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Golf holidays in Turkey, in particular Belek, are an almost other-worldy experience. Rows of five-star hotels are strung along the Belek beach like luxury cruise ships moored in an ocean of pines. Seemingly few golfers venture far from their luxury Turkish hotels (apart from heading for the Turkish golf courses in Belek) as there are all manner of entertainments and distractions at your disposal in the hotels, compared to relatively few outside. There are fourteen golf courses in Belek, all of which are of a very high standard and there are one or two that would justify a trip to Turkey and golfing in Belek alone.
The town of Belek has sprung up over the last fifteen years fuelled by the influx of golfers from all over Europe.
To be honest, it's not a pretty sight; just a few rows of hastily erected concrete flats above gaudy souvenir shops interspersed with the odd supermarket and pharmacy for essentials. There is a restaurant or two, but nothing to get over excited about.
If you do venture into Belek don't miss the town's centrepiece: a fake ruined aquaduct and waterfall: quite a sight (especially at night when it's illuminated in a variety of shades).
If you feel the need for some history, culture and exposure to genuine Turkish nationals it would be best to look elsewhere: Antalya for example, which is about an hour's drive away, plenty of taxis are availabe.
Whereas Belek has grown up solely due to the recent boom in Turkish golf holidays, Antalya has a much deeper history as a Mediterranean trading post and centre of Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman civilisations dating back to the 1st Century BC when it was the centre of Pamphylia. The city has grown somewhat since, but there is plenty of evidence of its past. Especially around the old marina where a flotilla of small boats offer various aquatic excursions. There is a small souk-like area that climbs the hill behind the quayside, ideal for a bit of souvenir bartering. Several mosques are at the top of the hill of varying ages and teh new town spreads out from here.
Well worth a day's strolling for a glimpse of the real Turkey, and a spot of bargain hunting amongst the market stalls. Not to mention the fabulous lunch overlooking the harbour.
You could always base yourself in Antalya, however it would be about an hour to the golf courses each way. Maybe a better idea would be to add a couple of nights at one end of your golf trip?
Sightseeing around Belek & Antalya
There are numerous archeological sites in southern Turkey, one of the finest Aspendos was an ancient Pergammon civilization later inhabited and further developed by the Romans. It is only 20 minutes from Belek and well worth a half-day visit to see the superbly preserved 15,000 seater amphitheatre and the remains of its incredible aquaduct.
Golf Par Gold
"GPE service - 10/10 Very helpful, fast and efficient.
Lykia World Hotel - 10/10 Excellent, wonderful rooms, good food and service, everyone very friendly and helpful.
Lykia Links - Although the Greens were firm, an excellent, well looked after course."