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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day trips around Fethiye

So, you’ve seen Fethiye’s Lycian rock tombs, the museum and the nearby amphitheatre. You’ve lazed on the beach, gone parasailing and eaten one too many meze platters. What’s next? Here’s a suggestion: hire a car, hop on a local bus or catch a ferry and explore the local area. There are so many things to do in this beautiful area, it would be a shame to miss out.


Rhodes

One of the most popular of all the Greek islands, Rhodes is just a 90-minute hop, skip and a jump across the water. It’s popular with shoppers and sunseekers, and there are a number of great restaurants and sunny beaches. Those who explore a little further into the depths of this intriguing island will find much more. The island has a rich history, full of pirates and crusaders, and there are a number of ruins to explore – including the walled crusader town. There is too much to write about here, I suggest you take a look here for a few quick ideas of what to do on the island.

Note: Make sure you make a reservation at least a day in advance. You may need to submit your passport overnight for registration.

Getting there

Ferries leave regularly from Fethiye in the summer months. See this site for the timetables and fares.



Saklikent Gorge

At 20 kilometres in length, Saklikent Gorge is the second-largest gorge in Europe. It’s a pretty impressive place where sheer walls soar to great heights and leave the canyon bottom cool, damp and shady in the summer heat. Only four kilometres of the canyon is walkable, and that’s just during summer – it’s too dangerous to walk here during the winter because of the high water levels, so the gorge is only open to tourists from April 1 to September 30.
On your arrival, you’ll see the entrance to the gorge under the bridge over a large stream. Cross the narrow walkway extending from the rock wall, which will take you into the gorge. Once you’re there, you’ll see the Ulupinar springs, where water gushes up from the base of the cliffs. Wade through the stream into the gorge to begin your walk. 

If you like adventure, some tour operators offer canyoning or tubing trips to the area. If you’d prefer to chill out, there are a number of relaxing teahouses. There are also a number of restaurants where you can feast on fresh river trout.

Getting there

By car: exit the Fethiye-Antalya Highway after Kemer, where you’ll see a signpost pointing the way to Saklikent. Drive for 21km.

Public transport: Grab a dolmus from the city centre, or flag one down on the main road. The trip should take about 40 minutes.

Kayakoy

Wandering through Turkey’s atmospheric ghost town may send a shiver down your spine. Hundreds of abandoned buildings, including a church, a school and a great many houses, sit quietly in this beautiful valley. The history is just as intriguing as all the empty buildings: the former Greek population left Kayakoy after the 1923 population exchange, leaving the houses empty for the eventual return of the Turks from Greece. Except none of them returned, leaving the valley empty. Today, you can wander around the abandoned buildings, enjoying the silence and the mystery. The surrounding area is full of wildlife, and it’s possible to explore the valley on foot or on horseback.

Getting there

By car: travel from the back of Fethiye town centre and take the road up the hill past the tomb of King Amyntas. The road to Kayakoy is signposted with signs indicating its old Greek name: Karmylassos. Follow the zig-zagging road up the hill and then down right into the village.

By dolmus: take a dolmus from the big, white central mosque. Ask for the Kayakoy dolmus.



Butterfly Valley

Between June and September, this stunning secluded valley is home to hundreds of species of butterflies, including the unique Jersey tiger-moth butterfly, and countless wildflower varieties.
The valley lies in a canyon; its steep cliffs jut 350 metres into the sky and the valley stretches back four kilometres from the beach.

There aren’t many facilities at the valley, not even electricity. There’s a small restaurant and a few simple beach huts. So what can you do here? Just wander around, enjoy the flowers and try and identify some of the many butterflies that are attracted to this beautiful place.

Getting there

There are no roads to this hidden valley, so you’ll need to take a boat from Fethiye. You can either take one of the regular boats to the valley or join a blue cruise.

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