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BLOG Fethiye in Turkey: Your Complete Region Guide

12 November 2019 / Travel

All About Fethiye

When learning about Fethiye in Turkey, expect the best of the Mediterranean coast. From sandy beaches to Gemiler Island and historical sites, Fethiye delights everyone during the summer but also attracts expats looking to live in Turkey all year round. Having gained the name in the 19th century after a famous local pilot, the region was previously called Makri in the 10th century and Telmessos, an ancient city in the 5th century, thanks to a Lycian legend.

These days, the old town, which belongs to the Turkish Republic, surprises and delights everyone with its cobbled streets and Taurus Mountain views. Whether swimming in blue waters, indulging in water sports, or visiting historic sites, Fethiye will delight you. Every year, the area hosts thousands of holidaymakers who descend to soak up typical cosmopolitan vibes.

Some foreigners also buy property to live here, establishing expat communities as ambassadors and spreading the word about the excellent reputation everywhere. Much of Fethiye's ability to gain admiration stems from diversity. So, in this guide, we will talk about everything you need to know about this area of Turkey that attracts many home buyers.

Why Foreigners Love Fethiye in Turkey

All about Fethiye

Summary - Key Facts and Figures

  • The Fethiye region covers 875 square kilometres and includes the main city centre and smaller coastal resorts like Olu Deniz, Calis Beach, Gocek and Hisaronu.
  • The population of roughly 250,000 includes foreign expats, but this swells in summer when the tourism season starts.
  • Fethiye's rich Lycian history dates back to ancient times when it was called Telmessos. Historical ruins include Lycian rock tombs and ancient theatre.
  • Fethiye has a diverse population, with foreign expatriates adding to the cosmopolitan vibes. This mix of cultures promotes dining scenes and social atmospheres.
  • Fethiye is serviced by Dalaman International Airport but sits on the main D400 highway and easily connects to the rest of Turkey by car and bus.

Where Is Fethiye in Turkey?

Fethiye Bay sits in the heart of Turkey's Mediterranean, the turquoise coast, with Antalya and Dalyan regions on either side. Belonging to Turkey's Mugla province, the Fethiye District comprises a city centre and several smaller coastal holiday resorts and inland villages. Backing the Taurus mountains, the stunning scenery is memorable to everyone, hence its popularity among Instagram crowds. Fethiye also belongs to the Turkish Riviera.

How to Reach Fethiye

If driving, head for the main D400 highway from Turkey's east to west and look out for signage. Depending on where they come from, bus passengers catch coaches at Fethiye City's main bus terminal or connect public transportation services from Mugla Otogar. Since Fethiye features internationally for tourism, most tourists arrive on flights via Dalaman International Airport, one of the three top tourist air travel hubs and just a 45-minute' drive away. Dalaman Airport has a frequent summer flight schedule and a limited winter schedule.

What is Fethiye Like?

Fethiye City embraced tourism over 50 years ago; so foreign influences spilt into daily life, evoking cosmopolitan atmospheres. As one of Turkey's top tourist hubs, many locals speak English and laid-back holiday atmospheres shine everywhere. Do not stereotype Fethiye as just suiting one demographic. For example, sailing and yachting are big business, but history, photography, and adventure sports enthusiasts find things to do. Likewise, dining scenes range from budget street food to fine dining in marina gourmet restaurants. The large community of foreign expats who live here all year round also add to the multicultural vibes.

Weather and Climate

Fethiye's typical Mediterranean climate, which evokes mild winters and hot, dry summers, is part of the lure for foreign homebuyers. Given the miles of gorgeous coastline, locals look forward to tourism seasons running from May to October when beach package holidays kick into action. The hottest summer months; July, August, and September are when temperatures reach the mid-40s. Still, beautiful beaches are crowded during these months. The rainy season lasts from January to February, while tourists who enjoy exploring attractions, trekking, and hiking the Lycian way visit in April, May, June, October, and November.

Fethiye promenade

Nightlife and Restaurants

Be prepared to put on a few pounds because hundreds of restaurants serve delicious international cuisines from around the world. For traditional Turkish cuisine, head to local lokantas. Other restaurants cater to international cuisine like steaks, pasta, Chinese and Indian. However, as much as we enjoy eating foreign cuisine, Fethiye Fish Market attracts locals and tourists. Fishmongers sell fresh fish and seafood within a large courtyard of the fish market. Buy your dinner and take it to any surrounding restaurants that cook and serve the fish with other dishes like salad, chips, potatoes, and traditional Turkish mezes.

Modern and Traditional Shopping Delights

The Tuesday Fethiye market is a great place to start your Turkish shopping experience. Open from 9 a.m. to evenings, vendors sell everything and anything. Self-catering holidaymakers buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products, but souvenirs and clothing dominate stalls. Soak up haggling atmospheres and eat traditional Gozleme from street food stands. Otherwise, for modern shopping experiences with food courts, brand names and entertainment all under one roof, try Erasta Shopping Mall on Oludeniz Caddesi.

Best Beaches in the Fethiye Area

Fethiye town centre has no beach, but the surrounding coastlines have many golden sand, coves and bays. Calis Beach offers water sports sunbeds and umbrellas to rent, and it is easy to reach by water taxi. Olu Deniz's main beach and the Blue Lagoon are famous. Some people jump on water taxis heading to Butterfly Valley, with perfect snorkelling conditions, while others visit Gemiler. There is also a water taxi from Calis Beach to Solvaye Island. Kabak Bay is famous, and on day trips, drive to Kaputas Bay and Patara Beach, two of Turkey's best beaches.

Prominent Landmarks and Points of Attraction

Paspatur Old Quarter: Although Fethiye boasts modern delights of daily Mediterranean life, a tour around Paspatur Old Quarter gives insights into when the place was a small Ottoman village. Old stone houses with wooden shutters line cobbled paths, and bars and shops have set up businesses in old houses. Sitting a short walk from the harbour to shop for souvenirs or relax, Paspatur delights young and old.

Fethiye Marina: Fethiye Ece Marina is where international yachts dock in. Expect everything marina life offers, from upmarket restaurants and boutiques to all the services yachts sailing the Mediterranean might need. If sailing into Fethiye, to continue your journey, visit nearby Gocek, which has six marinas, upmarket sailing scenes, and excellent restaurants.

Sehir Fethi Bey Park: Covering 68,000 square meters, of which 5000 square meters feature the children's playground, this park added to Fethiye's appeal. Including gyms, sports facilities, cafes, bicycles, and walking paths, the park covers the walking route from Fethiye town to Calis Beach. Admission is free, and at night, the park lights up. Most locals and repeat tourists agree that the park has added to their community and house values.

Lycian Rock Tombs: At the back of Fethiye city, on a steep hill, these well-preserved tombs look over the region as if to command their historical importance. Once the resting place for Lycian royalty, looters took most of the possessions, but the architecture remains impressive today. The best one to see is the 4th-century Amyntas tomb.

Fethiye Roman Theatre: This theatre isn't as big as others in Turkey, yet it does command respect and curiosity. As a remaining trace of ancient Telmessos Lycian city, the 2nd century BC harbour theatre used to sit at 6000. Renovations are constantly ongoing to keep original architectural styles as much as possible.

Fethiye Harbour: We love strolling along Fethiye's old harbour district where sailing gulet boats dock up and old fishing boats bring in fresh catches. We sometimes stop in harbourside restaurants and cafes for ice-cold beers on summer days, complemented by amazing views.

Prominent Areas Within the Fethiye District of Turkey

Beautiful Olu Deniz: We are suckers for Oludeniz because stunning beauty transports us into another world. Some criticise the area for the British atmosphere, but many Brits flock for mainstream package holidays. Aside from the famous Blue Lagoon and Belcekiz Beach, there isn't much to do within the resort, but further afield, many places of interest top the list of highly-rated attractions.

Oludeniz in Fethiye

Hisaronu and Ovacik: Oludeniz's popularity was so great that the town could not cope with the increasing number of holidaymakers because of the protected land status. Hence, set further inland and with stunning mountain views are Hisaronu and Ovacik, built to cope with overspills. Bars, restaurants, and shops cater to holidaymakers, but for more choices, public transport links to other places are cheap and frequent.

Calis Beach Resort: For stunning sunsets and a gorgeous beach, visit Calis on Fethiye's outskirts. Also built because of tourism overload, Calis Beach's established expat community fell in love with the area and decided not to leave. Families should visit Aqua City for water-splashing fun.

Fethiye City: The town, on the verge of becoming a city, has the widest choice of bars, restaurants, and shops, and the Fethiye central bus station connects to the rest of Turkey. Beach lovers will be disappointed, but most hotels have pools or private beaches, and people interested in other activities like sightseeing and history will be pleased. Also, explore the harbour district with fishing boats and backing Telmessos theatre.

Luxury Gocek: Gocek's upmarket and sailing reputation stays off mainstream travel grids yet attracts Turkish Riviera fans seeking discreet locations. Known for ultramodern marinas, sailing yachts dock in here. Property hunters love Gocek because there are limited land and height restrictions for building. Hence, the town will always maintain exclusive vibes.

Uzumlu: For mountain vibes rather than coastline, countryside Uzumlu will appeal. Sitting 20 minutes’ drive away, this expat village sees holiday homeowners returning for summer durations. Uzumlu promotes rural living and is famous for its annual mushroom festival.

Faralya: Sitting off the grid, this small mountain village leads the way for yoga retreats. Offering stunning coastline views, Faralya promotes switching off from the outside world. Should you decide to stay here, hire a car since bus services are limited.

Sovalye Island: Given the small size and off-land location and because the island can only be reached by water taxi, many people visit Sovalye during the day. Property sells at the luxury, higher-end, making this discreet and ideal for exclusive million-pound mansions.

Other Things to Do in Fethiye

Blue Lagoon: The most famous landmark, often appearing in international travel magazines, is the Blue Lagoon. To get there, head to Oludeniz Beach, turn right and continue walking. While there, rent sunbeds, pedalos and umbrellas and enjoy selected refreshments and food.

Kayakoy Ghost Town: Slowly deserted over many decades, Kayakoy Ghost Village portrays stories from the 1920s Turkish–Greek population exchange. Explore narrow, cobbled streets leading to crumbling houses, schools, and churches before visiting traditional restaurants for the local lamb tandir.

Kayakoy Ghost Town Fethiye

Daily Boat Trips: Lazy day boat cruises are big business, offering stunning scenery on various island routes. Lunch is served on board, and the stopovers for boat tours are scenic coves and bays, so slap on sun cream, lie back and enjoy Mediterranean Turkey's most beautiful islands.

Butterfly Valley: Take a water taxi to Butterfly Valley for a day trip in a rustic environment whose sole motto is to be at one with nature. Sitting between two towering hills, most people walk to the back of Butterfly Valley, but snorkelers love the crystal-clear water.

Saklikent Gorge, Tlos historical site and Yakapark: Sold by most local excursion shops, this day trip first visits Saklikent Gorge, a natural valley formed thousands of years ago by the fast-flowing river. Then, eat lunch at mountain Yakapark before heading to ancient Tlos city, which displays Byzantine and Ottoman ruins and offers fantastic panoramic views over Xanthos Valley. This is one of Turkey's most significant archaeological sites.

Paragliding and Scuba Diving: If visiting Oludeniz, don't be surprised to see swarms of paragliders flying before resting on a landing pad on the main beach. A professional pilot takes the helm, allowing you to admire fantastic views. Otherwise, local schools sell scuba diving sessions to explore diving sites, shipwrecks and underwater marine life.

Fethiye to Olympos Blue Cruise: During summer, Fethiye hosts budget travellers who flock to experience the 3-night, four-day cruise to Antalya on a traditional gulet boat. For privacy, some hire a private yacht charter during special occasions like birthdays or honeymoons. Either way, experience highlights like Kas and Kekova sunken city and see beautiful views.

Ferry to Rhodes: Greek islands are all around the coastline of Turkey, and from the centre of Fethiye, catch the catamaran ferry to Rhodes for the day. Wander the medieval towns and soak up the Greek vibes before returning at night. At certain times, the lights over on Rhodes, a Greek island from Calis Beach, can be seen.

Xanthos and Letoon: Just 68 kilometres away, ancient Xanthos and Letoon were home to the famous Lycian league and civilisation, which ruled these shores and sat near famous Carian cities. Both can be explored within a day on Turkey's UNESCO World heritage site list.

Popular Questions and Answers

Which is Better, Antalya or Fethiye?

This really boils down to personal preferences. Antalya is next to Fethiye, further east along Turkey's Mediterranean coast. In addition to Antalya's city centre, the region includes smaller resorts like Side, Alanya, Belek, and Kalkan. Antalya sees a solid Russian and German presence, whereas in Fethiye, the British presence is more prominent. Fethiye is smaller than Antalya, Turkey's fifth-largest city in terms of population. Our personal preference is Fethiye simply because the town is not as busy. Yet, Antalya holds the crown as home to Turkey's best beaches.

Do People in Fethiye Speak English?

Yes, many Fethiye residents speak English. For decades, the town has thrived on the tourism scene, and many Brits live here; hence, locals often learn English to help with their businesses. While there are some places like Banks and government offices where the language barrier might be a problem, when you are in bars, restaurants, shops and hotels, you will hear English spoken frequently by Turkish residents.

Is Fethiye in Dalaman?

No, Fethiye is a separate district of the Mugla province to which Dalaman belongs. Some people ask this question because they will fly into Dalaman airport. However, the good news is that the transfer time from Dalaman Airport to Fethiye city and surrounding resorts is really short. At a distance of 45 kilometres, you can easily reach the Fethiye area within an hour.

Why is the Area called Fethiye?

The area is named after Captain Fethi Bey, an Ottoman air pilot. He died in a crash in 1914 while attempting the first flight from Istanbul to Cairo, and Fethiye was renamed in his honour. While walking along the promenade, you will see a statue of him. Sehit Fethi Bey Park is also named after him.

Sehit Fethibey Park

Can Foreigners Buy Property?

Yes, foreigners can buy property. In fact, a large number already have. Some own holiday homes, some bought them for investment purposes, while others purchased them to live here. See various types of property for sale here. Just fill in the information form to receive further details via email.

About Us - Turkey Homes

We are Turkey Homes, and we sell property all over Turkey. Having operated in Turkey's property industry for 20 years, our local knowledge of Fethiye is second to none. Our services range from matching you with suitable properties to getting your title deeds and keys. Call us today to speak to an agent about viewing homes for sale and more information about Fethiye in Turkey.

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