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Belek beach is fringed by shady pine trees and turquoise waters

© Hemera / Thinkstock

Belek Beach

Although it stands almost on the doorstep of ancient Perge and Aspendos, Belek is actually a pristine purpose-built resort, founded in the 1980s specifically to feed the golf and luxury market. There are some cheaper apartments and smaller hotels inland and in the nearby village of Kadriye, but the bulk of the resort is made up of a string of extremely classy 4- and 5-star deluxe hotels, many of which are all-inclusive and leave no room for the development of any local infrastructure. People come here to chill and play in luxury; experiencing the local culture is low down the list of priorities.

Beach

Belek has one of the finest beaches on the Turkish coast, 16km (10 miles) of pristine, fine white sand fringed by shady pines and gently sloping down to limpid turquoise waters. A perfect playground for children, it is also a popular nesting place for loggerhead and green turtles, so the area is carefully policed to ensure that the nesting sites are not damaged. The beach is public but is treated as private by the resorts that line up behind the dunes. Most of them offer a range of watersports from pedalos to dinghy sailing and parasailing for their guests.

Beyond the beach

Belek was built on golf. So far it has 10 championship level golf courses with another 10 due for construction in the next few years. This brings in golf fanatics from across the world. The resort also has world-class football facilities that attract A-list European teams for training camps and a fine tennis school. Somewhat bizarrely, all this greenery has also made it a fabulous birding and wild flower centre. Most of the resorts offer a wide range of sports and spa facilities. There is virtually nothing on offer outside the hotels.

Family fun

The sandy beach is ideal for children and there are gentle watersports on offer along with land-based activities such as riding, cycling and tennis. Most of the larger resorts offer excellent family facilities and kids' clubs. The Troy Aquapark & Dolphinarium provides the usual range of rides and slides and offers the opportunity to swim with its resident dolphins.

Exploring further

Spend a day in Antalya exploring the beautiful old city, with its designer shops and mouthwatering restaurants, but be sure to include a visit to the world-class Antalya Museum where you will find many of the more precious relics from the magnificent Greco-Roman city of Perge and Aspendos, with its fabulously well-preserved Roman theatre, both of which are very close to Belek. Heading east along the coast, Side is a magical place with the modern resort curling itself through the ancient ruins and the temple of Apollo perfectly framing the sunset over a golden beach. Further along still is Alanya with its vast Ottoman castle and the damply health-giving Damlatas Caves. Inland, Koprulu Canyon National Park is an area of wild natural beauty where it is possible to go white-water rafting and you can hike along sections of the 500km (310 mile) route, from Perge, near Antalya, up to Yalvac on the Anatolian plateau, which partly follows the footsteps of St Paul's first missionary journey in Asia Minor.

Splashing out

In a resort that boasts over thirty 4- and 5-star hotels and prides itself on being a luxury destination, splashing out simply becomes a matter of moving across to the neighbouring resort for the evening. Many of them have a range of restaurants offering world-class cuisine. But perhaps top of the tree is the sleekly designed new Adam & Eve Hotel (www.adamevehotels.com), which bills itself as the world's sexiest hotel (mirrors everywhere) and also has a state of the art thalassotherapy spa.

Edited by Jane Duru
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