Sunshine, impressive ruins and beaches ... just another day in Fethiye.
Located in the Mugla Province in Turkey’s Aegean region, Fethiye is home to around 70,000 people – including around 7,000 expats, but this former fishing town has managed to retain much of its authenticity and appeal.
Modern-day Fethiye sits on the ruins of the ancient city of Telmessos, and just a quick stroll around the town will show you that this ancient civilisation is still very much part of today’s town.
Thanks to its proximity to Dalaman Airport, which is about 30 kilometres away and offers year-round flights to the area, Fethiye has become popular with holidaymakers as well as expats seeking a permanent base in Turkey.
There’s so much to do in Fethiye that it would be impossible to get it into this one post. But we’re going to try to give you a sample of the best of Fethiye’s activities and attractions, so you can see why so many people have chosen to make it their home.
Just a short wander from the main street, Fethiye Museum is well worth a look. It houses artefacts from Fethiye’s days as Telmessos, including the famous Trilingual Stele. Found at cult centre Letoon, the stele is Turkey’s answer to the Rosetta Stone and has been vital in deciphering the ancient Lycian language. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8am to 5pm.
Stroll down to the wide harbour and check out the Hellenistic Theatre, sat by the main quay. It was built in the second century atop an even older Greek theatre and once held an impressive 5,000 people.
Fethiye's rock tombs are a legacy of the ancient city of Telmessos.
These intricately carved tombs are probably the most striking remainder of ancient Telmessos. Set into the cliff face to the east of Fethiye township, these tombs date back to the fourth century BC, and are modelled on Lycian and Ionian temple architecture. Keep an eye out for Amyntas tomb, which dwarfs the other structures in size and grandeur.
Browsing the markets, you’ll notice that there are a number of handicrafts unique to the area. Keep a look out for kaya rugs, the product of centuries of refined dyeing technique. You’ll also find intricately weaved scarves, handmade kilims and woollen belts. As everywhere in Turkey, make sure you haggle! Because there are so many tourists in the area the vendors have been known to hike up their prices whenever they see a foreigner approaching.
The Lycian Way
If you’re the active type, you may enjoy a stroll along the Lycian Way, which begins in Fethiye. Well, a stroll perhaps isn’t the right way to describe it – this 500 kilometre footpath winds its way through the Tekke Peninsula’s mountains and ends in Antalya. But it is of course possible just to try a couple of kilometres on for size before you commit to the whole length.
Beautiful Oludeniz Beach is the most photographed beach in Turkey.
Turkey’s most photographed beach, Oludeniz, has become a magnet for tourists. The beach is ringed by a number of cafes and shops, and gets very busy over the peak summer months. It’s a beautiful, shallow and calm place for families to enjoy swimming, sunbathing and water sports; however, some will find it too crowded, especially during peak times.
The beautiful Saklikent Canyon is a short drive from Fethiye centre.
This impressive natural wonder is the second-largest canyon in Europe. It’s a 50-minute drive from Fethiye centre but well worth the trip. Formed by thousands of years of fast-flowing waters, the canyon is 300 metres deep and about 18 kilometres long. Take a good pair of shoes with you and spend the day exploring this beautiful spot. Be warned – only attempt this in summer, over the winter months the canyon fills with water and is difficult and dangerous to navigate.
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