According to statistics, more than a third of tourists who come to rest in the resorts of Antalya province buy from a tour operator at least one tour. We tested one of the most popular active excursions among Russians with a departure from Side – we tell and show what you should not be afraid of, and what, on the contrary, you should pay special attention to.
At the invitation of FUN&SUN, Russian media correspondents, including ATOR Vestnik, visited family hotels in the Side region in Antalya and got acquainted with the conditions of recreation and out-of-hotel leisure for Russian tourists in Turkey.
According to representatives of the host company FUN & SUN in Turkey, more than 35% of the tour operator's clients must purchase at least one excursion from the company's guides, thus diversifying their beach holidays. Note that, in general, this percentage is, of course, higher among Russian tourists: someone buys excursions not from a tour operator or travels around the neighborhood on their own (for example, in a rented car or taxi).
According to FUN&SUN , TOP-5 most popular excursions from hotels in the resorts of Antalya among the clients of this Russian tour operator in 2022 now looks like this:
- A trip to the Land Of Legends theme park (Antalya)
- Tazi Canyon Tour
- Pamukkale Tour
- Demre-Mira-Kekova Tour
- Boat trips and rafting
< p>We managed to participate in points 2 and 5 of this list. Next, we will tell you why and why you should go to Tazy Canyon, whether you should be afraid of rafting and how you can combine these two entertainments.
EXCURSION TO TAZY CANYON: WE RECOMMEND WITH RAFTING ON THE KEPRULYU-CHAI RIVER
< p>Tazy Canyon as a point of tourist attraction, as the local guides themselves say, was discovered by accident – in 2017 by one of the local photographers. Only after some time he was “noted” by tour operators. Organized excursions to Tazy Canyon started with tour operators not so long ago – almost just before the pandemic, in 2019, but this natural attraction quickly reached the TOP.
Tazy Canyon is located in the Koprulu National Park – in a mountainous area located , when viewed from the coast, approximately at an equal distance between Belek and Side (therefore, it is most convenient for tourists in the hotels of these resorts to travel here).
In the Köprülü National Park, Turkey. Photo by ATOR
Since it takes about 2-2.5 hours to get here from Belek or Side hotels one way, Tazy Canyon is always combined on excursions with other attractions and activities. For example, with a visit to the Koprulu Canyon, rafting on the Koprulu-chai River, a rope park, zip-line, quad biking, etc. As a rule, they all go at the beginning, and Tazy Canyon itself is the final point of the excursion, from which tourists are already going back to hotel. Such excursions (Tazy Canyon + various activities) cost about 55-65 dollars per person, depending on the configuration.
Most often, excursions to Tazy Canyon are combined with a visit to Koprulu Canyon and rafting. Stops are made at several viewing points, the most interesting one is near the ancient Roman bridge (Oluk Bridge). Then they built it for centuries, because even now there is car traffic on it.
Oluk Roman bridge in Koprulu canyon. Photo by ATOR
Here you can take beautiful photos of the Koprulu Canyon itself from different angles.
Köprülü Canyon. Photo by ATOR
On the way, by the way, there are many other bridges of Roman times, but worse preserved – the road through the Bolshoy Taurus ridge was strategically important in antiquity.
Another Roman bridge on the way to Köprülü Canyon. And he's not the only one. Photo by ATOR
Then the tourists arrive at the rafting station. The word “rafting” sometimes causes fear of tourists – they say, “special training is needed”, “I'm not a good swimmer”, “it's dangerous”, etc.
View from the terrace of the cafe at the rafting station to the river Köprülü-chai with rapids. Photo by ATOR
We tried it ourselves and we can say that our fears are groundless. Rafting on the river Köprülü-chai is a completely ordinary tourist walk for 5-15 km, very bright, cheerful and safe, with stops where you can drink and eat.
Such a walk in the heat is very refreshing and gives strength and vigor. The only thing is that you definitely need to take a sunscreen with a high (better than 50) degree of protection – the level of ultraviolet radiation in the mountains during the day goes off scale to 10-12, you can get burned 10 minutes before the blisters even a tanned person.
All equipment is issued at the station. But phones and cameras, if you don’t have a waterproof case, it’s better to leave them on the bus. Photo by ATOR
You don't need to take anything else with you. Tourists at the station are given all the necessary equipment – helmets, life jackets, closed rubber slippers. There are all sizes, including children's. Yes, you can go rafting with children – they are taken there.
The Köprülu-chai River, as we could see for ourselves, is firstly very beautiful (the water is of an absolutely amazing blue color). And secondly, it is not difficult (and shallow), the rapids are small, the rafting takes place on large and stable rafts – and with an instructor.
Rafting on the river Köprülü-chai. Photo by ATOR
If you don’t specifically ask the instructor to overturn the raft (it happens that adult tourists are specifically asked to do this: the so-called rafting “with extreme elements”), then you definitely won’t roll over (for this you need to try very hard on purpose).
There are a lot of people (5-12 people), the raft is heavy and stable, you just need to hold on tightly to the rope at the side when the instructor tells you this when passing the threshold. If you went rafting with a child, just put him away from the sides, in the center of the raft, and hold him. In the center of the raft, girls are also better.
Rafting on the Köprülü-chai river takes place with an instructor – it's not difficult and not dangerous. Photo by ATOR
By the way, the Euroins insurance company, which is popular with tourists, does not consider such tourist rafting in Turkey a “sport” or “active recreation” (we specifically specified). All risks on such excursions fall under the concept of “ordinary rest” and are covered by the cheapest policy from this company (other insurers, however, may not be the case – more on that here).
The whole river rafting adventure takes about 40-minutes – 1.5 hours, depending on the chosen route length and stop time.
Rafting on mountain river – a wonderful refreshing break in a beach holiday in Turkey. Recommended. There is nothing to fear. Photo by ATOR
Should I take a smartphone or camera with me to rafting to take pictures and videos? In theory you can – but under certain conditions: you will not row and sit on the edge, and you will have a special waterproof cover or container. Splashes and overflows of water when passing even small local rapids are quite powerful – the phone can be soaked or dropped, and it will be only your responsibility (the guides warn that it is not necessary to take such things into the raft).
Therefore, we preferred to pay the photographer on the tour (you will also be offered one). Shots of you passing the rapids on the river, taken from the shore, are much more effective than from the water, you yourself will not shoot this from the water.
Passing one of the thresholds. Such photos can only be taken by a photographer from the shore, and it is worth paying for it. Photo by ATOR
After rafting (by the way, it can be ordered without the canyon, as a separate excursion – about 20-25 dollars per person) we go to Tazy Canyon. MOUNTAINS OF ANTALYA
The road to the canyon itself is either on ATVs (there are such excursions) or, as we were driving, on special reinforced jeeps with increased cross-country ability. The road is a serpentine with rather sharp turns – only partially paved, part, at the end of the path – unpaved, through the forest, with stones.
After leaving the jeep, you will have to walk along the forest path for another 5-7 minutes. And here it is – Tazy Canyon.
Tazy Canyon, Turkey. Photo by ATOR
Actually, Tazy Canyon itself is an unequipped (and this is its charm) observation deck with rock ledges, located in a mountain forest, from where a stunning view of the Tazy Canyon itself opens.
Tazy Canyon, Turkey. Photo by ATOR
The depth of the abyss of the canyon itself is from 220 to 400 meters, it is really impressive and dizzying. You can climb on the rocks and ledges on the observation deck and take impressive photos and selfies, beautiful panoramic photos and videos.
It is better to arrive at Tazy Kanyon in the evening. Photo: ATOR
Note to those who want to take high-quality photos in Tazy Canyon: it is best to come here either early in the morning, on purpose, with an individual excursion, or take a combined excursion (with rafting, zipline, etc.) with such calculated to be at the final point closer to 17 pm.
At this time, there is an ideal light, emphasizing the relief and at the same time already beginning to color the stones with warm pre-sunset hues. But if you come here at 12-15 o'clock, the light will be direct, sharp, blinding and making everything “flat”.
Tazy Canyon, Turkey. Photo by ATOR
Important: do not forget about height and sense of danger. The viewpoint of Tazy Canyon itself is a natural mountainous terrain with stones and cracks, and below the shooting points there is a multi-hundred-meter abyss with sharp stones, where people (even guides) have already fallen.
There are quite a lot of people at the viewing point of Tazy Canyon. Photo by ATOR
Therefore, we cannot share the fearlessness of our compatriots we met, who, before our eyes, deliberately placed small children near a flimsy tree on the very edge of a cliff in order to “take pictures of the kids in such a wonderful place.” Brrr… Or they sat down with their legs dangling on a stone and deviated towards the abyss to catch a good selfie angle. Beauty, of course, is a great power, but one awkward movement, loss of balance, and … Therefore: do not forget about reason and caution, look under your feet, do not make unnecessary movements, and hold the children tightly by the hand.
Tazy Canyon, Turkey. Photo ATOR
Be that as it may, we recommend and advise Tazy Canyon. This is a unique, amazingly beautiful and majestic place on the Antalya coast, which is definitely worth a visit. And such an excursion, perhaps, will become your most important impression of a holiday in Turkey (if with rafting, then for sure). For us, at least this year, she became such an impression.
In the mountains, it is better not to forget about caution. Photo by ATOR
In our next review, we will talk about what the “reference family five” in Turkey looks like and how it differs. Follow the feed of the ATOR Bulletin: coming soon.