Belek Travel Guide
Hagia Sophia at night © Moyan Brenn
Belek is a sprawling holiday resort town specifically developed for tourism, and over the last two decades has grown to encompass the neighbouring village of Kadriye. Boasting 300 days of sunshine and the warm, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, the area has become a haven for those seeking the luxury of five-star hotel complexes, as well as some great golf courses.
Many Belek hotels have their own strip of private beach and some holiday visitors never leave the comforts of their seaside accommodation. Belek is, however, close to a number of interesting sites and there are several exciting activities on offer for those who can bear to tear themselves away. The ruins of the Roman town of Perge is an interesting excursion, as is the well-preserved ancient amphitheatre at Aspendos; its acoustics have stood the test of time and it still plays host to the occasional concert.
From Belek, jeep safaris into the mountains are another popular holiday outing, as are boat trips, watersports, and visits to nearby Manavgat waterfalls and the thermal baths at Pamukkale. Scuba diving, white-water rafting, horse riding and more are also on offer to visitors on holiday. The town of Belek itself is compact and has a small shopping centre, some souvenir shops and some cafés to enjoy on holiday. Kadriye has more to offer in the way of street markets and nightlife, but day trips to busier towns such as Alanya or Antalya are also available. Belek is the perfect holiday resort for golfers and those seeking lazy days lounging on a beach or by a swimming pool.
Most of the large Belek hotels have shops selling curios and holiday souvenirs, and the town has some lively street markets that are the perfect place to sample freshly cooked food and do a spot of gift shopping. There is also a huge bazaar every Saturday where shoppers can haggle to their heart's content. Holiday makers can head to the old town of Antalya for more extensive shopping.
There is a limited choice of restaurants in Belek with most holiday visitors eating in their hotels, but the village of Kadriye is just two miles (4km) away, and easily reached by dolmus, and has a selection of shops, bars and restaurants. The nearby city of Antalya, 22 miles (35km) away, offers many restaurants which serve up some of the best of local Turkish food. Adana Ockbkbasi is a new restaurant in Belek well worth a visit for its special Turkish fish and kebab dishes. Coco Bar, serving the tastiest lamb shish kebabs around and featuring a cosy open-air terrace from which diners can watch the world go by, is rated as one of the friendliest restaurants in town by tourists and locals alike.
The nightlife in Belek is largely limited to the large hotels, many of which have their own nightclubs, bars and entertainment. There are one or two popular clubs, however, including the large Club 29 on the waterfront.
Belek has become a premier golf centre in Turkey and boasts over eight championship golf courses, catering for all levels of player, and was recently featured as one of the places to go in Golf World's Golf Escapes 2007 supplement. Besides golfing, Belek also offers a wide range of adventure sports like wind surfing, water skiing, sailing, rafting and mountain climbing to enjoy on holiday. Belek's beaches have very calm water, making it ideal for small children. The neighbouring beach resort of Side is also worth a visit, with a 2nd century theatre and Roman Baths, and further afield Antalya has museums, a beautifully preserved old town, and is a good day-out for foodies.
Many shopkeepers can hassle you upon entering their store. If you are not interested, give a polite, yet firm 'no'.