Attractions & Things to Do in Fethiye

People have lived in this town on a natural harbour in the Turkish Riviera for as long as 5,000 years.Fethiye was once Telmessos, part of ancient Lycia, a confederation of independent city-states. The Lycians were known for their unique burial habits, and have left behind 2,500-year-old sarcophagi in the streets of Fethiye, and marvellous rock tombs in the cliffs outside the town. Fethiye is a holiday resort today, and a convenient entry point for the remote ruins of other Lycian cities, the 18-kilometre Saklıkent Canyon and the extraordinary beach and lagoon at Ölüdeniz,. But there’s much to love about the resort itself, from its authentic weekly market to its first-rate museum and the cool, shaded alleys of its old town.

Ölüdeniz Beach

Around the headland, a mere ten kilometres south of Fethiye’s old town is a scene of rare beauty. The Blue Flag Ölüdeniz Beach is a crescent of white pebbles, with clear waters a mesmerising shade of turquoise that glows in the sunlight. Lots of things combine to make this place so special. One of these is the sky-scraping mountainscape on its margins: The peak of Babadağ, a mountain just shy of 2,000 metres, rises only five kilometres in from the coast and faces off against the 1,400-metre Karatepe. Behind the north end of the beach is a lagoon, a darker shade of blue but just as clear, and protected as a nature reserve. There are beach clubs on the lagoon’s shores, with sun loungers where you can just slip into the warm, shallow water or rent a pedal boat for a little voyage. Check out our best blue cruise & gulet tours to explore beautiful Oludeniz.

Lycian Sites

The Lycians ruled over this stretch of Turkey’s coast from 200 BC, and Fethiye stands on the site of the important Lycian city of Telmessos. There are plenty of monuments scattered throughout the city, but the most famous is the rock-cut Tomb of Amyntas in the south of Fethiye. On Kaya Caddesi, as you walk up the hill towards the tomb, you can see Lycian sarcophagi along the way. More Lycian sarcophagi are also by the town hall in the city center. Check out our amazing Fethiye packages including beautiful Lycian Sites.

Kayaköy Village

Up until the 1920s, Kayaköy (ancient Karmylassos), eight kilometers from Fethiye, had a thriving mixed population of Greeks and Turks who had lived together for centuries. The 1923 Population Exchange changed all of that, uprooting ethnic Greeks across Turkey and sending them to live in Greece and making ethnic Turks who lived in Greece abandon their lives there. The exchange created heartbreak and much trauma among those who were made to leave, and the somber results of this are no better seen than in Kayaköy. The dilapidated, eerie stone village that snakes across the hillside here has been left to slowly decay since its Greek owners said goodbye. Among the ruins is the Katapongagia Church and Taxiarchis Church, which both still have some beautiful interior decoration. Check out our amazing Fethiye packages including famous Kayaköy Village.

Saklıkent National Park

Deep into Fethiye’s rocky hinterland you can journey to the Saklıkent Canyon, some 40 kilometres east of the resort, in a national park created in 1996. The statistics for this natural wonder are mind-boggling: The canyon is 18 kilometres long, up to 300 metres deep, and narrows to just two metres across. The rest of the year you can walk about four kilometres of the gorge, traversing wooden walkways attached to the wall and exploring waterfalls and a series of caves. The canyon gets almost no sunlight and is fed by cold springs from the Bey Mountains, so this is a prime spot to flee the summer heat. Bring water shoes if you’ve got them, to navigate the slippery rocks and be ready to get wet up to your waist if you want the full experience. Check out our amazing Fethiye packages.

Tlos Tombs

Something to combine with a day-trip to the Saklıkent Gorge is this ruined Lycian city resting on a rocky plateau. Tlos first took shape as early as 4,000 years ago, and is unusual for Lycian settlements as it was inhabited Romans, Byzantines and then Ottoman Turks, right up to the 19th century. Part of the fun of adventuring through Tlos is working out which ruins are from which era. For instance, the decaying fortress at the top is Ottoman, but with walls that have Lycian and Roman stonework. There Lycian rock tombs, the grandest of which is the temple-like Tomb of Bellerophon, with a relief on the porch showing the namesake hero riding Pegasus, and a carving of a lion or leopard within. There’s a theatre from the Roman period with carved garland details, as well as a stadium, market hall and an early-Christian basilica. Check out our amazing Fethiye blue cruise packages. 

Fethiye Harbour

The waterfront in Fethiye is open to the public, with a promenade that lines the bay for hundreds of metres, as far as the marina on the south side. All along, the views are special, out over the Gulf of Fethiye or west to the little wood-cloaked peninsula that protects the harbour. As you go south you’ll see boats moored at the quayside, from traditional gulets (schooners) to opulent modern yachts. There’s shade from palms and pine trees, lots of restaurants and cafes and a designated path for cyclists. Just by the marina you can catch a water taxi up to Çalis Beach, soaking up the scenery on the way. Check out our amazing Fethiye blue cruise packages. 

Butterfly Valley

South of Ölüdeniz there’s a beach that is practically inaccessible by land as it sits at the end of a canyon with rocky walls that tower to 350 metres. Butterfly Valley, so called because of the many species (more than 80) that dwell in this habitat, is a popular day trip by boat from Ölüdeniz. You’ll be dropped off at the pristine sandy cove with crystalline waters, all dwarfed by those soaring walls of rock. There’s a little cafe on the beach , and you can decide if you want to journey up the valley. Be aware that the butterflies are naturally seasonal and peak in numbers between June and September, but there’s also a pair of waterfalls flowing year-round and that are also worth the hike. Check out our amazing Fethiye blue cruise packages. 

Blue Lagoon Ölüdeniz Tandem Paragliding from Fethiye

For a lifelong memory, you can take to the air from the summit of Babadağ on a flight over Ölüdeniz and its beach and lagoon.You’ll be strapped onto your experienced pilot, so you can just take it easy, savour the views and take as many photos as you can. The flight takes just over half an hour, as you’re lifted on the thermal currents, swooping to a gentle touchdown on the beach. Check out our amazing Fethiye blue cruise packages. 

Lycian Way

Ölüdeniz is the western trailhead for an epic footpath that weaves through South Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean regions to Geyikbayırı, not far from Antalya. The trail is around 540 kilometres long and is waymarked with red and white stripes, delivering you to ruined cities, tombs and far flung villages. Snaking over some brutal but uncommonly beautiful mountainscapes, the route follows ancient footpaths and mule trails, and is best tackled in spring.Even though walkers spend long spells under the cover of pine trees this is obviously not a challenge for the fainthearted or unprepared, and is the route for a multi-day ultramarathon at the end of May. The good news is that the Fethiye end is mostly on a coastal ledge and has some of the lightest and most rewarding stretches. If you’re feeling fit you could hike down to the Butterfly Valley from the resort, making the spellbinding descent to Faralya. Check out our amazing Fethiye blue cruise packages including beautiful sightseeings of Lycian Way.

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