TAKE to the sky for a thrilling Turkish delight, writes NATALIE CHALK
THERE comes a point in life when you just have to jump.
I'm staring over a 2,000-metre cliff edge, braced for my first paragliding experience.
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I'm wearing a harness and a helmet and the parachute is laid out on the ground.
Next comes the stomach-churning moment when the pilot shouts: "Run!" I take a deep breath and in less than a second the ground falls away and we are walking in the air.
I scream "woohoo" as we leave behind the brown mountain and look down on the sunbathers holidaying along the Turquoise Coast in southwest Turkey.
In the hands of the experienced pilot on my tandem flight, we gently soar over the stunning Blue Lagoon.
In half an hour we land safely on the beachfront in Oludeniz, the world-famous centre for paragliding.
I wanted to come to this small, laid-back village resort on the Turkish Riviera as it's become one of the most photographed beaches in the Mediterranean, thanks in part to the piercing green-blue colour of the sea, which reaches a welcoming 28C (82F) in the summer.
With the typical Med climate of hot and dry, it's also become a popular spot for Brits wanting to lie under the bright sun, eat ice cream and drink Efes Turkish lager.
It recently became James Bond country too, with Daniel Craig arriving to shoot scenes for the latest 007 film Skyfall, which is due for UK release next month.
There are hundreds of hotels and apartments in Oludeniz, with most visitors coming here on two-week package holidays.
Safari I stayed in the Alize, just up the road from the beach. This is an all inclusive hotel where you can sit around the pool all day eating and drinking while watching guests doing pool-aerobics from your sunlounger.
If you are feeling energetic you can opt for a Jeep safari or run the rapids in an inflatable rubber ring, as well as paragliding.
And there are dozens of boat trips along the shoreline too.
The best way to see the surrounding area is on a Jeep safari. Passengers are actively encouraged to take pump-action water guns to spray each other during the hot afternoon.
This is a full day trip, which starts This is a full day trip, which starts out with a "soaking wet" drive to see some nearby ruins. This is followed by a walk through the clear cold waters of Europe's second largest canyon, known as the Hidden City.
Next on the itinerary I paddle down the shallow Saklikent river in an inflatable tube. Lastly I get to sit in a mud bath for half an hour to refresh my skin.
Kayak¶y is also worth seeing. It's an abandoned Greek ghost village with 3,500 broken stone houses and it has been uninhabited since 1923, leaving a permanent air of sadness hanging over it.
Stay for lunch at Cinbal, the oldest restaurant in the area, which serves a Turkish barbecue in a garden where bunches of grapes hang over your heads.
You don't sit at a conventional your heads. You don't sit at a conventional table but lie on bed-like furniture while meze dishes of smoky aubergine, chillis covered in yoghurt and the tastiest lamb are delivered. Finish with baklava, a sweet pastry filled with nuts and dripping with honey.
The nightlife is restaurant-based. You settle in for the night at your eaterie of choice, have drinks after the meal and either watch the world go by or join in the karaoke or belly dancing.
For a stunning sunset go to Bella Mamma's Italian restaurant at Delta Hotel in Cali Beach, another popular resort nearby. It's right on the seafront among dozens of other restaurants but the food is superb and the servings huge.
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Another highlight for dinner is Hilmi in the Fish Market in Fethiye harbour, where you handpick what to eat from the day's catch and they cook it for you. Every Tuesday, there is a huge market with hundreds of stalls offering jewellery, souvenirs, handcrafts, leather, plates and clothes.
Back in –l¼deniz, dinner can be followed by a wander down the main street past shops proudly displaying their racks of fake branded clothes and watches.
I bought a T-shirt to remember how I turned my lazy beach holiday into an action-packed trip of a lifetime.
It says: "Did it, liked it, loved it."
FLIGHTS are available to Dalaman on the Turkish Riviera from Luton Airport with Monarch.
To book go to monarch.co.uk A double room at the Alize Hotel in peak season costs around £111 a night. To book visit alizeotel.com.
Tandem paragliding with Gravity is £60. For more information visit flyoludeniz.com The Jeep safari with Evergreen travel agency costs £18.