Oludeniz is the beach you see on posters urging you to travel to Turkey and with good reason. The beach is fantastic and you could be perfectly happy to go to Oludeniz for the beach alone. But what else might you get up to in Oludeniz?
1. Oludeniz Lagoon
At the North-Western end of Oludeniz beach there is a lagoon, after which the area is named (‘olu’ meaning ‘dead’ and ‘deniz’ meaning ‘sea’ in Turkish) The main beach shelves steeply and can have large waves, but the lagoon is beautifully calm and the waves just about manage to lap lazily up the shore. This end of the beach is also sandy, rather than pebbly like the main beach.
It is a nature reserve (beyond the Post Office) and there is a small fee to pay to enter, but it is definitely worth it. At the far end, as you look out to sea, there are a few large rocks which are worth swimming over to. This is a magnificent spot from which to take in the view of the whole length of the beach or enjoy some gentle snorkeling poking around the rocky outcrops. There are camping options along the back of the lagoon, if you fancy that rather than one of the hotels.
If daredevil thrills sound more your thing then you could try paragliding here. It is hard to spend time in Oludeniz and not notice all the paragliders cruising through the sky or landing around you. It is the only beach I have been to where I routinely look left and right before crossing the sand, as this is where the paragliders land.
The mountain behind Oludeniz beach is called Babadag which means ‘The Father of all mountains'. This is the highest recreational paragliding point in Europe and certainly an amazing place to fly over. The views are stunning. You can see local nearby villages, butterfly valley, over the peninsular to Fethiye and beyond. On an especially clear day you can even see the Greek Island of Rhodes, all from your armchair hanging in the sky. If any of your mates opt out they can watch you take off from Cloud 9 bar over a beer, which has a live webcam feed from the take-off point.
Turkey has one of the most amazing cuisines and if you haven’t yet tried it, you’re in for a treat. The Sun café on the beachfront is a great place to try traditional Turkish dishes. The Buzz bar serves Turkish dishes with a modern twist. Help! Bar serves a huge array of Turkish and International dishes. Breakfasts and desserts especially are a treat. The best kept secret in Oludeniz though is Kumsal Pide at the far end of the beach. Pide is a wood-fired oven cooked Turkish version of pizza and the perfect beach-side meal. There is a great Italian restaurant called Bella Gusto’s if you fancy a steak, pizza or pasta.
4. Night life
Oludeniz has several bars along the front that are open late and serve a huge array of tasty and tempting cocktails. The Buzz bar is the longest established and has a fantastic open air terrace from where you can watch the sun go down (or the paragliding action if you’re there during the day) They have a modern décor and an extensive European cocktail list. The Help! Bar is another fantastic bar, with a more colourful, funky and random décor. If a few beers over a game of pool are more your thing then you might enjoy Crusoe’s Bar by the dolmus (bus) stop. They also show movies periodically on their open air terrace.
If all this beach-going, thrill-seeking, eating and drinking gets too much for you then why not spend an afternoon being pampered in the hammam (or Turkish bath)? The hammam at the Belcekiz beach hotel is an especially luxurious one. Donning your swimmers you head into the marble-surfaced, hot and steamy hammam, sit and sweat until a Turkish hammam man beckons you over to scrub your dead skin off and soap you up! You walk out feeling marvelously clean and fresh. It is an experience not to be missed.
I was lucky enough to call Oludeniz home for several years and still love to visit. If you haven’t been to Oludeniz yet, get yourself there. It is a simple, well signposted drive from Fethiye through a beautiful forest and another resort and there is a regular and inexpensive bus service that runs from Fethiye (via Ovacik, Hisaronu and sometimes Kayakoy) every 10 minutes or so.
Can I come too?
(Image source: Panegyrics of Granovetter)