3 Day Road Trip to Isparta/Davraz Ski Resort/Eğirdir Lake
Living in Antalya, near the sea, we have the typical tropical climate for more than 300 days a year. Winters are mild and tend to come and go as you may experience 70 degrees one day and 35 degrees the next.
Being we knew summer was around the corner (it is early March!), we thought we would spend a few days in the mountains and enjoy the snow and frigid temperatures. Our friends Michelle and Selcuk joined us for the adventure as they are new to Antalya city and looking to explore other parts of the region.
We decided to stay for two nights in Isparta at the Ramada Isparta Hotel and travel to the ski resort and other interesting places from our hotel. The drive to the mountain region of Turkey is stunning!
As you drive to Isparta from Antalya, on D400, you will come upon many interesting places to stop along the way to see interesting historical sites. Some of these sites will require some hiking as they are located upon a mountainside and not accessible by car. Here are some recommended stops to visit.
- Kurşunlu Waterfall is one of Antalya’s beautiful waterfall parks to visit. I encourage you to stop and check it out. I have been here, and it is a fun place to meander through the park.
- Lyrboton Kome Arkeopark Project is near the Upper Duden Waterfall and is a beautiful location for hiking and exploring ruins. Lyrboton was once known for its olive oil production, and as you walk through the area, you will see several olive oil presses that are centuries old. The park has tall pine trees that provide shade while you walk about the area.
- Karatas Cave is also sought for its therapeutical qualities greatly beneficial in treating respiratory system disease. We did not visit the cave.
- Karacaören 2 Dam, located along the drive, is a great place to take a stretch from riding in the car and admire the water’s stunning view and the mountains surrounding it.
- Milyos (Milias) is an ancient city settled in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. The city was protected by the steep and challenging cliffs that surround it. Many of the houses were carved from the main rocks. Milyos is approximately 10 km from D685 and takes about 16–20-minute drive.
- Kremna Ancient City is another place surrounded by inaccessible cliffs and was one of the Pisidia region’s most important cities. There are two routes into the area to explore the ruins. Make sure to study the map before arriving—approximately 70 km from D685 Hwy.
- Kapıkaya Ancient City a short distance from the city of Isparta. Although once a large settlement, much of the ruins have been destroyed by natural disaster. You will find an agora, government and market buildings, as well as the six churches that have been identified thus far.
- Sagalassos Ancient City – Another exciting place to visit with some highly advanced engineering for a city situated on a mountain slope this large. Easy to walk about but must warn you, no shade to protect you from the sun. Check out my blog on Sagalassos. This visit will take approximately 2 hours.
- Fen Lisesi Hatıra Ormanı, as you drive along the way, you will see this ancient tomb. Although you can’t access it, you can stop and take a photograph.
Isparta is a city that is in the western region of Turkey. Many travelers pass through the city of Isparta to visit other tourist areas within Turkey. Isparta is also known as “The City of Roses”. In late May, Isparta hosts a Rose Festival, which I hope to attend this year. Isparta province is known to grow not only a wide variety of roses but also lavender and Cherries. They are also well known for weaving exquisite Turkish rugs.
Here are some interesting places to visit:
Isparta City Center
Prof. Dr. Turan Yazgan Carpet and Kilim Museum have 3,500 carpets/rugs exhibit and ethnographic products used by the Turks in the Anatolian Geography. This exhibition hall has 11 floors of carpets displayed in every direction imaginable. On the top floor is an observation floor.
Prof. Dr. Turan Yazgan Carpet and Kilim Museum
Firdeys Bey Bedesteini
Firdevs Bey Bedesteni, built-in 1561 by Isparta Governor to generate income for Isparta Mimar Sinan Mosque, draws attention with its architecture. After the restoration in 1967, it was returned as a local bazaar. Souvenirs and local products can be found here.
Isparta Museum is in the center of the city, housing many Islamic artifacts. The exhibition halls are divided into four main sections: ‘Archeology,’ ‘Treasure,’ ‘Ethnography’ and ‘Carpet.’ The collection is all from the Isparta region. (Currently, the museum is closed due to renovations)
Kutlubey Camii, located in the city center near the Firdeys Bey Bedesteni, is the Kutlubey Mosque (The Ulu Mosque), named after one of the Ottoman commanders. It is considered one of the oldest mosques in Isparta.
Aya Baniya (Aya Payana) Kilisesi (Hagia Baniya (Aya Payana) Church) is estimated that the church was built in the late Ottoman Period, dating back to 1750, resembling the basilica churches of the Early Byzantine Period. There are portraits of the Virgin Mary and various saints.
Aya Baniya Payana Castle
Said Nursi House
Said Nursi’s house was a well-known Islamic scholar who had overcome persecution for his faith and continued to serve God until his passing. The museum is home to many pieces of his writing, some of which have been translated to other languages.
Dine: Kebapçı Kadir Order the Isparta Kebab, which comes with tomatoes, grilled peppers, and delicious pita.
Sweets: If you are looking for a place to satisfy your sweet tooth, visit Isparta Hakan Usta Baklavaları, offering yummy pieces of baklava.
Davraz Ski Resort
If you enjoy winter sports, snow skiing, or snowboarding, Davraz Ski Center is located about 26 km southeast of Isparta city center. There are 19 km of slopes available and 6 lifts to transport you to the mountain top. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 1,650 and 2,394 m. You can ski 2 Blue Runways, 8 Red Runways, and 2 Black Runways based on your skiing abilities.
Within the ski center, there are several hotel accommodations, such as the Davraz Hotel. Another option is the Davraz Mountain House; which is a Pension Guest House that is about 8 km from the skiing area. Although the hotels are excellent, the city has little to offer. If you plan to ski a full day and need accommodations nearby to relax and rest in the afternoon, Davraz has several options.
Although we did not plan to ski, we rode the lift to the top of the mountain and enjoyed a cup of hot tea as we watched snowboarders have fun playing in the snow. If you desire to learn how to ski, lessons are offered. Snowmobiles are also available to rent and explore the beautiful mountain.
At the Davraz Ski Center entrance are several covered picnic tables to bring your snacks/lunch or sip on hot tea as you watch skiers coming down the mountain.
- Ski Lift Cost: 15 TL per person
Located in the lake region of Isparta province, approximately 34 km from Isparta city center is Eğirdir. The ancient city has been inhabited since Arzava Kingdom (2000-1200). Throughout history, the Hittite, Lydian, Seljuk, and Byzantine periods have lived and prospered in Eğirdir. Many rulers used the beautiful lake region as a place to have their summer homes.
Today Eğirdir Lake attracts visitors for its captivating views, fresh spring waters that feed into the lake, sandy beach, and Can (pronounced Jon) Island. It is a great place to rest and get away from the city’s hustle and bustle or a visit as you are traveling across Turkey.
Lake Eğirdir is famous for its local fish, so we decided to drive to Can Island; a small peninsula with small Guest Houses and Restaurants, and eat at Melodi Restaurant. The lake is known to provide delicious carp and lake bass (göl levreği). In the summer months, all the windows are open to enjoy the nice breeze while overlooking the lake.
If you enjoy hiking, a trek up the 6km trail to Mt. Sivri, starting at the hill village of Akpinar takes about 3.5 hours. From atop of the mountain is a few tea houses overlooking the lake. Eğirdir Outdoor Center can provide you with other locations of trails and places to hike.
Our goal for the road trip was to see the snowy mountains in Davraz and enjoy spending time with our friends, as we added in a few side trips to explore more of Turkey. It was a great getaway, and I will be returning in the spring/summer to visit Eğirdir Lake. If you are looking for a weekend trip, this would be an ideal itinerary.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.
Inshallah (God willing!)