the following cove.
Phaselis small beach is a cute little beach close to the entrance and sits just by the ruins of the ancient city. It has a sandy beach and is small pebbly in the water. It is very calm, just perfect to spend time with the kids.
Phaselis beach is a longer, sandy beach (both on the beach and in the sea) with shallow, calm waters. Just perfect for the families with little kids. There are not many sandy beaches in Kemer Antalya region, that’s why it’s like a little gem. Moreover, there are shades of pine trees (that smell amazing) just by the beach. Easily a whole day can be spent there by swimming, playing in the sand, picnicking and of course a little bit with an ancient city exploring.
Ulupinar is a lush valley by a stream, 20 minutes drive from Cirali. The stream in Ulupinar has quite cold water and the forest around is so lush that temperatures are a few degrees lower than the surrounding beach towns of Tekirova, Kemer or Cirali. There are a few restaurants by the stream in Ulupinar. All restaurants have an authentic, relaxing atmosphere. Some have terraces to sit on that are built on the flowing stream, others are set on the banks or have some waterfalls. Botanic, Ulupinar havuzbasi, Selale restaurant are some of the restaurants in Ulupinar. All of them are great to spend some relaxing time and dine in.
As a side not, at these kind of places you pay mostly for the atmosphere other than food, thus they can be overpriced and touristy. There are even some tourist tours coming from Kemer or Antalya to Ulupinar to dine in after their trips to Cirali beach and Chimaera. Nevertheless, Ulupinar is a very beautiful and unique place worth visiting during your vacation in Cirali.
Beycik is a village in mountains overlooking Cirali and Tekirova. It is about half an hour drive from Cirali. The unique and the thing worth visiting about Beycik is its treetop restaurants and its refreshing mountain air. It feels amazing in the middle of the summer to be at a place with a few degrees lower temperatures than beach towns.
We discovered Beycik about ten years ago with a suggestion of the owner of the hotel we were staying in Cirali. On our way climbing up the mountain, we saw some lodges to stay in Beycik and thought this mountainous area can be an alternative (and refreshing) place to lodge after a day of beach hopping with its convenient location between Cirali and Phaselis beach.
Our restaurant suggestion in Beycik was Riviera Restaurant. It is a family run restaurant with some terraces built on the branches of giant trees. The owner and the family was very sweet and were great example for Turkish hospitality. Anyways, before writing this post, I checked again if the place was still open and found out that they even got bigger and added some treehouse lodges too. Moreover, almost all the google reviews of the place are five starred, not a very easy thing in touristy places. In short, if you are in the area check it out for yourself and spend some refreshing time there.
Adrasan beach is the next big cove after you pass Cirali. It is half an hour drive away from Cirali. Adrasan is a sleepy village perfect for the ones who want a low key, super calm holiday by the sea. There are many beachfront pensions and small hotels in Adrasan. The main reason why people visit Adrasan is its beautiful beach protected from waves.
Adrasan coast is about 2 km long and it is mostly sandy or shingle. The southern part of Adrasan beach has fine sand and is very shallow. If you are looking for a sandy, calm beach, I would say give a visit to Adrasan beach.
There is one more reason why people visit Adrasan, and it is a popular daily boat trip destination Suluada. You can find tens of boat tours that depart from Adrasan to Suluada.
Suluada is a little, uninhabited island very close to the coast of Adrasan beach. This island is known as Maldives of Turkey, because of its white sands and turquoise waters. If you Google the images of Suluada, you would understand what I mean.
You can board a tour from Adrasan and visit different beaches of Suluada island. Alternatively, you can find a boat tour to Suluada from Cirali with a little longer sailing time. Boat trips to the island are usually whole day tours with at least one meal included that is had on the boat. Since Suluada became very popular in recent years, if you decide to go, try to visit it on a weekday, instead of the weekend.
In addition, there are some other boat tour destinations that can be visited with tours departing from Cirali beach. For example, you can see the beautiful coves around Cirali. If you fancy to explore the area by boat, give a visit to the tour agencies in Cirali village.
Yarikpinar is a little lush, refreshing area by the stream with a few restaurants to dine in. It is located by Kumluca – Kemer highway close to Tekirova. It takes about 20 minutes from Cirali to get there. (By the way all the places listed above are about half an hour distance from Cirali because it takes 15 minutes to get from Cirali village to highway. Once you are on highway all the places are about 10-15 minutes away.)
We went to have breakfast in one of the restaurants in Yarikpinar on our way to Phaselis beach. It was a delightful breakfast by the stream.
If you want to visit a little more lively place with urban vibes, the resort town of Kemer is 40 minutes drive from Cirali. There are lots of places for shopping, dine in or have a drink on the main pedestrian street in Kemer. In addition, Kemer city center has the liveliest nightlife scene in the region with many nightclubs, discos and bars.
There is also Folkloric Nomad Park (Folklorik Yoruk Parki), a small cultural theme park explaining native nomads in the region. The park is 3km from city center of Kemer. You can taste local cuisine with beautiful views at the park.
Local Farmers Markets around Cirali
Farmers markets in Turkey are very colorful and worth exploring. You can see lots of local produce, glimpse at the daily life of the locals and buy delicious, fresh fruits, veggie and local products. There are two main farmers markets both of them nearly same distance away (about 40 minutes) from Cirali: Kemer Bazaar on Mondays and Kumluca Pazari on Fridays. You can even find some local tours departing from Cirali for shopping at these markets.
Where to eat in Cirali?
There is one little street in Cirali village with different restaurants throughout the street. In addition, there are some fish restaurants offering some freshly catch, set along Cirali beach. We tried a few of them. I don’t have a specific suggestion, all have good vibes and fresh produce. Try a Lagos fish (also called Lahos or Grida by locals or White grouper in English) which is local Mediterranean fish. Definitely a delicious meal by the beach adds a lot to your summer vacation experience.
Among the restaurants in the village street, Simge restaurant is our favorite. It is a family run restaurant with some cool and chilling out vibes. We have been going there for years to come and every time enjoyed its good food and relaxing atmosphere.
Where to stay in Cirali?
We have spent many family vacations in Cirali with our kids. My top picks for the best places to stay in Cirali are:
- Kimera Lounge Boutique Hotel: A high class hotel with exceptional bungalow rooms very close to the beach (booking.com score 9.2 for more than 180 reviews)
- Azur Hotel: A delightful place with wooden bungalows within a lush garden very close to the beach. (booking.com score 9.4 for more than 40 reviews)
- Azra Villas: Some relaxing, independent wood houses 10 minutes walking distance to the beach. They offer accommodations with one or two bedrooms and full kitchen. We stayed in a two bedroom villa and having a dishwasher, a washing machine, a fridge, a stove for cooking and free bikes to ride was very convenient. (booking.com score 9.7 for more than 22 reviews)
- Olympos Lodge: Pricey but a gorgeous place for exceptional and unique stays in Cirali beach. (booking.com score 9.1 for more than 30 reviews)
For more places to stay in Cirali, please click here.
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Have you been to Cirali or Turkey before? Do you have any other recommendations? If you have any questions please ask at the comment section below.
Have a great holiday in my home country!
You can also like “8 Reasons why I chose Cirali Turkey for vacation“