A few days ago, we were chatting to a family at Cafe Pazar and we asked them where they were staying while on holiday. ‘Oh, we have a villa in a secret valley.’ Well, that was what we thought they said – and it made me curious…
‘Can you tell us where your secret valley is, or is it a secret?’
‘No, it’s called Secret Valley. It’s in the mountains around Dalaman. Instead of turning left at the junction for Dalaman airport, you turn right. Oh, and there’s a fabulous restaurant that you really must go to. Just follow the signs for Akkaya Garden Restaurant.’
On Saturday, we hired a car to take my dad back to Dalaman airport. As we were already in that area, it seemed an opportunity too good to pass up and so we set off along ‘that road’ and followed the signs. Eventually, we reached the summit of the narrow, winding track and a whole area of Dalaman we never knew existed opened up before us.
A sign along the road told us the villas nestling in the hill below were part of the Secret Valley complex and we’re presuming the area is called Akkaya (going by the name of the restaurant). Beautiful river and mountain views – and you can’t help but wonder how long this place is going to be ‘secret’. We got back in the car and continued to follow the signs, down the hill towards the river and the restaurant.
Groups of villas are under construction, at some points, the road is a single-lane, potholed track and I wasn’t getting a good feeling. I was starting to think we’d driven a long way to go to a deserted, soulless, on-site restaurant built to serve a few villa owners. But then we parked up and walked up the garden path…
We were greeted by lush greenery, ponds, streams, the sound of waterfall and the breeze rushing through the dense treetops. A friendly waiter greeted us and pointed us to the different seating areas.
Wooden bridges and paved walkways lead to different secluded areas, hidden by trees. We heard voices and the waiter pointed up into the trees. A couple of Turkish families were sat high above the ground in what the restaurant has called storks’ nests. It had to be done. We wanted to sit in a storks’ nest, too.
A steep climb up the steps and we were soon in our very own stork nest, sat amongst the treetops, loving the seclusion. We couldn’t see or hear the other families enjoying their Turkish breakfast.
We didn’t look at a menu, we didn’t know the price of anything…but we were already sold and we didn’t care. We’d already spotted a lady preparing gözleme by an open fire so we ordered gözleme filled with potato and a couple of drinks.
The potato was in soft chunks rather than grated and leeks and spices were mixed in, too. We were really hungry but both of us were completely full by the time we’d worked our way through our favourite – and generously filled – Turkish snack.
Akkaya Garden Restaurant also has a large indoor restaurant, and you can see from these photos that whoever built it, has big ambitions for the place. You can’t help but feel it’s only a matter of time before coaches and jeeps are rumbling down the mountain track. There’s a swimming pool for use just outside the restaurant, we saw signs for lake trips and horse riding on offer and from what we saw of it, it’s a place that deserves to do well – we’d just like a little bit longer to be selfish and make the most of the peace and quiet of the beautiful Akkaya valley.
And if all that wasn’t enough…
…they’ve got cute ducklings, too!
- We ordered 2 potato gözleme, 1 large Efes beer and 1 Diet Coke. The total bill was a very reasonable 15.50 Turkish Lira (around £6).
- To get there under your own steam from Fethiye, go to the main crossroads where you turn left for Dalaman airport. Take a right and follow the green signs for Akkaya Garden Restaurant. If you haven’t got transport, the restaurant does a transfer service.
- We looked at a menu before we left. Meze plates, steaks, fish, kebabs and a few international dishes.