This post is a long time in the making, seeing as it’s not the summer holidays anymore. But hey, maybe it’s not late, but perfectly on time if you’re currently looking for holiday destinations for next summer. Planning summer holidays in January seems to be a thing right? I’m doing it right now for me and the girls, so you’re probably doing it too. Here’s my two cents on the Dalaman area of Turkey, more specifically Oludeniz, which is the closest town to where our hotel was situated.

Booking the holiday

Blogger Tinuke Bernard at the airport with her daughters 2022

We booked our holiday via EasyJet holidays which allowed me to pay it off over a few months as I’d left it pretty late to book. We travelled over the last week of August which was pretty expensive due to it being the end of the summer holidays. I noticed I was able to save around £600 off the total package price by flying Sunday to Sunday rather than on a Friday or Saturday. It meant we arrived back in the UK at 2am on Monday night and the kids had school that very same morning ( I don’t advise that… the week was carnage) which was stressful…. but…. £600 is all I’m saying.

Rainbow looking out the window at an EasyJet plane

I chose an all inclusive hotel package which meant all meals, snacks, drinks and alcohol was included. I’ve never gone all inclusive before as our holidays in the past have consisted of booking everything independently and using the hotel as more of a base of operations and venturing out all day every day. But with it being the first time travelling with a five year old and fourteen year old in tow, I thought it might be wise to stay somewhere I wouldn’t mind spending more time at the base.

Montana Pine Resort, Hisaronu

Montana Pine resort swimming pool Turkey holiday

Our hotel of choice was Montana Pine Resort Hotel and Spa situated between Hisaronu and Oludeniz. It was about one hour coach transfer from Dalaman airport. The hotel had three swimming pools, one main buffet style restaurant, an a la cart restaurant and pool side bars which also gave out hot and cold snacks throughout the day. There was a range of activities available to participate in for free throughout the day, from badminton to archery as well as nightly on site entertainment which the youngest absolutely loved but my eldest usually chose as her time to exit and have some peace and quiet in the hotel room without us.

Talking about hotel rooms, the rooms felt very rustic and had a traditional vibe to it. The room wasn’t my taste but my daughters thought the room was lovely and really enjoyed the vibe. I really enjoyed the air conditioning units as it was mid 30s most of the week.

Pros and cons of Montana Pine hotel

  • Variety of tasty meals
  • Mountain side location
  • View the paragliders from restaurant
  • Close to Oludeniz and Hisaronu town
  • Spacious, clean rooms
  • On-site shop for forgotten items!
  • Family friendly resort
  • Need a taxi to reach nearby towns and beach
  • No on-site holiday reps unless with Jet 2
  • Not enough on-site activities
  • Sun lounge wars at crack of dawn

Oludeniz

Oludeniz was a short, 5-10 minute drive from the hotel and very reasonable taxi fare. The area was absolutely teaming with tourists and most of the shops seemed to cater solely for the tourist trade. Everywhere sold fake trainers, bags and clothing and if not, they were selling floats and the like for the local beach.

The beach was actually really lovely but quite a long walk from the main strip. My advice would be to ask the taxi driver to drop you off further along, near the actual emerald lagoon. It was so hot when we went that we gave up and rented sun loungers before we reached the lagoon because we needed the shade!

On the blue lagoon beach Oludeniz

If you look up from the beach you’ll see hundreds of paragliders in the air at any one time. Be careful when you’re walking along the strip though, as it’s where they land! We saw quite a few tourists nearly get taken out by people coming in to land. The eldest daughter was super brave and gave paragliding a go. It was really easy to book and we literally booked the night before and the next morning she was up in the air.

Hisaronu

Hisaronu was the closest town to our hotel and was also very tourist friendly. It was the first place we ventured out to and it felt really safe, wondering around on day one of our holiday in Turkey. There were a lot of shops selling fake luxury items which really wasn’t my bag, so it meant we really didn’t buy any souvenirs bar a couple of fridge magnets.

Other than fake luxury goods, there was an impressive amount of spas and hairdressers. The three of us had manicures and pedicures which came up to less than £20 for the three of us! You could also get your brows done as well as semi-permanent tattoo makeup but I didn’t fancy trying it out.

pedicures in Hisaronu

Çalis and Fethiye – well worth the trip

The Dalaman area is well known for Fethiye and its market. The Fethiye market is massive and sells everything from fruit and vegetables to clothing and souvenirs. Unfortunately, it was closed on both days that we visited the town but we explored some other really nice parts of the town including Paspatur, the old town, which had a unique market that was both covered and cool – a welcome break from the summer heat! We also explored a nearby shopping mall called Erasta Fethiye which was a very modern affair with chain fast food restaurants and clothing shops.

old town Fethiye Turkey Girl standing under umbrella installation

There is a lovely harbour strip to walk around with many people offering boat tours. The tours last hours and I knew it would quickly lose the attention of the kids so instead we opted to a much cheaper and faster option of a water taxi! For a few pounds, the three of us were able to take a 30 minute boat trip across the bay to Calis which we’d been recommended as having a beautiful and park.

Water taxi to calis beach

Instead of the park though, we decided to stroll Calis beach and eat out at one of the many waterfront restaurants promising authentic Turkish fare. It turned out to be the most expensive and bland meal of our trip and reminded me not to eat out at tourist traps, but it was an experience nonetheless.

Booking child friendly excursions

Everywhere you go in Fethiye, Çalis, Oludeniz and Hisaronu you’ll find tour companies trying to sell you excursions. You can also book them at your hotel though it normally tends to be much more expensive that way. We chose to book via a stand at Çalis beach, purely down to the vibe we got from the rep. We booked paragliding and also a water safari trip which lasted a good twelve hours.

ali baba tours Turkey

Both were really reasonably priced and professionally run. Though a word of advice with the water safari – we thought the water fight would be one part of the day, with others being exploring a trout farm, historic ruins and a beautiful waterfall and a mud bath, but it turned out the water fight went on throughout the entire day with whole buckets of freezing cold water being chucked on all participants (including a rather confused five year old daughter of mine!!)

Would I recommend our trip?

I guess it depends what you go on holiday for. For me, the hotel was probably the saving grace of the holiday for me as I didn’t much like what was on offer in the nearby towns. Honestly, I’m really glad I chose a hotel so far from the main tourist strip. It meant we stepped into a cocoon of peace whenever we arrived back at the hotel and provided a sense of relief for the kids.

There are quite a few excursions to try, such as a jeep safari, sky diving and walking the nearby ruins. I would recommend getting a bus and taxi to explore towns further afield too, otherwise it can get a bit repetitive.

I would recommend Montana Pine resort if you choose to visit Oludeniz as it was such a friendly and well run resort. But honestly, I think we’ll try another area in Turkey on our next visit.

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