It was winter time but the beach was so beatufil, just the escenic was perfect. No people arround, was perfect!
It was winter time but the beach was so beatufil, just the escenic was perfect. No people arround, was perfect!
Although very clean and catering great food, it's a self contained hoilday resort designed to extract your cash. The beach is good but the pebbles make it hard to get in and out of the sea. Good area for couples and families and maybe single girls if you like Turkish guys but not the best place for a group of lads.
I stayed in Oludeniz for two weeks in September 2011. Was really looking forward to the holiday as the photographs I had seen looked stunning and I had heard that it's a great place.
I travelled with my sister and must say we were hugely disappointed. We found the resort claustophobic, not at all picturesque (although I have no doubt it looks beautiful whilst paragliding from way above) and just full of Brits. It is a resort built around an over rated lagoon and beach that is nothing special. Yes, we were in Turkey but we could have been anywhere in the sun.
It also seemed that people thought there was something majorly wrong with you if you didn't agree with them when they said that they thought "It was paradise!" (a phrase we heard many times) We did bump into other people who felt the same as we did about the place but it felt like we had to speak in hushed tones to avoid the Oludeniz lovers backlash! I can appreciate that people do love the place but it is ok surely if you disagree?
Also got a lot of hassle to go into bars etc.. mainly from a particular person so we made a detour and just avoided him as he was quite rude, were followed back to the hotel several nights by a man who had a T Shirt on which stated where he worked. This felt really uncomfortable and we went to our rep about this. Her response wasnt that great to be honest and she left us saying that maybe we had lead somebody on!? (we had not even been to his place of work) and that we were not to worry as she had been trained into what should happen if someone had been raped!! Wasn't the kind of response we had expected at all! However this was one person and I do not want this comment to put anyone if they want to visit. I say again, this was one man and I don't want this to be seen as a reflection on the turkish people (I am sure we have all had uncomfortable experiences back home) as the people we met there were on the whole lovely. We did meet some wonderful people who worked there but will not be back. It's not my kind of place but I do know that there are thousands who would disagree with me and not like the kind of holiday that I enjoy.
We did go on a couple of boat trips that we thoroughly enjoyed and got us out of the resort for a couple of days.
We went in winter - so there was nobody else - it was paradise - its pure magic - loved it . Its famous for a reason - it must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Do mot visit Turkey without seeing it. Im sure during season it must be hectically busy.
This is an attempt at a fairly comprehensive review of Oludeniz, especially for people who haven’t visited before. Descriptions of Oludeniz sometimes include the original township set some distance back from the sea at the head of the valley, but in practical terms if you are visiting the area for the first time it is better to recognise that there are three distinct element that go together to make this tourist resort. Oludeniz is a tourist resort on the coast with the much lauded Blue Lagoon a few hundred metres to the right along the sea front as you walk down to it. You can choose accommodation here which is something I would recommend if you decide to visit Oludeniz, or around 15 minutes ride away by dolmus (a minibus service the runs every 10-15 minutes between Oludeniz and Fethiye) in one of the tourist resorts further inland at Hissaronou and Ovacik. These two resorts are sometimes promoted by travel agents as being quieter and ‘up in the mountains’ which is the way they have been described to us. However, while they are quieter than the centre of Oludeniz in a busy period these are not secluded hamlets in an Alpine setting, they are thronged with the same kinds of restaurant and gift shop that can be found in Oludeniz and while the ‘mountains’ do pretty much surround them don’t expect Austrian grandeur or the gentle majesty of the Lake District. The Lycian way, a long distance path, can be accessed more readily from Ovacik but these resorts don’t really have much in the way of attractions in themselves. They don’t have the ruins or market to be found in Fethiye or the beach, lagoon and boat trips to be found in Oludeniz. If you want something to do I would suggest you consider staying in Oludeniz itself where you can stroll down to the sea and avoid the time and cost of repeated dolmus trips. In busy periods and especially if you have a child buggy or find walking difficult, you can find yourself waiting to avoid standing room only even though the dolmus is so frequent.
So what is Oludeniz like. Well it is in a beautiful part of Turkey but it isn’t quiet and traditional. You will find more places offering a full English breakfast here than in most English towns and if you really enjoy football it’s unlikely you’ll have to miss a match (one to bear in mind if you are a football widow at home). To get your bearings have a look on Google Maps or Google Earth for example before you go, but essentially Oludeniz is laid out on a rough grid with 4 roads heading down towards the sea. The one over to the far left as you face the sea (Kidirak Cd) is quiet and mainly for access to the coast road or the drive up away from the front for paragliders heading back to the road for Mount Babadag. The main road is Carsi Cd running right up through the middle of Oludeniz and crossing Kidirak Cd which curves around to cross through Oludeniz and to join the road on the opposite side of the town leading out of the valley. As you drive down to Oludeniz, especially at night, it’s this central road, Carsi Cd that is the most obvious thoroughfare. The crossroads where it meets Kidirak Cd is the location of the Karbel Sun hotel and from this point down to the sea front is where you will find the densest concentration of restaurants, shops and tour agents.
For shopping there are some general stores here, most of which are seasonal so, as with the restaurants and gift shops you may find them closing down if you visit in the last week of the holiday season. Just over half way down on the right is the Azda supermarket, the main store here, to be found down an escalator. The prices here are reasonable and only slightly higher at most of the other smaller markets in town. If you need water shoes to nail varnish this is a place worth trying though there are alternatives if you don’t want to walk down that far such as the smaller Karbel Market opposite the Karbel Sun Hotel on the crossroads. For restaurants you are pretty much spoiled for choice though many of them offer the same dishes with prices generally increasing a few lira as you get closer to the sea. Rather than list the main ones here it would be simpler to do a quick search on Trip Advisor to compare them and see what is available. However, if you are looking for a nice bar with a great view of the Oludeniz sunsets that can also offer a very nice meal I would strongly recommend Buzz Bar on the front and along to the right as you come to the end of Carsi Cd. Head upstairs here and head for one of the front tables or around and down a few steps to find the seats with the best views. This is a great place to relax and very attentive. On chilly evenings you may well find a small pile of fleeces left out for people to cover themselves with. For sheer value take a walk to the left at the end of Carsi Cd and at certain times the Belcek Plaza hotel opens itself up to offer a buffet to non-residents. For 30TL each you can eat as much as want, drinks are included and the food is very very good, with changes to the offerings each evening. The gift shops generally offer the same souvenirs though there are some pretty good jewellery shops on the main street and a few offering more expensive souvenirs. It is possible to find plenty of copies though, be it bags, shirts or DVDs and while haggling isn’t as common as some would suggest they do still want your business, especially as the season is coming to a close so it’s nothing ventured nothing gained. The trick is to know how much you really want the item (are you prepared to walk away?), then offer perhaps half the asking price without feeling embarrassed about it in spite of the shocked reaction you might get. Be prepared to work up as the seller comes down and note any good reasons why the item isn’t worth the full price. You wouldn’t expect Fred Perry quality in a copy but if there is any slight defect in the stitching it’s worth pointing out if you would still buy the item at a lower price. At the end of the day you’ll either be offered a price you can accept or you’ll have to decide whether to give in or walk away.
Money and other services
There are a couple of pharmacies one being a few metres from the Karbel Market and close to the 24 doctor’s surgery located across the street. Along Carsi Cd there are two to three opticians offering cut prices spectacles, prescription sunglasses and free eye tests. If you choose to visit one of these it would make sense to do so at the start of your trip to give you chance to try what you buy and have time to return if you are unhappy with it. These are not optometrists though which is what you will be visiting at home, they are just shops that have the technical capability to take your current glasses and work out the prescription from them. Your new glasses will be produced within 24 to 48 hours if needed using this result. If you want an eye test you can expect to have an appointment made with a doctor in Fethiye and the shop may well offer to take you there and back. If you are only in the resort for a week the extra time this will take is something you should ask about to see if you can fit it in. At the time of writing a pair of decent prescription sunglasses cost about £120. That is in sterling, not Turkish Lira.
Most places in Oludeniz will accept Turkish Lira, Sterling or Euros and these as well as US dollars are available between the cash machines in Oludeniz. At the crossroads of Carsi CD and Kadiri Cd, by the Karbel Sun Hotel, is a cash machine. One the opposite side of the road around 80m down are three more, one of which belongs to the HSBC and offers sterling. Around half way down on the right is a single ATM and at the end of the road, near Harry’s Bar is another. The last road down to the sea in Oludeniz, leading down to the Dolmus stop, is Belcegiz Cd and there are three more ATMs just around the corner here. One thing to watch when paying for things here is where items or trips are priced in sterling for example but you choose to pay in Turkish Lira. Make sure you check the current exchange rate or you may well find the shop owner offering a very poor rate of exchange when he or she makes the calculation. There are two ‘Change Shops’ on the main street where the exchange rate we found varied between 2.8 and 2.86 TL to the pound, but on calculating the rate offered by one of the trip operators when I asked to pay in lira it worked out at 2.5TL to the pound, the trip being advertised in sterling. That’s not unlike the rate you would be offered at the airport where rates are notoriously poor. There’s nothing wrong with pointing this out and plenty of competition if they won’t budge.
One of the things you may well want to do to see the area if you don’t hire a car is visit one of the trip agencies that cluster along the main streets of Oludeniz. There are lots of them. It pays to shop around but by and large there are some good ones and some that are really poor. As a rule of thumb if it looks and sounds a bit ‘tacky’ and there are lots of promises and quite a hard sell then what you are being sold will be worse. One example of this that we experienced and that gets frequent bad Trip Advisor reports is Bloody Gorgeous on the main street. We experienced a well practiced hard sell and numerous promises to sell us a jeep safari. What we got delivered virtually none of what we were told we could expect. As an example, the 45 minutes we were promised to explore the ancient remains at Tlos turned into 20 minutes having our photos taken by the ‘tour photographer’ (available at extra cost) and 15 minutes standing on the roadside after being told there wasn’t time to go in. Take care and do your Trip Advising before you go if you want to try and avoid this. Bear in mind too that these are agents, not the tour operators so most of them will be booking people onto the same coaches sometimes at different prices. Along the beach a little way towards the Blue Lagoon the tour boats are moored. There are trips such as the 12 Islands offering relaxing times and plenty of swimming opportunities through to the shorter evening sunset cruises. Again it pays to do a little research but if you choose one bear in mind that you won’t be boarding the boat from a jetty but straight from the beach up a gangway lowered from the boat. Much of the time this isn’t a problem but the beach at Oludeniz shelves quite sharply just a few metres out causing the surf to rise quite sharply at times as it hits the beach. This can lead to the gangway lifting up and down by as much as two metres or so. The crew will be on hand to help you time your step onto it and I’ve seen them carrying children on board and making it look easy, but if you struggle to walk it might be something to ask about beforehand and make sure your footwear won’t come off. I sat and watched several sandals go adrift as people boarded a couple of boats when the sea actually looked pretty calm but the boats were being lifted quite sharply by the surf.
The Blue Lagoon
This is one of the best well known spots in Oludeniz, actually a few hundred metres along the sea front. The road forks here, the right hand road leading to the hotels around the back of the lagoon, while to the left is a cabin where you purchase a token to enter the lagoon area that allow you to pass through the turnstiles. These take your token so if you leave you can’t just go back in, you have to buy another token at 5TL each. There are toilets, showers and changing cabins as the path leads down to the spit at the entrance to the lagoon. To the right through the trees here is the lagoon itself with a line of sunbeds, but the trees provide a good deal of shade and this makes the spot less popular for those wanting sun. The water is very shallow here and possibly better for children. On the seaward side there are more sun loungers (just pick yours, get a mattress and decide if you want a parasol which is extra) that get much more sunshine. A lounger and parasol at the time of writing is 9TL. A limited range of food and drink is available here and there are tables, some of which are under cover. The system is a little odd though. Decide what you want then go to the little cabin in front to pay for it where you will be given a ticket for each item. You then take the tickets to the appropriate part of the counter and hand them over to be served. The beach here, as along the main stretch in front of Oludeniz is shingle near the sea, backed by coarse sand and very quickly shelves to about chest height maybe 3-4 metres out. As a final point pedalos can be hired here.
This has to be one of the most well known activities in Oludeniz with the 2000m Mount Babadag providing a great launch site. The first question anyone contemplating this is likely to ask is whether it’s safe. The simple answer is no, not 100%. There have been accidents but this isn’t the whole story. Simply travelling to Turkey isn’t safe either. There are road accidents, air crashes and the like but you put it in proportion when you decide to travel. The tandem paragliding is no different. Choose an established company like Sky Sports or Gravity and you can check through Trip Advisor what you can expect. Perhaps the best I can do here is to describe a tandem paraglide. To begin with it took a fourth attempt to make a flight with Gravity (don’t ask when they ‘jump’, they are pilots not parachutists and take the difference seriously), because the first three were cancelled due to wind or cloud conditions, and on one of those we had already been driven up to the launch point. This in itself says there is a safety consciousness at work. There are 3 launch points, the main one that you will see on the internet as a paved curving slope at 1770m, a lower one normally closed to commercial flying at 900m that is sometimes used when conditions prevent flying from the main launch site and the peak at 2000m up near the weather station. In my case I was really pleased to find we stopped at the latter to get ready. About three minutes after stepping out of the mini bus I was being strapped to the seat then left to take a few snaps while my pilot got ready. He then asked me to help unroll the canopy which I waddled down like a rather large duck to do, after which he quickly clipped us together. The instructions were, “When I say, just start walking forwards and don’t sit back until I tell you.” I heard the canopy billow up behind us, he said “Now walk” and within 2-3 metres my feet were off the ground, we seemed to go up a little then swoop slightly forward and we were off. All I can tell you is that there was so much to see, it felt free and it was absolutely BRILLIANT! There are descriptions elsewhere on Trip Advisor about paragliding so this isn’t the place to detail my flight, but it was well worth it. Shortly before landing my pilot pushed my helmet back on and just told me to keep my feet up until the last minute when we would suddenly slow down. As we came in it seemed very fast, even when it felt like I could have put my feet down, but following the advice I kept them up, we suddenly seemed to pull up very quickly and I just ‘stepped’ onto the ground. It was easy. I have seen people sliding along the see front for 4-5 metres and one who even landed with one leg on each side of a waste bin, but all that seemed to be hurt was the pilot’s ego. All in all I would say give it a go. I saw children do it and a gentleman well past retirement age and we each enjoyed it. The cost for me was £56 and that includes insurance though adding insurance on my travel policy just to be on the safe side was only about £3.60 for each day I would have wanted to fly. Incidentally, you may read about the ‘hair raising’ trip up the mountain. Personally I enjoyed it. I would guess the average speed was about 35-40mph and there are parts of the road where the tyres were probably close to the edge and on one occasion we cut a corner and loosed some pebbles, but, and it’s an important but, these people aren’t suicidal and the pilots average five flights a day in decent conditions. To them the trip up is just the drive to work and there isn’t a collection of wrecked minibuses anywhere along the route. I would advise that you concentrate on enjoying the view and don’t worry too much about the stories. An alternative, if you want to take to the air is to opt for a microlight flight. These too are advertised in Oludeniz at about the same price as a tandem paraglide. The flights last about 30 minutes and in 2012 could take one of four routes, such as a flight over Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon or heading off for Kayakoy.
If you decide to visit right at the end of the season be prepared for a greater chance of poor weather and generally cooler temperatures, though nothing chilly unless you get up into the mountains. The local restaurants, stores and stalls at this stage also become a little more open to haggling though it will still be hard to beat a Fethiye market bargain. In the last fortnight the very first restaurants, those that have struggled to find enough custom, will start to close and in the last week you will find yourself walking round and restaurants or stores that you had thought of visiting will no longer be there. Some will be pruning back the trees, dismantling and packing up tables as staff shake hands, hug and touch heads before leaving to go their separate ways, perhaps to restaurants in Istanbul or just back to businesses in Fethiye. On local optician located on the main road supplements his income in winter months by trading in dried fruits, such is the seasonal nature of work and business for many here. At this time look out for final night buffets at restaurants where you can eat as much as you like for little more than the cost of a normal main dish. Remember too that it’s possible to get better deals on some of the trips around this time as the operators seek out what business is left. Some of the trips will start to be discounted and it’s a good time to shop around, but stay wary as the agents who go for a hard sell and don’t deliver what you thought will still be there. By this time the sunset cruises will also be marked down.
For anyone who chooses to pay a visit to ‘Butterfly Valley’ a local beauty spot a short boat ride up the coast or a bus and steep clamber down to the valley, the boat is definitely the easier option. This isn’t the place to detail it, but you should be a little wary of who sells you a ticket. The short stretch of beach where the boats moor is also home to the hard sell and you could find yourself buying a ticket for the local water taxi up to Butterfly Valley from someone who has no direct connection with it or even wants to sell you a ticket on a different boat trip altogether! The simplest way to avoid this is to watch for the boat coming in and to wander over and ask the times. On your chosen day wait for the boat and buy your ticket from someone off the boat. In our case we bought a ticket from a man who assured us he was the agent for it but were then given another ticket from a man who worked on the boat, very unhappy that we’d bought one elsewhere and who stalked off up the beach to find him and presumably get the money. As with the boat trips mentioned above, this small one can ride high in the surf and water shoes would be advisable to board it.
This is Oludeniz. There will be things you think of that I’ve not covered but I’ve tried to hit the main points. For details on trips have a look through the relevant Trip Advisor reviews. We met many people who come back here more than once a year and have done so for several years. On the other hand you may find it a bit too ‘touristy’ and decide you want something more ‘Turkish’ next time you visit the country. Whichever group you fall into the area has beauty and attractions and is worth a visit. I hope you enjoy yours.