Fethiye is a large, bustling harbour town and trading centre located on Turkeys stunning Mediterranean coast. The town itself, once an important Lycian City, has a vast and fascinating past with the Ottomans, Romans, Seljucks and Byzantines each having fought over the city and its natural harbour, each leaving their mark on the landscape. History is evident throughout the town centre including colossal rock tombs that are floodlit by night, the ruins of a castle and fort on the hill, and an amphitheatre literally stumbled upon towards the rear of the main harbour.
The region of Fethiye is constantly modernising and progressing. Recent years have seen a vast increase in tourism as it homes many popular resorts like Calis, Hisaronu, Ovacik and, perhaps most notably, Oludeniz that’s famed for its blue lagoon and brings tourists to the region in their droves.
Fethiye provides a nice contrast to the nearby resorts and is decidedly traditional in feel. The Old Town (Paspatur) is a delightful maze of little pedestrianized alleys towards the rear of the main harbour front. Packed full of shops, restaurants, bars and boutiques, it’s a great place to explore, while away a few hours window shopping, haggle for a carpet or souvenir, or watch the world go by with a drink by the duck-pond. The more modern roads home the banks, government buildings, fish and vegetable markets and larger stores. The town is busiest of a Tuesday when the region’s largest market comes to town. Here you can happily while away a few hours buying anything from fresh organic vegetables to a selection of cut price, not so genuine, designer T-shirts.
There are many fabulous budget hostels, quality hotels and luxury boutiques in Fethiye Town but the majority of foreign tourists tend to stay in the resorts as Fethiye has no central beach as such. Fethiye will suit all those looking to sample a little of true Turkish life in a stunning location. The new harbour front promenade, now almost stretching to Calis, is ideal for a stroll or an evening out, the transport links to the surrounding resorts are fantastic, and there’s more than enough to keep you occupied on any two week stay – in fact most that visit once are sure to return!
Fethiye is for those that are looking for something a little different to your average tourist resort. It suits those who want more than simply a holiday of eating English food, drinking beers and meeting other foreigners on busy beaches. Fethiye is traditional and attracts many Turkish holidaymakers, the international sailing crowd, stars and celebrities on fancy white yachts and business people travelling from other cities like Istanbul and Ankara. The prices of the food and hotels are generally reasonable and the sea views, facilities, restaurants, shopping and bars are great. Although it has no beach, all the surrounding resorts are easily reached by bus, water taxi or car, it’s cheap and easy to arrange a boat trip from the harbour front and the atmosphere and variety of interesting things to do and see more than makes up for it!
If you are staying in any of the nearby resorts do make sure you visit Fethiye at least once. It’s a charming working town with lot’s to see and do and has some of the best (and cheapest) restaurants and shopping in the region. The majority of tourists tend to visit on a Tuesday – the market day where the large square just outside the town centre comes alive with all manner of canopied fruit, veg, clothing and souvenir stalls. Tuesdays are the busiest and many tour operators offer market trips where they shuffle you around the market for a few hours during the morning and drive you off to the ghost town of Kayakoy in the afternoon. This is a great option but you don’t normally get to see the centre of town so why not catch a bus or taxi one afternoon and spend a few hours exploring then top off the day with a fancy fish dinner in the Fish Market or in one of the lovely harbour side restaurants or bistros?
Fethiye has a wonderful harbour but no beach. The closest beach is in Calis, a little water taxi trip or dolmus (bus) ride away. For those willing to hire a car or taxi, there are a few unspoilt private beaches located on the end of the peninsular, past Karagozler towards Letoonia Resort.