KabakLycia, Turkey. It's a great place on the Turkish Mediterranean to have a truly laid-back experience away from the package tourist groups.
As it doesn't have sufficient population to be designated as a "village", Kabak is a neighbourhood of Uzunyurt. As such, it's often omitted from maps, even quite detailed ones.
Kabak consists of two physically separate sections. The settlement proper is a small agglomeration of two-story buildings along the road, clinging to a mountainside way above the coastline with a dazzling view of the Mediterranean. Below, the second part consists of the cluster of guesthouses between the coast and the canyon known as Kabak Koyu. With pine groves, waterfalls, and coastline, Kabak Koyu is quite similar to the much more famous Butterfly Valley of Faralya; however physical access to it is a little easier.
The state of development in Kabak is in major flux. There are still places catering to backpackers and families that are truly interested in keeping Kabak beautiful (Full Moon, Reflections, Sultan, Kabak Valley Camping, and a few more), but they are being pushed out of the way by developers who just want to make a buck quickly and have no interest in the long-term future of Kabak. Someone who visited in, say, 2005 would find Kabak different today if they returned. If you want to stay at a place that is helping Kabak stay beautiful, choose wisely.
A winding road, about 25 km in length, connects Kabak with Ölüdeniz and passes through Faralya on the way. The condition of the road is good through the upper village of Kabak, but it becomes a rough dirt track as it descends into the valley.
The Lycian Way, a waymarked hiking trail, passes through the village, providing a strenuous but peaceful connection with Ovacik, a suburb of Ölüdeniz. Detouring through the mountains, you'll enjoy many impressive vistas and pass through off-the-beaten-path hamlets. Most hikers break this 22km section into two days, with an overnight stay in one of Faralya's guesthouses.
You can follow the Lycian Way, indicated by red and white painted stones, for about 20 minutes downhill all the way to the beach and beyond. Along the way, you'll pass by many places to stay and most have restaurants if you are feeling hungry. Another branch of the Lycian Way passes around the upper part of the valley.
In Faralya, about 2 km away from the village, there is a dirt road that branches off the main road and leads into the canyon and the coast. However, if you have the smallest bit of love for your car, avoid driving on that road — think of a rocky downslope where the soft topsoil has all been bulldozed. A better option is to park your car in the upper village and take a minibus the rest of the way. Keep in mind that they don't run on a fixed schedule — they're ready to go as soon as you pay; but you may have to wait for one returning from the coast first — and the flat rate of 35 TL is per trip, not per passenger: if you're lucky, you might split the fare with fellow travellers waiting along with you at the stop, but if you're alone you're on the hook for the entire tab. Ask at the grocery store at the upper village for more information.
See and do
WaterfallsTo hike to some great waterfalls, first follow the red and white stones all the way to the beach. From the left side of the beach (looking toward the sea), take a 20-35 minute walk, continuing to follow the stones. You will see a big directional sign (erected by Mustafa, owner of the Full Moon Camp) that shows the Lycian Way to the right and waterfalls to the left. You will be able to follow the pipeline and river as far as the waterfall. Beware: this is not a real hiking path; it's quite rough and requires some climbing in a few places that may be dangerous. Be sure to wear a pair of good shoes and leave your hands empty for the climbing. There are six or seven pools successively higher. From the waterfall, you can either return the way you came, or you can follow the red painted stones until that path rejoins the Lycian Way with red and white stones. When it rejoins, going left will return you to Kabak around the back side of the valley, and going right will return you to the beach.
There is no ATM in the village, either, so bring enough cash. The nearest ones are in Ölüdeniz, and a little further away in Fethiye.
Eat and drink
Lazy Fish CafeLocated near the beach, the food is delicious by all accounts.
phone: +90 536 325 24 21If you are on a day trip to Kabak, this is the most likely place where you will have your quick lunch, consisting of freshly baked Turkish cheese pancakes (gözleme), perhaps alongside a cup of tea. Run by a local old lady, the place has a patio at the backside with an outstanding view of the cove below. Also has a pension/guesthouse.
phone: +90 252 642 10 83This little restaurant serves great meals. You can sit on chairs or lay on very comfortable mattresses. Views from there are outstanding, prices reasonable, waiters quiet but friendly and very helpful.
See the Understand section above for more info about the tourism development in the Kabak Valley. Full Moon, Reflections, Sultan, and Kabak Valley Camp are the businesses that seem most interested in preserving Kabak's pristine ambience.
Note: Prices given here are almost all for a minimum of two people sharing. If you are alone and don't have your own tent, you'll struggle to find accommodation for less than 50 TL (Jungle Campsite is one exception, see below).
phone: +90 252 642-10-81Rustic bungalows with great views, delicious home-grown food, and a swimming pool if you don't feel like going to the beach. Incredible common patio covered with grape vines overlooking the entire valley with plenty of cushions. Free WiFi. You can camp in your own tent on the roof. 20-25 minute walk downhill to Kabak beach. The owner, Mustafa, is from Kabak and truly interested in keeping Kabak beautiful, and fights against big tourism development (he's the one who put the sun shades on the beach and painted the rocks/made the sign to get to the waterfall). Great for backpackers and families.
phone: +90 252 642-10-16Popular with Turkish tourists. Free WiFi. Nice lounge areas and bar, close to the beach. Website has a photo gallery if you want to look.
Jungle CampsiteStill in its early stages. Very low-key, basic set up. "Hippie"/"alternative" vibe, with a campfire in the evenings and very relaxed easy going staff. Cheapest place to camp in the valley with facilities, but located an easy three-minute walk to the beach. Breakfast included in the price. The place is run by one of the family members from Full Moon. A lot of tortoises seem to reside here, which is quite fun.
phone: +90 252 642-10-27, +90 536 868-83-82 (mobile)Nice location, close to the beach. Free WiFi and plenty of lounge space. Dinner and breakfast included. Along with Full Moon, the owners here are really working to keep Kabak quiet and beautiful.
phone: +90 539 872-56-50Part-American owned and listed in the guidebooks. Along with Full Moon, the owners here are really working to keep Kabak quiet and beautiful. Great location close to the beach. Free WiFi. Plenty of chillout zones and great food. Breakfast and dinner included.
phone: +90 252 642-12-36The most upmarket place in Kabak, and the closest to the beach. Nice pool, Internet, manicured lawn, a wide selection of bungalows. Bar onsite. Depending on how busy it looks, you can probably negotiate the prices. All bungalows have own shower and toilet, and are of high quality. If you want to wash off after swimming, you could probably use their showers by the pool and no one would say anything. However, that well manicured lawn meant cutting down the beautiful pine forest that used to be on the beach.
phone: +90 252 642-12-38Only a 5-minute walk to the beach, Sultan Camp has a variety of accommodation options including bungalows with or without ensuite toilet and shower, and tent areas (tent rental available). Delicious breakfast and dinner is included with each accommodation option. Bar, pool, Internet, hammocks. Cash or credit card accepted for balance upon arrival.
Kabak is within the coverage area of Turkey's mobile phone operators.
You're out of luck if you are looking for internet cafes. The only internet available will be at the place you are staying or maybe a cafe if you're a paying customer.
However, for hikers, the fun has just started—the remote mountain hamlets of this rugged and seemingly inaccessible area are connected to each other by the Lycian Way, which turns and twists along the sides of the mountains, following the coastline from a distance. Within about three days' time, after enduring some sharp descents and ascents and enjoying stunning vistas unchanged for thousands of years, you will be back to "civilization" on the beach of Patara, just south of the modern town of Kınık (or Xanthos, as it was known to ancient Lycians) on the other side of Yediburunlar.