Camping in Turkey is like taking an adventurous leap into wild ambiguity and perhaps even illegality. Worth it? 100% YES. Once you get past finding and selecting a site that you pray isn’t on private property, you can quickly release yourself to the silence and beauty of the forests surrounding Antalya.
We have camped around ten times all over Turkey and have been assured multiple times by Turkish friends that if the land isn’t marked, you can camp there. As rule followers and westerners who are used to perfectly manicured campsites with bathrooms and electrical hook ups, it does take a bit of mental adjustment to just dive in and commit to a location.
However, after you commit physically and mentally, the rest is fun! Because running water, picnic tables and the like aren’t usually available, we like to keep our food really simple. We also never go camping without our hammocks, which can easily be tied between two trees just about anywhere.
For our anniversary this year we decided we wanted to try camping here in Antalya. The summer would have been miserable with the sticky heat, and winter months get quite cold at the higher altitudes. However, Fall and Spring are a perfect time to do some adventuring.
So, in October we set out to find a camping spot and ended up having an incredible time! Just a thirty minute drive from the bustling city center, we found an ideal site. The fresh smells and complete and utter stillness instantly transported us from the stressors of daily life and provided an idyllic vacation from the real world. It was a relaxing stay despite the lack of amenities and one we look forward to repeating in the Spring.
What you will need
If you want to get out there and find your next off-grid adventure, these are the items we recommend you bring along:
1. A tent, pinecones, lighter fluid, lighter, and maybe wood for starting a fire.
2. Trash bags to haul your trash out of your site when you are done.
3. Toilet paper for your own natural bathroom.
4. A lantern. Once the fire goes out, the areas outside of the city can be pitch black.
5. Bug spray. If you are above 1,000 feet you might be able to avoid most bugs, but bees always find us.
6. Good padding for the ground. We like quality air mattresses or foam pads, both found at Decathlon.
7. Camping Chairs. With locations like this, void of picnic tables, it’s nice to have a place to sit down.
8. Hammocks (maybe not necessary, but so good to have).
8. Lots of drinking water.
9. Water to extinguish your fires.
And all the other normal essentials.
What you will need to leave behind
1. A legalistic black and white western mindset. This is still really hard for us, but we’re getting better and not freaking out about what land we are camping on and not finding the perfect spot. The other big leap we have learned to make is to get past the “mangal yasaktır” (campfire is forbidden) signs found in most national forests. You will need to make a decision as to how you want to “play” with legal fire. In our experience, we have made fires with no complications-and most of the time we have not been camped in marked camping areas.
2. The thought that you will just drive up to a location and start setting up your tent. Be willing to drive around a LOT and pick a few places that might work and then settle on one. Consider an hour for this part of the adventure.