The Turkish "Dead Sea"                                 Population: 2,000

olud1If there’s one place that almost every visitor to Fethiye heads for it has to be Ölüdeniz (“Dead Sea”), the beautiful lagoon that lies just a little way to the southeast with a public beach callled Belcekiz right beside it.

Ölüdeniz is almost too lovely for its own good. The lagoon itself together with its soft sandy beaches has been protected from development behind a paywall although a solid horsehoe of plastic sun loungers mean that you can no longer appreciate it in its natural state.

To protect Belcekiz beach from yet more hotel-building, a decision was made to force all new development uphill to the Hisarönü-Ovacık area. There unplanned, haphazard building work has created a settlement so ugly you’ll need to close your eyes as the dolmuş whizzes past on its way down to Belcekiz. All that will soon be forgotten as you stretch out on the sand and let the sun beat a rhythm on your back.

The good news is that Belcekiz seems to be slowly repositioning itself further upmarket. There may still be plenty of cheap cafes and sounvenir stalls near the dolmuş stop and inland from the beach but at its eastern end things are looking rather swisher than in the past, with the Plaza Restaurant offering an inviting menu of Indian food which, sadly, I didn't have time to sample. Even the long-lived Buzz Bar is looking a lot classier in the new blue and white livery that is almost de rigueur along the coast these days.

Tandem paragliding

If modern Cappadocia is synonymous with hot-air ballooning, Belcekiz has become just as intimately associated with paragliding, it being many visitors’ idea of a great adventure to launch themselves off the top of Baba Dağı (Mt Baba, 1976m) before coming to rest on the beach. If that sounds like what you’re after, just remember that accidents have happened, and make sure you choose a reputable operator.olud2


This is solid package-holiday territory with solid ranks of perfectly pleasant small hotels, many of them with pools, running back from the beach. In high summer the main problem is that if you open your bedroom window you will be assailed by different music from all sides.

In amongst them are a handful of boutique hotels:

Jade Residence

Meri Hotel

Oyster Residences

Paradise Garden Hotel

faralya1Transport info

Dolmuşes between Fethiye and Ölüdeniz via Hisarönü-Ovacık are fast and furious with departures every three minutes at peak times. There are much less freqent timetabled services up to Faralya and Babadağ too.

For Kayaköy you will probably need to change dolmuşes in Hisarönü.

Every day in summer fleets of gülets (yachts) set sail on cruises around the bay usually calling in at Butterfly Valley and St Nicholas' Island. Check what the pric includes before booking.

In high summer there are also a few daily boats to and from Butterly Valley from Ölüdeniz beach. 

Day trip destinations

Butterfly Valley







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