Ahh, the lovely Yaka Park. No day trip from Fethiye to Tlos is complete without a visit to Yaka Park Restaurant. When we first came to Fethiye for our holidays in 1998, we met a couple of friends who took us up here and we’ve been coming ever since. We’ll never get bored of the restaurant or the area that it’s in – it’s stunning. When friends come out to visit us, it’s obligatory for them to come up here because you just know they’re going to be amazed by it. Always nice to send people home with a ‘wow factor’ in their heads and this is definitely one of them.
There’s no shortage of fresh spring water in the Xanthos region of Turkey and when you go to Yaka Park, all this has been channelled around the area so that there are streams and waterfalls and all you can hear is the sound of the force of gushing water. It’s especially good when you drive up in the mid-summer heat, enter the restaurant and the temperature suddenly drops. You’re high up above the Xanthos Valley, the trees are shading you and you can feel the coolness from the force of the icy cold water. Natural air conditioning.
Yaka Park used to have a trout farm as well. This seems to come and go and it wasn’t there yesterday. They do still keep some pretty huge trout in one of the pool areas and they also have baby trout swimming through the spring water stream that runs through a channel carved into the centre of the bar.
Because this area is so beautiful and remote, it has become jeep safari country and we know some of the companies do use Yaka Park as a stopping off point. If you want to go when it’s really peaceful (yesterday was bliss) then early and late season might be the best times to go. Having said that, even if you’re there when everyone troops in from the jeep safari, the stop-offs are quite short so the groups will have been and gone before you know it and you’ll soon have the place to yourself again.
Also, as is the norm for this area of Turkey, the success of Yaka Park means more of these places have popped up along the road. Yaka Park is the original one and (in our opinion) the best. If you do want to go up there after a hot afternoon mooching around the ruins of Tlos, keep driving up the road from Tlos and ignore all the other signs. Lots of these signs have ‘Yaka Park’ in the name (Yaka is the name of the village) and people pull into these restaurants thinking they are at the Original Yaka Park. We’re sure you’d still have a lovely time at the other places so this is no big disaster – it’s just a shame the people who run these places haven’t thought of more ‘original’ names for their restaurants.
Yaka Park now has road signs that say ‘Original Yaka Park’ on them and it is the highest one of the restaurants so you know to keep driving and then you will see the big stone archway, leading you in. There’s a full bar and simple, but quality, Turkish food. Gözleme is on offer, köfte (meatballs), chicken or, of course, trout. The köfte looked fantastic yesterday – my dad ordered it – but we just couldn’t face it because we were feeling ill from the night before so me and Barry shared a gözleme. And very good it was too. Never fear if you’re vegetarian. The gözleme is completely vegetarian and there are also lots of meze (traditional Turkish side dishes) and salads to choose from.
We mentioned that the jeep safaris come up to Yaka Park and to the other restaurants too but for us, if you want the full peace and tranquillity experience, come up here under your own steam then you’re not being shunted in and straight back out again. :We haven’t gone into too much detail about how to get to Yaka Park because we’re going to post about Tlos tomorrow so we’ll link the two together and give proper directions then.
For directions to Yaka Park From Fethiye, click the link to see our post about the Lycian and Roman ruins of Tlos.