Olu Deniz, a beautiful inland bay that stretches behind the cape, is now closed to yachts. The reason this heavenly place is called Olu deniz (“Sea of the Dead”) is attributed to the following legend;
Once a father and son were caught in a storm here and were in danger of sinking. The son claimed that if they approached the rocks ashore they could take shelter in a cove. The father on the other hand asserted that their ship would be driven onto the rocks and break up and that there were no coves around here anyway. In his terror of running around on the rocks, the father knocked his son (who was at the helm) into the sea with an oar and took over the helm himself. Just as the ship was about to hit the rocks on the cape, she turned into this calm, smooth watered bay.
This is the reason they say the bay is called the Sea of the Dead, whereas what with the pine clad sandy beach stretched out like a tongue, the name “Paradise Bay” would be more fitting.
The Blue Lagoon of Olu deniz has calm, crytal clear waters which makes it ideal for a variety of water sports and a very safe place for children to swim. Part of the lagoon is now a protected area (and it`s a national park).
Within the resort, the best food is a little hard to find, tucked down a side alley in the Secret Garden, but for a real celebration, the place to go is the Beyaz Yunus, which sits on its own on a clifftop at the end of Belcekiz Beach, a wonderfully romantic seafront fish restaurant, home to some A-list celebrity spotting including George Bush and Prince Charles, and prices suitable for special occasions (free shuttle from your hotel). Cin Bal is a jolly grill restaurant in Kayaköy that oozes atmosphere, with wandering gipsy musicians and crowds of locals who sing ever louder as the evening and the raki wear on. Some way out of town, Yaka Park, Yaka Köyü near Saklikent (www.tlosyakapark.com), is probably a place for a lingering lunch – is actually a trout farm where your food virtually swims onto your plate, complete with chips and a lovely mountain view.
This is family holiday territory. Most of the hotels in the area are very child-friendly and some of the larger resorts run kids’ clubs. There are gentler watersports such as banana boats on offer on the lagoon and boat trips with snorkelling. Older teenagers could take a PADI diving course or learn to paraglide. The hills behind the resort are filled with wonderful walks and hikes, wild flowers and birds, and there are places to hire mountain bikes, ride horses, go canoeing or white-water rafting or take a jeep safari. Ruins are good for scrambling as well as history.
Beyond the beach: Olu deniz itself really has very little beyond the beach, but you don’t have to go far to entertain yourself. Just up the hill, near Hisaronu, Kaya Köy is a haunting deserted village abandoned by the Greeks thrown out of Turkey in 1924. Turks coming back from Greece thought it cursed and refused to move in and only now are the first few houses being restored. Take to a boat for a trip along to Butterfly Valley, a hidden Shangri La with a delightful beach and walks up through butterfly-rich meadows to a waterfall. Or head into the local market town of Fethiye for some retail therapy and a Turkish bath. There are dive sites off the coast and Babadag, the mountain above Olu deniz has become one of the world’s great para-gliding centres – you can do a course and go solo, or take a tandem flight, landing on the beach. The great Lycian Way.