A transcontinental country brimming with ancient cities and fiercely strong coffee.
A layered ancient history and bold blue seas, Fethiye and it’s surrounding area consist of a diverse collection of landscapes to explore. From the hot and spice filled city market, to the ruins of great old cities, once the epicentre of ancient empires.
Fethiye sits within the Muğla province of Turkey, along with its neighbouring province Anatlya, both together make up an area popularly known as the Turkish Riveria. Just like the French Riveria, this turquoise coastline consists of dramatic mountains and hills that roll down into a warm, bright blue sea.
CURRENCY | Turkish Lira
TIME NEEDED | Long weekend – 1 week
SEASONS & WEATHER | Mild in winter, very hot in summer. Visit anytime, but spring, summer and autumn will guarantee better weather.
LANGUAGES | Turkish, English in popular tourist areas
HOW TO SAY HELLO | Merhaba
HOW TO SAY THANK YOU | Teşekkürler
TRANSPORT | Taxi, care hire and public transport.
NEAREST AIRPORT | Dalaman Airport (DLM)
NEAREST BUS STATION | A central bus station is based in the centre of Fethiye. The area is not currently served by rail.
THINGS TO VISIT, PLACES TO SEE
Oludeniz Beach and Lagoon | This part of Turkey is particularly famous for it’s coastline, often nicknamed the Turkish Riveria or ‘Turquoise coast’. Oludeniz beach perfectly encapsulates that image of bright blue seas and a dramatic coastal backdrop. With endless water sports to try your hand at, as well as boat tours, it’s a great place to spend a day. Whether swimming, snorkelling, or if you love something a little more adventurous, diving and paragliding!
There is a small fee to enter the blue lagoon area of the beach as it is a nature reserve, however the rest of the beach is free to access. The beaches are gravelly, so water shoes might be handy.
Sakilikent Gorge | One of the deepest gorges in Europe, the sheer size and height of Sakilkent is extremely impressive. You’ll have to tilt your head right back to examine the top! The entrance fee is a small 8 TL, although the cost can sometimes be included depending on if you’re on a tour and it includes the ticket price.
You’ll wander along a small boardwalk that hugs the cliff, until you reach a corner where it’s possible to cross the river and walk further into the gorge.
Depending on the water levels and the season, crossing the river can be quite hazardous. I was wearing slip on trainers and had to try extremely hard not to lose them (or myself!). Not to mention a camera in my pocket whilst water fizzed past the tops of my legs. (If you’re under 5ft 8 you might find the water level at your waist!) The current is very strong so really take care and don’t attempt to cross if you’re unsure.
If you’re on a tour they will likely take you further down river to experience a bit of a mud bath. Many places claim that their river mud or, spring water is incredibly healing/good for the skin. Honestly I’m a little skeptical, but it was great fun to try all the same!
Turkish Bath (Hammam) | An age old tradition, with records of bath houses dating back to the 7th century. There are a number of spas and hotels offering a Turkish bath experience in Fethiye, the perfect way to experience part of Turkeys ancient culture whilst also getting to unwind and relax.
Rock Tombs | You might be familiar with the incredibly famous ancient city of Petra in Jordan, but did you know that Turkey has a great collection of rock tombs and cities too? Just to the south of the city in Fethiye you’ll find the famous Amyntas Rock Tombs, but you can also find these incredible structures within the ancient ruins of Tlos.
Tlos Ruins | Perched upon a hilltop, these impressive ruins are the remains of an ancient Lycian city. You’ll see hints of Roman influence intertwined with Ottoman architecture, with the Roman amphitheater and bath houses, as well as the famous Lycian tombs, carved into the cliff face. Each tomb belonging to a prestigious family from that time period. The Fethiye Museum holds a number of incredible artefacts from the history of Tlos.
Yaka Park | A beautiful shaded oasis of small waterfalls and pools, there is also a small trout farm here and a restaurant. A lot of tours pause here during the midday heat for lunch, and with the shade of the trees and the cool water to wander through, you can see why.
Fethiye Market | Held every Tuesday in the centre of Fethiye, it’s something you definitely don’t want to miss. From figs and ruby red saffron, to famous Turkish peshtemal towels and jewellery. We walked through here mid-afternoon on a day that topped 40 degrees Celsius, not clever! If it’s a hot day, head here in the morning, and be firm (but polite) with saying no if you’re offered something by a seller that you don’t want.
Fethiye Harbour & Old Town | With beautiful sweeping views out across the marina it’s a lovely place to wander or dine in the evening. Whilst sitting on the harbour wall a huge loggerhead turtle popped up and swam beneath our feet, so keep your eyes peeled for them on this coastline!
Kaya Köy | An interesting but eerie place to visit. Just 8km south of Fethiye, Kaya Köy is essentially an abandoned village, or ‘ghost town’. Greek Orthodox villagers either fled or were killed during Greek and Turkish conflicts during the first world war and the breakdown of the Ottoman empire. During an exchange of refugees between both Greece and Turkey, the relocated people arriving from Greece did not wish to live within Kaya Köy because of the horrors committed there and the rumours of the area being haunted.
Try Turkish delight! | I really wish I liked Turkish delight, I think it really is one of those love or hate situations (like marmite for British people!). We visited a small factory on an arranged tour in Fethiye. Still, my friend loved it and it was really lovely to see their famous delicacy being created.
Try some more local delicacies! | Turkish cuisine shares a number of spices and dishes with it’s Mediterranean neighbour Greece, like Baklava and Moussaka. However for something truly Turkish, look for Kebabs… Köfte, Döner or Şiş kebab! These are popular street food items, but are often re-worked into appetising restaurant meals.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, options can be a little limited when eating out in some areas of Turkey. Like many places across the world though, plant-based options are on the rise. But look out for traditional olive oil based dishes called ‘zeytinyağlı‘, which typically feature vegetables and beans cooked in a tasty spiced sauce.
Butterfly Valley | A peaceful valley, home to a wide collection of native plants, wildflowers, butterflies and moths (including beautiful Swallowtails and the Jersey Tiger). A number of tour boats visit here from Oludeniz. (Note: it was once possible to hike down into the valley, but it is no longer considered safe to do so).
Hop on a Mini Cruise or Boat trip | Whilst Oludeniz and Çalış Beach are beautiful; heading out into deeper water whilst relaxing on the top deck of a sail boat that lazily hops between islands is a perfect way to spend a day. Whether you’re staying in Fethiye or Oludeniz, there are plenty of boats, big or small, to choose from, including water sports too!
As public transport is limited in this area of Turkey, your best option for seeing the sites is to either hire a car to explore the area or join some tours.
Myself and a group of friends joined a 4WD tour from Oludeniz with Evergreen Travel. Open top jeeps took us to some of the top sites, as well as stopping at a small village too. It was great fun (the whole group bought some mini water pistols and each jeep became involved in a war of water. Possibly not a great tour option if you’re looking for something relaxing…) however it was nice to have an itinerary already mapped out for us!
Prices are extremely reasonable in Turkey which is the perfect excuse to try something new, whether river rafting or paragliding. For our tour combining Saklikent Gorge, the mud bath, Tlos, and Yaka park the total per person was about £15 (excluding some entrance fees). Which really is an amazing price.