Just behind the seaside promenade that stretches for 3 km along the bay of Fethiye is the quirky old town, with covered streets and shaded outdoor seating. The area is filled with souvenir stores, craft stalls, and vibrant displays of sugary Turkish treats which you can try before you buy. In the centre of the cobbled stone streets is a small square filled with wooden tables where locals meet for a glass of Cay (black tea) and to catch up with friends. Take a seat and spend some time people watching and enjoying the various local foods and drinks. Alternatively head to one of the bars with outdoor lounge seating and pass the hottest part of the day tasting colourful cocktails, smoking hookah (water pipe) or watching ducks swimming in the duck pond. This part of town is certainly a little different.
Get Your Feet Wet
Either hop on a bus for 45 minutes or join a Jeep Safari to visit the famous hidden gorge known in Turkish as Saklikent. Only discovered in the late 20th century this place has limestone walls so deep that the sun cannot reach their base and the water that runs through the gorge retains an icy chill all year round. Not only is it the deepest gorge in Turkey but also the second deepest in all of Europe. You can enter on foot via a boardwalk suspended around 50m above the fast flowing water and if you're feeling adventurous pick up a helmet and plastic shoes from the kiosk and venture 2 km into the heart of the gorge where your journey will come to end at the base of a freezing waterfall. If you don’t like walking then you can get some lunch in the local restaurant, where the tables are actually set in the river, or pick up a tube and raft downstream.
If visiting in summer is it certain that you will visit at least a few of Fethiye’s wonderful beaches. In the height of summer all are equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas for rent and most have beachside bars and restaurants with cold refreshments and shaded seating. Calis beach is just 5 km from the town centre, it’s wide and open and therefore receives a refreshing sea breeze throughout most of the day. There are also plenty of air conditioned cafes along the promenade and a windsurfing centre on the beach.
Visit The Ghost Town
Whether it's the chill of bygone spirits or simply the higher elevation, the village of Kayakoy certainly has a cooler temperature than its seaside neighbours. The modern day village is set in the valley basin with a range of home style restaurants with wooden seating decorated with colourful textiles and traditional Turkish food is on the menu. While the Ghost Town, which was once a prosperous Greek settlement, occupies one side of the steep valley slopes, dominating the hillside and casting shadows over the new homes. Abandoned since 1923 when the population exchange act was signed, most of the building have fallen to ruin but it is still possible to stroll through the old church, school and partially standing homes of the decaying town.
Shop for Gold
On the edge of the old town you can find the Telmessos Gold Centre, owned by the Ozyer family who are born and raised in Fethiye and for whom trading is in the blood. There ancestors went from rural village to rural village trading clothes and textiles. They began with a small clothing shop but now the family run a quality store supplying excellent quality jewelry and watches. So if you're looking for a special gift or something for yourself then this is definitely the place to go. Even if you're not looking to buy the centre is still worth a visit. Browse the counters for sparkly jewels or simple accessories.
The best thing to do during the summer in Fethiye is actually to hop on a boat and sail out of the bay. There are several day trips available and as you walk along the promenade eager salesman's wait at kiosks in front of their boats to sell you tickets. Among the best day trip options is the 12 Island boat cruise, which makes 4/5 stops at islands around the bay for swimming and snorkelling. Another is the Oludeniz to Butterfly Valley day cruise, aside from visiting these two famous locations you also get the chance to swim in crystalline waters around St Nicholas Island and explore the stunning blue cave. Other boats offer Fethiye Scuba Diving or you might want to voyage for longer on a 4 to 8 day Blue Cruise by Turkish gulet boat.
Watch the SunSet
When the sun begins to lower in the sky, residents and tourist awake from afternoon naps and creep out from their shaded spots. Day trip boats return to the harbour and the centre comes alive with activity. One of the best spots to watch the sunset is from the hilltop castle overlooking the bay, from a cute park decorated with glass flowers along the waterfront or from a comfy armchair at one of the seaside bars at Calis beach. The cool evening are by far one of the best parts of a summer vacation in Fethiye, Turkey.
(Photo by istanfoto via Flickr)
Article written by Saskia