Turkey’s poster child
Once a hideaway for pirates and smugglers, Olu Deniz – on Turkey’s southwest coast – doesn’t bury its treasures anymore. The Blue Lagoon here is probably the country’s most photographed tourist attraction, and it regularly tops polls of the world’s best beaches.
Blue Flag sands
Olu Deniz has a Blue Flag-winning mile-long curl of sand and shingle leading up to the lagoon. It’s bordered by a promenade that’s packed with local restaurants. And in the village behind the beach, which has kept its development to a minimum, there’s a lively assortment of places to eat and drink.
Action and adventure
The backdrop to all this is a series of jagged, pine-cloaked mountains, which provide the jump-off point for spectacular paragliding flights. Leap off the 1,960-metre Babadag Mountain, taking in the sights of the Blue Lagoon and Butterfly Valley – a canyon home to numerous varieties of butterfly – on the way down. Olu Deniz also supplies an à la carte menu of watersports and boat trips for people who prefer to keep their feet closer to the ground.
Fethiye is only 25 minutes away by dolmus, the local minibus. Here, you’ll find a marina where you can sit at the water’s edge and sip an ice-cold Efes while you admire the Tomb of Amyntas, which dates back to 400BC.