Last stop on our Turkey trip is a beautiful beach town in the South of Turkey. Oludeniz is a popular destination known for its famous blue lagoon, boat trips, scuba diving, ancient ruins and more. It’s a place that all Turkish people I’ve met have told me is a must.
They were right. From the high Badabag mountains, to the impossibly turquoise waters, this place gives Cape Town a run for its money. Any Turkey travelers seeking a chilled out beach stop with one of the best paragliding venues in the world, look no further than this Oludeniz.
When to visit Oludeniz?
Oludeniz enjoys a Mediterranean climate which means the seasons are varied. The high season of tourism in Oludeniz starts after Easter and ends at the end of October. During these months, you can expect very comfortable and warm temperatures.
The busy months of July and August should be avoided because you’ll see an insane amount of people (especially from the UK) flooding the beaches of Oludeniz chilling in places like Buzz Beach bar.
The shoulder season months are the best in my opinion. May and June, as well as September and October make for an amazing experience. You have the beautiful Oludeniz beach without the huge crowds and the Blue Lagoon is much more enjoyable ot visit.
Getting to Oludeniz
Oludeniz is not an easy place to get to. The town is small, and secluded from most of the major cities. Nevertheless, this town is a HGUE tourist hot spot for British people and most things in the town are quoted in Lira and pounds. There are direct flights from the UK to Dalaman, the closest airport to Oludeniz.
Where do you fly into for Ölüdeniz?
Dalaman Airport (IATA: DLM, ICAO: LTBS) is an international airport and the main gateway to the Southwestern Turkish coastal resorts. It is located in the Dalaman district of Muğla Province, in southwestern Turkey, about 140 km (87 mi) east of Marmaris and 90 km (56 mi) southwest of Fethiye.
Airlines that fly into Dalaman Airport:
– Turkish Airlines
– Pegasus Airlines
– Onur Air
From the airport, you can either take a bus or a taxi to Oludeniz. We took the bus and it was about an hour ride. The buses in Turkey are actually really nice! They have free WiFi and they’re air-conditioned.
If you’re planning on taking a bus from Istanbul to Oludeniz, I would recommend booking your tickets in advance. We tried to book our tickets the day of and all the buses were sold out. We ended up taking an overnight bus, which wasn’t too bad, but it would have been nice to have arrived during the day.
By Bus to Oludeniz
Immediately following our Pamukkale day tour, we discussed with our tour guide that we needed to take a bus from Denizli (the closest city to Pamukkale), to Fethiye, the closest city to Oludeniz. There are a few companies that run this service, and we ended up buying our bus tickets at the bus station two hours before departure. The bus ride was 3.5 hours and overall, was a positive experience. Since our bus ride was so short, we did not get to ride in one of the luxury buses with wifi and fully reclined seats.
By Air from Dalaman Airport
The easiest option for all tourists is to fly from Istanbul to Dalaman. Turkish Airline and Pegasus fly this route regularly and a ticket can be purchased for around 100-150L. From Dalaman, take a taxi (about 50 Euros), or book a shuttle on Shuttle Direct for a much cheaper fare to Oludeniz. It’s takes 45-60min.
Take a Dolmus from Fethiye to Oludeniz
From Fethiye to Oludeniz is a breeze thanks to the Dolmus, Turkey’s version of a cheap group taxi. Before I got here, the picture I had in my mind of a Dolmus were the beat up taxi’s in South Africa or the Daladala’s in Zanzibar that look more fit to carry old furniture than people. Oh, how I was wrong. Dolmus in Turkey are large, and comfortable. They follow a certain route, usually along the main road. They make a few stops along the way but if you need to get out somewhere along its route, just tell the driver and he’ll stop. We caught one at 10pm and felt 100% safe. For 5L a person, we took a 20 min dolmus ride from Fethiye bus station to Oludeniz.
Where we stayed in Oludeniz
Oludeniz is a beach getaway for Turkish and Europeans alike. It’s about as close as the UK has to a mexico beach getaway. Because of this, there are tons of places for all budgets in Oludeniz and Fethiye. Either town is a great option but Oludeniz is right next to the beach and there are no beaches in Fethiye. Oludeniz is not your typical Turkish town; it is very much catered towards tourism.
High Season vs Low Season in Oludeniz
The season here runs from Easter to early November mainly because the winters can get cold. Most hotels are closed during the off-season, along with most of the restaurants and shops.
We came here in mid April and the town was dead. Most of the shops and restaurants were being renovated and the town resembled more of a construction area than a beach resort. Rest assured, EVERYONE in this town told me another month and the streets would be shoulder to shoulder on a Friday night. Hard to Believe.
We ended up staying in one of the few hotels that were open in April. We wanted to be close to the beach and this hotel was our best option. For about 50 Euros a night, we stayed in a decent room, with all food provided (important during this time of year as no restaurants were open), and we could walk to the beach in five minutes.
This exclusive hotel had great views of the ocean and an amazing swimming pool that we could use when we didn’t want to swim in the ocean.
If money is of no concern, be sure to check out Lykia World. It’s a hotel in its own cove about 5 minutes driving from Oludeniz. You can see it from Oludeniz Beach and the accommodation at this resort as supposed to be terrific is world class with an amazing swimming pool. Last I heard, the rooms here start at 150 euros a night.
Admire the Lycian Rock Tombs of Tlos
The Tlos Ruins are among the most visited places in the region, ideal if someone is looking to escape the crowds but have some beautiful ruins on the site.
The tombstones lie on the hill overlooking the town of Tlos. The Lycian build these graves around the 4th century AD – and this building resembles the Lycian building. Keep in mind to stay for an hour to half an hour in the tomb for a proper tour!
The journey from Fthiye to the Rock Tombs of Tlos takes around 35 minutes, is scenic and offers good views of the countryside.
Prices: approximately $11.5 Hours of operation: 9:00-18:00.
Day trip to Patara, the longest beach in Turkey
Patara Beach is Turkeys longest beaches and is surprisingly never built.The sand dunes are in part as well as ancient Patera towns nearby. It’s also one of the last beaches on planets where caretta sea turtle nests are still laying eggs.
Its location is therefore protected in the National Park. Patara beaches are less than 1-hour away from Fethiye. Make sure you plan a minimum of four hours on the beach so that you enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, we did not go for long because we arrived late for our flight. Time for Turtle viewing between May and Oct.
Ride the cable car from Oludeniz to Babadag mountain
The Oludeniz cable car takes you from Oludeniz to Babadag’s highest point and from here you get a breathtaking 360 degree view. This new attraction will continue to improve over the years.
The mountain is divided into various levels that allow for eating or drinking while enjoying the view. The Cable car lead you through first exit at 1200 metres and second at 1800 metres. From here you can go higher with the chairlift. The trail goes much further from the chairlift to the top of the mountain, but is not open during our trip.
Visit the beach of Oludeniz
The water color is nothing short of spectacular at ölüdeniz beach. It is more turquoise than any water I’ve seen in my life. Oludeniz, which means “dead sea”, gets its name as the water here is so incredibly calm, even during storms.
I couldn’t see a single wave in any direction the entire time I was here. The water temperature is a bit cold in April but still doable on a sunny day. In the summer, this water is perfect to swim in so expect the large crowds.
While it is a beautiful beach, the sand is not great however. Unlike the perfect white and soft beaches of other places in the Mediterranean like the wonderful Ionian islands in Greece, the beach is more pebbles than sand. Nevertheless, the pebbles are small and is comfortable to lay and walk on.
Blue Lagoon of Oludeniz
Not to be confused with the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, This semi-circle stretch of sandy beach (not pebbles here) is famous and has been published in numerous travel magazines.
I wasn’t all that impressed with the scenery here as the water loses its impossibly turquoise hue. Nevertheless, the Blue Lagoon is adjacent to the town and worth a visit. I’m told it gets very crowded during the high season.
Island Cruise Boat Tour
Hanging out at the beach, you’ll see boats docked all over. These boats go on day trips along the peninsula every day. We did the Oludeniz six island tour and paid 40L a person (lunch included). This trip visits famous destinations in Oludeniz like Butterfly valley, the Blue Lagoon, Father mountain, and various other destinations in this protected national park.
You can book these simply by walking to the beaches and asking the numerous operators there about boat trips.
It was nice to get out onto the water in a boat but our tour was PACKED. There must have been at least fifty people on a boat that is meant to comfortable seat half that. If you’re visiting Oludeniz in the shoulder seasons, I would recommend doing this trip but otherwise avoid it because of the huge crowds.
I would however, recommend chartering a private boat on a sunny day. If there weren’t’ as many people as there was on our trip, it’d be a much better experience as there really are some incredible places to see like Butterfly Valley.
Tandem Paragliding from the Badabag Mountains
Once the beach gets boring, there are a few activities to be done here, none of which are more amazing than the paragliding from the Badabag mountains. This is without a doubt the most popular activity in all of Oludeniz and an absolute must do.
From a launch point of almost 2km above sea level, we had some breathtaking views of the scenery. The paragliding here is easily one of the top few in the world. No questions asked, this was something I had to do. Like any other tour in Turkey, finding the right deal and bargaining down is key. I paid 170L per flight but one of the girls in our time slot got it for 120L as a special deal from her hostel.
Whatever you pay is totally worth it! The meeting point is at ölüdeniz beach and we rode up with our guides who had done it thousands of times and told us to rest assured and everything would be fine. After half an hour or so, we reach our launch point. There are three launch points of different altitudes that the guides will choose depending on the weather and you won’t feel short of altitude at any one. We get set up within 5 minutes and then we’re being told to run straight off the cliff!
The scenery is absolutely stunning. I could see everything, even see as far as the Greek island of Rhodes. From above, the water just looks like a giant turquoise canvas as the waters here are as calm as a pond. The mountains in the background are a perfect backdrop and we’re so high up that the city is just a dots. The wind is a little chilly but with Paragliding is not scary at all. Once you jump off the cliff, it is smooth sailing all the way down.
The ride lasts about 30-40 minutes depending on the wind. The pilot will bring a gopro with him to snap up some cool pics but absolutely be sure to bring your own camera. They wanted to charge us 100L for the videos and pictures which is just insane. If I hadn’t taken my own pictures, I would have had no choice but to buy their pictures (they are quite good however).
Video of our Turkey Trip including the paragliding
We spent a total of three nights in Oludeniz. I wish we had come here a week later as there is a ferry that runs from Fethiye to the Greek island, Rhodes for a day trip! Nevertheless, our entire 10 days spent in Turkey felt like a blur because it was so short and we did so much. There is so much to see in Turkey that I will definitely need to come back some day.
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