2012 Trip #10 - Ölüdeniz, Turkey

14:49 Alyson Tart 2 Comments

This vacation paradise was actually brought to me by my dad. When we decided to move to Turkey, we gave him a book about Turkey so that he could read up on it and plan out a visit to come see us. One of the photos in the book was from Ölüdeniz and he insisted that we/he had to visit.

Unfortunately, he didn't get to make a stop there on their visit (although we did visit the beautiful pools at Pamukkale), but Paul and I were excited to go this past weekend so he could live vicariously through us and because I always love going to the beach.

The area is known for it's beautiful beaches and picturesque landscape. You have the blue beaches surrounded by the majestic mountains, giving you the best of both worlds to enjoy.  We didn't waste much time getting to the beach and went straight away to the water after we arrived at the hotel.  Ölüdeniz translates to "Dead Sea" and you can understand why as soon as you hit the water. It is so salty that you simply float - no need to paddle.

Our first true day, we didn't break a stride and continued with our explorations of the beaches surrounding Ölüdeniz. We checked out Camel's Beach, the nearby Springs (which contrary to our boat guides joke are NOT hot), St. Nick's Island and the famous Blue Lagoon.  The water is clear blue, and great for swimming, even if the beaches are a bit rocky for my taste. My favorite had to be St. Nick's island. Here you can see the remains of the monestary which was the original resting place of St. Nicholas (or who we now know as Santa Clause) - from where our boat anchored, we swam 5 minutes and were able to stand in the ruins of what was once the monastery and see old stones underwater as well.

The shoreline of St. Nicholas' island. You can see some of
monastery ruins on the hillside.

A view of the water and a couple of the "humps" that give
Camel beach it's name

One of the things that I had seen in books and been very interested in viewing was the Lycian tombs. After viewing the tomb at the British Museum in London, I was even more anxious to view them in their natural habitat. Luckily, in Fethiye, a neighboring town to Ölüdeniz, is the start of the Lycian Way. This was my chance to see these famous tombs! I was going to see them, gosh darn it, even if it meant waking up early which was not my vacation preference.

The first stop on our drive towards Fethiye was at Kayaköy, which I had not heard of before our drive. This town, established by Greek Christians in the 18th century, was abandoned at the start of the 20th century. It's eerie compared to ruins like Troy and Ephesus, because with houses scattered all over the hillside, it's almost as if the entire city is intact (with the exception of the roofs). 

The ghost houses at Kayaköy
After our pit stop in Kayaköy , we made it to the Amynthas Rock Tombs on the outskirts of Fethiye. This particular tomb dates back to the 4th century B.C and was made for Amynthas, son of Hemmapias. While there isn't much to see inside, its worth the 5 TL entrance fee to go into the "park" and climb up the steps to the tomb. Here is the only place you can get an idea of the true size of this memorial. 

Amynthas Rock Tombs - this was
definitely a photo op, not because
I needed to catch my breath...

Quick History:
- This area was originally part of the area controlled by Lycians in the 1200-500 BC period.  Lycia's regions are now modern day Antalya and Mugla in Southern Turkey on the Aegean coast.
- Later, Lycia was incorporated as a province into the Roman Empire. After that, it fell under Byzantine rule and down the line to modern day Turkey.
-Oludeniz is one of the most photographed beaches in the Mediterranean.
- Babadağ Mountain, which offers a great take off point for the many paragliders, was called Mount Cragus in ancient times.

What to See:
- The Rock Tombs in Fethiye. If you have more time, check out the larger tombs in Dalyan.
- Views from Above: this area is one of the most popular for paragliding and for good reason. Make sure you find a reputable company which a good safety record.
- Blue Lagoon: this famous beach is great for swimming and people watching. It's a short walk away from the main part of the city.
- Butterfly Valley: this is another famous beach, but a little bit more difficult to get to. You can either take a somewhat gruelling trek (from what I've heard) or reach it via boat.

Getting Around:
- If you fly into the Ölüdeniz/Fethiye area, you will be coming through the Dalaman Airport. It is about a 45 minute drive to Fethiye and 1 hr 15 minute drive to Ölüdeniz. You can take the city bus into Fethiye from here and then another bus into Ölüdeniz, or most hotels can set-up a private transfer for you in advance.
- To get between Ölüdeniz and Fethiye, there is a dolmus that comes every 10-30 minutes for 4TL. This drops you off at the city bus terminal.

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