(22 miles) east of Antalya and
just south of Serik on
coast (map), is a planned seaside
resort with beaches, luxury hotels,
other vacation-time amusements.
Golf is, in fact,
one of Belek's main reasons for existence.
The plan was to attract avid
around the world to a Mediterranean
resort planned with golfers in
mind, but also close to many other
of villas large and small
road frontage and water sources with
the large hotels. Like the large hotels,
the villa compounds are gated communities
open only to property owners or guests. This makes it particularly well adapted to the security requirements of important world meetings, such as the G-20 meeting of presidents and prime ministers that took place here on November 15-16, 2015.
Belek has a small
town center with municipal
services, and shopping streets. Modern
replicas of ancient Roman aqueducts and
arches are common decorations in the
city (really town) center.
resorts, and to and from the town center
sights, may need some planning. The
Tourism Center covers a large area,
the roads can be confusing,
signage, while helpful,
is often inadequate.
If you're driving your own
some time for wrong turns, dead ends
and asking directions. If you're
coming by taxi, expect the fare to
the relatively long distances covered.
The only problem with Belek? It
could be anywhere:
Turkey, Thailand, Mexico, Paraguay,
Spain. There's little that is Turkish
about it except the
many workers who construct all the
villas, manicure the golf courses,
and work in the hotels. It's a gigantic
development still under construction,
a villa sales office, a shopping mall,
a tangle of busy roads, and vast expanses
of grass kept green and fresh, even
in the withering Mediterranean sun,
by rivers of fresh water and tons of
Why anyone would want to make a beautiful
pine-forested stretch of Mediterranean
shoreline resemble the rainy downs
of Scotland (where golf originated)
I do not know.
If tourism is a business, then Belek,
and tourists go in one end, money comes
out the other.
Don't get me wrong. There's
nothing wrong with money. We all need it, and
all of the workers at Belek are undoubtedly
happy to have their jobs so they can
provide for their families. Turkey's
economy relies heavily on tourism for
billions in foreign exchange, and tourism
has helped many Turks to better their
lives, their health, and their children's
promise for the future.
Belek is successful.
Lots of people like it.
As for me, I think of my favorite
boutique hotel in the
center of Antalya,
with its charming
friendly owner and manager, and I
want no part of a huge gated golf-course
hotel with a staff of hundreds.
I think of what lies just east and
inland from Belek: the road to Köprülü Kanyon
National Park. After my
visit to Belek, I drove this road,
a narrow two-lane in good condition
that winds through farming country
dotted with ancient aqueducts, up into
the mountains, with spectacular views
of the peaks and the emerald-green
river that courses among them. This,
for me, is Turkey: sun, beautiful
countryside, farming villages, friendly
take you rafting along
the river if you like), and ancient
at the top
of the valley.)
Belek? If you like
Hope you enjoy it! I won't crowd your
If you want to reach me, I'll be in
—by Tom Brosnahan
Roman arch (one of many).
Below, Happyland? Not