Day 10 – Ölüdeniz, Kayaköy
Having seen the small town of Ölüdeniz the previous day, it was time for a day of boat trip to the nearby places. You can book the day-tips on a boat at any of the many tour operators in the town, and since I was paragliding with Sky Sports, I went ahead and booked the boat trip with them the previous day.
It costs TL 25 for an 8-hour excursion in the Blue Lagoon. You meet at your tour operators office at 10:30am, someone will pick you up and you walk to one of the many boats parked on the beach. Ölüdeniz gets its most visitors from Britain, so along with about 20 other Brits, I sailed off in the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Here’s the itinerary for the trip:
- Blue Cave Departure from Ölüdeniz beach at 11am, after about 20 minutes, arrive at the Blue Cave. Boats usually stop here and you can jump in the waters and swim in the cave. But since there was already a boat waiting, our captain decided to just stop for a few seconds and sail by.
- Butterfly Valley After another 30 minutes, you arrive at the Butterfly Valley. The boat is anchored for 1 hour where you are allowed to swim in the waters or just hike around in the valley, that has an admission fee of TL 8.
The village at the top and the valley are connected by a very steep and somewhat dangerous path, some sections of which require a little bit of mountaineering skills. It usually takes around 45 minutes to one hour to do the entire path—climbing up of which is unusually said to be easier than climbing down—but depending on how fit you are, you can hike in a little more than 20 minutes. The path starts from in front of the guesthouse George House up in the village and marked with red dots all along it. The views from the valley are gorgeous and there are some Lycan ruins around the village. The nearest one to the village is at the exit of the village towards Kabak, on the gentle slope on the left side of the road. The largest one is near Aktaş beach in middle Kızılcakaya hamlet of Faralya, accessible by the yellow and red waymarked coastal trail. There are two more hidden in the forest between Kabak and Aktaş off of the waymarked trail.
Visiting Butterfly Valley
Your day-tour boat stops here for one hour only, so it might not be the best way to hike the Butterfly Valley. If you do decide to take time here, either do it as a separate trip or make sure to inform your boat captain that you would like to hike this valley and make your own way back to Ölüdeniz.
- Aquarium Bay Continuing on the boat, after a long sail of about 45 minutes, the third stop is the Aquarium Bay. The boat will yet again stop here for one hour and a sumptuous lunch is served.
- St. Nicholas Island After a quick ride, you arrive St. Nicholas Island, with the remains of an historic monastic retreat containing among other things the original resting place of St Nicholas. The Island offers the perfect opportunity to take a break from sunbathing and spend an hour exploring the medieval remains, that for centuries attracted pilgrims from all over Christendom. On the island are the remains of four churches, related religious buildings, Byzantine dwellings, harbor, cistern, stone tombs, graveyard and ceremonial passageway. The views from the top of the Island across the Mediterranean and back inland are also quite stunning and well worth the walk.
You can also walk down from the ghost town of Kayaköy and getting a boat across the half mile stretch of water from Gemiler bay.
While we were waiting here, a small family-run boat stopped by where the lady was cooking fresh Gözelmes (Turkish pancakes or crepes). Gözelmes come in various flavors and I had a nutella, banana 7 honey flavored one.
- Cold Water Spring The boat then takes you to a nearby corner of the sea where the water is supposedly warm because of the hot springs nearby. Stopping for an hour, you are allowed to swim in the green waters.
- Gemile Beach Final stop is Gemile Beach, right across from the ‘Cold water springs’.
This is where I got down from the boat and started walking uphill towards the ghost town of Kayaköy. Inform the captain of your plans and visit this town which was devastated by an earthquake in 1856 and a major fire in 1885. After the Greco-Turkish War, Kayaköy was largely abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923. Many of the buildings were damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake. Kayaköy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village.
From Kayaköy, the best way to get back to Ölüdeniz is either wait for some tour company bus to arrive and you can ask for a lift; or you can walk 6km to Hisarönü/Ovacık villages and catch the local bus to Ölüdeniz. Note that there are no local buses or dolmuş from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz or Fethiye.
I decided to walk the 6km stretch to Hisarönü and catch the dolmuş that runs every 10 minutes to Ölüdeniz. It was almost sunset when I reached Ölüdeniz and sat by the beach-side restaurant called Cloud 9 for a meal – Ottoman Chicken (Chicken cooked with a light tomato sauce combined with onions, garlic & mushroom, topped with cheese and baked in the oven) and çay.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = TRY 1.8.
|Breakfast||TL 10 or $5.50||Turkish breakfast|
|Ölüdeniz Boat trip||TL 25 or $13.90||Booked with Sky Sports|
|Butterfly Valley||TL 8 or $4.40||Entrance fees to hike around|
|Coke on boat||TL 4 or $2.20||Extra for drinks on the boat|
|Bus from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz||TL 2 or $1.10||Extra for drinks on the boat|
|Dinner at Cloud 9 restaurant||TL 26 or $14.40|
|Snacks & water along the way||TL 5 or $2.80||çay, chips, water, etc.|
|Toilets||TL 2 or $1.10|
|Total Costs||$45.40||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$2,406.50||Per person|