I have been to Cirali many times for family summer vacations in Turkey. It is such a piece of paradise that keeps attracting us and awes us every time we come back. Cirali is an unspoiled place on the Mediterranean coast in Turkey. It sits in a beautiful long cove with its amazing Cirali beach all along. Peaceful nature, environmentally friendly affordable accommodations, its stress free relaxed atmosphere are only a few of the reasons why I choose Cirali beach for a restful summer vacation in Turkey.
Çıralı (pronounced as Chah-ruh-lah) is a small seaside village in the middle of the protected Olympos national park and natural reserve. Constructions are not allowed in this beautiful cove. The only accommodation options are bungalows in the middle of orange orchards. Thus, this little piece of paradise, unspoiled by the effects of mass tourism, have been around for decades to come.
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Where is Cirali in Turkey?
Cirali is located on the Mediterranean coast in south Turkey in province of Antalya. It is a little village close to the resort town of Kemer on the west coasts of Antalya.
What is the closest airport to Cirali?
Closest airport to Cirali is Antalya International Airport (airport code AYT) and is about 90 km away. It takes about 1 hour and a half to get to Cirali from Antalya airport.
How to get from Antalya airport to Cirali?
Traveling by taxi, arranging an airport transfer from the hotel you stay in Cirali or using public transport (not very fast or convenient but doable) are some of the options to get to Cirali. You can also opt in to rent a car from Antalya airport and drive yourself to Cirali.
How are driving road conditions to Cirali?
After you land to Antalya airport, you still have a long trip to travel over to reach to Cirali. First, you cross through the busy city of Antalya. Then, you keep going by the many resort towns like Tekirova and Kemer on the west coasts of Antalya. Finally, you leave the highway and turn into a winding road between forests and through valleys (no need to worry, all the roads to Cirali are in great condition). Yes, after quite a trip you are at the amazing Cirali Beach, and without a doubt, Cirali is worth for all the time you spend to get there!
Do you need to rent a car for a Cirali beach vacation?
It totally depends on the kind of vacation you are planning to have in Cirali. Indeed, Cirali is a very walkable small village. Cirali beach, restaurants to eat all are in close distance. Moreover, the best way to experience this unspoiled village surrounded by nature is by walking or biking in it. If you are planning a kind of relaxing vacation as: walk to the beach, go back to your hotel, dine in the restaurants around; a car is not a must, you can arrange a transport to and from the airport instead.
However, there are many places to explore around Cirali. Definitely, all of those places would add a lot to your Turkey vacation. If you are planning to visit different places around Cirali, you would need a car.
Cirali beach turtles
Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts house more than 20 hatching areas of the endangered loggerhead sea turtles known as Caretta caretta. Cirali beach and Iztuzu beach are among the primary breeding grounds for these turtles.
Every year in early summer Caretta carettas come to Cirali and lay their eggs in the sands of Cirali beach. When you visit Cirali in summer months, you would see the covers around the nests and the labels on them put by the volunteers. After 45 – 65 days of incubation, in about August the little baby turtles hatch. Next, the difficult journey from the nest to the sea starts. The hatchlings try to reach the sea, going through the beach following the moonlight. That’s why, in order not to distract the baby turtles, Cirali beach is not illuminated and kept dark at night during summer months.
8 reasons why to go to Cirali Turkey for vacation
Cirali is a paradise for nature lovers. It is a perfect place to wind down after our busy everyday lives. In other words, it is a vacation place for people who look forward to be immersed in the nature, surrounded by sea and spend some stress free days.
1. Cirali’s amazing nature
Cirali is surrounded by mountains and green forests. In addition, the village is located literally among the orange orchards. On your way to the beach you walk through these orchards with the amazing smell of orange blossoms in your nose. Since, it has quite a hot climate, some tropical trees like enormous avocado trees, banana trees, even some giant cacti with their prickly pear fruit on them are common in Cirali. A symphony of crickets, news about some baby sea turtles hatched the night before, some cockerel crowing sound coming from far away in the mornings all make me appreciate this incredible nature.
2. The crystal clear waters of Cirali beach
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 best beaches in Turkey: Cirali beach.
Cirali cove is about 3 km long. 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.
There are almost no buildings by the beach. Just, 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.
3. The relaxing vibe of Cirali
Cirali beach is huge, there is enough space for everyone. Obviously, it is getting more crowded at the weekends but other than that, it is a great chilling out place. Sorry for the adrenaline junkies but, there aren’t any water sport activities in the sea. So that, the peaceful, relaxing vibe of Cirali is not destructed by anything. Sound of the waves, blow of the wind, a good swim, a calm walk, a good meal, a beautiful bike ride and a joyful rest in your veranda reading a book or enjoying your drink… A vacation of Cirali is all about these…
4. Affordable accommodations in Cirali
There are many affordable accommodation options to stay in Cirali. As I mentioned before, since Cirali is located in a protected national park, constructions are not allowed. That’s why there aren’t any big hotels or resort hotels in Cirali. Whereas, you can stay in wooden bungalows set in the middle of lush gardens or by the seaside. For a price of a resort hotel in Antalya you would pay for just a few days, you can stay in Cirali for a week or more.
If you are ok to walk or bike a little bit to the beach, accommodations get even more cheaper. We stayed in Azra Villas in Cirali, some homey villas 10 minutes walk to the beach, for a few weeks in the middle of summer. It was like home away of home, a very relaxing vacation.
5. Cirali won’t break the bank
There are some hype destinations in Turkey that you need to go to some expensive beach clubs to enjoy the beautiful sea. Or, you need to pay quite an amount for the sun beds, umbrellas, parking places and many other things. The good news is, Cirali is not that kind of place! You can set your own umbrella at the beach or you can enjoy a sun bed of the restaurants by the beach. Finding a convenient shade is enough to park your car, no need to pay on the streets. Besides, I’ve already mentioned the option of affordable accommodations in Cirali. When you add these up, they all contribute to a relatively cheaper vacation.
6. Cirali is great for a stress free vacation
When you go to a vacation in an all inclusive resort hotel, everything is included, everything is free but inevitably quite a stress is added to that vacation. Foremost, you had payed quite an amount for the vacation, you’ve got the stress of needing to experience everything in the resort. Then, obviously there is this thing of placing beach towels early on the lounge chairs or you end up not having a places to rest. Waiting in the lines of the buffets for meal and finding a good place to sit is another stress, and it goes on…
On the other hand, a vacation in Cirali is totally stress free! It’s all about winding down. You wake up whenever you like, you eat wherever you want. Even the things you wear are not so important in this relaxing place. Put something on, go outside and enjoy your day…
7. Abundance of things to do around Cirali
Things to do in Cirali
Honestly, things to do in Cirali is all about a restful vacation. Go to beach, have a swim in the clear sea and spend some leisurely hours on the beach. Afterward, walk back to your bungalow and enjoy a laid back afternoon at your veranda. Then, have a stroll to the center of the village, where you can find many restaurants to dine in. And, the next day repeat all these again…
Although there aren’t very unique things to do in Cirali village, there are abundance of places to visit that you would love to explore around Cirali.
Things to do around Cirali
Just at the side of Cirali village there is Chimaera, a very unique mountaintop place mentioned in Greek legends. It is a mountain top rock with flames coming out from its holes on it because of natural gas. Chimaera is just about 3km away from Cirali village center. The hike up to the mountain is not very easy but we managed to do it with two little kids.
Olympos antique site
The ruins of Olympos, an antique harbor city, is only a short walk away through the Cirali beach. After you visit and walk through the antique city settled in a valley, you come to the Olympus touristic village, that is renown for its hippie vibe and tree top houses accommodations.
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!
There are plenty of places more to explore around Cirali. Phaselis antique site is a place where you can enjoy going to a beach in an antique port city. Beycik, is a refreshing mountain village with some unique treetop restaurants. Ulupinar is a valley in the forest with a cool stream and many authentic restaurants by the stream. We have visited all of these places and many more during our vacations in Cirali. Definitely, I loved all of them and I am thrilled with having so much to explore around Cirali.
For more information about things to do in Cirali, click at my post “12 Amazing things to do in Cirali“
8. Cirali is a perfect place for stargazing
Cirali is in the middle of a natural preserve with no big settlements around and huge mountains at the back. That’s why there is no light pollution there. Meaning, all the stars are so bright at the night sky. When was the last time you had a chance to see a shooting star or observe millions of stars above you? Resting in a hammock under the stars in a breezy night, accompanied by a symphony of crickets; even for this reason alone Cirali is worth visiting. Also a side note, there are no mosquitos in Cirali.
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 with options of one or two bedroom accommodations and full kitchen. We stayed in a two bedroom villa and having a dishwasher, a washing machine, a fridge, a stove for cooking was very convenient. (booking.com score 9.7 for more than 20 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 in the comment section below.
Have a great holiday in my home country!
You can also like, my post “12 Amazing things to do in Cirali“