From the small lakeside town of Eğirdir (eh-YEER-deer), a causeway extends into the placid blue lake waters to connect two small islands to the mainland.
Comfy, inexpensive little pensions dot the islands, hosting travelers for a night or two as they laze away the stress of travel and sample the local fresh-water fish.
Besides swimming, boating and a hike up the slopes of neighboring Davras Dağı (2635 meters, 8645 feet), there’s little to do in Eğirdir (pop. 18,000)—which is just the point.
A crumbling fortress with foundations from 400 BC provides visual charm. Although the town’s Mosque of Hızır Bey(1237, 1308) and Dündar Bey Medresesi (seminary; 1218, 1285) date from the great age of Seljuk Turkish architecture, they were works more of the local Hamidoğullari emirs rather than the great Seljuk sultans.
The only other feature of note is the Turkish army’s commando base on the western outskirts. You may forget it’s there unless you wander through town on the commandos’ day off when you’re sure to notice their blue berets everywhere.
Without your own vehicle, bus is the best way to get here. You may have to change buses at nearby Isparta, from which minibuses run to Eğirdir about every 15 minutes. The rail line to Isparta no longer has passenger service, so the minibus is the way to go. Airports with frequent flights are at Antalya and Konya.
Eğirdir oddity: the town’s name used to be Eğridir (eh-REE-deer), a Turkish adaptation of its old Hellenic name Akrotiri. But Eğridir means “crooked” or “wrong” in Turkish, so in the 1980s the town transposed two letters in its name and made it Eğirdir, which has meanings associated with spinning, with flowers, and with bee propolis—all good things!
Distances & Travel Times
Afyon: 138 km (86 miles) N, 2.5 hours
Antalya: 186 km (116 miles) S, 3 hours
Beyşehir: 141 km (88 miles) E, 2.5 hours
Burdur: 68 km (42 miles) west, 1.5 hours
Cappadocia (Urgup): 450 km (280 miles) E, 7 hours
Isparta: 36 km (22 miles) W, 40 minutes
Istanbul: 638 km (396 miles) N, 11 hours
İzmir: 418 km (260 miles) W, 7 hours
Kuşadası: 390 km (242 miles) W, 7 hours
Pamukkale: 225 km (140 miles) W, 3.5 hours
Selçuk: 387 km (241 miles) W, 6.75 hours
—by Tom Brosnahan
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