Outside of the sporting world, the small holiday resort of Belek on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is massively underrated. It achieves fame for its state of the art golf courses hosting world championships and famous players such as Tiger Woods. Most of these golf courses belong to super ultra-luxury, famous hotels that host government events, such as the 2015 G-20 summit.
Belek also has Turkey’s largest private sports arena and the latest news is one tournament of the ATP World Tour 2017, that leads up to the finals in Wimbledon will take place at the luxury Kaya Palazzo hotel in June. The Kaya Palazzo has already achieved sporting fame because of its 18-hole golf course and state of the art football pitches used by international and Turkish teams for training.
However, Belek is about much more than golf, tennis, football, and international politic events. While we do not want to play down its achievements, any potential holidaymaker would be forgiven for thinking they had chosen the wrong destination, if they want more out of their vacation than 18 holes and a golf caddy. So, here are our recommendations of fun things to do in Belek, aside from sports.
Spend a Day Beachside
Imagine 10 miles of pristine, white sand gently sloping into the calm, turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, therefore making Belek the ideal beach holiday destination. Families especially adore it because a host of water sports are available for rent.
The Beach Inspector website that rates beaches all around the world has given it 9 out of 10 for relaxation and 8 out of 10 as a family destination. Locals especially like the Kumkoy section while Dogazkent, Bogazkent, and the Kadriye sections attract a variety of nationalities. The latter also has a picnic area while in the Belek Beach Park area, establishments like Mambo White Beach Club wins highly rated reviews for its tasty food and drink.
Save the Turtles
Humans are not the only ones who love the beaches of Belek. Giant Caretta Caretta turtles also favour the fine, white grains of sand. Also known as loggerhead turtles, they are officially a vulnerable species and during the early summer months, lay their eggs along the whole of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
Belek is one of the most important nesting areas in Turkey and EKAD that is part of the official Mediterranean Association to Save Sea Turtles is always looking for volunteers to help with data collection, nest protection and public awareness by informing people using the beaches why they should not upset the nests. Drop into their centre while you are on holiday or, sign up for their volunteer program. Participation is for a minimum of 15 days, and you must be physically fit, but if you are passionate about the animals, and the earth, this is a great chance to see adult and baby sea turtles up close.
Relax, Revitalise and Rejuvenate
Inside the luxurious hotels in Belek, are some of Turkey’s best spa and wellness centres. You do not have to be a guest to buy the packages so; anyone with a golfing partner can tap into some “me” time, while they are on the course. The international well-established Kempinski chain of hotels has a branch in Belek called “The Dome.”
As well as showing you how to spa correctly, their luxury treatments include a broad range of massages, facial and body care. Tapping into the ancient Ayurveda healing treatments of India, as well as otherworldly body treatments, they also have a mini spa package for the kids. Numerous other luxury hotels offer the same packages, and anyone seeking care and attention while having a full body makeover will certainly get exactly that.
Explore Further Afield
Many of the things to do in Belek focus on rest, relaxation and of course sports. However, throughout the town, travel agents sell excursions to famous landmarks and attractions in the Antalya region. Alternatively, hire a car to see them all because driving around is easy, thanks to the main D400 highway.
Main tours, attractions, and sites to see include…
Theatre and Historical Ruins of Aspendos: Just 23 kilometres away, these ancient ruins are Antalya’s top visited attraction. The theatre is especially noted as one of the finest, intact, and preserved Roman structures in the world.
Jeep Safari and White Water Rafting: Also called a mountain safari, and sold as a daytime excursion, tourists enjoy the freedom of an open top vehicle that heads into the mountains to visit places rarely mentioned in the guidebooks. Combined with a delicious lunch and a beginner’s white water rafting experience, it turns into a fun day out for families and groups of friends.
Myra, Kekova, and Simena: As another full daytime excursion, tourists head westwards to the ancient city ruins of Myra and the church of Saint Nicholas who in western culture is Santa Claus. Getting off the bus in the small traditional village of Ucagiz, they then sail over the sunken ruins of Kekova to get to Simena from which fantastic panoramic views are available from the castle.
Temple of Apollo and Side Town Ruins: Heading east for 50 minutes on the bus will take you to the small and delightful coastal resort of Side. Its famous landmark of the Temple of Apollo wins admiration especially at sunset, but the quirky feature of Side is that the new town was built around the old historical ruins providing a rather surreal atmosphere and experience.
Antalya City Centre: The last of our recommendations of things to do in Belek is to catch a bus to Antalya city centre, which is the heart of the region. Spend a whole day touring its highlights and major landmarks including Duden waterfalls, the archaeological museum, and aquarium that has the longest tunnel in Europe. For lunch, stop by the old town (kaleici) that is famously entranced by Hadrian’s gate and sit seaside in one of the harbour restaurants.