TRAVEL: #5SensesofTurkey Part 1 – Discovering the hidden paradise of Akyaka

So, you may have guessed from a few pics that I’ve been sharing, that last week I was away on holiday in the beautiful country of Turkey. Following last months #5SensesofTurkey Blog event I was so excited to be one of the very lucky bloggers selected for a trip to Turkey with Thomas Cook to experience everything Turkey has to experience, first hand. It was an absolute dream come true, I’d heard so many amazing things about the Dalaman area of Turkey but I’ve never had the opportunity to go, so as soon as I found out – I enthusiastically started planning my perfect trip. 
One of the most important things to me on holiday is to see each country in it’s most ‘authentic‘ form,  I wanted to discover everything that real Turkey is about. I really don’t like touristy resorts, they are just filled with shops, bars and restaurants for the English market and you just don’t get the full cultural experience of travelling abroad. My holiday style is to find a quiet, peaceful and idyllic hideaway to escape the world for a few days and sample some traditional cuisine and culture – just like the locals do! Luckily, we found just that – the quaint beach side village of Akyaka (just an hour from Dalaman airport) is everything we wanted and more when it came to our perfect holiday destination.

Akyaka is a favourite holiday spot for Turkish people to go on holiday and is the most untouched area I’ve ever been to, there wasn’t a tourist in sight. Amongst the locals, we stayed in a small but lovely boutique hotel called the Kerme Ottoman – set on the riverbank,  with a backdrop of thick pine forest and a stunning mountain range, it really was such a beautiful place. I was surprised by how green and lush the Turkish countryside was – the fresh scent of the pine needles in the warm sunshine was always in the air.

Our flights with Thomas Cook went quickly and smoothly, we arrived about lunchtime which was perfect as we took to exploring our new home-away-from-home quickly. Walking just a few steps down the road we saw a row of  the most gorgeous restaurants – nestled alongside the river, some even with chairs and tables to sit with your feet in the shallow waters of the crystal clear water. The restaurants in Akyaka are a foodies dream, most restaurants offer a selection of fresh fish – caught locally in the river and traditional Turkish cuisine such as meatballs, casseroles and kebabs., all served with huge selections of mezze’s and fresh salads. They also use the freshest fruits and vegetables I’ve ever seen – the dishes literally burst with flavour. Our first Turkish meal was a fresh Sea Bass served with mezze and salad, as we sat there by the riverside it suddenly all felt real, we had truly arrived.

We soon fell into a little holiday routine, our mornings were always lazy (I slept SO well in Turkey) getting up around 10am for some breakfast. Turkish people eat a lot of cheese for breakfast, so our typical day would start with a selection of feta cheese, tomato and cucumber salad with olives, eggs (boiled or omelette’s) and a delicious savoury pastry I later found is called Borek, made with thin slices of filo pastry filled with cheese and spinach, it was delicious and so different to what I would normally eat at home.  
Most of our days we spent lazing in the glorious sunshine, either beside the riverbank which was cooler with a light breeze or by the pool. As this was a bit of an impromptu holiday, Vee had to bring some work with her to do, so I took the time to read, blog and swim whilst she sat enjoying the sun reading her work books. It really was just heaven.

Our evenings would include a walk into the local village. We found a gorgeous path along the riverside where Turkish people could be seen on the banks with their picnics and splashing around in the water. The village had lots of restaurants to chose from, most of them along the beach so we sat and ate dinner whilst the sun set, and then took a stroll home – usually picking up a freshly cooked waffle or ice cream en route for the journey!

Turkey really is such a beautiful place, just looking at these photos makes me want to back again already – I really hope you enjoyed the first installment of my #5SensesofTurkey series – look out for a couple more posts coming up soon featuring a gorgeous boat trip, a trip to a local fruit market and my experience of a traditional Turkish Hammam. You can also see my Turkish Delight Travel Styling post too!

Have you been to Turkey? What did you think? 

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– This post was written in collaboration with Thomas Cook

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