Fethiye, a natural harbour in the Turkish Riviera is among the prettiest towns to stop by on the Turkish Turquoise Coast. It’s big enough to offer something to all sorts of travellers and small enough to count as a relaxing holiday.
Anything from historic ruins, to bazaars, watersports, and pristine beaches can be expected of Fethiye. There is great seafood, picturesque hiking routes and the harbour that is perfect for an afternoon stroll topped with a cup of Turkish tea in one of the many cute cafes.
How to get to Fethiye, Turkey?
The closest airport to Fethiye is Dalaman Airport which is 45km away. There are affordable airlines connecting Dalaman to major cities like Istanbul, so it’s quite easily accessible.
A trip to Fethiye can be a part of your road trip along the Turkish Turquoise coast or a destination of its own. To explore the city and enjoy some of its most famous beaches, you could easily spend around 4 days here and more if you’re into boat tours.
12 things to do in Fethiye:
#1 Walk by the promenade
Fethiye has an amazing pedestrian route along its harbour running between the many boat tours and cafes. Come here around sunset and you’ll witness nature’s dazzling theatrics. Along the way, there are benches to take breaks, a playground for kids and lots of green space for picnics.
#2 Calis Beach
Calis beach is popular for sunbathing, nightlife and pretty sunsets. It’s a 4km long sandy beach that’s perfect for kites and windsurfing. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, cafes, a few nightclubs and plenty of accommodation options. If you’re into crowds and nightlife, Calis is a better base compared to Fethiye.
Calis beach is 7 km away from Fethiye and 25km from Ölüdeniz. There are regular Dolmus (minibusses) from Fethiye to here and there are also water taxi boat services departing every 30 min in high season to and back from Fethiye. The journey takes around 40 minutes.
#3 Kayaköy Goast Town
Once a thriving village in the 19th century with Turks and Greeks living side by side, Kayaköy was later left abandoned due to political circumstances and an earthquake. After the end of the Ottoman Empire and the Greek’s attempt to occupy Anatolia, Kayaköy saw an upcoming decline. The population exchange between Turkey and Greece forced the Greeks to leave Kayaköy. The remaining Turk civilians abandoned the village after the earthquake.
Today the ghost town of Kayaköy is a popular attraction among visitors. To visit the village you can either take a bus from Fethiye or join one of the many tours offered in the city.
#4 Ölüdeniz beach and Blue Lagoon
A day at Ölüdeniz beach and Blue Lagoon is probably the pinnacle of many people’s trip to Fethiye. Ölüdeniz is one of the most photographed and beautiful beaches of Turkey if not the world. The water is so clear and blue that’s hard to not go for a dip even in the cold.
The blue lagoon is just a short walk away from Ölüdeniz beach and has a 7TL entrance fee per person. Both beaches are beautiful and it’s probably nice to divide your time between them.
Minibusses (Dolmus in Turkish) from Fethiye to Ölüdeniz run frequently for 6.25 TL and take around 45 min.
#5 Butterfly Valley
Ölüdeniz has a huge variety of water sports, paragliding, and cruises. Since the beach was too cold during our stay, we opted for a boat trip to Butterfly Valley followed by a paragliding experience for some of us.
A 3-hour boat tour visiting the Blue Caves and Butterfly Valley would normally cost 100 TL per person which we got for 65 TL in low season. The boat would normally stop for a swim at the blue lake but since it was cold, it didn’t. We also had an hour to explore Butterfly Valley before the boat took us back to Ölüdeniz.
Butterfly valley can only be reached by boat but if you don’t want to pay lots of money to the tour companies they are shuttle boats from Ölüdeniz running 3 times a day. Apparently, they don’t work in low season as there are hardly any customers, but from what I’ve read they are supposed to run at 11 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM. You can buy tickets on board 30 TL for a round trip and the last shuttle leaves the valley at 5 PM.
#6 Babadağ mountain
Babadağ maintain is 1975m high and it’s from here that paragliders jump off over the lagoon. The paragliding experience here is exceptional and I’d highly recommend it. There are a lot of companies but we went with Gravity. The whole experience takes around 1.5 hours and you’ll be flying at 2000 meters above sea level!! Pretty epic! It costs 500 TRY but we got the discounted price at 350 TRY in low season.
If flying is not your thing, Babadağ maintain offers a great hiking experience and has the most beautiful sunset view of all of Fethiye.
#7 12-island Tour
There are a couple of water cruises to choose from in Fethiye. There’s the Oludeniz tour which also stops at St. Nicholas island, the Blue Bays tour which stops at great snorkeling areas and the 12-island tour which is the most popular among tourists. There is an infinite number of companies offering this tour. It lasts for a whole day, comes with lunch on board and makes a stop at the famous Göcek Island. If you’re not into loud party cruises, make sure there’s no loud music before reserving your space. Tours usually cost around 20-30 Euros.
#8 Tomb of Amyntas
The rock tomb built into the mountains by Lycians in 350 BC is currently one of the historic attractions of Fethiye. If you don’t mind the uphill trek, the tomb also offers great views of Fethiye and is recommended to visit at sunset.
#9 Spice Bazaar
The spice bazaar is quite small but it’s a great place to grab some spices for back home and indulge your sweet tooth on Turkish Baklava. It’s very close to the port of Fethiye.
#10 Fish Market
The fish market in Fethiye is an absolute must-visit. The variety of seafood here is crazy and you can pick your fish and have one of the many restaurants cook it for you right away. Just pick your restaurant, sort your table and go to the market to choose your fish. You’ll then tell them seller which restaurant you’ll be sitting and they will take the fish to them. Meanwhile, your fish is being cooked you can order different kinds of mezes, salads, and drinks at the restaurant to accompany your fish.
#11 Saklikent Gorge
Saklient Gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world. It’s exactly 300 m high and 18km long. But usually, only 4km of it is walkable and that’s only after April. Make sure you have proper sandals as there are lots of stones in the water. Saklikent Gorge is 50km away from Fethiye. There’s free parking if you have your own car but you can also join a tour to visit.
#12 Gemiler Bay
Gemiler bay is just across St. Nicholas island. It’s a beautiful beach and perfect for a relaxed picnic. Buses from Fethiye to Kaya continue their route to Gemiler bay every couple of hours during high season.
Where to stay in Fethiye?
We’d highly recommend staying at the Infinity Exclusive City Hotel in Fethiye. They are very close to the bay with plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby. They’re super affordable and offer the best breakfast I’ve seen at a mid-range hotel.
Where to eat in Fethiye?
Favourite cafe: Kose Kahve
Favourite Tea place: Fethiye Belediye Çay Bahçesi
- Arty’s Fish And Chips (they offer amazing and affordable fish and chips)
- Arena restaurant restaurant
- Barbella Restaurant (Calis Beach)
- Nazili pide (affordable pide place)