CONTRIBUTED BY EMILY SMITH
I love three-day weekends. And I love three-day weekends in Turkey. But really, I love three-day weekends in Turkey when my husband is on leave, and we go out exploring Turkey!
A few months ago on a three-day weekend, we took a day trip over to Kiz Kalesi and the surrounding area. (We did not stay in a hotel on this trip – we just did day trips from Incirlik all weekend.) We decided to venture to the city of Silifke, which is about 1 hour and 45 minutes past Mersin and 2 and a half hours from Incirlik. We were interested in visiting Silifke primarily because we heard they had a great castle to see and explore.
Once again, we were distracted by brown signs on the D400, but finally after a lot of ruins exploring along the way, we arrived at Silifke Kalesi (Kalesi = Castle).
My first thought of Silifke Castle was, “Wow, what a monstrosity”. It sits on a hill overlooking the city and it’s almost impossible to miss. And this is nice, because you’re not in the middle of nowhere looking for ruins – it’s obvious that it’s a castle, and it’s really obvious where it is located. We had a little trouble with the drive up to it. You can basically drive right up to the entrance of the castle, but the drive up the hill is very winding and the roads are very narrow.
All was forgotten once we finally parked and made a short hike into the castle. We had a great time exploring the castle. We even let our toddler out of the hiking pack and walk around (with heavy supervision). We spent about an hour hiking around and taking in the views of Silifke.
Part of the castle is undergoing restoration, so it is neat to see the progress that they have made. On the day we visited, a Monday, we were the only ones there, but I got the feeling that maybe on a different day that wasn’t a work day, there might be more people visiting.
As far as I know, there is not an entrance fee to the castle. And even with the restorations, there are no restrictions to visiting the castle. I would definitely recommend this for a quick day trip, and I would also recommend this for small kids. Strollers no, but use your hiking pack for smaller toddlers! But this is a great castle to visit for a quick day trip, and an easy hike.
There is a little café right next to the castle parking (free! just park where you find a spot). We did not try the café, but it served Turkish food and had great views overlooking the city.
If you’d like to read more about the history of Silifke Castle, please visit this website: http://www.castles.nl/tr/sil/sil.html
And just a little recommendation – explore the above website a little more if you have time. It has great information about castles in Turkey and around Europe. In addition to the Yellow Book, this website has been an incredible resource for explore castles in the Incirlik area.
Admission: Free! No fee for parking.
Address: Pazarkaşı Mh., 474. Sokak, 33900 Silifke/Mersin, Turkey
Coordinates: 36.375953, 33.916378