Manavgat River and other natural attractions
Manavgat Town is probably most famous for its river and waterfall. The river begins on the slopes of the Western Taurus Mountains and after 90km turns into the Manavgat waterfalls, flowing through the coastal plain and into the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a fantastic area that is perhaps best explored by cruise, which allows you to take in the sights along the river, down to the waterfall and eventually the sea – even offering opportunities to sunbathe on the beach, or swim in the river.
You can alternatively take a shuttle bus to the area, which your hotel can organise, and enjoy a picnic on the banks or have lunch in one of the fantastic fish restaurants overlooking the waterfall.
Many fish live in the river, from trout to carp, chub to perch, a fact that attracts many birds including kingfishers – you might even be lucky enough to see freshwater turtles sunbathing on dry logs. Citrus orchards containing lemon and orange trees line both sides of the banks.
Fun for all the family
Koprulu Canyon National Park covers an area of 366km² and stretches for 14km along the Kopru River. It’s fantastic for engaging in outdoor activities such as rafting, which is great for all the family– though bear in mind age restrictions for children. Hiking and jeep safari is another popular activity in this forested area, where you can spot fantastic plants native to the Mediterranean such as cypress, cedar and pine trees. Or you can explore the old Roman city of Selge, which sits high in the mountains above the National Park, with the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, city walls and Temple of Zeus.
If you fancy whizzing down a waterslide to cool off on a hot day, visit Nashira Aquapark. Alternatively at the Adventure Park Manavgat Oyampinar, you can cross the water by zip-wire, ropes and rope bridges.
Mosque and bazaar
Turkey is filled with fantastic mosques, which can be easily identified from the outside because of their domed roofs, though Manavgat boasts the largest on the Turkish Riviera. It’s worth taking a look inside just because of its stunning decoration which may remind you of the amazing Blue Mosque in Istanbul, with all its floral arabesque patterns.
ou’ll find similar patterns hand-painted on pottery and other handcrafted ornaments that you can buy from shops and the bazaar, which also happens to be one of the biggest on the Mediterranean coast. Here you get a chance to see the hustle and bustle as locals gather around the fruit and vegetable stalls, while there are plenty of other opportunities to buy souvenirs to take home in the twice-weekly market. These include such items as Turkish rugs, key-rings and magnets that bear the image of the famed ‘blue eye’, which according to local legend helps ward off the evil eye.
The same stallholders pack up their wares and travel to Side for its Saturday market. You’ll also find jewellery, leather goods and clothing on sale in the markets and shops around the region.