Duden waterfall is a very special place in Antalya, that not so many tourists have yet discovered – at least not the upper waterfalls, located about 12 km from the coast. The park around the waterfall is shady and cooling, almost like a tropical oasis with cascading waterfalls, loud birdsong and with a very special atmosphere and tranquility, that you will not find elsewhere in the town. And it is a rather unique oasis to have in the middle of a big city with traffic, noise, smog and many people. You can probably imagine, how liberating it is to get to the waterfall a hectic and hot, sticky summer day and then enter the park, where there are just a few degrees colder, a completely different and fresh air and where time almost stands still. Quite liberating and recommendable!
Actually Düden waterfall divides into two waterfalls – the upper and lower, about 10 km apart from eachother and connects by a large turbulent underground river. The upper waterfall is located northeast of Antalya, about 15 km from the coast and the lower flows into the Mediterranean and falls 40 meters down in giant cascades. Around both waterfalls is a nice green park with several opportunities to sit and relax with a picnic (something that almost can be described as the Turks’ favorite sport). At the upper waterfalls there are just a few stalls selling sandwiches and snacks. Here you have to pay a small admission fee to get in, I think it was about 3-4 TL, so it’s definitely not much. There are several small trails that can be followed around the park, and it’s a pretty impressive sight to see the changing landscape with the sound of splashing waterfalls and lush vegetation, that seems unreal in this more harsh, sunny and dry region.
The waterfall is by some local called the Alexander waterfall, because of an old legend that says Alexander the Great stayed here with his massive army and water their horses in year 334 BC. If the legend is true or not, I could not say, but it’s a little hard to imagine right here in the park, with the steep stairs.
The water for the waterfall comes from the Taurus Mountains, where several small rivers and irrigation canals from the turbines at Kepez hydroelectrical Complex converge to eventually form this huge roaring river that forms the waterfall. The river is about 20 meters wide and falls 15 meters, so it is a spectacular sight, that meets you inside the park. The water contains many Tuff-stone of volcanic origin and they are helping to dig the riverbed deeper and deeper, so you can see a small lake below the waterfall.
You have to spend an hour or two in the park, and you have to remember the cave behind the waterfall (pretty scary if you have hydrophobia like I have). There is built a nice path behind a railing, so there is really nothing to be afraid off – only if you are a chicken like me. It is a bit of a clammy and muggy pleasure to walk behind a waterfall (but really very nice on a hot summer) and your curiosity may ultimately win. We had the kids along with us last year and they really enjoyed the trip and still talk about it. It’s a good little walk and a fine and funny break during the holidays. If you equip them with a small camera, there is the opportunity to have some fun unconventional images. All though there isn’t that many tourists compared to other places, It’s a bit of a struggle to get the right breathtaking images. The park here is a true paradise for selfie photographers, so you must choose, whether they are just annoying and stand in your way or whether they are a comical touch in the middle of nature. I choose the latter (but naturally my daughter ia a beauty sourrounded by nature. I had to force her to participate. She is nearly a teenager and everything is just so embarrassing. I convinced her, that she had to find her inner Turk and pose 😉).
Getting to Duden Waterfalls:
You don’t need to pay for an expensive trip with the hotel’s tour bus, when it can be done easily and cheaply with the small local Dolmus (and they are actually quite pleasant to travel with). The local Dolmus buses run right there (you just need to find the right one). I am told, that you have to get on the bus CV17 from Dogu Garaji Taksi next to the old town in the city center or take a bus from the large Otogar a bit outside the city. Both run directly to the waterfalls, but takes a little time. We came by car and it was fairly easy to find. There were signs almost all the way. It is also easy to park here and there is a nice little parking space outside , but you’ll have to pay a little (if you drive around the corner, then you don’t have to pay and you avoid the worst sellers).
The lower waterfall:
Lower Duden – the lower waterfall, is located on the cliff edge near the city center. The waterfall flows into the Mediterranean Sea with a huge drop of 40 meters. Obviously it is an impressive sight, but most beautiful in winter and spring, when there is extra water from the melting snow in the mountains. Of course you can stand at the cliff edge and see how the water flows into the Mediterranean, but if you want a better view, you need to hop on a tour with one of the tourist boats, that offers tours from the harbour. Doing so you get the full experience and will really feel the power of nature.