Belek is a small but dynamically developing resort town on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. This beautiful corner, known for its beautiful pine, cedar and eucalyptus groves and beautiful sandy beaches, was opened to tourists only in the mid 80’s. By now it has become the most respectable and, as a consequence, expensive Turkish resort with developed infrastructure.
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Being a young city Belek can not boast the presence of historical sites on its territory, but its geographical position allows you to make tours throughout the Antalya province.
Belek is one of the most famous golf centers in the world. It is home to the National Golf Club, and you can try your hand at this aristocratic game on numerous courses of the highest quality.
Rest in Belek is designed for the wealthy public, can afford to stay in a five-star hotel, so that the noisy young people are practically not found here. In general, the resort, which meets the highest international standards, is best suited for family holidays.
Belek belongs to the Mediterranean zone with a subtropical climate characterized by dry and hot summer and mild but rainy winter. The sun warms up the local beaches 300 days a year. Eucalyptus groves and pine forests protect Belek from the cold air currents, so the climate is much milder than in Antalya, located just 25 kilometers.
Beach season, and therefore the best time to visit the resort begins in April and May and lasts until October, and with particularly favorable weather in Belek in the autumn months can last until November inclusive.
Belek itself is too young and, in fact, is a grand project of the tourism industry, so directly on its territory as such attractions are not. However, it is located in an area with a rich history, and just 20-30 minutes from the resort are the ancient ruins of Perge, Aspendos with its grand amphitheater, and the ancient Side.
The ruins of Perge allow you to get in touch with the heritage of ancient Rome. According to the chronicles, this city was founded shortly after the fall of Troy. Even the remnants of its former greatness are still breathtaking. Tourists are especially attracted by the Hellenistic Monumental Gates, the Agora, the amphitheater, the well-preserved stadium and the Roman baths.
The dense forests of the National Park “Canyon Keppülü” are scattered in 60 kilometers from Belek. On 500 hectares of land about 600 species of plants grows. The forest is dominated by eucalyptus, cypress and pistachio trees There are many birds, belonging to 109 species, including the symbol of Belek – Siberian Jay. You can also watch the giant carriage turtles that lay their eggs here. At the point where the canyon narrows slightly, the steep cliffs are connected by the stone bridge Oluk Kopru, built by the Romans in the II century AD. Those who want to get closer to the local nature can go on a day trip on inflatable boats down the river Kepryuchai.
The most famous water park in Belek “Troy” is located in the hotel Rixos Premium Belek. From the name it is clear that it was created based on a well-known myth, that is why its main decoration was the statue of the Trojan horse 24 meters high. There is a mass of attractions for visitors of all ages. The highlight is the slide, where you don’t go down, but up. There are only two such slides in the world. On the territory of the water park there is a dolphinarium, as well as many bars and cafes.
Luxurious sandy coast of Belek stretches for 20 kilometers. All beaches are flat, clean, with a gentle approach to the water, modern equipped, where feel equally comfortable for both adults and children. In addition, Belek is considered the number one resort by the number of Blue Flags on its coast throughout the suburbs of Antalya. The jewels of the coast are its pine and eucalyptus forests, coming almost right up to the shore.
Modern Belek, a small resort town, designed specifically for tourists, rich historical heritage can not boast, surrounded by the real monuments of antiquity and the majestic ancient polis.
Belek is located on land which was first inhabited by the Greeks in the IV century B.C. Attalos II in 133 B.C. handed these lands to the Romans. In that era of Belek’s history, when it was under the sway of the great empire, most of the grand buildings were erected, the ruins of which we can judge the extent of construction, once unfolded Roman viceroys. Later the land went to the Seljuk Turks, who also built houses here and increased the wealth of the province.
The first mention of the name “Belek”, which is translated from Turkish as “memory”, refers to the time of Sultan Abdul Aziz, on whose orders on these lands were planted eucalyptus and stone pines, which have grown into beautiful groves, still decorate the area today.
The modern history of Belek began in 1984. With the help of the Ministry of Tourism of Turkey and the Association of Tourist Investors the town grew into a rich tourist center.
Sports and recreation
Belek has all conditions for practicing almost all water sports, including windsurfing, paralayzing, water-skiing, etc. The waters bordering the resort, is inhabited by a variety of marine life: sea turtles, octopuses, jellyfish, groupers, crayfish, wrasse, squid, seals, dolphins Mysterious caves and mysterious shipwrecks, literally attract travelers, eager to the mysterious and unexplored. Not surprisingly, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is a great success among diving enthusiasts. To rent the necessary equipment and to hire a Russian-speaking instructor is possible in the local diving centers. Instruction will take only an hour, after which you can begin your first dive.
The Kepryuchai River, flowing at the bottom of Keprylyu Canyon, is ideal for rafting, especially if you are a beginner in this business. The route, which is 12 kilometers long, includes from 1 to 3 degrees of complexity. There are at least 15 agencies organising these exciting rubber boat trips. Tourists receive helmets, life jackets and a delicious lunch. The boats can accommodate 8-10 passengers each, and the more adventurous can sail in a two-man boat. This reserve is also very popular with rock climbing enthusiasts.
Belek is known for its eucalypt forests, which are perfect for light jogging and cycling. In addition, these shady groves are the scene of paintball battles.
Along the coast the Taurus mountain range is 4,000 meters high and 2,000 kilometers long. To get acquainted with the local fauna and flora, the life of the inhabitants of mountainous areas, and take a few pictures of the stunning scenery you can during a trip on quad bikes.
A special pride of Belek are the world famous golf clubs and impeccable courses for this sport. The National Golf Club offers the best service and the most extensive facilities, with courses suitable for beginners and advanced players alike.
Almost all hotels are of 4-5* category. Most have a large area and are located on the beachfront. For the most part these are prestigious and luxurious hotels and clubs with original architecture, equipped with the latest hotel technology. Almost each has its own golf course and everything you need for horseback riding.
The best hotels in Belek are de luxe five star hotels: Xanadu, Adam & Eve, Gloria Golf Resort, Rixsos Premium, Gloria Verde Resort & SPA, Cornelia De luxe, Su Se Si De Luxe, Ela Quallity, IC Santai. The Pine Beach Resort and Club Pine Beach HV-1, Kaya and Kaya Selest, Tatbeach Golf are also 5-starred, but slightly more budget-friendly.
Due to the fact that Belek is one of the first resorts in Turkey, many hotels here have celebrated more than a decade. Despite the fact that they still have a lot of stars, their room stock may look outdated, and the range of entertainment – stingy. But the cost of living in them is lower than in the newly built resort complexes.
Besides that there are quality hotels of the Papillon chain in Belek – a small Papillon Ayscha, Papillon Belvil & Holiday Village, Papillon Zeugma and a brand new Papillon Golf Resort Belluna. “There are very few 3 star hotels in the resort and they are located on the second or third line from the sea.
There is a market in Belek between Alicentikaya Street and Ataturk Street. Aspendos Jewelry Center, Kucukbelkis Koyu on the way from Antalya to Aspend, has a great selection of silver and gold jewelry with precious and semi-precious stones.
Although Belek is not large, tourists who do not want to get around on foot can use a convenient and inexpensive means of getting around Belek – dolmushas, as they call shuttle buses. They are marked D in the city and can be stopped anywhere outside the city. By dolmusha you can reach any city or tourist attraction of Antalya province. The fare depends on the route.
The cab will take you to any part of the resort or nearby cities. The cost per kilometer may vary from $0.5 to $1.5. At night (00:00 to 06:00) the fares are doubled. Because not all yellow cars in the provinces have meters, you must negotiate the amount in advance.
There is a bus service between the cities. Seats must be booked in advance. The cost of travel is $2 – $5 for 100 kilometers.
How to get there
The nearest international airport to Belek is located in Antalya (33 kilometers). From cities in the European part of Russia you can get here by direct scheduled flights of Turkish Airlines, Air Berlin, S7, Aeroflot, Ural Airlines or Lufthansa, as well as by charter in just a couple of hours. Travelers from more distant regions of the country will have to make a connection in Moscow and Istanbul.
The transfer from Antalya Airport to Belek can be done by cab or intercity bus from Kazim Ozalp Cad bus station. The trip will not take more than 30-40 minutes. The fare by cab is $25 – $40, and by bus less than $2.
15 Sights of Belek worth seeing
Belek is a resort town with a population of 6,000 inhabitants, who hospitably welcome all visitors. There are luxurious hotels with the system “All Inclusive”, and service by Turkish standards is at a high level. There are many sights for an active tourist in Belek – in the city itself there is something to see and walk around, and in the surrounding area.
Most of the natural monuments and landscapes are located outside of the city, but definitely worth a look. Antique theaters, national parks with unique flora and fauna, beautiful rivers, waterfalls, and much more. We have compiled a list of the most interesting objects in the city and its vicinity, which will allow you to diversify your leisure time during your vacation and learn something new.
Land of Legends Water Park
Land of Legends Water Park.
A water park with such an exciting name is rightly considered a Turkish “Disneyland”. It is located directly within the city, occupying no less than 63 thousand hectares of land. The famous hotel Rixos owns the entertainment complex.
The entire area is divided into thematic zones, each of which is furnished in such a way that allows you to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of eastern fairy tales, or find yourself in historic places of Turkey. There are 43 incredible water rides, 72 waterslides and even your own Luna Park, which is also designed in the style of a Turkish town. There is a zone with food courts, an authentic replica of an ancient Ottoman castle with an attraction in the form of a tower 80 meters high, a landscape park for walks and picnics, animation center for children, swimming pools.
But that’s not all. Those who wish can visit the zoo with tigers and sea creatures, dolphinarium, SPA-center, etc. A special interest is the aquarium with fantastic fish, where you can swim with a mask and snorkel, and walk along the bottom in a helmet-skuller.
Address: Kadriye, The Land Of Legends Kingdom Hotel, Serik/Antalya, Turkey
The complex is also located on the territory of the Rixos Hotel, but this hotel is in a different location, and the water park occupies only 12 thousand hectares. However, it is fully stylized as the legendary Iliad, praised by Homer in his works.
On the territory operates 25 attractions, including slides, on which you can go down on rafts. The highlight of the place is the giant figure of the “Trojan Horse”, which was once a prop for the filming of the movie “Troy”. The figure is surrounded by slides, including the famous “Kamikaze,” which has a 40-degree incline.
Children will appreciate the water cannon, which throws the swimmer down a 12-meter-high slide. There is a wave pool for surfing, a children’s playground in the style of a Greek trireme, a slow boat pool, a food court and a dolphinarium. After the water park closes (at night) there are “all night long” parties.
Address: Tem Turizm Yatırımcılığı A.Ş, Belek, Troy Aqua & Dolphinarium İleri Başı Mevkii, 07500 Serik/Antalya, Turkey.
Kadriye City Mosque
If you think you are in for an old and dilapidated mosque you are mistaken. The Kadriye Mosque was built in the 1990’s for local worshippers. But still the architectural realization and size it just amazes, especially against the background of a rather modest town of Belek.
The mosque is a square 3-storey building with two minaret towers and a large dome. Its entrance is preceded by intersecting arches with intricately carved columns.
Inside the mosque is decorated with delicate wood and stone carvings, tiles and oriental plant ornaments. This is a great place to enjoy the local color and take delightful pictures.
Address: Kadriye, Kadri Mosque, Deniz Caddesi, Serik/Antalya, Turkey.
National Golf Club
National Golf Club.
This is where the male population takes their hearts out, especially if they manage to get away on a long-awaited vacation. So you know, Belek is the unofficial golf capital of Turkey. Here is the largest golf center in the country (and one of the largest in the world). The landscape park is represented by 8 giant courses, which have 9, 18 or 27 holes.
Those not into the popular game can stroll through the cypress groves and enjoy the coolness of the artificial ponds.
If you have never played golf, then feel free to come to local instructors and experience the beauty of the game on a wild natural expanse. In between you can have a picnic on the grounds and take great pictures in front of the green fields.
Address: National Golf Club, Kadriye, Çamlık Cd, 07525 Serik/Antalya, Turkey
Keprülü Canyon National Park
Located north of Belek in the picturesque Taurus Mountains. There are mountain rivers and on both sides of the canyon there are mountains and hills, as well as pine forests. There are more than 600 species of plants, among animals one can meet elk, roe deer, wild boar, wolf and lynx.
Address: Bozyaka Mahallesi, Köprülü Kanyon Milli Parkı, Manavgat/Antalya, Turkey.
Zeitin Taş Cave
Zeitin Taş Cave.
The small cave is of natural origin and has preserved crystal stalactites of extraordinary beauty. For thousands of years they have been hanging from the cave ceiling, looking like an exotic fringe. On the sides they encircle the walls in the form of thick, bizarre columns. The cave floor is covered with the sparkling small lakes, the water in which by its purity is equal to spring water.
The cave length is 223 meters, but for all that only its small part is open to the public. There are bridges and diffused lighting.
Address: Zeytintasi Cave, Akbaş, 07500 Serik/Serik/Antalya, Turkey.
A great place for families with young children to spend time. Children will be delighted by the wildlife in the local zoo at the Bellis Deluxe Hotel. There are species from different climatic zones: the savannah, the tropics, the Australian expanses, etc.
The zoo is home to zebras and kangaroos, monkeys and donkeys, pelicans and flamingos. There are pony rides for children, and the older kids can take part in feeding the ostriches.
Address: Kadriye, Bellis Deluxe Hotel, Serik/Antalya, Turkey
Kadriye Market | Photo: Thomas Wenger / Flickr.
Not far from Belek is the village of Kadriye, which is famous for its huge market. Here you can find the most delicious seasonal fruits, oriental desserts and sweets, as well as souvenirs for every taste and color.
Remember that in Turkish markets, a valuable skill will be the ability to haggle. Do your best to walk down the colorful aisles and bargain a few times before you pay for the first thing you like.
Address: Kadriye Town Center, Kadriye, 07525 Serik/Antalya, Turkey.
Located near Perge in the Kursunlu National Park. The waterfall is 18 meters high. It falls into compact natural ponds, which change color depending on the weather and time of day.
The path to the waterfall goes through pine groves, where you can see strange animals, including turtles. In the clear water of the lakes below the waterfall, colorful fish and wild ducks swim.
There are also small caves and grottoes on the way to the waterfall.
Address: Kurşunlu Waterfall, Kursunlu Şelalesi, Aksu/Antalya, Turkey.
Pamukkale Thermal Springs
Thermal Springs in Pamukkale,
One of the most famous attractions of Turkey and the unofficial wonder of the world. Located near Belek, Pamukkale is definitely worth a whole day of your vacation. Hot natural springs have led to the formation of white travertine – a unique material which looks like salt deposits.
Pamukkale looks like a conglomeration of shallow pools of warm water, where everyone can swim. Such a place on earth is not to be found anymore.
Address: Pamukkale, Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey.
The Ancient City of Perge
Ancient City of Perge | Photo: Orçun Edipoğlu / Flickr.
The city, located 30 kilometers from Belek, was founded by the Achaean Greeks who fled after the fall of Troy and were looking for a suitable place to establish a colony. As a result Perge was born, which rather quickly became an economic and commercial center. In the 4th century BC the city was conquered by Alexander the Great and became part of the Roman Empire.
In the complex well preserved buildings such as a Roman amphitheater that could accommodate up to 15 thousand spectators, agora and Byzantine basilica, the ancient Hellenistic gate, the colonnade with a triumphal fountain. You can also visit the ruins of the ancient cemetery and the acropolis. We recommend paying special attention to the ruins of one of the largest ancient stadiums in Asia Minor, which could simultaneously hold on the tribunes up to 12,000 spectators.
Address: Perge, Perge Yolu, Aksu/Antalya, Turkey.
The ancient city of Side
Temple of Apollo in Side.
After a short walk in Belek, you can accumulate energy for a little longer trips to the surrounding area, where there is clearly something to see.
Nearby is the town of Side, founded in the 6th century BC by ancient Greek colonists in the western regions of the country. The city remembers the conquests of Alexander the Great, survived the battle between the Syrian and Rhodesian fleets, met the famous Roman commander Pompey. There are traces of famous personalities of the world, so history lovers should definitely visit Side.
We recommend to see the ruins of the Temple of Apollo and Athena for free. Externally, they are the surviving fragments of walls, columns and foundations in the ancient style. Not far away are parts of the fortress wall and defensive tower and the triumphal arch, which have been well preserved to this day.
Walk through the ancient, dilapidated streets, there are the remains of the state and Roman agora, where trade deals and public meetings were held. Walk through the ruins of Roman thermae, see the ancient house of the consul and what remains of the Byzantine hospital. The amphitheater with a stage and facade that once held 20,000 spectators is very well preserved. Well, and at your leisure, get to the fountain built in honor of Emperor Vespasian.
Address: Side, Side, Manavgat/Antalya, Turkey.
The ancient city of Aspendos
Aspendos Theater | Photo: Moody Man / Flickr.
The ancient settlement was founded during the Trojan War (13th century BC). At one time it was conquered by the ancient Greeks and Persians, Lycians, Romans, Byzantines and many other belligerent nations. Well and local inhabitants were not lost, they cultivated well-known in the whole antique world aspen horses, traded them and on it earned the living. And the inhabitants of the city minted their own coinage, which not all nations could afford.
The city gradually declined and was abandoned in the sixth century AD.
There remained unique constructions, for example, the most beautiful amphitheater Zeno, which could accommodate up to 17 thousand spectators. The facade, stage, and bowl are absolutely intact.
Also in Aspendos you can admire the remains of a 15-km aqueduct that stretches from the city to the Taurus Mountains. There are the ruins of a Byzantine basilica, a Lycian necropolis, a Roman agora, etc. It is also interesting to visit the Seljuks’ bridge of the 13th century, which was built on the site of an ancient Roman bridge.
Address: Sarıabalı, Aspendos Antik Tiyatrosu, Aspendos Yolu, Serik/Antalya, Turkey
Seljuk bridge.| Photo: Alexander van Loon / Flickr.
It is worth visiting the park for the mountain river, which has formed a canyon thousands of years deep. The turbulent river rushes at great speed and has many rapids, so it is beloved by rafters from all over the world. So, at the end of the canyon in a small picturesque valley is a recreation center, where you can sign up for rafting and other types of rafting, costing from 20 dollars.
At the point where the great canyon is a deep gorge, the most ancient Roman bridge of the Oluk was built across the river. According to preliminary data, it was built in the II century BC, but perfectly preserved. Nearby are the ruins of the ancient city of Selge, where we also recommend a walk.
Address: Köprüçay, Turkey.
The ruins of Sillion
The ruins of Sillion.
The remains of this ancient city are not far from Aspendos and Perge. Take a walk through the ancient ancient ancient streets, see the ancient stadium and amphitheatre, the dilapidated agora and odeons, temples, the necropolis as well as fragments of columns.
Address: Eskiyürük, Silyon Ancient City, 07500 Serik/Antalya, Turkey.