April 15, 2012 -
I've lived in Turkey for 13 years and this is probably the most enjoyable lengthy route in the south and west of the country.
This 245-kilometer road starts in the historic city of Konya, home of the Mevlana sect of Suffiism. Follow signs to Seydisehir and Manavgat/Antalya.
You head southwest from Konya on the 1st 110-kilometer stage to Seydisehir up into the foothills of the Taurus. Once outside Konya, the whole route is rural. There are plenty of high-speed sweepers interspersed with short straights and a few tight corners, a couple more than 180 degrees. It flattens out as you reach Seydisehir.
From Seydisehir you turn left following the Antalya signs.
Here the road really starts, as you head up into the Taurus. There are hairpins, sweepers and long straights and the road just keeps on getting better as you hit the top of the pass at 1800 meters then head down towards Manavgat. Watch out for snow in winter, when the top can be very hazardous. Lots of great views on the way down. Apart from 2 or 3 villages, the road is all rural with little traffic.
You hit the bottom at a dual-carriageway. Rather than Manavgat town, head for Side to see the old walls and grab a beach-side beer. Or head onto Antalya.
The route is an ideal prequel to the south coast route from Antalya via Olympos, Kas and Fethiye to Marmaris. Another great route with lots of opportunities to detour up into the peaks of the Taurus along the way. Kas is a must-stop and so is Olu Deniz beach near Fethiye.