Great for: Caves, Spelunking, Lovers of Dimly Lit Places.
High in the Taurus (Toros) Mountains along the Konya-Antalya highway is the Tınaztepe cave network, thought to be Turkey’s longest. Rain and snowmelt have eroded twenty-two kilometers of tunnels and galleries and created travertine terraces in the heart of the mountain. Walkways have been built allowing visitors to explore 1.6 kilometers worth of the tunnels. The path winds its way through the tunnels, sometimes branching off into upper smaller arms of the cave system. The walkway ends at a massive chamber that’s sixty-five meters from floor to ceiling.
The cave network is actually made up of a few caves with separate entrances all opening next to each other onto a cliff face. The main cave is on the left and is much more impressive than the second one, the entrance to which is on the right. If you’ve only got time for one make sure to see the one on the left!
Along the trail to Tınaztepe Cave entrance is a signpost with information about the caves. The sign states that, at 22 kilometers long the Tınaztepe Cave is the third longest in the world. While certainly long, 22 kilometers simply isn’t long enough to put it anywhere close to the length of the world’s longest caves. For reference the longest known cave is the USA’s Mammoth Cave which is 651 kms long. The tenth longest cave is Switzerlands Hölloch Cave at over 200 kilometers. While Tınaztepe Cave is certainly beautiful and worth a visit, it just isn’t that long by comparison.
Part of what makes Tınaztepe Cave so popular is the fact that it sits along a major highway at a major rest stop with a gas station, picnic sites, restaurants, and shops. Tınaztepe is a great place to take a break when traveling from Konya to Antalya.
How To Get There
Head South-East out of Antalya along the D400 highway following signs marked for Manavgat and Alanya. Turn off to the North (left) onto the D695 (Konya-Manavgat road). Tınaztepe Caves are 103 kms from this junction on your right hand side.
Head South West out of the city on the D696 (Antalya Çevre road) and follow this highway for 105 kilometers. While you will stay on this highway the whole time there are a pair of unusual junctions where you have to turn to stay on the highway. Simply follow signs marked for Antalya. The Tınaztepe Caves are well marked and will be on your left hand side shortly after entering the mountains.
Where To Stay
There is nowhere to stay in the immediate area of Tınaztepe unless you’re looking to camp (it’s a beautiful area to camp in the summer).
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.