Fethiye is a beautiful harbour town on Turkey's relatively tranquil southwestern coast – often referred to as the Turquoise Coast. The title is particularly apt for this part of the coast. The first glimpse of the different shades of blue of the cool waters of the Mediterranean is some of the most stunning in Turkey.
The area is full of wonderful history, beautiful beaches and hidden coves. First-time and returning visitors to Fethiye will always find something to do or see.
Fethiye is popular with many international tourists, but predominantly the British. The area has a large all-year-round ex-pat community living in Ovacik, Tasyaka, Deliktas and Calis. The more remote areas of Yaniklar, Kemer and Uzumlu – villas on the outskirts of town – also have a large ex-pat presence.
Many people know of the famous beach resort of Oludeniz with its stunning Blue Lagoon and Calis beach, famous for its spectacular sunsets. However, these are just two of the beaches in the region. Kidrak Beach, also known as Paradise Beach, a little further around the bay from Oludeniz, is a little-known beach almost unspoilt by mass tourism, a peaceful haven during the week but a little busier with locals at the weekends.
Gemiler Beach is another beautiful spot. Take the road through Kayakoy ghost village and follow the long and winding mountain road; you will no doubt stop halfway down as you will be amazed at the views of St. Nicholas Island and the Faralya area. Once down at the beach, there is a café serving snacks and drinks and plenty of watersports available. The beach is quite pebbly, so mind the rocks as you enter the water, but it is a sublime place to visit.
The Tuesday market is a perfect place to find a bargain. Right in the centre of Fethiye, every Tuesday, there is a very busy market selling an array of goods, with a huge selection of locally grown fruit and vegetables, leather goods, dried herbs, spices and clothing.
There is also a shopping mall located in the Tasyaka area. A modern two-floor centre, designer shops, shoe shops, a supermarket and a food hall with a selection of fast food outlets.
The old town of Paspatur is a lovely shopping experience, with traditional-style shops lining the alleyways selling handmade rugs, Turkish ceramics, beautiful glass mosaic lamps and many other traditional Turkish goods.
Fethiye is awash with history and has many wonderful historical sights to visit and explore. A visit to Kayakoy, also known as the Ghost Village, is a must. It takes around 30 minutes on the local Dolmus from Fethiye. There is a small fee to enter the site of the Greek ruins, but it’s worth it to see the fantastic sites of the old churches, schools and around 500 abandoned houses. When you are done exploring, you can pop into one of the restaurants for a traditional Gozleme (savoury stuffed pancake), or a nice cold beer and swim in one of the pools.
Another fantastic site to visit is the Lycian Rock Tombs, which are carved into the cliffs overlooking the bay of Fethiye. It is a bit of an uphill climb but well worth it, even if it is just for the amazing views over Fethiye.
An evening out in Fethiye should be on your to-do list on your visit to the area. The local fish market in the town centre is an experience you will never forget. Set in an enclosed square with central stalls selling almost every type of fish you could wish for. Choose your fish and then decide which of the restaurants you would like to eat in. The fishmonger will prepare your fish ready to cook, and it will be delivered to your table freshly cooked and served with salad, a plate of mixed Meze and soft, fresh bread. The national drink of Raki is also a brilliant complement to the fish. It's rather like Pernod or the Greek Ouzo, usually mixed with water. It’s quite potent so probably not a good idea to drink it alone.
If you are not a fish lover, take a walk along the harbour, where you will find an array of fine waterfront restaurants offering a wide variety of dishes, from steaks to traditional Turkish dishes. This part of town really is a beautiful setting for a nice romantic dinner for two as you watch the amazing sunsets and the town’s lights glistening across the water.
Most of Fethiye’s nightlife is centred on the old town of Paspatur, with a strip of bars and nightclubs, mostly frequented by locals. The strip gets very busy later in the evening with seating areas lining the street and live music playing - the atmosphere is electric.
Hisaronu is another great place for nightlife, though more tourist-orientated, with many bars and nightclubs. The bars tend to play more international music and tend to have more live music shows in recent years, rather than the old favourite Karaoke. The nightclubs are open in the early hours and play a good mix of Turkish and international music, quite often with well-known DJs visiting for the evening.
There are so many excursions on offer that you may be a little spoilt for choice. One of the most popular daily trips is the 12 Island boat trip. Boats leave from the Harbour around 10 am and head off around the bay, making several stops at some of the secluded bays, where you can go off on foot and explore or take a dip in the cool Mediterranean waters. It is a great way to see much of Fethiye that you would not normally see.