Belek's charm is undeniable.
While the town, in the Antalya district, has all the sun-drenched beaches and top-quality restaurants you'd expect in an upmarket Mediterranean resort, it has something else that makes it a jewel in this part of the Turkish coastline: world class golf courses.
Between its backdrop of the Taurus Mountains and the white-fringed sea, Belek is home to no less than 15 golf courses, attracting a wave of off-season golfers each year, and bolstering a market for golf properties in Turkey.
Looking at the huge swathes of green golf courses that border the beach, it's difficult to believe that before the early 1990s, there wasn't a single course. But that changed when the Turkish government unveiled a plan to tempt tourists to the southern region outside of the summer season: turning Belek into a world-class golf centre.
"And Belek grew from there," says Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin, who has been sending clients to Belek for at least a decade.
Deggin's Belek clients are looking for something special, he says. "They want that holiday feel, with beautiful surroundings. They want luxury, and authenticity. And they want top class golf courses. It's easy to see why Belek ticks a lot of boxes."
Deggin outlines some of the reasons why Belek has become so popular.
1. The golf courses
"When you think of golf holidays, most people think of Portugal or Spain," Deggin says. "But my clients are saying the Belek golf courses are better than Portugal."
The first golf club - The National Golf Club - opened in 1994. Others quickly followed suit. By 1995, about 15,000 golfers were teeing off each year in Belek. Now, that figure is close to half a million - and climbing.
Designed by some of the world's foremost golf course architects, Belek's courses are meticulously planned and executed. "The right blend of enjoyable and challenging," Deggin says. "They are just a joy to play on."
The small town's growing reputation has attracted some big names, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Nick Faldo, who has even designed one of the courses. It's also hosted large tournaments, including the Turkish Airlines Open, a European Tour golf tournament that's been played in Turkey every ear since 2013.
2. The natural surroundings
Belek's huge expanses of green have turned it into a centre for birdlife and wildflowers. The natural surroundings mean Belek has become much sought after by people who cherish the natural world. You'll also be able to spot foxes, weasels, squirrels and hedgehogs, as well as rare reptiles like chameleons, and of course, turtles, both sea and land.
"Proximity to the natural world is now one of the most important requirements for lifestyle property buyers," Deggin says. "Belek is very green, very natural: ideal for people who love the natural environment."
Belek's a get-away-from-it-all destination, with lush greenery and white sands that invite relaxation. But just 20 minutes down the road, you'll find Antalya City. With a population of about two million, Antalya City has top hospitals, supermarkets, a pretty Old Town and an airport connecting the city to hundreds of destinations. This ability to be connected, while escaping the hustle and bustle, has made Belek attractive for holidaymakers.
"You get to live in a small town place, with a green lifestyle, but within a stone's throw of Antalya City," Deggin says. "This is a very large draw for my clients."
4. Top service
Belek's service sector has grown around golf. Catering to crowds of golfers and golfing professionals from all over the world, the luxury hotels that have sprung up in Belek are second to none. Belek is home to a handful of seven-star hotels, offering the utmost in luxury.
The same is found across the service sector, which has grown alongside the town's five-star reputation.
"When you shop in Belek, it's boutique, and exclusive," Deggin says. "When you head out to eat in in Belek, you dine out in style."
5. The beach
It's amazing that Belek's beautiful beaches aren't more of a draw. That's because they're located on a stretch of Mediterranean famous for its beauty: just about every beach you pass looks like a postcard scene.
In Belek, a 16 kilometre stretch of fine white sand and turquoise water is edged by shady pines. Its gently sloping sands means it's ideal for children, as well as a popular nesting place for turtles. The beach is free to use, but overseen by the resorts that line the shore, who provide water sport facilities and other activities for holidaymakers.
As you might expect, property in Belek caters to the upmarket. Soaring villas with airy atriums, private pools, landscaped gardens and marble floors. Located on small, well-managed complexes, villas have an emphasis on privacy and style.
"Belek villas are exactly the kind of home you can imagine in a town where everything is geared towards style and luxury," Deggin says.
And of course, geared to golf. Some villas come with golf memberships attached, or shuttle bus services, or other perks.
For more information on property in Belek, get in touch.
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