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Out of all places I’ve been to, two have the magic power to stop the time. One is Mount Olympus in Greece. The other one is Fethiye Saklikent Gorge in Turkey. These places have a strange power to bring happiness and peace in your soul. For the entire time you are there, you feel like living an eternal moment. Past and future simply disappear. Everything is “now” – pebbles, water, butterflies, lizards, all beings and non-beings altogether lose their identities to merge into the moment. Located in the Fethyie Saklikent Milli Park, this canyon is a must-see for everyone who could use some balance in their life.

What Is the Fethiye Saklikent Gorge Adventure Like?

The Saklikent Gorge experience consists of walking through a river. Alternatively, you can get an inflatable tube and try to paddle along the fast water stream.

The gorge is 20 km long, the longest in Turkey and the second-longest in Europe. Only about 4km of it are walkable. Quite enough, I must say, as it takes almost two hours to do it, then another hour to return.

There are tours you can book in either Kalkan Kas, Fethiye, Oludeniz, Kayakoy or other neighboring towns. For instance, check out this full day tour from Kalkan or Patara. You’ll walk through the Saklikent Canyon, but also visit the city of Xantos and the magnificent Patara  beach.

We had our own car. Tours are good, however, if you don’t have a car or you can’t be bothered driving. Just get used to the idea that on your way back you’ll most probably stop at some carpet factory. Tour operators have deals to supply such outlets batches of fresh tourists with wallets ready to open to the art of persuasion Turkish people seem to be masters of.


Saklikent Gorge, Turkey - People walking through the cold, running water

Fethiye Saklikent Gorge, Turkey – People walking through the cold, running water

How to Get to Fethiye Saklikent and to the Saklikent Gorge Canyon

Saklikent is about 40 minutes’ drive from Fethiye and one hour from Oludeniz. It makes an awesome day trip, as the entire national park is stunningly beautiful. You don’t need to bring food with you, because there are heaps of restaurants built over the river at the gorge entrance. When I’ve visited this area, the GPS was in its infancy, so we had to find our way using maps and asking the locals. Today’s technology makes everything easier.

Anyway, once you get there, you’ll find snacks, fresh fish, cold drinks, Turkish coffee and who knows what else. You can find here some more details on how to organize a trip to Fethiye Saklikent Milli Park from the neighboring towns and villages. Alternatively, you can book a tour with one of the many local operators in Turkey.

The Challenge of Walking Through Saklikent Gorge Canyon

If you have rubber shoes, take them, because you’ll walk through water for several hours. Flip flops are not suitable, because the water runs fast and there are a few places where it is quite deep. Not as deep as to fear drowning, but it would reach your thighs. We’ve encountered some solitary flip flops on our way, this is how I know it’s a bad idea. Anyway, it’s not a big deal, you can buy or hire rubber shoes there, in case you forget. Remember to wear sunscreen and a hat, though, as you’ll be walking in full sun for most part of the time.

Spectacular landscape in Saklikent Gorge

Spectacular landscape in Fethiye Saklikent Gorge

Narrow passage in Saklikent Gorge

Narrow passage in Saklikent Gorge. The huge rocks on the river banks are almost touching each other

A little rest in the shadow - Saklikent Gorge

A little rest in the shadow – walking through water can be tiresome

Saklikent Gorge - end of walk (for me)

Saklikent Gorge – end of walk (for me). There were a few people, though, who escalated the waterfall.

I’ve been to Saklikent Gorge in mid-June and the water was very cold. However, after the first shock, my feet got used to it. It soon became a nice refreshment to counteract the heat coming from the sun above. It seems that cold water, hot weather and walking on rocks make a great recipe for bringing your mind to peace. For the whole walk, I lived only in the now. I was 100% there, focused on the walk. Everything else vanished. The following quote describes best that moment’s feeling:

“Four snakes gliding up and down a hollow for no purpose that I could see — not to eat, not for love, but only gliding.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was no purpose to my walking up the river. I was only gliding. And at the end of the day, I only got half-wet 🙂

Wet Violeta with her blue rubber shoes

Wet Violeta with her blue rubber shoes

Did you ever experience fully living in the present moment? When was it? Let’s talk! Have you ever visited the Fethiye Saklikent park?

Fethiye Saklikent gorge Turkey
Fethiye Saklikent Gorge Turkey

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Violeta Matei

Violeta writes for people who want to design, research and plan their own travel experiences. After two decades of working in advertising and marketing, she decided to pursue her two passions, to travel the world and to write about it. Since 2012, she authors and administrates a network of travel blogs.