3 Day Road Trip to Isparta/Davraz Ski Resort/Eğirdir Lake
Living in Antalya, along the sea, winters tend to be mild and fluctuate day to day, experiencing a range of 70 – 35 degree temperature.
Seeing the snow cap mountains from our balcony, we thought it would be fun to take a road trip and spend a few days playing in the snow. We invited our friends, Michelle and Selcuk, to join our adventure to check out Davraz Ski Resort.
We made reservations in Isparta for two nights at the Ramada Isparta Hotel, a short drive to ski slopes.
When you travel from Antalya to Isparta (or on your return trip) there are several interesting sites to see along the way. Here are a few I recommend you consider:
As you drive from Antalya to Isparta, on D400, you will have many sightseeing options. Here are some recommended stops to visit.
- Kurşunlu Waterfall is one of several beautiful waterfall parks with Antalya.Meander through the hanging branches while you listen to trickling sounds of the water cascading over the side of the cliff.
- Lyrboton Kome Arkeopark Project is near the Upper Duden Waterfall, a beautiful site for hiking while exploring ruins. Lyrboton was once known for its olive oil production where you will see several olive oil presses that are centuries old. Filled with tall shady pine trees make it a lovely area to walk and picnic.
- 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,a stop to stretch from the car ride, admiring the stunning view..
- 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 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 was once a large settlement. Today many of the ruins have been destroyed by natural disaster. You will find an agora, government and market buildings, as well as six churches.
- Sagalassos Ancient City – Another exciting place to visit with some highly advanced engineering for a city situated on a mountain slope. Easy to walk about but I must warn you, there is 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, in the western region of Turkey, is a by pass to other tourist destinations. Known as “The City of Roses”, Isparta hosts a Rose Festival in late May (which I hope to attend!). With fertile lands and perfect climate, Isparta is the top producer of cut-flowers for Turkey. (Check out my blog on Lavender Fields.)
In addition to growing fragrant flowers, they are also known for their production of cherries and making 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 tourist 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.
After sightseeing in Isparta it was time to discover Davraz Ski Resort.
Davraz Ski Resort
One of the best skiing resorts to enjoy winter sports is Davraz Ski Center, located about 26 km from Isparta. Here you will find 19 km of slopes available and 6 lifts.. The elevations is between 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 are several hotels, such as the Davraz Hotel. About 8 km away from skiing area is the Davraz Mountain House; which is a Pension Guest House. If you plan to ski a full day and need accommodations nearby and rest in the afternoon, Davraz has several options. If you plan to just people watch, sip hot tea you will find little to do near the ski area, as they do not have shops are restaurants to explore.
Although we did not ski, we rode the lift to the top, enjoyed a cup of hot tea, watching snowboarders have fun playing in the snow. If you desire to learn how to ski, lessons are offered.
Snowmobiles rentals are available. Visit the website for more details.
At the entrance of Davraz Ski Center 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
After playing in the snow it was time to start making our way back to Antalya. The city of Eğirdir is next on our list to investigate.
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 the lake, sandy beaches, and Can (pronounced Jon) Island. If you are looking for a place to escape the city life or just passing through, Eğirdir is worth the stop.
Lake Eğirdir is famous for its tasty local fish. We drove to Can Island; a small peninsula with small guest houses and restaurants, and ate at Melodi Restaurant. Delicious fresh carp and lake bass (göl levreği) are served along with other delicious side dishes. In the summer months, the restaurant will open all the windows to catch a nice breeze while overlooking the lake.
If you enjoy hiking, a 3.5 hour trek, start at the foothills in the Akpinar village, up the 6 km trail to Mt. Sivri. 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.
The road trip with our friends was tons of fun! Adding a few stops along the way to check out historic sites and cities made it a great getaway weekend. I hope to return to Eğirdir Lake in the spring/summer for dip in the fresh spring water.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.
Inshallah (God willing!)