Sakli Vadi is a complex of four beautifully renovated boutique, luxury farm cottages in an idyllic spot in the tiny farming village of Kinali, at the western end of the Kaya Valley.
Sandy and Jon, the owners, first visited Fethiye in 1992 on a diving holiday with their children. On a day off from diving they drove up to the valley and were instantly smitten…
They then proceeded to buy the cottages, (which were then complete ruins) and started the restoration project in 1993. This labour of love took them six years and earned them a plaque from the Turkish Ministry Of Tourism & Culture, for “Sympathetic Restoration Of Turkish Heritage” for the work on the buildings.
Three of the cottages are named after the jobs they were originally used for on the farm ; The Byre, The Granary and The Forge. The cottages are located on the highest point in the village. They all have breathtaking views across different parts of the valley. The Byre is the highest elevation of the four properties and above the plunge pool in that garden, a kosk has been built (pronounced kushed). This is a traditional wooden Ottoman style seating area. Standing on the kosk, visitors have a 360 degree, panoramic view around the spectacular Kaya Valley. All of the three farm cottages have walled gardens for privacy, individual plunge pools and traditional barbecue areas.
The fourth cottage, Kucuk Ev or Little House, is located a two minute walk along a path just below the three others. This ruin was purchased and subsequently renovated several years after the farm cottages. Kucuk Ev nestles behind eight feet high walls which enclose a mature and colourful cottage garden, which is wonderfully peaceful and secluded. The garden has a private terrace with a dining area and a traditional Turkish open fireplace with cushioned bench seats, an ideal place to relax, unwind and enjoy listening to the sounds of the village and valley that surround you.
Sakli Vadi cottages are located in the picturesque Kaya Valley, on a peninsular between the towns of Fethiye and Oludeniz. The peninsular is situated on the Mediterranean coastline of southern Turkey. The cottages are roughly one hour and fifteen minutes from our local airport at Dalaman.
The Kaya Valley is situated east of the town of Fethiye on Turkey’s Turquoise Coastline and about 900 feet above sea level. The area in ancient times was part of the Kingdom of Lycia.
From Fethiye you follow the winding road up the cliffs which is signposted for Karmylassos or Levissi. These are the original Greek and Lycian names for the valley. The journey by car or dolmus (the local village buses) takes about 20 minutes. You crest the cliffs and begin to descend into the valley through some beautiful pine forests. As you exit the trees, there are several parking areas by the roadside where you can stop your car and look down over the whole of the valley.
There are three villages in the valley. Keciler in the east, Kinali in the west, where the Sakli Vadi cottages are located and the central village of Kaya Koy. The valley has very fertile soil and up until the advent of tourism, tobacco was the cash crop. Many of the farmers continue to tend their fields but the crops now are a mixture of arable feed for their animals, black figs, almonds and vegetables. Many of the fields are so small that they still have to be ploughed using horses, which is a wonderful sight. The valley has many traditional tea houses, restaurants and bars that cater for all tastes.
The residents of the two villages of Keciler and Kinali are now a mixture of farming families and an increasing number of new comers, both Turkish and European. In Kaya Koy is the site of the famous Ghost Village. This was inhabited up until 1923 by Greek nationals. It became abandoned after the Greek-Turkish population exchanges at the end of the 1919-1922 war between the two nations.
Because the villagers thought the evicted Greeks had put evil spells on the buildings they have remained empty for over 80 years and the village is now in ruins. The Ministry Of Culture has designated the village, which has over 2,000 houses and two churches as an area of historical interest and so it cannot be developed. The village is wonderfully peaceful to walk around and the houses are overgrown with flowers and local wild herbs. There are tracks up to the little chapel on the hill above, which has panoramic views of the sea and the world famous Oludeniz lagoon and beach to the south. Louis de Bernieres uses the story of the ghost village and the other villages in the valley to weave the plot in his book “Birds Without Wings”.
Towering above the valley is the 3,000 metre high mountain called Baba Dag. From the top of the mountain hang gliders and parascenders can be seen launching every day. The air currents are so good for this exciting sport that the World Championships are held here almost every year.
As you drive through the valley, you experience real Turkey. The villagers can be seen tending their animals and fields as they have done over the generations. The typical stone houses are interspersed with more modern designs. However, the valley has been designated an area of natural beauty by the Government and so has been spared the worst of modern building developments.
Passing through Kinali Koy at the far western edge of the valley, the road winds down to the coast at Gemiler Bay. This delightful pebble beach is safe for swimming and there are a number of restaurants on the beach which sell local delicacies and drinks. Across the bay is St. Nicolas Island, which is well worth taking one of the water taxis to visit. The island is said at one time to have housed the remains of St. Nicolas, better known as Santa Clause or Noel Baba in Turkish, who was born nearby in Patara. The island is home to the ruins of several villages and a monastery and is a great place to explore.
The Kaya Valley encompasses all of what is best of Mediterranean Turkey. The old blends beautifully with the new. The valley is a paradise of calm and tranquility, with wonderful walks and breathtaking flowers and forests. A truly magical and relaxing experience.