About Fethiye in Turkey
Anyone who has been to Fethiye in Turkey will testify how easy it is to fall in love with it. From the old town’s narrow cobbled streets to backing Taurus mountain views, at every turn, something surprises and delights at the same time.
Tourism stats prove how much people adore Fethiye, which gained its name after a heroic, early 20thcentury Ottoman air pilot. Every year, it hosts thousands of holidaymakers who descend to soak up typical cosmopolitan vibes. Many foreigners also go one step further and buy property to live there all year round, hence the established expat communities who act as ambassadors and spread the word of its reputation everywhere.
Much of Fethiye’s ability to gain admiration stems from its diversity. Accommodating both budget and luxury travellers, a wealth of activities means every day is a Turkish adventure into a Mediterranean hotspot. In this guide, we talk about everything to know and how to enhance your visit.
About Fethiye in Turkey
Where Is It?
Fethiye sits in the heart of Turkey’s Mediterranean, also known as the Turquoise coast, with Antalya and Dalyan regions on either side. Belonging to Mugla province, it comprises a city centre and several smaller coastal holiday resorts and inland villages. Fronting the Mediterranean Sea and backing the Taurus mountains, the stunning scenery is some of Turkey’s best, hence its popularity among Instagram crowds.
How to Get There
If driving, head for the main D400 highway running from Turkey’s east to west and from there, signage points the way. Depending on where they come from, bus passengers can either catch coaches to Fethiye’s main bus terminal or connecting services from Mugla Otogar. Since Fethiye features internationally for tourism, most people arrive on flights via Dalaman airport, one of three top tourist air travel hubs and just 45 minutes’ drive away.
What is Fethiye Like?
Fethiye embraced tourism over 50 years ago; hence foreign influences spilt over into daily life, and the result is a cosmopolitan atmosphere. As one of Turkey’s top touristic hubs, many locals speak English and the laid-back holiday atmosphere shines through everywhere. Do not stereotype Fethiye though as just suiting one demographic of people. For example, the sailing and yachting world is big business, but history, photography, and adventure sports enthusiasts will also find things to do. Likewise, the dining out scene ranges from budget street food to fine dining in marina gourmet restaurants. It is an all-rounder in every way.
Best Time to Visit: Weather and Climate
Fethiye’s typical Mediterranean climate paves the way for mild winters and hot summers. Given the miles of gorgeous coastline, locals look forward to the primary tourism season running from May to October when the beach package holidays kick into action. The hottest months are July, August, and September when temperatures can reach the mid-40s, but these beautiful beaches can be crowded during these months. The rainy season lasts from January to February, while people who enjoy exploring attractions, trekking, and hiking the Lycian way should visit in April, May, June, October, and November.
Eating Out and Restaurants
Be prepared to put on a few pounds because hundreds of restaurants serve delicious international cuisines from many countries. For traditional Turkish cuisine, head to a local lokanta. There is nothing fancy about them, but they are great for budget travellers. Other restaurants cater to international cuisine like steaks, pasta, Chinese and Indian. However, as much as we enjoy eating our way around the world, Fethiye Fish Market is where we return to.
Within a large courtyard, fishmongers sell fresh fish, and seafood caught that day. Buy your dinner and then take it to any surrounding restaurants who cook and serve it with other dishes like salad, chips, potatoes, and traditional Turkish mezes. Our other favourite, for fantastic views over the marina and excellent food by the chef, is Café Mod at Ege Saray marina. They serve full day menus including breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner.
Shopping Delights in Fethiye, Turkey
A great place to start your Turkish shopping experience is the Tuesday market. Open from 9 a.m. to evenings; vendors sell everything and anything. Self-catering holidaymakers buy fruit, vegetables, and dairy products but souvenirs and clothing also dominate the stalls. Soak up the haggling atmosphere and eat traditional Gozleme from street food stands.
Another memorable shopping experience is wandering the narrow cobbled streets of Paspatur, the old town near the harbour. We have found some delightful bargains in among shops and later settle for refreshments in small cafes in what seems like a different world. Otherwise for modern shopping experiences with food courts, brand names and entertainment all under one roof, try Erasta Shopping Mall on Oludeniz Caddesi.
Where to Stay: Resorts and Villages
Beautiful Oludeniz: We are suckers for Oludeniz because the stunning beauty transports us into another world. Some criticise it for its British atmosphere but this is no surprise given Brits adore it for mainstream package holidays. Aside from a beautiful beach and Blue Lagoon, there isn’t much to do within resort, but further afield, many places of interest top the list of highly rated attractions.
Hisaronu and Ovacik: Such was Oludeniz’s popularity, the town could not cope with the increasing amounts of holidaymakers because of protected land status. Hence, set further inland and with stunning mountain views are Hisaronu and Ovacik, built to cope with the overspill. A small selection of bars, restaurants and shops cater for holidaymakers, but for more choice, public transports links to other places are cheap and frequent.
Calis Beach: For stunning sunsets and a gorgeous beach, head to 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.
Fethiye Town: The town, on the verge of becoming a city, is where it all happens. It has the widest choice of bars, restaurants, shops, and the central bus station connecting to the rest of Turkey. Beach lovers will be disappointed, but most hotels have pools and people interested in other activities such as sightseeing, and history will be pleased.
Luxury Gocek: Gocek’s upmarket and sailing reputation stays off the mainstream travel grid, yet its cuteness attracts Turkish Riviera fans who want a more discreet location. Known for its ultramodern marinas, many sailing yachts dock in here.
Uzumlu: If you are more of a mountain than coastline person, Uzumlu will appeal. Sitting 20 minutes’ drive away, this village is an expat stronghold, and many property owners also return for summer durations.
Faralya: Sitting off the grid, this small mountain village, leads the way for yoga retreats. Offering stunning views over the coastline, it suits people who want to switch off from the outside world.
Sovalye Island: Given its small size, off land location and because it can only be reached by water taxi, many people visit Sovalye island just for the day. Property also markets itself at the luxury, higher-end, making this a discreet location for anyone who can afford the few select hotels.
Places to Visit in Fethiye and Things to Do
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 until you reach it. While there, rent sunbeds, pedalos and umbrellas, and enjoy selected refreshments and food.
Kayakoy Ghost Village: Slowly deserted over many decades, Kayakoy Ghost Village portrays stories from the 1920s Turkish – Greek population exchange. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets leading to crumbling houses, schools, and churches before sitting in a traditional restaurant to enjoy lamb tandir.
Lycian Rock Tombs: Sitting at the back of the town, 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 possessions, but the architecture remains impressive today. The best one to see is Amyntas.
12 Island Boat Trips: Lazy day boat cruises are big business, and you can understand why when you see for yourself, stunning scenery on various routes to the islands. Lunch is served on board and they stop for swimming breaks in 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 over to Butterfly Valley, a rustic environment whose sole motto is to be at one with nature. Sitting in between two towering hills, most people walk to the back of the valley, but snorkelers also love the place for its crystal-clear water.
Saklikent Gorge, Tlos and Yakapark: Sold by most local excursion shops, this day trip first visits Saklikent Gorge, a natural valley formed thousands of years ago that has a fast-flowing river. Then eat lunch at mountain Yakapark before heading to the ancient city of Tlos displaying Byzantine, and Ottoman ruins.
Paragliding and Scuba Diving: If visiting Oludeniz, don’t be surprised to see swarms of paragliders flying before coming to rest on a landing pad on the main beach. A professional pilot takes the helm leaving you free to admire the view. Otherwise, local schools also sell scuba diving sessions to explore shipwrecks and underwater marine life.
Fethiye to Olympos Blue Cruise: During summer, Fethiye hosts many budget travellers who flock to experience the 3-night, four-day cruise to Antalya on a traditional gulet boat. Those who want privacy, during special occasions like birthdays or honeymoons, often hire a private yacht charter but either way, this is a great chance to experience highlights like Kas and Kekova sunken city.
Buying Property and Living in Fethiye
With stunning scenery, and that gorgeous weather climate, many foreigners buy property, making it one of Turkey’s top-selling destinations. One big lure is that despite its international reputation, prices per square meter are affordable, when compared with other destinations in Turkey. An already established community of expats also ensure that foreigners settle in easy when it comes to legalities like residency permits and healthcare. To explore the real estate market, see our apartments and villas for sale.
Also of Interest
To find out more about Fethiye in Turkey, see our blog articles talking about local events, festivals, places to go, activities and more. We also look closer at towns and villages to discover just why people from all over the world return every year.