Today I want to introduce you to a hidden gem in the south of Turkey, a little paradise unknown even to many locals: Kabak Koyu. Close to the touristy village of Ölüdeniz yet secret to most of the world, this is a great place to switch off and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of nature!
If you’ve never visited Turkey, I urge to leave your preconceptions about Islam at home and instead open your mind to the beauty and diversity this country has to offer. From breathtaking landscapes and beaches with clear turquoise water to the natural wonders you won’t find anywhere else, Turkey has a lot to share with its visitors. And you probably thought it was all mosques, bazaars, and Ottoman architecture!
A couple of years ago, I discovered an unspoiled beach in Turkey alive with natural beauty. Now I want to share with you all you need to know about Kabak Koyu!
How to Get to Kabak Koyu?
Kabak Koyu is a small village located west of the Turkish Mediterranean Coast. Although it’s close to the tourist cities of Fethiye and Ölüdeniz, Kabak is an oasis of calm compared to its neighbors.
The easiest way to reach Kabak Koyu is by first flying to Dalaman from Istanbul (Pegasus Airlines offers low-cost daily flights). In Dalaman, you can take a shuttle bus from the small airport to Fethiye, then take a minibus (dolmuş) from Fethiye to Kabak, passing through Ölüdeniz and Faralya (Butterfly Valley). During the high season, there are hourly services until 7 PM or so. The price from Fethiye is 7TL (about 2 €).
A heavily winding road about 25 km long connects Ölüdeniz and Kabak, offering some breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Once you arrive at “Kabak last stop“, you will be in the village of Kabak. However, to reach the beach (Kabak Köyü), you’ll still need to either walk down a steep path (part of the Lycian Way) or hire a jeep that will take you down the hill along a dirt road. The cost of the trip down may vary depending on the number of passengers. The driver won’t move his jeep until he receives a set payment of 40 TL, but if you are lucky, you can split the cost with other travelers —e.g. for eight passengers total, you will only have to pay 5 TL, but if it’s just you and one other person, you’ll have to pay 20 TL each.
If you don’t have heavy luggage, I recommend walking down. It’s a long way down, but definitely worth every step. The views of Kabak Koyu are priceless, plus you can take a break in one of the cute Tree House hostels you’ll find along your way. If you do decide to walk, remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water. The walk should take you no more than 30 minutes.
What to Do in Kabak Koyu?
There isn’t much to do in Kabak besides hiking and maybe taking a yoga lesson offered by some of the guesthouses near the beach. Luckily, Kabak is the perfect place to do nothing!
Relax at the beach all day or swim in the calm turquoise waters. The spectacular views and laidback, atmosphere are great for enjoying your well-deserved summer vacation!
Fun fact: Readers of The Guardian chose Kabak Koyu as the best beach in Turkey. Do you agree?
Where to Stay in Kabak Koyu
Both the upper town and the coastal area have plenty of backpacker guesthouses to suit any budget, most of which consist of wooden bungalows and treehouses. Some hostels also have a camping area. I recommend choosing one of the guesthouses close to the beach, not in the upper village where the minibus leaves you. That way, you won’t need to climb up and down a steep path every time you want to go to the beach.
I stayed at Lilith Camping, one of the cheapest options during peak season and located only 200 meters from the beach. The small bungalow was 80 TL (about 15 €) including breakfast and dinner. Although not as comfortable as a resort holiday, Lilith is good if you prefer a backpacker option (Kabak style). I liked the local and hippie-esque atmosphere and the (mostly) vegetarian dinner buffet. It also has a nice chill out areas and a bar.
My only objection is that the lighting at night was pretty poor, so I highly recommend bringing a flashlight if you plan to go outside and visit the beach at night. On the bright side (no pun intended), the stars are beautiful where there’s no light pollution to block them out!
Other great places to stay in Kabak are:
To sum up, Kabak Koyu is a perfect destination for travelers looking for a tranquil and untainted paradise. With its peaceful beach, untapped natural beauty, and positive energy, I know I’ll be returning to Kabak Koyu as soon as possible!