Aerial view of colorful boats in the Mediterranean Sea in Ölüdeniz, Turkey
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A beach of many colors. Ölüdeniz, Turkey
Whether you love snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, paragliding, or simply soaking up some sun, Ölüdeniz on Turkey's Turquoise Coast will fit the bill. The name of the village and beach—Ölüdeniz—literally means 'Dead Sea,' a reference to the calm water, but it's better known as Turkey's Blue Lagoon for the stretch of tranquil waters set off from the ocean by a long sandbar. Much of the area is protected inside a national park, and the Ölüdeniz beach proudly holds the Blue Flag certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education, which recognizes high environmental and quality standards.
When you're all beached out, head for the hills. Ölüdeniz is one of the best paragliding spots in the world, so launch yourself from the impressive Mount Babadağ—just 3 miles from the seaside—and enjoy spectacular views of the lagoon, the beach, the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, and the scenic hills and valleys fading into the distance. Once you're back on solid ground, take a trip to the marvelous Butterfly Valley—it's easy, just jump on a taxi boat or drive the lovely local road that hugs the coast. Hopefully you'll spot a variety of butterflies as you hike through the natural canyon. By air, land, or sea, the options to celebrate nature and diversity are seemingly limitless in this gorgeous part of the world.