Ölüdeniz is a town near Fethiye in Turkey, famous for its ‘Blue Lagoon’.
The village and the beach by the lagoon was locally known as Belcekız or Belceğiz before the area became a magnet for mass tourism, although today many people in the area have no idea about what Belcekız is and the town as well as the lagoon are both known as Ölüdeniz, which literally means “dead sea” and originally referred only to the lagoon itself.
Inland to the north, 2 km to Ölüdeniz, are the former villages of Ovacık and Hisarönü, with occasional family-run guesthouses only a decade ago, but are today concrete sprawls of hotels and bars, agglomerated almost without a gap with the town of Ölüdeniz. Both serve as “bedroom communities” that offer accommodation that is close to but cheaper than Ölüdeniz proper.
During the peak season in May to October, Ölüdeniz is filled with British tourists. It is a popular vacation destination for British citizens of whom many own homes there, so you wont even feel like you’re in Turkey. To get more of an authentic Turkish experience a stay in Fethyie is recommended, but even Fethyie has many British citizens during the peak season.
Ölüdeniz is connected to Fethiye with a wide road that is well-paved and is in a very good condition.
There is also a very frequent minibus (dolmuş) service between Fethiye and Ölüdeniz. In addition there are lots of taxi’s (yellow) who now advertise their prices to each destination. The Dolmus are fine though and only cost 5 TL to get from A-B.
From Fethiye, the dolmuş leaves not from the otogar but infront of the nearby red PO petrol station (you can see it from the otogar). It also makes various stops along the main road in Fethiye where there are designated bus shelters.
Blue Lagoon (Ölüdeniz). Access to the beach is shut by the evening, around 6PM. Known in Turkish literally as “dead sea” because of the stillness of the water, the lagoon is a nature preserve. To enter the park there is a fee of 5 TL per person. You will also likely have to hire a beach chair which are an additional 6 TL each (5 TL for an umbrella). 5 TL.
Try the Sugar Beach. This is free entry to lagoon area and huts with cushions and beanbags and in shade can be had for 30tl a day. You can get easily 10 people in and food and drink is served to you table as required.
Paragliding. A number of companies in Ölüdeniz offer paragliding opportunities from the summit of nearby Mt. Babadağ, about 1,900 mt from the sea elevation. A “trip” from the top to the beach takes around an hour and offers stunning views of the Blue Lagoon and the valleys and mountains covered with pine forests around. Training and tandem flights are also possible for those unexperienced at paragliding.
Market: One thing to do while in Oludeniz is to get on the dolmus and go to the market in Fethiye on a Tuesday. There is absolutely everything there (including a lot of fakes). It is a very busy market not only used by holiday makers but by Turks buying their produce. Go to the fish stalls, buy some fresh fish and then go to one of the nearby restaurants where for a few TL will cook it for you.
- Dia, (on the Hisarönü roundabout). Store of national supermarket chain Dia. Fresh fruits and vegetables, snacks, soft and alchoholic beverages. Cr cards are accepted.
There are many different restaurants to choose from, as with anywhere some are better than others. Fresh fish is a favourite which can be found especially in the restaurants on the beach front. One of the longest established restaurants is ‘Josephs’ (the man in the hat), who always makes everybody welcome and the food is always excellent – try Turkish food though their ‘pide’ along with various other Turkish choices are wonderful.
On the front ‘Buzz Beach’ bar is always popular and is generally busy all day and evening (which says something).
Generally you will not be dissapointed with any of the food, almost without exception all the restaurants will make you feel very welcome.
One of the best sights in Oludeniz is sitting at the front in the evening as the sun is going down over the mountain watching the last of the paragliders coming into land. Its fantastic and the sun sets are second to none. ‘Crusoes’ and ‘Buzz Beach Bar’ are two of the best to do this.
Oludeniz gets busy during the high season, but by around midnight and no later than 2AM the bars are closed. If you wish to party or carry on drinking then you need to go to Hisaronu (about 10 minutes up the mountain in a dolmus), where the bars stay open a lot later.
General –‘There are around 90-100 hotels in and just outside Oludeniz, ranging from 5* all-inclusives to 2* bed & breakfasts. Not always, but generally you will get what you pay for. Mostly they are all well run. A number of other websites will give you reviews on each hotel. The all-inclusives tend to be a buffet food set-up and much bigger hotels. The smaller 2 & 3* hotels tend to be smaller and more personal, where it is likely that you will get to know the owner and often their family.
You will also notice that in many of these smaller hotels the same people return year after year and the owners will treat you as part of their family. As eating out is so cheep in Turkey staying in a 2-3* hotel on a bed & breakfast basis is fine.
- Montenegro Motel, Faralya Village (hills of Butterfly Valley), ☎ +90 252 642 11 77 ([email protected]), . Run by a Turkish family Montenegro Motel is a great place to stay, with a view of Babadag and Butterfly Valley. The rooms are bungalows made of natural materials and built in traditional style: exterior is covered with stone work and the interior is covered with natural wood work.Montenegro Motel is only 7 km far from Ölüdeniz following the Faralya road.> Double room about TL55 per person per night, which includes breakfast and home-cooked dinner..
- Sultan Motel, Kırıncağıl Mahallesi, Ovacık-Ölüdeniz (about 250 mt from Ovacık-Ölüdeniz highway towards the start of Lycian Way, follow the signs for Lycian Way or much bigger ‘Montana Resort Hotel’), ☎ +90 252 616-61-39 ([email protected], fax: +90 252 616-62-61), . A hotel at the official trailhead of Lycian Way, a very convenient base to get rest after/before your long hike. Rooms with en-suite bathrooms, air-con, and balconies, all with the view of large pool. Double rooms (low/high season): 25 TL/30 TL bed and breakfast per person, 35 TL/40 TL half board per person. 0-6 years of age free, 7-12 years of age 50% discount.
- Aygul Hotel, (600 m. from the beach), ☎ +90 252 617 00 86 ([email protected], fax: +90 252 617 06 10), . Family owned, small hotel. Rooms with air-con, TV, and balcony. There are also a swimming pool with children section, playground, and safety boxes. Staff is friendly and fluent in English and French. The hotel is on the top of a small hill, so it has clean and cool air flow. View of the Oludeniz from the hotel is breathtaking.
- Orka Village, (4 km from the Oludeniz beach and a short walk to the centre of Hisaronu), ☎ 0117 230 3677 in the UK ([email protected]),. checkin: After 4pm; checkout: 12:00 pm. Orka Village is set in a private complex with breathtaking views of the Babadag mountains. The site is beautifully landscaped and features a 650sq metre swimming pool and a separate children’s pool. There is also a bar/snack bar on site. The complex also features a reception, secure parking and 24h security. 2 BR ground floor self-catering apartment from £250 per week.
- Butterfly Valley (Faralya) is a remote canyon to the south, on the sea-shore, with some rare butterflies and waterfalls. Boats and minibuses head there from Ölüdeniz. A little further south, at the end of the road is the village of Kabak, which has a canyon similar to Butterfly Valley, although a little easier to access.
- For a bit of history and a deserted ghost town experience in your trip, take the road to west from Hisarönü and head to Kayaköy, where hundreds of partially ruined houses cover the side of a hill.
- Ovacık to the north of Ölüdeniz marks the official beginning of Lycian Way, a 500+ km hiking trail leading to Antalya in the east.