Fethiye is one of Turkey’s most famous coastal cities with many stunning beaches, ancient ruins and its lovely small town vibe. Although many people think of places like Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Izmir or Antalya first when they talk about Turkey, Fethiye offers its visitors nothing less than these cities do, if not more. So here on this article, we brought together all the useful information about Fethiye for you to know before traveling there.
1# Brief history of Fethiye and its climate
Fethiye is located in the Aegeon region in southwest Turkey, about four hours south from Izmir and three hours west from Antalya. It used to be called Telmessos, a coastal city ruled by the The Lycians, in ancient times. Even today, you can see the ancient Lycian sarcophagus when you walk by the town hall in the city centre of Fethiye. After the Lycians, the city were ruled by the Persians, Alexander and Egyptian King Ptalomus before the Roman Empire conquered and named it Makri, meaning far away land. The Ottoman Empire took over the city in 1424 and it was continued to be called Makri until 1934 when the city was named Fethiye after the death of Turkish pilot Fethi Bey in a plane crash.
Fethiye has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and warm and rainy winters. Temperatures in the winter range from 8 to 18 degrees while they are generally between 25 and 35 degrees during the summer. Autumns in Fethiye are great times to visit the town as it is still possible to swim in the sea up until mid-October. If you are into hiking around historical the Lycian trails, then, the spring might be the best season for you as the temperatures during springs are usually around 15 and 25 degrees.
2# How to get to Fethiye
Fethiye is just 45 minutes away from the Dalaman Airport in Mugla. Once you arrive the Dalaman Airport, you can take a shuttle bus, taxi or rent a car from the airport. As a rental car is the best way to get around in Fethiye, perhaps, renting a car from the airport and drive to the city center makes the most sense. But if you don’t want that, don’t worry, Fethiye’s city centre is not that big, and it is possible to get around in the town by walk easily. Also there are mini busses at the city centre that go to surrounding beaches.
3# Where to stay in Fethiye
Here are the hotels in Fethiye that Jess Lee from PlanetWare recommends:
Luxury Hotels: The central Alesta Yacht Hotel has plenty of boutique hotel style and is within easy walking distance of all of Fethiye town’s restaurants and sights. There’s a rooftop pool overlooking the harbor, a restaurant, and spa, and breakfast is included. Jiva Beach Resort is an all-inclusive resort on the beach, out of town. It has a natural lagoon setting and a pool with waterslides, a Mediterranean restaurant, and a spa with a Turkish bath.
Mid-Range Hotels: Yacht Boheme Hotel is a boutique hotel with individually decorated rooms that exude bags of character. Breakfast is included, there’s a good-sized pool, and the location by the harbor is excellent. Minu Hotel, right in Fethiye’s bazaar area downtown, is a great choice if you want to be in the heart of town. Rooms are swish and modern, with balconies. Breakfast is included.
Budget Hotels: Harman Hotel has a quiet location close to the beach, out of the town center. There’s a big pool area, a restaurant, and breakfast is included.
4# What to do in Fethiye
You never get bored in Fethiye. It is surrounded by stunning beaches, bays, lagoons, historical sites and mountains. Here are the top things to do in this turquoise coast.
Swim in Fethiye bays, lagoons and beaches
You can swim in many different locations in Fethiye. If you take a tour boat, they will take you to at least five or six bays from 9 am to 5 pm. They are called 12 ISLAND TOURS, and you will find the tour companies at the central dock in Fethiye. They offer an open buffet during the tour, but the drinks are not included in the price. Tour boats are the best for enjoying Fethiye’s bays with crystal clear water. So, spend at least one day to go on boat tour and decide for yourself if you want to indulge yourself more in the turquoise color of Fethiye bays.
You should also spare at least one day for Ölüdeniz, “Blue Lagoon”. It is 20 minutes away from Fethiye by car and there also mini busses that take you there from the city centre. In order to get in the Blue Lagoon area, you will need to pay 25 Turkish liras if you go there by car, and 7 Turkish liras if you will enter on foot. You will find everything you will need during the day in the Blue Lagoon area like small restaurants, shops, toilets and changing rooms.
While you are in Ölüdeniz, also consider visiting Butterfly Valley. There are boat trips from Ölüdeniz to the valley everyday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. There are no roads to the valley, so a boat trip is the only way to get there. A Fethiye trip would be incomplete without seeing this magical location on the Mediterranean coast.
Other beaches that we recommed you spend a day are Iztuzu, Calis and Patara beaches. These three can be reached by car or mini busses that take off from the Fethiye centre.
Visit historical and archaeological wonders of Fethiye
The Lycian Sites that sit in the south of Fethiye will take you to the ancient times when the city was built. You can see Lycian sarcophagi while you walk on the Kaya Street.
Then comes the Romans. When they conquered Turkey, they also made their mark on this previously Lycian city. If you want to go back to the 2nd century BC, you should definitely visit the Roman Theater. Climb up to the top tier of seating and enjoy the great view across town and over the sea beyond.
If trips to the Lycian Sites and the Roman Theater caught your attention, also visit the Fethiye Museum for a more deep dive into the history of the town. Exhibits of pottery, jewelry and stele will give you a glimpse into the Lycian and Roman cultures.
Get lost in Kayaköy
Just one century ago, Kayaköy had a mixed population of Greeks and Turks. The population of the village was about 2000 up until 1920s. They lived together for centuries. In 1923, after a population exchange deal between Greece and Turkey, the Greek population of the town moved to Greece. The Turks came from Greece, for some reason, didn’t want to make this village their home and they moved to other places. Now, Kayaköy is a ghost city with empty houses. This ancient and now empty village is just eight kilometers from Fethiye. You can go there by car or just take a mini bus. Climb to the top of the village, you will have mixed feelings seeing a wonderful view of sea on the one side and the ghost city on the other.
Soar above Mount Babadağ
This recommendation comes from Flo from YogaWineTravel who spent three days in Fethiye:
“Paragliding in Fethiye is one of the most popular activities in the region. Head to the top of Mount Babadağ and try your hand at paragliding – it is one of the best places in the world to take to the skies! However, if you’re like me and could think of nothing worse than to jump off a mountain, grab yourself a couple of drinks at Zirve bar & restaurant right next to the take-off area and watch the paragliders do their thing. Because it is such a popular destination for paragliders, one person takes off every minute or so – it’s insane. We also ended up staying for dinner and the food was fantastic and very reasonably priced.”
Go on a Safari Trip to Saklıkent Gorge
And this one from wonderful Özge Erdem from Outline Turkey who has very detailed and accurate guides for almost every touristic destinations in Turkey:
“Saklıkent means “hidden city” in Turkish. This name is very appropriate for this place because Saklıkent is one of the most underrated places in Turkey. The second-largest gorge in Europe, Saklıkent, is a great place to explore and get close to nature. I should say that the trip requires hiking and includes getting wet at times. It’s best to wear comfortable, non-slippery shoes and bring swimsuits and extra clothes with you. Also, it’s good to put your important documents, your phone, and your wallet in plastic bags to make sure they don’t get soaked. Saklıkent Gorge is also close to a beautiful ancient city called Tlos and some magnificent waterfalls.”
4# What to eat in Fethiye
Özge who lives in Fethiye also has a list of restaurants that she recommends you pay a visit during stay in the town. For seafood Girida Port Restaurant, for steak Çarıklı Restaurant, for some authentic Southeastern food Mozaic Restaurant, and of course for kebab Pasha Kebab are the top restaurants to go. Also, for a quick coffee and some dessert she recommends Kukina Caferia.