When I heard about the new cable car being built on Babadağ mountain I was about nervous about the idea – I wasn’t sure how much it would disrupt the area and whether it would look a bit out of place, but when it opened earlier this year and I started to see my friend’s photos popping up on Facebook I knew i had to add it to my list of things to do – so at the end of September that’s what we did!
As we drove down to Ölüdeniz from Hisarönü we saw signs for the mountain car park (they charge per hour), we parked up and walked towards the terminal entrance, though we later realised there is a free shuttle bus that takes you from the car park to the entrance if you want – we used that on the way back. Once we got our tickets (80 tl each) we joined the very short queue and saw the cable cars approaching – the signs actually say each car can hold 6-8 people but it wasn’t busy so each family or couple got a car to themselves.
There’s just something about having to step onto a moving object, no matter how slow, that fills you with dread, isn’t there? As soon as I saw the car coming around the corner I just thought ‘AHHHH!’, but I made it inside and we sat down and enjoyed the journey.
The views of Ölüdeniz are amazing, and depending on the time of day the sun reflects beautifully on the water too. I’m not scared of heights at all but I couldn’t help but be vary aware of the fact that below me was just a mountainside, sharp and rocky. Every now and then when we reached the next section the car would jolt a little and make our bellies wobble – all part of the fun!
There are two stops along the route – 1200 meters, which takes 9 minutes to reach from the ground, and 1700 meters, which is another 5 minutes further – you can get on and off at each point and it’s all included in the ticket price. The stop at 1200m has a restaurant, cafe and open air theatre, but we didn’t get out there. We stayed on til 1700 meters where there is a viewing deck, another restaurant and bar, and a pond with koi karp imported from Japan with a glass walkway over the top.
There’s a barrier near the edge and there are a few security guards walking around, blowing whistles at anyone getting into positions a bit too risky for a photo shoot! The air feels so fresh and clear up there – definitely the freshest air I’ve ever breathed into my lungs! It also gets a bit chilly up there in summer, or bloody freezing and snowy in winter – so be prepared with your clothes, I had a cardigan in my bag but didn’t need to wear it..
From one side you can see Ölüdeniz with the famous lagoon, although from this height it was just a bit out of sight, and on the other side you can see Kayaköy, Fethiye, Şövalye Island and Çalış . It was the first time I’ve ever seen Fethiye from that angle, it was weird to be able to see everything all at the same time.
We were there around 4pm and it was a little hazy so my photos aren’t perfect- I’ve seen friends visit on perfect, crisp clear days and their photos are amazing, but also seen people visit and see nothing but cloud, so it’s definitely not really something you can plan in advance, you have to see what the cloud situation is like when you get there and decide whether its worth saving the trip for another day.
Of course Babadağ is famous for its paragliding, and standing watching people literally run off the side of the mountain at the take off points is fascinating – as is hearing their screams, which soon turn to shrieks of delight!
At the 1700 meter boarding station there is also a chair lift, which takes you up to 1800 meters. Before I went up there I was adamant I wouldn’t do this part, but Berkay wanted to, and before I knew it he was through the barriers so I either had to wait there on my own, or go with him. I was so scared, not so much of the height, but of the getting on and off, and of the chairs holding my weight – but after seeing men with massive paragliding gear sitting on it decided it could probably handle me!
The chair lift doesn’t really slow down, so the chair just whirls around, you stand on the little feet markers on the floor and when you feel it hit your legs, quickly sit down then pull the safety bar/foot rest down yourself, and vice versa when hopping off. Honestly, I just spent the entire 4 minute ride up to 1800 meters worrying about having to get off again. I just had Bridget Jones-ish visions of me not getting off in time and being dragged around upside down hanging on by a bra strap or something.
At 1800 meters there’s another take off area, burger restaurant and of course more stunning views. We stayed up there for a few minutes then headed back down on the chairlift again – despite still having palpitations about getting on and off, it was actually really relaxing and smooth and the views were stunning – don’t let your fear put you off! Children under the age of 8 ( I think) aren’t allowed on the chair lift part though.
I have a list of opening times on the map they gave me, and it seems like the cable car is open all year around – weather permitting, presumably, but only up to 1200 meters during November-March, and the full way to the top from April to October. It’s open til quite late at night too, and while not being able to see whats beneath you at night is probably really scary, I think seeing all the lights in Fethiye would be beautiful! We will definitely be going back again, and it’s worth every penny (or kurus) of the 80tl ticket!