Exploring the Turquoise Side of Turkey – Ölü Deniz
There’s something totally indulgent about leaving clouds and rain back home and heading for hot sunshine, beautiful beaches and turquoise waters. That’s exactly what I did the other day, and the destination was Ölü Deniz in South Western Turkey.
Ölü Deniz is famous for its stunning turquoise lagoon and beautiful beaches. The name literally means Dead Sea due to the calmness of its waters.
It has been declared by many to be amongst the top 5 beaches in the world and it’s more beautiful in real life than in any photo you might find, with its intense, varying shades of turquoise and aquamarine. It’s also very close to Fethiye, which was were we were staying, and is situated at the junction of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
Whilst we were there we took a traditional Turkish “Gulet” boat cruise and first of all set off for a charming little beach called Butterfly Bay.
We anchored in the crystal clear waters of the beach and went off to explore.
We went behind the beach into the canyon where there is a butterfly reserve in this beautifully picturesque area of South Western Turkey.
The butterly nature reserve is home to various species but it as it was out of season, I didn’t manage to spot any! However, walking through the canyon amongst the huge boulders and undergrowth was really interesting, so I continued towards the waterfall until it was clear my footwear (and my nerves) weren’t up to the job, and decided to avoid the climbing part and headed back to the beach.
After a good swim in the extremely buoyant water, the captain signalled we should get back on board and he headed back to Ölu Deniz lagoon where we shored up. He had hoped to show us a few more bays and islands but the wind had got up on the open seas and he decided this was the best course of action.
Back in the lagoon we did some more more swimming and sunbathing and before tucking in to a magnificent lunch of barbecued lamb and fish with grilled peppers and aubergines, pasta in a tomato sauce and lots of salads. It was all very simple but really fresh and it tasted absolutely divine.
The lamb was juicy and spicy and the fish was a local fish called bonita which is very rich and meaty. After a lazy lunch we swam some more and chilled on deck.
Later on we went by minibus high above Ölü Deniz and and admired the stunning coastline and the lush national park surrounding it. There is in fact a route called the Lycian Way which is a long-distance footpath which takes in all these views.
After a wonderful day out on the boat we headed back to the hotel before going to the fish market in Fethiye for dinner. The fish market was bustling and noisy, packed with tables full of people eating, drinking and chatting, each set of tables owned by one of the restaurants operating there.
All around are the usual fish market stalls and after choosing you fish you go to one of the restaurants where they seat you and whilst your fish is being prepared you sit down to a vast array of Turkish mezze.
The food was delicious and plentiful! Here is a short video of the fish market with its restaurants.
Even for the non fish eaters amongst us they managed to find some tasty fare!
After politely refusing desserts, they insisted we try a local speciality of baked halva with chopped nuts on top. It was extremely rich and sweet and in a strange way mildly addictive – though it was probably at least a million calories! It was then back to the hotel to get some rest before the next adventure. Stay tuned to see other interesting places close to Fethiye that we also explored.
The area around Ölu Deniz and South Western Turkey is very different to the bustling cities of Istanbul and Ankara and the pace of life seems very relaxed and laid back. The scenery was stunning, the people friendly and hospitable and the food so fresh and tasty. I will definitely be back!
For more information on Ölu Deniz and South Western Turkey please contact Türkei Tourismus or your local travel agent.
NewInZurich was a guest of Türkei Tourismus but all views are entirely our own.