Friday 24 October 2014

Green Canyon, Manavgat, Turkey

It is a thirty minute drive from my hotel in Side to Green Canyon. From the coach, I take in the sight of the emerald green lake stretching far amongst lush woodlands and surrounded by the Taurus mountain range. The sunlight basks a warm glow, making the water glisten like scattered glitter strewn across the water. 

Built in 1984 on Manavgat River, Oymapinar Dam is the concrete mouth of the Green Canyon. The tour leader explains that the freshwater dam has a 300 million cubic metre capacity and it is the 5th largest dam in Turkey. Civilisation feels at bay here. Other then the handful of day trip coaches, the setting is incredibly tranquil. A cerulean sky creates a canvas like background, with the canyon waters a glass clear green rippling gently against boats docked within the quay. 

We board the boat and I climb up a short stairway to the upper deck. I watch as speckled fish flip-flop in the crystalline lake beneath us. As the boat disembarks, I feel a deep sense of clarity as I take in my surroundings. I admire the glorious lustre of the water and the earthy scent of the valley surrounding us. 

Lots of fish!

The boat glides through Green Canyon Lake for a couple of hours before eventually stopping at a narrow gangway floating within a designated swimming area. I can’t wait to swim here! We dive straight into the water from the dock and I am momentarily enveloped by coldness. I re-adjust to the water’s temperature and gently tread water, taking in the water's glow and green hillsides rising over us.

After our swim, it’s just a short boat ride to Paradise restaurant by the waterside. Long clothed tables are situated  beneath a trellis of vineleaves. We are served a fresh, crisp salad, trout grilled to perfection and a side of sautéed potatoes. Dappled sunlight beams across the eating area with the backdrop of Green Canyon Lake just a stone throw away. We watch small boats drift in the distance and a group of fishermen at a wooden pier. 
Paradise restaurant
We congregate back onto the boat after lunch, where we embark on our journey back towards the quay. I take a final mental image of the panoramic views of the Taurus Mountains range towering above the green lake, before we board our coach transfer back to our hotel in Side.

Trip Tips

  •  I booked my tour with Selale tours in Side, Turkey. The tour operator is located on the main road near to Anatolia Hospital. I paid 35 per person for the day trip.
  • The tour included a return hotel transfer (pick up at 8:00am and drop off at approximately 5:30pm), tour guide, the boat trip, lunch at Paradise Restaurant and swimming stops.
  • There is a photographer on the boat. At the restaurant, you are presented with an array of readily printed photos, souvenir photo plates and postcards with your picture on. The cost of one photo was 3.
Souvenir Photos 
  • You are given a choice of either meat, fish or a vegetarian option at Paradise restaurant. Oranges are served after the meal and drinks are purchased separately.
  • If you have any further questions about the Green Canyon Excursion, please feel free to comment here or email me.

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