Olu Deniz has one of the best beaches in the Med – with clean warm turquoise waters, perfect white sand and a sun that always seems to be shining. This Turkish resort lies in a valley enclosed by pine-covered mountains and the sea.
It is perfect for a beach holiday, although there are plenty of activities too. The resort is a paragliding mecca thanks to its 5,000 foot-high mountain peak, and it is popular with scuba divers and sailors too. Those who enjoy being pampered can relax in the famous mud, sulphur and thermal pools and the Roman baths.
Getting there/getting around Olu Deniz
Fly into Dalaman Airport (an hour’s transfer to the resort) or Antalya Airport (a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.) Or if you’re holidaying in nearby Fethiye, 15 kilometres away, you can hop on a bus.
The roads are good if you want to hire a car to explore. Alternatively, consider using the frequent minibuses which criss-cross this west coast resort.
Olu Deniz beaches
Olu Deniz has one of the most photographed beaches in the world, with sun seekers and swimmers appreciating the dazzling blue water and well-kept clean sand. It’s worth paying a small admission charge to enter the lagoon conservation area, but there are several more beaches nearby too.
Just two kilometres away – a half-hour stroll with your towel – is the more secluded and quieter Kidrak Paradise Beach. Or take a small boat over to Butterfly Valley Beach for a peaceful afternoon.
Olu Deniz sightseeing
Dalyan is a nearby pretty riverside village with impressive rock tombs, famous mud baths and a natural spa. Nearby is Iztuzu Beach, made famous by a successful campaign to protect the eggs of the loggerhead turtle. Gaze up to enjoy the sight of dozens of paragliders soaring over the beach, particularly during the Olu Deniz Air Games Festival each October.
Butterfly Valley, five kilometres from Olu Deniz, is a beautiful spot that’s easy to find or Kayakoy, the Ghost Town, is an old deserted Greek village just 10 kilometres from the beach.
Olu Deniz family attractions
Kids will love the beaches and the world-famous lagoon. They may find the beaches are more gritty than sandy, though, which is tricky for building sandcastles. Many of the purpose-built resorts offer masses of entertainment for children.
Olu Deniz day trips
It’s truly relaxing to take a day-long boat trip around the Turkish coastline and islands. Make sure the itinerary includes a stop at Cleopatra’s Bay, where it is said those swimming in the water will become true beauties.
Head for a day’s swimming, snorkelling and some superb fresh fish restaurants at Gemiler Beach, just opposite the historic St Nicholas Island. It’s also got the famous Blue Cave and an absolutely stunning waterfall, which is well worth the climb for the view from the top.
For a taste of local history, head over to the antique cities of Xanthos and Letoon for a day soaking up the centuries-old atmosphere, or make the 50-kilometre trip to Saklikent Gorge for some stunning scenery.
Olu Deniz eating out
There’s obviously lots of Turkish food, but English fare – in particular, some very good steaks – is easily found too. There’s a full range of restaurants, from the chic to the kebab stall, all within easy walking distance.
You’ll find the best shish kebab you’ve ever tasted, along with specialities such as swordfish, stuffed vine leaves, aubergines and tasty dips. Try the fiery raki aniseed drink traditionally served with mezes.
Olu Deniz nightlife
Restaurants and bars are within easy reach but the atmosphere is more relaxed than raucous, with everyone out to enjoy the warm evenings rather than simply swallow as much cheap alcohol as possible.
Rely on the paraglider pilots to know where the best fun is if you’re looking for late nights and a party atmosphere. The bar culture is easy-going and chilled, with good live music and groovy beach tunes wafting across the bay from the resort’s many seafront tavernas.
Olu Deniz shopping
The traders are famous for their perseverance in persuading you to shop at their market stall or store, but once you shed any haggling inhibitions, trying to get a bargain can become a real buzz.
With the main beach promenade lined with small shops, cafes and restaurants, you don’t have to go far to start shopping. Shopaholics will enjoy the larger shops in Fethiye (a 20-minute bus ride away), where the market is the biggest bazaar in the area. Look out for mother of pearl jewellery, leather and suede, cotton, kilims, carpets and carved onyx.`1