It’s the Turkey of days gone by at Gül Pension and Restaurant in Faralya. No airs and graces, here. A bit like Bülent’in Yeri in Kayaköy. Whilst exclusive boutique hotels and luxury villas have certainly found their way to the steep, terraced mountainsides of Faralya, village life also continues to tick along as it has always done.
Supporting Local At Gül Pension And Restaurant, Faralya
Many of the villagers living on the ‘main road’ that climbs and snakes from the resort of Ölüdeniz to Kabak (taking in Faralya en route) have, of course, tapped into the entrepreneurial side of their being. They take the opportunity to get in on the tourism action.
Get a sign out there and tell the passersby what you’re selling! Why not? The ubiquitous gözleme signs catch the eye of the traveller – some signs painted neatly; others only just about legible. It doesn’t matter. You know it’s going to satisfy when you sit down to eat it.
Other signs offer accommodation of varying standards. Although some hikers continue for a few kilometres to Kabak, Faralya is the first main resting point on the famous Lycian Way long distance footpath. Set off from Ovacık to Faralya and you’ll have done 14 kilometres with a good 4 kilometre-long climb thrown in for good measure.
And it’s due to this stretch of the hike that we are so familiar with Gül Pension and Restaurant. Remote Faralya is home to those exclusive boutique hotels but many of the hikers and backpacking travellers in this area are more than happy with a place to pitch their tent or with getting their heads down in a simple room for the night.
Gül Pension and Restaurant offers both of those. We’ve never stayed there. No. For us, Gül Pension is the most welcome of sights. Just where the Lycian Way track abruptly ends and spits you onto the road; there, directly opposite you, is your little oasis. Rest, food, refreshment and friendly faces await – and you are going to be really looking forward to it!
Out Of The Ordinary
From the road, you head directly onto the simple terrace. Locally made, simple pine furniture, potted plants and an intriguing little seating area. Sofas, yes. Portrait of Atatürk; of course. And then there are all the other little extras that you really don’t expect to see in a village roadside joint perched on the edge of a sheer cliff face.
Old vinyl singles (we never have looked who the artists are for some reason), classic sewing machines, lanterns. Oh, and if you like, you can purchase a bit of handmade jewellery, too. Whether you come to Gül Pension and Restaurant on foot or by vehicle, this is definitely one of those Faralya village establishments that takes the opportunity to try to upsell. And why not?
Getting Your Fill
But let’s get to the food. That’s our main reason for being here, at Gül Pension and Restaurant – and a couple of beers to wash the food down with, of course. This is one of those typical Turkish village places that is family owned. A real cottage industry. You walk onto the dining terrace and mum is often sat at a table podding barbunya beans or preparing some other vegetables for the home.
Dad is usually pottering about somewhere – and likes to impress people like us by leaning over the terrace railings and calling his sheep and goats down below. And they do come running. Because this is their family home, it’s not a feeling of eating out. You feel like you’ve landed at their house and they’re going to feed you up with something simple but satisfying.
Always With The Sigara
The menu is a laminated piece of card with just a few snacks and dishes on there. There aren’t many Turkish village eateries vying for passing trade that don’t serve sigara böreği. On our last visit to Gül Pension and Restaurant, we were four hungry people so we ordered two portions of the cheese-filled, crisp phyllo rolls to munch on whilst we decided what to eat.
Orders placed, cold beers on the table, we sat back and took in the mountain views and clean air. It was October. And, although the intense summer heat had subsided a little, the haze was still there. Barely any horizon at all with the sea and the sky melting into each other and becoming one.
This is the precipice of Butterfly Valley and it is also your view from the dining terrace at Gül Pension and Restaurant. On a clear winter’s day, you can see the Greek island of Rhodes from the hillsides of Faralya. Nothing like that on this particular day.
Is It A Restaurant?
If you’re not overly familiar with Turkey, in lots of cases, the term ‘restaurant’ is a bit of a blanket word for any type of establishment that serves food. We’re quite used to this from our many years of living here. But if, like us, you are from a place where a restaurant is usually a place of refined menu and sophisticated decor, remove that from your mind.
Gül Pension & Restaurant feels like one of those places that you just drop into and the owner says they can rustle something up for you if you’re hungry. Big basket of fresh village bread and our orders (there isn’t much more choice on the menu than this) arrived.
Butterflied chicken, omelette, whole trout and homemade köfte. Grilled meals are served with homemade chips and the accompaniments you can see in the köfte photo. Like we said;. simple but really does the trick after you have hiked all that way. And you’ve also got a cold beer and an idyllic Mediterranean view…
Oh, and do let us point out that the whole trout is ‘canlı alabalık.’ This means the trout is (initially) alive. Gül Pension and Restaurant has live, farmed trout. So, if you order one, don’t be surprised to see it being fished out of the water before it hits the kitchen.
Hiking Not Essential
I should own up at this point and tell you that on this particular occasion we were two couples. The guys had hiked from Ovacık. The women were far more sensible / lazy and got the dolmuş from Fethiye to meet the boys at the end of their hike. I have, however, enjoyed the post-hike replenishment at Gül in the past.
Loo With A View
Once you’ve had your fill at Gül and perhaps one or two more beers than you intended, there’s also another little quirky treat before you take your leave. Should you decide to use the loo, it’s not so much a window as a hole in the wall. And it’s a loo with a mountain view.
And when you step outside to wash your hands, be sure to look in the mirror above the sink. The reflection reveals fabulous views of the mountain road, dwarfed by the colossal cliff face that skirts the fringe of Butterfly Valley hundreds of metres below. This is a truly special area of Turkey!
As well as slowing down and taking time to appreciate all that’s around you, slow travel is all about supporting local businesses. This is easily done in places like Faralya where the roadside businesses will take the opportunity to sell their home produced goods.
Honey Is A Good Buy
Faralya is a beekeeping area. And, as such, is famous for its honey. Çam balı (pine honey) and çiçek balı (flower honey) are the most common varieties. We buy a jar of pine honey when we leave Gül Pension and Restaurant.
Honeycomb is also for sale, as are eggs laid by the family hens. Homemade jam, pekmez (grape molasses) and nar ekşisi (sour pomegranate molasses) are also for sale. All available in the local supermarkets but much better to buy from these cottage industries whilst you’re in the area, don’t you think?
Gül Pension And Restaurant, Faralya: Useful Information
- Gül Pension and Restaurant is in the village of Faralya, which lies between Ölüdeniz and Kabak.
- It lies on the main road on the dolmuş route and, if you hike along the Lycian Way, is directly opposite you when you exit the footpath.
- Gül Pension and Restaurant has a snack menu. Soft drinks, beers and wine are also served.
- It is possible to book basic rooms with breakfast or you can camp, too.
- Home produced foods such as jams and honey can be bought here.
- There is accommodation to suit various budgets in the Faralya area.
- Gül Pension and Restaurant has been added to our Fethiye Eating and Drinking page where you can find lots of other eateries and bars in the Fethiye area.