The laidback resort of ÇIRALI, shrouded in citrus groves, is situated on a narrow plain between the mountains and a long, curving, 3km-long shingle beach. Less oriented towards backpackers than neighbouring Olympos, and more family-friendly, it’s located in a valley that runs parallel to Olympos on the south side of a mountain spur. Its major attraction is the natural phenomenon known as the Chimaera, an area of flames erupting from the ground on a pine-forested hillside. It’s also possible to walk along the beach for around half an hour to the ruins of ancient Olympos, and there are longer hikes on the Lycian Way, which blazes its way through the settlement. Apart from a surprising amount of accommodation tucked beneath the trees – six hotels and around a hundred pansiyons – there’s little here bar a beachfront strip of restaurants and, just over the river-bridge as you enter the settlement, a short parade of basic shops and cafés.

The fact that Çıralı is safeguarded by various Turkish bodies for its unique ecology, along with its designation as a protected area by the WWF, has enabled threatened loggerhead and green sea turtles to continue laying their eggs here. Don’t dig up, litter or nocturnally illuminate the beach during the summer nesting season.

Locals and the government are currently in dispute over the future of Çıralı, as many of its pensions and other buildings have been built on what’s either wholly or partly state forestry land. Some people claim that only ten to fifteen percent of its buildings are legal, and a few have been demolished as a result.

 

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