Antalya November 2023

Cover image: Kevser leading a grade 5 at Akyarlar.

(Trip report courtesy of Jan Morris)

The best sports climbing venue in Europe (if you climb 6c+)?

After a 5 hour flight from Bristol we flew into Antalya airport.   The rock in this area is extensive, well bolted (but not closely bolted) and the crags have all the features you might expect of limestone scenery, including tufas, caves and jug handholds.

The 2023 guide book lists over 1,000 routes. Bolting in this area began in 2001 and therefore the bolts are relatively new and good quality.

We climbed over 60 routes from 5 to 6b+ on the rock around Geyikbayiri and Akyarlar, but wished we could climb in the higher grades where the most amazing climbs were in abundance.

Geyikbayiri is a small village that is  very close to most of the climbing. It is about one hours drive from the airport. Most climbers seem to stay in the camp-sites either in tents or wooden chalets strewn about beneath the crags. The camp-sites are cosmopolitan, self-contained in terms of airport pick ups and restaurants etc.  We stayed in AirBnbs in Geyikbayiri, for a more authentic Turkish experience?

Further down the coast is a beach area called Akyarlar, with maybe a dozen or so really excellent climbs ranging from 5 – 7a+. This area is about 30 mins drive from Geyikbayiri , but definitely worth a trip.

Facts and Figures

We paid £200 ,with luggage, for flights in November, average temperature 20 degrees, car hire £8 a day, Airbnb £20 a night one bedroom (4 people) £30 a night 2 bedroom 5 people. Exchange rate 30 TRY to the pound at the beginning of the holiday and 35 TRY by the end of the holiday!

A trip to Turkey is more than a climbing holiday. Turkey itself is a unique cultural experience being a mix of European and Middle Eastern culture. It is worth looking up some of the events over the past 100 years if you wish to better understand their current status. At the moment Turkey isn’t economically stable and they are experiencing rapid inflation at over  60%. The pound is strong against the Lira so costs including eating out in non-tourist areas or restaurants frequented by locals is very cheap. World heritage sites and entry costs to the numerous Roman ruins / amphitheatres are minimal. Rest days can be amazing and we visited Termessos high up in the mountains and wandered around this well preserved ancient city pre 300BC.

In conclusion the weather was warm and sea temperatures were friendly. The climbing was superb, and the whole holiday experience was wonderfully Turkish. What was not to like?

Jan Morris