Friday, June 13 (Antalya & Vienna) – After my first Hamam experience in Morocco (nakedness and confusion), and my second in Istanbul (dirty and left early), I decided to go one more time. It was my last day in Turkey, and Tali and I were referred to the Sefa Hamam, a 600+ year old traditional Turkish Bath. We went first to look at it, and when deemed clean and acceptable, we went for it.
It was a little different than the experience in Morocco, but overall it was really nice! Tali and I seemed to have the Hamam mostly to ourselves which was an added bonus. We started in the steam-less steam room with hot, humid air to open our pores and get us to relax. We stayed there about twenty minutes until a man came to get us to go to another room for the rest of the treatment.
One by one, Tali and I were scrubbed, soaped, washed, and rinsed. Part of the soaping included a nice massage as well. Tali continued with an additional oil massage, but I had to go back to the hotel and catch a cab to the airport!
There are no female masseurs at Sefa, but the place seemed professional enough that we didn’t mind. It was a great experience and highly recommended for anyone looking to have a real Turkish Bath in Antalya. Note: a Hamam is not a high-end spa experience, especially the old, traditional Hamams. If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious and less traditional, try a hotel Hamam or one described as modern.
Thursday, June 12 (Antalya) – Antalya, the southern region of Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea, is home to many towns and beaches. During our stay, Tali and I wanted to see as much as we could, while still having ample beach time to relax at the end of our trip to Turkey.
Phaselis has two beaches – one that is rockier and one that is more sandy. We relaxed on the rocky beach that was surrounded by ancient Greek ruins (see my post on "Touring Ancient Ruins and Flaming Rocks in Antalya" for more on the history). I liked this beach because it was small and quiet, and the water was very calm. There was one small area where you could buy drinks or souvenirs, but overall it was a very self-serve beach where people bring their own provisions.
The stretch of beach in Olympos / Cirali is a nice place to stay for a few days if you are looking for peace and quiet. There are hotels and restaurants lining the coast, but in a very low-key / laid-back way. There weren’t many people out and about which made for a really relaxing hour in the sun. The beach is nicer and larger than in Phaselis, and there was a mix of people who seemed to be staying at the hotels and those who just came from neighboring towns to use the beach.
Lara Beach in Antalya is known for its five-star resorts, many of which are constructed with themes like the Titanic. When we visited this beach, we somehow ended up in a different part and didn’t get to see the fancy hotels. But we still got to lay out in the sun and under an umbrella and experience a more popular and crowded beachfront. My favorite part of this beach was actually just inland of the sand. There is a big park with dozens of picnic tables set up. Next to each table is a brick oven for grilling your own barbeque! There is even a kiosk where you can buy all the grilling supplies (not the food, though!) to make a perfect beachfront BBQ!
I would have loved to visit the main beach at Lara Beach if I had more time, but I’m really happy with our beach-hopping along the coast!