The tall mountains around the Gulf of Antalya are the origin of many streams and rivers once snowfall arrives in autumn. Precipitation in the form of rainfall ultimately dissipates within a few hours, whereas precipitation in the form of snow ends up as surface water stored at the summits of the mountains and streams through valleys, narrow passages and meadows until it reaches the sea once temperatures rise.
Snow fall has a positive impact on daily life and production since it provides a regular flow to streams and rivers. While the eastern part of the Gulf has a large number of rivers with a high flow rate, the western part is notably sparse in rivers. The main reason for this is that the two banks have different geological features.
The Dim River, east of Alanya, is the first major river on the eastern shore of the Gulf. A dam was built in recent years and above the slopes, covered with forest and fruit trees, many villages are lined up. Established on both sides of the dam are many dining, swimming and recreational places known as “piknik” by the locals. These are among the most preferred places for those want to escape the monotony of the beach. The Oba River west of the Dim River is a popular spot among tourists.
The Kargı River, which originates from the mountains north of Alanya flows northwest and reaches the sea west of the Türkler village. The Kargı River pours down from the mountains to the sea and is well worth a visit.
The Alara River originates near Kayabükü village in Gündoğmuş and flows towards the southwest through narrow gorges and under many medieval bridges until it reaches the Mediterranean just west of Okurcalar village. The Alara flows through very picturesque settings and delineates the boundaries of Gündoğmuş and Manavgat.
The Karpuz River rises south of Akseki district and rushes through the Ahmetler Canyon, before flowing to the Mediterranean Sea near Kızılot village in Manavgat. It runs through the canyon, which begins in Murtiçi and is crossed by the Antalya-Konya highway. The canyon is a gateway to an extraordinary world and its steep cliffs obscure views of the sky.
The Manavgat River, which empties into the Mediterranean, is one of region’s major rivers like the Köprüçay River and Aksu River. It is fed from the snow waters from the steep mountains of the Western Taurus situated in the Lakes Region north of the Gulf of Antalya.
Known in ancient days as Melas, the Manavgat River has the highest flow rate among the rivers on the eastern shores of the Gulf of Antalya. The river empties into the Mediterranean Sea a few kilometers east of Side and also bisects the town of Manavgat. The Oymapınar Dam, built on the Manavgat River to generate hydroelectric power, is highly popular with tourists, who come to enjoy the stunning views of the dam lake
The Köprüçay River (Eurymedon) arises from Mount Anamas, west of Lake Eğirdir. It flows under the ancient bridge before of the renowned Zindan Cave and meanders through the narrow passes of the Taurus. The river cascades east of the ancient town of Selge where it reaches the plains of Pamphylia and empties into the sea not far from the ruins of Aspendos.
Rivers were regarded as sacred in ancient times and represented as a deity, in whose honour sculptures were made. The Eurymedon was likewise such a river, where on the western side of Roman era Zindan Bridge a broken relief of the deified Eurymedon was depicted on the bridge’s keystone.
Köprüçay River has become one of the most popular places for tourists interested in rafting. The recreational areas have been greatly improved in recent years in terms of quality of service. The area surrounding the ancient Oluk Bridge near Beşkonak village is one of the most famous rafting centres of Anatolia and has become a focal point for this sport. One can see the excitement of the participants, who partake in this hour-long activity with their inflatable boats.
One of the rivers which emerges in the Lakes Region from Lake Eğirdir and Lake Kovada is the Aksu River. This was known as Kestros in the past, the name of the river god that was worshipped by the inhabitants of Perge. It is written in the Bible that St. Paul and his companions journeyed from Cyprus and sailed up the river to Perge from Cyprus and continued on to Antiocheia in Pisidia (Yalvaç). This shows that the ancient city of Perge, which was established inside the shores of the Aksu River, functioned as a port city. The gate on the eastern side of the city is referred to as the Port Gate, confirming this assertion.
The last significant river on the eastern shores of the Gulf is the Düden River. This river travels underground from the source at Kırkgöz Lake and surfaces near Varsak. It then submerges again and resurfaces where the waters of the Düden Falls drop 40 meters from a rocky cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea. A well-manicured park surrounds these waterfalls and offers visitors stunning views.
Pamphylia, the eastern part of the Gulf, teems with rivers, while Lycia in the west is notably scarce in rivers. Despite the heavy snow fall in the mountains, the dense, porous layers do not allow for the formation of rivers.
One of the few exceptions to this situation is the Alakır River flowing on the boundary between the districts of Kumluca and Finike.
Another important river is the Tatlıçay River, which rises among the ruins of the ancient city of Limyra at the confluence of the Bay of Finike and Tocak Mountain. Acıçay River lies in close proximity west of Limyra. It is a great pleasure to watch the Tatlıçay River flow past the ruins of Limyra and through the beautiful landscape until it reaches the sea.
The main source of both these rivers is the reservoir of Lake Avlan, surrounded by the high mountains of the Elmalı Plain. Lake Avlan offers stunning views and is fed by Akçay River stemming from the Akdağ Mountain. The waters seeping from the lake also form the source ofAykırtça River (Arykandos)—another river in the lower elevations, which flows through and beside unspoilt villages of the region and through the valley where the ancient city of Arykanda is located, until it reaches the flat terrain. The rock formations hewn from this river awe local and foreign visitors alike.
The most important river on the western edge of the region is Eşen River and has two main branches. The longer branch is the KaraçayRiver, which originates in the Saklıkent Canyon at the foot of the Akdağ Mountain in the Elmalı Plain along the border of Kaş (Antalya) and Fethiye (Muğla). The Saklıkent Canyon is the source of the Karaçay River and stretches for nearly 18 kilometers, and its walls soar up to 100 meters high. Many tourists staying in the vicinity of Fethiye and Kaş-Kalkan enjoy rafting downstream through the rapids and meandering waters of the Karaçay River.