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Tranquil Turkey

January 19, 2004
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From Sting to Giorgio Armani, the list of celebrities who've discovered Turkey's Turquoise Coast – one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful and dramatic coastlines, which stretches from Fethiye to Antalaya – is endless.

And to the delight of famous and not-so-famous travellers, a clutch of fascinating resorts, wedged between the Mediterranean and the pine-scented, oleander-clad hillsides, are being discovered…

Kas With elderly men playing endless games of backgammon in the teahouses, nets piled up on the quayside and fishing smacks fussing around the harbour, it's difficult to imagine Kas as it once was - a major shipping centre called Antiphellos, so important it even minted its own coins.

These days Kas relies on tourists. Its carpets and kilims are world famous, hanging in colourful profusion from old wooden Ottoman balconies lining the Uzun Carsi Caddesi, the tiny cobbled high street. Buying even a small rug here can take a morning as out come the stools, the apple tea and the chat. Shopping is an art form here, with wealthy yuppies from Istanbul plundering its antique galleries.

Holidaymakers usually content themselves with trying to identify the hundreds of exotically scented herbs, powders and potions in the spice shops huddling near the mosque and marketplace. If you're looking for beaches, they're in short supply – Kas isn't for the bucket-and-spade brigade.

Olu DenizThe most popular resort on the Turquoise coast, Olu Deniz has a brochure-cliché of a beach – dazzling white sand and a stunning aquamarine sea backed by a peaceful lagoon, pine forests, and glorious purple mountains. This is the spot to choose if you want action. Beach bars offer anything from octopus salads and shish kebabs to Turkish Efes beer and Mai Tais with sparklers. It's also offers hangouts such as Zombie and Grand Boozey that you leave at dawn.

It's a great resort for boat excursions and guiet trips along the coast are a big hit. Elsewhere, guests at the famous baths and sulphur pools at Dalyan include Sting and Dustin Hoffman. In peak season think about staying in the hills behind the resort if you're after something a bit more tranquil, and don't let yourself be lured to Hisaronu unless you hanker after a Rovers Return bar!

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Scenic Kas, once a major shipping centre, is now a holidaymakers' favourite. Shopping there is an art form, with its antique galleries and spice shops particularly successful with visitors
Olu Deniz is the most popular resort on the Turquoise Coast, due to its white sand and aquamarine sea, backed by a peaceful lagoon, pine forests and purple mountains

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