Phaselis, Turkey Guide

Phaselis is an ancient city ranged on a peninsula surrounded by three small, perfect bays, now protected within the grounds of a beautiful national park.

Located between Kemer and Olimpos, and not all that far from Antalya (map), it’s a perfect spot for a quiet rest and a splash in the sea from one of the small pebbly beaches. Excursion boats and yachts often drop anchor in the southern harbor for lunch, a swim, and a stroll through the ruins.

There’s a TL8 per-person admission fee to the national park, which is open from 07:30 am to 19:00 (7 pm) in summer. Drinks, snacks and toilets are available in the building housing the small museum. Picnicking is prohibited anywhere in the park, but if you are discreet and pack out your trash it may be possible to snack undisturbed.

Two millennia ago in Roman times this was a thriving port town shipping rose oil and the perfumes made of it, as well as timber from the surrounding forests.

Today the three bays and ruined aqueduct of golden limestone shaded by fragrant pines are a poignant reminder of once-prosperous Phaselis.

The ruins of the ancient city have been mostly cleared of brush and trees, so you can walk along the grand Harbour Way past the elaborate Roman baths, an Agora, and the small but beautiful Theater (reached by a flight of wooden stairs).

Harbor Way, Phaselis, Mediterranean Turkey
Harbour Way, the heart of Phaselis…

If you climb to the top row of seats in the middle of the cavea (theater seating) you will appreciate the ancients’genius for siting their theaters: the grand mountain vista above the scaena (stage wall) would compensate for even the dullest play.

The most obvious beaches are those at the northern harbor, but the better ones, with softer sand, are at the southern harbor. Walk along Harbour Way to reach it. There are no changing or shower facilities at either beach.

In autumn (OctoberNovember), wild cyclamen flower beneath the copses of trees around Phaselis, adding a welcom note of color and delicacy.

Transport

Minibuses for Kemer, Phaselis, Olimpos and Çıralı depart Antalya’s Otogar, and also from the bus stop on Dumlupınar Bulvarı (D400) just north of the Antalya Aquarium on the western side of the city (map).


Distances & Travel Times

Antalya: 58 km (36 miles) NE, 1 hour

Kemer: 14 km (9 miles) N, 15 minutes

Olimpos: 18 km (11 miles) S, 20 minutes

Tekirova: 5 km (3 miles) S, 10 minutes

—by Tom Brosnahan


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