Sitting in Turkey’s southwest in the Muğla Province, the Turkish resort of Ölüdeniz is famous for good reason.
The natural scenery of the area is breathtakingly beautiful. And it is home to some of the best beaches in the Fethiye area.
Rugged mountains, lush green pine forests. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The famous blue lagoon…
Of course people want to come here!
We’re lucky to have such a place so close to us.
In years gone by, Ölüdeniz was an escape for those who wanted to camp out under the stars in the area’s natural beauty, soaking up a bit of beach life.
Now – love or hate the fact – it’s a fully fledged beach resort. Offering everything you might expect from a beach holiday. And more besides.
Ölüdeniz is arguably Fethiye area’s most famous beach resort. It often features as one of the best beaches in the world in travel articles.
And sits right on Turkey’s stunning Turquoise coast.
Surely reason enough to want to experience all this for yourself.
If you love a beach holiday and are planning a visit to the area anytime, soon, this is our guide to the resort; the top things to do in Ölüdeniz.
And, if you’re like us and beach holidays are just not your thing, then you really should still witness the beauty of Ölüdeniz, whatever the season.
Stay elsewhere in the area and have a day trip (or two) to Ölüdeniz.
Top Things To Do In Ölüdeniz
1. Just Enjoy The Scenery
You’ve just got to see Ölüdeniz if you’re anywhere in the Fethiye area.
Even if you don’t enjoy the ‘tourist scene,’ you’re really missing out if you don’t opt to visit.
The scenery is amazing!
Whether you’re here in high season or the winter months, the ever-changing scenery is spectacular.
If you’re in Ölüdeniz out of season, bar one or two businesses, you’re not going to find much open. But you are going to have all this scenery pretty much to yourself.
Winter is often the time to watch the waves crash onto a deserted Ölüdeniz Beach (real name, Belceğiz) whilst the swirl and swell creates various shades of turquoise.
No photo filters necessery, here!
And, as the sun lowers in the evening sky, whilst the sunset in Ölüdeniz might not be as famous as that of Fethiye’s Çalış Beach, it’s certainly nothing to be sniffed at!
2. Chill Out Around The Famous Blue Lagoon
The Ölüdeniz lagoon is what this area is famous for.
Take a swim in the calm, clear waters or just sunbathe in stunning surroundings.
Ölüdeniz actually translates as ‘Dead Sea’ and this refers to the calm waters of the lagoon.
The water is so calm in the lagoon because it is protected by the sandy promontory, Kumburnu.
This is the promontory that is the poster child for Ölüdeniz. And, of course, for the country’s tourism advertisements.
This area is a national nature reserve. So if you do want to spend time on the beach here – as most people do – there’s a small fee to pay to enter.
This increases if you’re in a vehicle. So we recommend you walk there.
The queues of traffic in the summer months of July and August can be mind-bogglingly long, anyway.
We’ll hold our hands up here and openly admit that we haven’t set foot on this oh-so-famous stretch of sand since our first visit to Turkey in 1998.
We’re just not that beachy.
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy the Ölüdeniz lagoon. See the next point in our list to see how…
3. Check Out The Private Beaches Of The Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon
Visit the private beaches around the far side of the lagoon.
Backed by pine forests climbing up the rocky hillsides, this sandy bay is home to a row of beach clubs.
They offer camping, caravans and beach chalets that are available for overnight stays if you like the outdoor life.
Some also have boutique hotel rooms.
Pay your entrance fee for the use of sun lounger and umbrella for the day.
The restaurants and bars that are part of these beaches have more choice than Kumburnu.
And you can also book sunset and evening meals at the restaurants.
If you harbour dreams of having a beach wedding in Ölüdeniz with the lagoon as your backdrop, these beaches are the perfect place and some offer wedding services.
Some of these beach clubs stay open year round.
So, if crowds and baking hot sunshine are not your thing, head here low season or in winter for drinks and food.
And chill time!
For us, low season and wintertime are the best time to be around the lagoon. This is when you get the waters at their crystal-clear best.
4. Head Out Onto The Water
As you might expect with a beach resort, from the chilled out to the adrenalin water sports, there should be something to entertain you in Ölüdeniz in the summer months.
- The Ölüdeniz lagoon has pedalos and kayaks available – that’s one of the chilled out bits.
- SUP – Stand Up Paddling – work that core and head out onto the Mediterranean Sea to look back over the mountainous views of Ölüdeniz.
- Speed boats are available for rent along Belceğiz Beach (the main, public Ölüdeniz Beach).
- Daily boat trips taking in Butterfly Valley and Gemiler (St. Nicholas) Island. There are full-day boat trips, sunset trips and party boats.
- And, if you need to get away from it all, take the water taxi over to Butterfly Valley (Kelebek Vadısı). Again, the water taxi service leaves from Belceğiz Beach.
5. Underwater Activities
Scuba diving can be arranged through the diving centres in the main resort area of Ölüdeniz.
The diving centres cater for first time divers as well as the more experienced.
6. Take to The Sky
One of the best things to do in Ölüdeniz!
We’ve heard it said many times that Ölüdeniz looks better from above.
Get a bit of height and you can see the landscape of the area and trace the shape of the beautiful coastline.
There are a few ways to get some height in Ölüdeniz.
- Parascending – Fly through the air with the aid of a parachute and a speedboat.
- Paragliding – How have we got so far down our list of things to do in Ölüdeniz without mentioning paragliding? Apart from the lagoon, paragliding is probably what most people think of when they hear the name Ölüdeniz. Lots of companies in the resort doing this activity for reasonable prices.
Ölüdeniz and paragliding go hand in hand.
The resort is known for being the best place in Turkey to do this activity – although it is becoming more popular in other areas, too.
It is also regarded by pilots as one of the best places in the world to do paragliding.
Tandem paragliding, where you share the chute with a pilot is what many people come to Ölüdeniz for.
And it’s certainly considered the best way to see not just the resort but the stunning mountains, coast and cityscape of the whole area.
Your take-off point is Babadağ (Father Mountain), at approximately 1960 metres.
Your descent to the landing point along Ölüdeniz Beach takes around 40 minutes.
And, if you’re feeling brave, your pilot will also ask you if you want to do some swirls over the sea.
Tandem paragliding is dependent on weather conditions.
The company you book your paragliding experience with will inform you of alternative times if weather conditions are not right for your time slot.
Ölüdeniz Air Games
If you want to share the skies over Ölüdeniz with some of the world’s top paragliders, you can do your tandem flights during the International Ölüdeniz Air Games which take place annually, in October.
The Air Games are one of our favourite times to be in Ölüdeniz.
Slightly cooler temperatures but still pleasantly warm sunny days.
A great way to round off the summer season.
7. Walk The Sky
This is Skywalk Fethiye, the cable car route to the summit of Babadağ.
Opened in 2021, it’s sure to become one of the Fethiye area’s top tourist attractions.
Previously, you could only hike or drive to the top of Babadağ.
Now you can go by cable car, stopping off at the 1200 metre point or heading to the top to the paragliding take off point.
There are restaurants at both the 1,200 metre point and just below the summit.
Time your trip so that you can take in the views. And the sunset from the top of Babadağ.
8. Hiking In Ölüdeniz
Trekking is an increasingly popular activity in Turkey. So there are lots of walks to do in the Fethiye area.
For us, high summer is way too hot for hiking. So these are spring, autumn and winter activities.
Try the hike from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz. It only takes a couple of hours.
If you’re in Ölüdeniz, you can do this walk in reverse (although that is tougher due to the steep climb) and end up in Kayaköy; the abandoned Greek village known as the ghost village.
Or, a short ride (or trudge) up the hill from the main ‘Ölüdeniz town’ is the official start point of Turkey’s most famous long distance footpath, the Lycian Way.
This first section – the Ovacık to Faralya stretch – has stupendous views. Both of the coastline and amongst the mountains.
9. Wave Jumping
If you thought Ölüdeniz was all about the clear calm waters of the lagoon, think again.
At certain times of day along the main public Ölüdeniz Beach (Belceğiz Plajı), the Mediterranean summer surf can reach the shore as thunderous, crashing waves.
Sit along the shoreline and enjoy the pummelling. Or swim out a mere 10 metres or so to get to calmer waters.
There’s no shortage of shops to keep holiday shoppers interested in Ölüdeniz.
There’s the usual suspects – the ‘genuine fake’ shops as well as souvenir stores and jewellery shops.
Do also look out for artisan craft stalls, however, where you can buy locally made crafts from handmade jewellery to bags and soaps. You get the picture.
Most of the shops in Ölüdeniz are along the pedestrianised street running perpendicular to the seafront.
11. Check Out The Bars & Restaurants
We did say Ölüdeniz was a fully established beach resort.
That means lots of tourists. And so that means lots of bars and restaurants, too.
Choose one of the terrace bars along the seafront for a bit of people watching – including those harnessed to a parachute as they glide by your terrace!
These bar/restaurants are great for catching the sunset, too.
Be sure to reserve a table, though.
Buzz Beach Bar is legendary in Ölüdeniz – and beyond. But the other terrace bars are great, too.
Because it is a predominantly summer beach resort, prices in Ölüdeniz tend to be higher than those of other bars and restaurants around Fethiye.
However, you’ll still find meals to suit all budgets from local food to international dishes.
Head away from the beachfront for lower prices.
Traditional street foods to fine dining. And no shortage of places where you can grab a quick döner kebab or tasty pide.
12. Take A Day Trip From Ölüdeniz
If you want to really explore the whole Fethiye area and surroundings, check out our comprehensive post about all the things to do and see in Fethiye.
If you’re on Ölüdeniz holidays just to chill, however, and you think you might want to do just a day trip or two in the immediate local area, here are some popular destinations that we’d recommend.
You can get to these places by local dolmuş or taxi.
Kabak is one of our favourite places to spend a couple of nights away in a wooden bungalow. But it’s great for a day trip, too.
In summer, the dolmuş leaves from Ölüdeniz every hour. Kabak is rugged and mountainous with a bohemian vibe.
Come here if you want to enjoy some clear mountain air and views from on high.
A dolmuş runs down to the beach – it’s a hairy journey on a steep dusty track.
There are loads of great places on the hillside on the descent to the beach. But the most popular – and accessible – place for many visitors to the area is the Olive Garden.
If high, winding mountain roads are not your thing, the day trip to Kabak might not be your thing.
Hisarönü & Ovacık
Just a few minutes by dolmuş up the hill from Ölüdeniz, the formerly small village of Hisarönü is a predominantly British holiday resort.
Come here if the summer heat is too stifling.
Temps are a tad fresher up here, which gives you a bit of relief in high season.
Oodles of shops, bars and restaurants with a sprinkling of nightclubs thrown in for good measure. There is nothing low key or understated about Hisarönü.
If you’ve got kids, there’s a fair ground and go karting. Up the road, through Ovacık is Orka World Water Park.
If you like to visit local markets, Hisarönü’s is on Mondays.
Kayaköy – The Ghost Village
Pay the small fee to enter the abandoned Greek village on the hillside of what is today’s Kayaköy.
A moving place where you will clamber amongst the ruins of homes, schools and churches that were left behind during the Greek-Turkish population exchange of 1923.
Footwear more sturdy than your Ölüdeniz beach flip flops is recommended.
Kayaköy is also a working Turkish village.
And, after exploring the ruins, you can grab yourself some traditional Turkish foods – such as our favourite, gözleme.
There are also barbecue restaurants and restaurants serving up Turkish cuisine as well as international dishes.
If Hisarönü sounds like your worst nightmare, stay on the dolmuş until the last stop; nearby Fethiye centre.
A working harbour town; this is our home town. A home town of which we’re very biased about.
Again, there’s more detailed information in our comprehensive article that we linked to above.
But, if you do jump on the dolmuş to spend a day-evening here, the famous huge Fethiye market is every Tuesday.
Take a stroll along Fethiye harbour where you’ll pass snack bars (fish sandwich at Mezgit Cafe is fabulous) and restaurants.
And glimpse the Lycian rock tomb of Amyntas built into the cliff face.
Then cross over the road to Paspatur; Fethiye old town.
Paspatur has lots of welcome shade, shops, bars (Deep Blue is our favourite) and restaurants.
Ölüdeniz, Turkey – FAQs
Yes! Unabashedly so.
It’s a beach resort that caters for all looking for Turkish summer sun.
If you want a less touristy Ölüdeniz, visit outside of high season and appreciate the scenery and hiking.
Ölüdeniz paragliding is also available during some winter months and can be the best time to do the activity as the air is so clear.
The main public Ölüdeniz Beach (Belceğiz Plajı) is shingle. If you want a sandy beach, head to the lagoon.
To the east of the main Ölüdeniz Beach, 4 kilomtres away is Kıdrak Bay. This is a mix of sand and shingle.
Well, Ölüdeniz is one of the main destinations for weddings. So we’d have to say yes!
If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife as well as a beach holiday, it’s perfect.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, however, check out the mountainside boutique hotels of Faralya 15 kilometres away, along the coast.
There’s a huge choice of family hotels in Ölüdeniz that have activities to keep the kids occupied.
And obviously, there’s a famous blue lagoon and beaches, too.
Ölüdeniz is an established beach resort where many waiters speak various languages (especially English). And restaurants have children’s menus.
It depends what you want from your time in the area.
If you want an out-and-out beach holiday, Ölüdeniz holidays are for you.
If you want a slice of local life in a working harbour town that is a transport hub and also happens to be very good at catering for travellers and holidaymakers, too, then Fethiye’s the place to stay.
If you’re looking to book summer Ölüdeniz holidays then be aware that the vast majority of businesses only open for the season in May.
If you just want to appreciate Ölüdeniz for the scenery and you come in April, you will have the beaches almost to yourself.
And a small handful of bars and restaurants will be open, too.
Ölüdeniz operates a summer season pretty much centred around international direct flights to Dalaman.
October is when the season is coming to an end in Ölüdeniz and things are starting to wind down a bit.
However, this is a great time to be in the resort. Most hotels and restaurants are still open. And this is when the Air Games take place. And the heat isn’t unbearable.
How To Get To Ölüdeniz
- In summer, the (air-conditioned) dolmuş leaves from Fethiye dolmuş station every few minutes (less frequent in winter) and goes via the resorts of Ovacık and Hisarönü.
- If you’re planning a night out, check with the driver what time the last one leaves. At the moment – high season – the last dolmuş back to Fethiye is around 2am (1am from Fethiye to Ölüdeniz).
- Always check with the driver if you don’t want to end up in a taxi.
From Fethiye Otogar (Main Bus Station)
- If you are travelling by intercity bus from elsewhere in Turkey, to visit Ölüdeniz, your bus will take you to Fethiye Otogar; the main bus station.
- From here, you can either get a taxi to Ölüdeniz or you can exit the bus station and take the dolmuş.
- The dolmuş to Ölüdeniz stops outside the bus station and will have Ölüdeniz written in the window.
From Dalaman Airport
- Dalaman Airport is the nearest airport to Ölüdeniz. If you’ve booked a package holiday, your transfer will most often be arranged by your tour operator.
- If you’ve booked a hotel in Ölüdeniz independently, some hotels will do a private transfer for you for a fee.
- In Ölüdeniz and the wider Fethiye area, there are also lots of airport transfer services where you can book a private car or minibus to pick you up.
- Under your own steam, take the shuttle bus from the airport to the otogar (main bus station) and then take the dolmuş or taxi from there to Ölüdeniz.