How to spend a day in Fethiye. Are you brave enough to try number seven?!
If starting your sailing holiday from Fethiye, instead of sitting around the marina on your first day waiting to board your yacht, spend your time looking around this wonderful town. Surrounded by the heavenly glow of the Mediterranean and protected by lush towering mountains, Fethiye is a charming and lively market town with plenty to offer those sailing along the Turquoise Coast. From the cobbled pathways of Fethiye’s Old Town and the ghost village of Kayakoy, to the vast open sky above the gorgeous Oludeniz Beach – here are our 7 tips for a perfect day in Fethiye.
Fethiye Old Town
You’ll find Fethiye’s scenic old town (Paspatur) just a short stroll inland from the harbour. Its (mostly covered) narrow streets are filled with restaurants and shops, some packed high with colourful spices and Turkish Delight, others with Turkish carpets and antiques. It’s perfect for simply exploring, walking the streets and tasting the local cuisine in laid-back cafés. You’ll also be able to spot sights such as the Eski Hamam which dates to the Ottoman-era and the Eski Cami – Fethiye’s oldest mosque.
Otherwise known as Çarşı 95 Sokak, this quaint shopping street in central Fethiye has become all the more instagrammable since the installation of a huge collection of umbrellas as a sort of imperfect, multi-coloured roof. The umbrellas are open and suspended high above street level, providing some respite from the sun when shopping in one of the street’s boutiques or indulging in an al fresco lunch on the cobbles.
Fethiye Rock Tombs
These stunning ancient tombs of the Lycians look from afar like a collection of oddly sized, arched temples carved into the rock of the Fethiye mountains. On first glance you’d imagine that venturing inside would lead to some intricately carved mountain temple. However, they’re simply façades for Lycian tombs, people who believed that mythical winged creatures would arrive to carry their dead to the afterlife, and so placed them as high as they could. Some of the newer temples are adorned with ornate Romanesque columns and carved reliefs, while others are nothing more than unremarkable doorways. The most impressive of the bunch is the elaborately carved Tomb of Amyntas which can be reached via a set of 200 steps (and a small entrance fee) that lead directly to the tomb from below.
Kayakoy Ghost Village
Just 5km away from the boisterous centre of Hisaronu, Kayakoy presents itself as a respite from the rush and chaos of its neighbours. The town has laid abandoned to the elements for decades, falling into a beautiful decay as the local flora of pine and fig trees coat the ghost town in a lush fragrance that sweetens the village’s somewhat dark past. It’s easy to find the 10 kilometre trail from Fethiye, an extension of the Lycian Way, which begins just beyond the Fethiye rock tombs. Hike to the white chapel at the top of the village for fabulous views of the Xanthos valley and a vast stretch of the Mediterranean.
These mysterious mountaintop ruins offer up a fascinating patchwork of architectural styles, determined by the numerous people who have inhabited them – from the Lycians and Romans through to the Ottomans. On the hillside you’ll find a number of Lycian tombs, the most interesting of which is the pretty, but unfinished Tomb of Bellerophon. The crown of the ruins is the acropolis on top of the highest hill, from where it’s easier to make out the remains of the Roman baths and a large stadium in the ruins below.
Fethiye fish market
The hustle and bustle of this busy fish market is worth the trip when you consider the rewards. Freshly caught fish handpicked by you and delivered straight to a restaurant of your choice (within the market) and cooked according to your preferences. Simply find a restaurant or table that’s to your liking, get your seat, then go shopping for some fish and let them know which restaurant you intend to have cook it for you! You can pair it with meze and rakı from the restaurant, and afterwards stroll around the rest of the market to pick up some homemade Sucuk and freshly picked fruit. Delicious!
Nearby Babadağ Mountain offers one of the highest (6500ft) take off points for commercial paragliding in the world. The views as you glide away are astounding, with vast panoramas of the lush mountainsides, the stunning arc of white sands at Oludeniz beach and miles upon miles of the uninterrupted glistening Mediterranean waters. If you’re brave enough to have a go there are several paragliding operators, just ensure you use a reputable one for the best (and safest) experience.