Fethiye (pronounced Fet-ee-yay) is a beautiful and historical town on Turkey’s Turquoise coast.
The town was devastated by an earthquake in 1957, but remarkably some ancient ruins from the Lycian period have survived and Fethiye is a town proudly displaying a fascinating contrast between ancient history and modern life.
Exploring Fethiye Turkey
Back in Lycian times (about the 5th century BC) the town was known as Telmessos and the Telmessos tombs standing proudly above town are certainly worth a visit. The higher the tomb was built into the rock, the more significant the occupant. If scrabbling around tombs is not your thing, the view over town from here is magnificent. You can enjoy it from the nearby café.
Fethiye has a pedestrianised centre called the paspatur. This is the original heart of Fethiye and contains an old Turkish Bath and the original town mosque. The streets are narrow and lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. Hours can be lost here admiring all the gemstone jewellery and traditional fabrics available, sampling Turkish delight and trying to decide if you really need that Turkish carpet! It is especially charming to wander around in the evening. If a market environment is more your style of shopping, go to Fethiye’s Tuesday market, one of the region’s largest, where it is possible to buy anything from fake designer T-shirts to fruit and vegetables. Be prepared to barter your socks off!
Turkey’s Turquoise coast is deservedly popular with sailing enthusiasts. There are various secluded beaches along the beautiful coastline, which are only accessible by boat. Gulets (wooden sailboats) offer trips from 1 day to a few weeks cruising, normally including meals. The standard of these sailboats vary enormously, so choose carefully. Sleeping on deck, beneath the stars is wonderful. Waking up and diving over the side for a morning swim in a bay you have all to yourself, is even better.
The clear blue water in this area also attracts scuba divers. The many dive sites around Fethiye Bay offer divers amazing visibility (often 40m+) There are sheer drop offs, caves, tunnels, wrecks and amphorae. You may also meet Eels, Turtles, Rays, Seahorses, Fish and even dolphins.
Eating in Fethiye
Fethiye has so many restaurants and cafes that it can be difficult to choose one. The following are all open during the winter months as well as during the summer season.
Megri (pronounced Merry) is one of the oldest restaurants in Fethiye. It is on the South Eastern corner of the paspatur, on Carsi Caddesi, and serves traditional Turkish food. If the menu proves difficult, pop inside and you can choose what you want by pointing.
Sedir is popular with locals. It is one street back from the front, just East of the paspatur, on 95 Sokak. Sedir, specializes in Turkish pizza, called ‘Pide’ and make them to order. Tables are in the street, but if you step inside the door you can watch.
Fethiye Fish Market is two streets back from the Post Office. An evening here is a real overload of the senses. You buy your fish direct from the fishermen and then tell them which restaurant you will eat it in (there are four, one in each corner) Head to your restaurant. The restaurant will cook the fish for you and provide drinks, bread, meze, salads and desserts. The bill includes a nominal cooking fee. Musicians squeeze between tables playing traditional music. Street vendors tempt you with cigarettes, roses and shoe-polishing. Keep an eye out for kittens hiding up trees, hungrily watching your plate.
Sleeping in Fethiye
Fethiye has accommodation options to suit every budget. There are various resorts nearby, but I have focused on places to stay within town.
Yildirim Guesthouse in Karagozler (at the Western end of town) is a basic guesthouse offering simple but clean rooms at low prices. There are few facilities, but it is good value and walking distance from the centre. Staff doesn’t speak much English but are keen to help.
Atapark Hotel, also in Karagozler, is a small hotel with free wifi and business facilities. They have an inviting pool, as well as an onsite Turkish Bath and extras like hairdryers which might mean the world to you. It is possible to walk into town, but easier to get the local dolmus (bus) that comes past every few minutes.
Letoonia Club Hotel is the place to stay if you want a full service resort within easy reach of town. Their buffet lunches are drool-worthy. Letoonia is on the Eastern side of the Western peninsular forming Fethiye’s magnificent Bay. The resort centres around it’s secluded beach, but also has swim platforms built along the waterfront, if you want your own uninterrupted view of Fethiye. At night Fethiye’s lights glitter across the bay. The Telmessos tombs are illuminated, as well as a large Turkish flag and a more recent addition, a neon profile of Ataturk.
Liv Gaunt has been exploring the world independently since she was 17. She became a diving instructor whilst still a teenager. She has lived and worked on islands, yachts and mountains, in villages and cities and worked her way around the world, earning her crust mostly as a diving instructor and shark photographer. She is always busy exploring and trying to understand new places. Liv documents her travel experiences and many misadventures on her site: http://www.theworldswaiting.com which is full of her adventures, photos and handy hints. Be sure to also check her out on Facebook and Twitter.