Eğirdir: slow city at the lake in Turkey
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Do you like to visit authentic places in Turkey? Places where life goes its own slow pace? Where nature rules and the buzzing tourist resorts are far away? Then consider going to Eğirdir, a slow city and a lake in Turkey. Eğirdir is the perfect road trip stop. An ideal place to spend the night when visiting Anatolia, Sagalassos or Isparta, but also an excellent spot for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, wanting a taste of a real Turkish lakeside village.
Eğirdir: Cittaslow at the lake in Turkey
When looking at things to do in Eğirdir, you may find that nothing much pops up. If you ask us, that’s the whole point! It is what makes Eğirdir so attractive. Eğirdir is the perfect escape to nature in the heart of the lake district, while still offering basic facilities to mainly Turkish tourists. Don’t expect fancy clubs, English breakfasts, All-Inclusive hotels, or any of the kind. This is not why people come to Eğirdir. This slow lakeside city is still one of those places in Turkey where you get a real taste of the country. And honestly, that’s all you need. Walking around in Eğirdir means you will be drawn to the lake and its mountainous backdrop. They offer the perfect scenery to relax and escape the heat.
Seljuk buildings and Byzantine remains at the heart of the city
Appearances are often deceiving, that is also the case with Eğirdir. You can see the remains of a glorious past in the city center. Eğirdir’s Byzantine fortress is not much more than a wall and a gate nowadays, but it isn’t hard to imagine it must have been an impressive building back when it was built in 400BC. The best part of Eğirdir Castle today is the lake view from the top. More impressive are the testimonials of Seljuk times. The Hızır Bey Mosque and the adjacent Dündar Bey Medresesi dominate central Eğirdir. The buildings date back to the early 1.200’s and have been beautifully restored. One of the information boards credits local craftsmen Hamidoğullari for a lot of the work.
Stone-based wooden houses and family-run pensions on Yeşilada
While its name suggests otherwise, Yeşilada is no longer an island. (yeşil = green, ada = island) The former island is connected to the mainland by a causeway leaving you no excuse to not wander around. The island used to have a Greek population until the post-war population exchange between Turkey and Greece. Some of the old stone and wood houses and add some extra charm to the narrow streets of this quiet little paradise. Another Greek remainder is the Aya Stefanos Church. Yeşilada is lovely. This tiny peninsula has some great waterside fish restaurants and small-scale, family-run pensions that will give you a clean bed for the night. Don’t miss the gorgeous sunset and sunrise over the lake if you’re staying here!
Popular activities in and around Eğirdir
During the summer months, favorite things to do in Eğirdir include boat trips on the lake, water sports, swimming, or enjoying some lazy days on the beach. Lake Eğirdir is Turkey’s fourth largest lake, and it is also perfect for diving, sailing or fishing. Eğirdir’s location on Saint Pauls Trail makes it an ideal base for hiking and trekking. Head towards the other side of the lake for a spectacular view of the peninsula and to discover some very attractive sandy beaches. The more adventurous travelers will love the proximity of the mountains to enjoy some mountaineering and other outdoor activities or skiing at Davraz Ski Resort during the winter. Snow is plenty and thick with an altitude of 2.365 meters.
Practical information for your visit to Eğirdir
If you are not self-driving, Eğirdir is best reached by bus with regular services from nearby Isparta or once-a-day runs to places like Antalya, Konya, Pamukkale or Cappadocia. Beware that Eğirdir is inland, with a very different climate from the tourist resorts at the coast. Check the weather forecast and come prepared. Consider extending your stay, using Eğirdir as a base to explore other lesser known places in Turkey such as amazing Sagalassos or a few other lakes in the lake district, including the national parks in the area. Check out these good-value pensions in Eğirdir. Note that staying on Yeşilada is usually quieter than the slightly busier center of the working town. At the beginning of autumn, you’ll notice large piles of apples beside the road. The area is famous for its apple orchards, and when autumn comes, and the fruit is being picked, the cooperatives collect it at the side of the road to take it to factories where the harvest will transform into fruit juice or vinegar. If you have a weak spot for foliage, autumn is the perfect time to visit Eğirdir.
Don’t forget to check out or interactive Turkey travel map for more Turkey travel inspiration. And use our Turkey travel resources page for anything practical when preparing your trip to Turkey, including where to buy your visa, or how to skip the lines at Istanbul airports.