A guide to Fethiye: A lesser-known gem of Turkey’s turquoise coast

When I first thought about travelling to Turkey and what I might see and experience there, Fethiye was certainly not what I had pictured in my mind. This was mostly because what I knew or had seen in pictures of Turkey was the beautiful chaos of Istanbul or the majestic landscapes of Cappadocia. I most definitely did not imagine the white sand beaches, turquoise bays or laidback vibes of Fethiye when I envisioned this trip.

I remember looking for a guide to Fethiye when I first started researching the city and there were certain aspects of travelling to Fethiye (such as female solo travel), that I couldn’t seem to find mentioned in any guide that I came across. Hence, I have written this guide to Fethiye with my own experience for anyone else who might be seeking that insight before they embark on their own travels to Fethiye.

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Where and what is Fethiye

Fethiye is a laidback coastal city located in southwestern Turkey, characterised by its vibrant turquoise water, rugged coastline and impressive historical rock tombs. Known for its natural harbour, Fethiye is also a hub for the Western Meditteranean Sea and traditional gület cruises operate from its port.

The city itself is relatively small, with one main centre that links to an older quarter and a modern quarter which lead out to the Fethiye Marina. The marina has a beautiful, well-manicured waterfront featuring fountains, sculptures and topiary trees.

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What to do and see

Fethiye (and its surrounds) has everything from the natural beauty of its gorges and coastline to adrenaline-filled paragliding across some of the turquoise bays to historical monuments carved in the sides of steep craggy cliffsides. Alongside, it’s natural and historical beauty, this manicured city has a beautiful marina and a buzzing market area where you can purchase spices, boutique clothing, trinkets and, of course, Turkish Delight.

Here are few of my suggestions when visiting Fethiye and surrounds:

✘ Wander around Fethiye Marina

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✘ Watch a sunset at the marina

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✘ Visit the War Memorial

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Explore the historical Rock Tombs

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Take in the view of Fethiye from Amyntas Tomb

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Shop at the Fethiye Markets

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Try authentic Turkish Delight

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Relax (or swing) at Aksazlar Beach

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Saklikent Gorge

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Boat tour of the islands in Fethiye Bay and Oludeniz

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Where to eat and drink

I’m not usually one to recommend places to eat because I’m the least “foodie” person, but here are two places in Fethiye where I really enjoyed the ambience and a few nights out.

✘ Fish market: A fish market in the middle, surrounded by restaurants who have a mix of seafood and other meals on the menu. This place is buzzing at night time and always packed!

✘ Car Cemetary: A bar in the main area of Fethiye, which is generally the place to be for those who wish to party. Alongside a selection of car-themed drinks, they have shisha on the menu.

Aksazlar Beach, Fethiye

Where to stay

During my time in Fethiye, I stayed in two different types of accommodation and both of which I can recommend based on my own experience.

✘ Ata Park Hotel: A four-star hotel located on the bay with coastal views.  The hotel offers a select amount of rooms with balconies and sea views.

✘ Sakura House Hostel: A good option for budget travellers with cheap, clean rooms, helpful staff and laundry facilities.

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Rock Tombs

How to get to Fethiye

The closest airport to Fethiye is Dalaman Airport, about 45 minutes to an hours drive from Fethiye. As of September 2018, the cost to hire taxi transport between these two destinations was 170 Turkish Lira. There are also bus/ shuttle options available for those travelling on a more strict budget.

A visa is required for most tourists entering Turkey.

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Aksazlar Beach, Fethiye

How to get around Fethiye

While most of the places in Fethiye are in walkable distance, there are many taxis available and are reasonably priced. You can order a taxi by phone or you will find taxi stands around the city, which have a button that waiting passengers can press to alert the next available taxi.

There are also local buses and shuttles that can transport you locally and to other areas in and outside of Fethiye.

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Fethiye Marina

What to know before you visit

✘ The currency used in Fethiye is Turkish Lira, however, some places accept Euro.

✘ Pronunciation of Fethiye can be tricky, here’s how to pronounce it by breaking it down into three syllables: Fet-he-yeh.

✘ Fethiye has a much more relaxed lifestyle and vibe than other Turkish cities, however, it is still important to respect local customs and culture.

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View of Fethiye from the Tomb of Amyntas

Fethiye for solo travellers

When I first decided I wanted to visit Fethiye, I tried to find information or seek experiences from other solo travellers about travelling there, however, I couldn’t find much of a guide to Fethiye for solo travellers (especially for females). Now that I’ve been there for myself I can share that advice and information I was seeking myself.

✘ I felt very relaxed and safe in Fethiye as a female solo traveller.

✘ Fethiye has a completely different vibe to Turkey’s big cities like Istanbul. It is relaxed and less conservative, most likely due to its coastal location.

✘ While I tend to avoid being out at night when travelling solo, I didn’t feel unsafe being out at night in the main market or Marina area of Fethiye after dark.

✘ Even though it is lesser-known, there are plenty of tourists and tour companies (such as Topdeck) that pass through the city regularly. In saying that, there was no over-crowding while I was there.

✘ Being more relaxed and less-conservative, the way people dress in Fethiye also tends to be more relaxed and less-conservative. Fethiye is very much a beach city and that is reflected in the way people (mostly tourists) dress. While I wasn’t overly conservative in what I wore, I still dressed modestly (i.e. nothing too short on my bottom half and nothing too exposing on my top half).

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I hope you’ll find this guide to Fethiye helpful. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below and I will do my best to answer your queries!

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