Saklıkent gorge is a dramatic natural feature – a deep narrow gorge some, running 18 kilometres back through the mountains. And whilst it is perfectly safe, it has the feel of exploring about it, so kids love it (well, boys do anyway!)
There is a reasonable sized car park just over the road from the gorge’s entrance, where there are a number of stalls, some restaurants lining the river (very pleasant to sit on the overhanging platforms), and public toilets (there are none in the gorge itself). By the toilets are also a couple of rooms that you can use to get changed in - make sure you take spare clothes, it is almost impossible to visit here without getting very wet.
Admission is charged, at a fairly nominal rate, although there is often a significant queue, especially on public holidays. The entrance to the gorge itself is over a river, running fast and deep, you need to walk round a narrow and fairly high walkway (there are railings) to an area where there is almost a beach, and where it is incredibly noisy as the water rushes out of fissures in the rock.
From here, you have to wade across the river to reach the further parts of the gorge. Beware, although the water is only about knee and a bit deep, it is very cold, very fast running, and with a very stony bottom. Shoes can be hired here, if you have not got flip-flops that are firmly secured to your feet this is well worth doing. Also bear in mind you will need to carry any small children.
There are usually several local boys willing to help you cross, as there at at more difficult points deeper in the gorge, they will expect a tip of a lire or two for this. Once across the water, there is a gentle walk for some 2 kilometres through the gorge. Mostly it is dry, with a rock or sand bottom, occasionally mud, and sometimes a stream you need to paddle through.
At some point, probably between ½ hour and an hour’s walk from the entrance, you will start to reach points where the water is very deep, or you have to climb over some rocks, or both – you can choose to wade / climb, or just turn round at this point. Strangely, these points seems to move from year to year, not sure whether this is due to differing water flows, or just my imagination, either way it is worth taking a swimming costume just in case (this is also a reasonable idea for the initial wade across the river!) Also bear in mind that the rocks here can be slippery, I have seen a broken ankle here waiting (a long while) for a stretcher. Many of the organised tours also insist that you wear a hard hat, as occasional pebbles come down from above.
Once you have made your way back out (there is only the one route), even if not hungry, or saving yourself for a later trout, you will almost certainly want to stop at the restaurants by the river for a drink. You may well be intrigued by the water sports – people heading down what are almost rapids whilst sitting on what looks like a car tyre. If you are tempted by this, then it is organised, and there is a pick up available at the other end to bring you back.
Bizarrely, there is also an outdoor table tennis table here, and other tree houses that are available to rent.
Yaka Park trout restaurant
Whilst Saklıkent is well worth a visit, it is difficult to spend more than a couple of hours here. However, as it is relatively close to Tlos and Xanthos, at least one of these could be combined in the same trip, or pop into Kayaköy on the way back. Due to the depth of the gorge, and the water, Saklıkent is quite cool, and easily done in the midday heat – leaving one of the more open sights for the relative cool of the late afternoon, perhaps after lunch in one of the trout restaurants near to Tlos.
Agora and theatre
Tlos originated as a Lycian settlement, became a Roman city, continued into Byzantine times, and is topped off with an Ottoman castle. It has remnants of all these civilizations remaining today.
Immediately opposite the ticket office is a café, with a car park.
There are really 2 main parts to Tlos. If you walk along the road (ticket not necessary), you will see, and can wander around, the Roman remains - the stadium, the baths, the agora, and the theatre (roped off for safety reasons).
Lycian rock tombs at Tlos
Then buy a ticket and climb the acropolis. This brings you up by all the Lycian rock tombs, both free standing sarcophagi, and 'temple' types, carved into the cliffs, including one dedicated to Bellerophon (and his winged horse, Pegasus) who, according to Greek mythology, lived here.
It is worth climbing to the very top, for the Ottoman castle, and for the stunning views over the Xanthos valley.
There are unofficial guides here, who will happily take you round - they are actually very informative, and are content with a modest tip for their services.
Getting there by car
Take the Southerly route back to the main road, then take the D550 in the Dalaman direction, onto the D400 , and then continue past the airport turn off and on towards Fethiye. Shortly after Göcek, you have the option of taking a toll tunnel, or driving over the mountain. Although the mountain route is more scenic, it adds around 20 minutes to the journey. Go past Fethiye, and follow the signs out towards Antalya (D400). After about 25km, there is a sort of T junction, take the left fork (D350), and within about 100 metres, turn right, signposted Saklıkent.
Continue to follow the signs to Saklıkent for approximately 20 kms down this road. You know when you are getting close as each side of the road is full of cafes, all desperately waving you in. If you did not breakfast before you left, or elsewhere by the road, these are good paces for a gözleme (pancake).
For Tlos, on the return, there is a road well signposted on the right about half way back to the main D350 in the village of Güneşli. The trout restaurants are also near Tlos, signposted 'Yaka Park' (Yaka is the name of the village).