This is one of the most frequented tourist areas along the southern Turkish coast. Many summer vacationers describe its interesting natural scenery, the friendly people, ease of movement and the warm Mediterranean climate that can go up to 40°C as the reasons why they find Fethiye more appealing.
In addition to that, accommodation and food are cheap, there’s plenty of Turkish food varieties to experiment while you can also do a lot of activities in the area. From Fethiye, a curious tourist can also adventure the nearby beach resort town of Ölüdeniz. Its pebble beach has a well-preserved sand bay with a blue lagoon with mild warm summer temperatures.
How to get there
Getting to Fethiye is easier through the nearby Dalaman airport which is a one hour’s bus journey away. There can be a lot of cheaper flights to Dalaman from major airports in Europe during summer. Several holiday airlines like Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, British Airways, Pegasus Airlines, Monarch Airlines, EasyJet, Jet2 and Turkish Airlines all fly into Dalaman. It’s better to have an arrangement with your hotel to collect you at the airport or else you will just use the local dolmuş which is a shared taxi (sort of minibus).
Moving around Fethiye
With a good transport connection, Fethiye has a superb network of both public and private transport. Besides hiring overpriced taxi cars, you can also take the dolmuş. They are very cheap and so popular and operate from some popular resorts of Ölüdeniz, Hisaronu, and Ovacık. The dolmuş drive through very narrow roads that wind through the spectacular 6,400ft Babadağ mountains whose remarkable downward views are not for the fainthearted. The surrounding wild bushes used to host wild bears where they roamed freely before tourism became the main activity.
There are also public buses but these are not very often but they are also a cheaper option. To adventure further, you can use the gulets which are wooden sailboats that can take you around the coastal waters and the surrounding archipelago in a private cruise or the scooter that is motor-powered. It is also possible to rent a bike or just simply walk around the town.
There are daily boat cruises from Ölüdeniz straight to Fethiye beach resort which means that if you’re staying in a hotel around, you won’t need travel to Ölüdeniz by bus. On an evening you can walk to the harbor and then ask to be shown around the boats, or you can just turn up on the day and just go to the one whose build up you like most.
You can opt for a water taxi whose boats are really of great value and you can opt for a return trip from your hotel and back, a BBQ buffet lunch with your own choice of chicken, fish or vegetarian option, and a large mixed buffet of Turkish meze and chips for the less adventurous. These boat trips can be booked up for as little as £5 but it’s wiser to head for one that is twice that price as you get what you pay for, the wooden gulet boats will offer you the best experience.
Things you can do in Fethiye
There are a lot of things to do in Fethiye. In fact, you will find yourself taking on something new each other day. The spectacular Babadağ mountains are considered to be a top paragliding location in the world. A tandem paragliding would cost you £50 with an experienced pilot. You will be taken to the top of the mountains by a minibus and then given a little training on using the equipment. After that, you will jump off with the pilot and for about 30 minutes, you will glide down the mountainside as the pilot takes you for miles around the area while you snap some selfies for your Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram show off.
Fethiye’s large harbour is always filled with wooden gulet boats, posh yachts, plus the seaside bazaars where you can bargain with the attendants for fair prices on a range of Turkish spices and curries, traditional Turkish confectionaries like the sweet pastry baklava, Turkish delight locally called lokum or rahat flavoured with rose water or lemon, leather items, silverware like the metal or glass lamps and lanterns, fabrics, antiques, Turkish carpets, patterned calabashes, and a lot more. There’s also a nearby fish market where you can choose your fish from the central stalls and then take the fish to the surrounding restaurants for them to cook it for you in the way you want. Some types of fish you can enjoy include Calamari, mackerel, goby, grey mullet, grouper, sea bass, swordfish, and sardines.
Through organized trips, you can also enjoy hiking in other spectacular sites in nearby Lycia hills. There you will be able to explore the famous Saklikent gorge also known as ‘Hidden city’. Its 20-kilometre enormous structures makes it the second-largest gorge in continental Europe. It takes you around one hours’ time in a dolmus from Fethiye to the Saklikent gorge. You will never want to stop enjoying the views of its well-sculpted walls that soar high above the Saklikent river. Four kilometers northwest of the Saklikent gorge, you can also sightsee the ancient Roman ruins of Tlos and its nearby Tlos Yaka garden park.
As a bonus, you may also never want to miss visiting the Amintas rock tombs which are also found in the Lycian cliffs. The scenic walks uphill can be exhausting but you will be pleased with incredible views of the whole surrounding archipelago from the hilltop. Other attractions worthy of not missing include the Lycian sarcophagus, the 2500-year-old Kadyanda city notable with its Hellenistic theaters, the beautiful Roman baths, ancient temples and rock cave tombs. If you have more time, there’s the Kayaköy settlement which is an ancient Greek settlement with well-preserved ruins like churches and stone structures.
Remember that the best time to visit the incredible Fethiye and its sorrounding beautiful areas is during the summer time when the weather is warm and prices for both flights, meals, tours and accommodation are at their lowest. Be sure to book early in time to avoid last-minute disappointments.
Many thanks to Allen Johnson-Roberts for his significant contribution to some information in this article and all the photographs.