FETHİYE: The Jewel of Mediterranean

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Fethiye, the amazing city by the sea in Turkey

Fethiye is such a fantastic city that with its rich texture of all historical, cultural, social heritage and beautiful nature; it has got a special space in my heart and in my memories as I also lived there for some period. Actually it’s not possible to make them all fit into paragraphs but still, I will do my best to share them with you as much as I can. I hope you’ll get the chance of Fethiye experience in your life too as I luckily got. Without any doubt, FETHİYE is one of the wonders of the world with its beautiful bays, perfect climate, and ancient towns. If you like nature, history, adventure, sports and entertainment Fethiye is definitely the right address for you.

Fethiye is located in the south west of Turkey, east of Marmaris and west of Antalya. It’s one of the 13 districts in Muğla, one of Turkey’s most important tourism centers and the most crowded location in the province of Muğla. It’s even more crowded than the city center of Muğla. From Butterfly Valley to Ölüdeniz, from Lycian Way to Kabak Bay, from Kayaköy to Saklıkent, from noisy nightlife to peaceful and silent white sanded of the beaches, from the enormous mountains to sunset in the village of Faralya; all the unique beauties are gathered together in Fethiye.

The center of Fethiye

Before passing to other routes around of Fethiye, I’d like to give you some tips about the centrum. By choosing your accommodation in the Centrum, you can get the advantages of easier transportation such as boats directly from the
main harbour. Bus or shuttle service, can be easily fixed for your every each excursion. When you are in the Centrum, you can enjoy the new built hiking trail in the coastline. There are also cafe & restaurants on the trail road. At the end of the road you can refresh yourself with fresh squeezed fruit juices next to snacks at “İksirci Tezcan”. You can visit the Museum of Fethiye to learn more about the region which is very rich in terms of ancient cities. You can see very interesting artifacts from Hellenistic, Roman, Bronze, Archaic and also Ottoman periods in the museum. Çalış is the beach you can get yourself into the coolness of Eagean Sea and let the sun spoil you. Fish market should be seen and experienced. All you have to do is choosing your favourite daily fresh fish from the stalls. The rest of it will be fixed by the chief of the restaurant, just next to the fish stalls. Enjoy your dinner with the pleasure of Rakı-Fish-Meze triple combination. After a good meal you can pass by Paspatur Bazaar consists of five alive streets. While you are walking along the narrow streets you feel the mystic and otantic atmosphere of historical texture reaching to old times. For instance old Fethiye Hamamı is one of them ; Paspatur Mosque is the eldest building from Ottoman times. There are carpet, leather, jewelry, clothing, turkish delights, souvenir & gift shops if you want to make some shopping. When you are there don’t forget to have lunch in “Mutfak”, a small local restaurant with good food and price. Mutfak is especially famous with it’s delicious “Tantuni”. Night life is also pretty colorful in those streets with their bars such as “Car Cemetery”, “Rouge”, “4 Corner”. Most of them have got live music. Of course centrum is just a very small part of this trip.

If you are ready let’s start to make full program which will take at least 1 week. If I were you I would have taken the notes one by one without missing none of them But first of all, check it out how to go to that amazing place.

How to go to Fethiye?

The nearest airport to Fethiye is Dalaman Airport. The distance is 44 km. I recommend you to rent a car from the airport for a flexible and comfortable excursion experience of Fethiye Region. There is also shuttle service in the airport called ‘Havaş’ which is pretty cheap. If you come from Antalya Airport, the distance is approximately 195 km.

Let’s start to our tour with the most known picture frame of lagoon view in touristic arena: You can enjoy the sun and the sea with the silence of peace at the white sanded beaches hidden among mountains which are under special governmental protection, called ÖLÜDENİZ. Despite the meaning is “Dead Sea”, it is pretty alive & makes you feel alive.

Aerial view of beautiful blue lagoon and coastline in Oludeniz, Fethiye district, Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey

Aerial view of beautiful blue lagoon and coastline in Oludeniz, Fethiye district, Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey

The name of Paradise: “ÖLÜDENİZ”

Ölüdeniz is known as “ The Heaven gifted by God to the Earth.” When you see the turquoise color of the sea which is hidden in the mountains, it is impossible not to be enchanted. According to a report from BBC News, Ölüdeniz Beach is ranked 5th in the world’s most perfect beaches. Ölüdeniz Region consists of three parts: The Blue Lagoon National Park (Kumburnu Beach), Kıdrak National Park and Belcekız Beach. The lagoon part is just like a huge swimming pool without any wave. Even you can pull your shezlong to the sea and get tanned by putting your feet into the water. Contrary to Blue Lagoon, Belcekız and Kıdrak are at the open sides of the ocean which means those beaches are more wavy and cooler. “Sun City Beach Club” is my favorite in the lagoon part.

In Ölüdeniz it’s possible to make all kinds of water sports such as windsurfing, jet ski, mono-skiing, stand up paddling, flyboard, wakeboard, parasailing, knee boarding etc. You can have fun from Ringo and Banana Chaser as well. Another activity which is also possible to get it’s a certificate for it is Scuba Diving. “Ölüdeniz Water World Aquapark” could be an alternative for amusement which is very close to Ölüdeniz in Ovacık.

Paraglider fly over the coastline from the top of Babadag

Paraglider fly over the coastline from the top of Babadag

The highest mountain (~1900m) of Ölüdeniz is “Babadağ”. With its endemic plant species, the mountain and the bays around of it have been protected by the Foundation of World Heritage Protection. Babadağ hosts thousands of paragliders from all over the world every year. According to the authorities, Ölüdeniz is one of the best places for paragliding. As a person I paraglided there, I can tell you that it’s the best opportunity to see the whole paradise from up. Every October of the year “Paragliding and Air Games Festival” is organized in Ölüdeniz. If you have a bucket list of 100 things before you die and if one of them is paragliding, BİNGO! Ölüdeniz is the correct place for it. Even if paragliding is not for you just only watching the blue sky colored by hundreds of parachutes is definitely a feast for the eyes. That feast continues at nights with parties, concerts and non- stop full entertainments with the company of fireworks in the sky 16-21 October of 2018, was the 19th International Ölüdeniz Air Games Festival, attended by 800 parachute pilots from 56 countries. Besides parachute acrobatics, skydiving and wingsuit show continued for 5 days.

Blue Lagoon National Park (Kumburnu)

ÖLÜDENİZ is the most famous and popular place that as a highlight it keeps its fair reputation. But as you know sometimes beauties can be hidden in some places which are not mentioned as much as popular names are talked. This is what I’m exactly going to do now. I will take you to those breathtaking alternative locations in Fethiye below.

KAYAKÖY ( The Rock Village)

This ancient village’s history reaches to B.C.3000, means it’s worthy to be found there to feel the atmosphere of ancient times. When I had been to there, the name passed from my mind, was “Ghost City” 🙂 . In this abandoned eccentric village you can see some sarcophagus and rock graves belongs to B.C 4th century, old churches, shapelles and around 400 rock houses which were left by people who lived there once upon a time. It reminds you of a movie screen. Hollywood cinema producers found this out too and made a movie in 2014. The scenery shots of “The Water Diviner” starring Russell Crowe, were taken in Kayaköy (the pic on the right side above). By the way, during your visit, I recommend you to taste Turkish Gözleme with Ayran there.

Telmessos ancient city near Fethiye

The ancient city of Telmessos is estimated to have been established in the 3rd millennium B.C, took the name from Apollon’s Son. I must say that, Telmessos attracts attentions with it’s deep-rooted history based on thousands years of the past. It is known as the first establishment of Fethiye. Actually Telmessos is the ancient name of Fethiye by itself. If you go there, you’ll see the eldest tombs belong to Lycian which is known as Aymntas Tombs. It’s amazing to see the tombs which were built on the top of the high rocks for honoring the noble names of those ancient times, have survived until today. Not only the tombs but also the ancient theatre is worthy to be seen. It was built during Romans for 6000 people, was renovated during Byzantium Empire.

ON İKİ ADALAR (The Twelve Islands)

If you want to enlarge your excursion, you can join to boat tours which are organised everyday from the port of Fethiye to “12 Islands”.  Each island has got it’s own beauty. One of the island’s name is “Pig Island”. After I saw the wild pigs there, it made sense about the funny name🐷 “Yassıca Island” is interesting too. It has got a mini pool and five islets around of it. In just a few minutes you can swim from one island to another island. “Cleopatra Bath Island” took my attention too when I saw the half Byzantium Monastery. If you like diving you can see the other sunken half under the sea😳 The last stop of the tour is “Şövalye Island”. It is the only island with a settlement on the chain of islands surrounding the region.

KADYANDA (CADIANDA) ANCIENT CITY & YEŞİL ÜZÜMLÜ KÖYÜ

Cadianda is an ancient Lycian City managed to survive to it’s present day with it’s very old ruins. It is known as the ‘athleticism centre’ of ancient times. 24 km away from Fethiye. Some of the buildings belong to Hellenistic and Roman periods as well. You will be impressed when you see the high quality of composed works on city walls, stadion, underground cistern, theatre, temple, agora and the bathhouse. The fact that there are so many ruins and the way how the city is surrounded by walls is the proof of the greatness of Cadianda in past. While we are passing from Yeşil Üzümlü Village to arrive there, not to stop by the village can cause some misses. Yeşil Üzümlüköy is a very charming town hidden in pine forests with the historical texture of Ottoman times. 23 km away to Fethiye. Famous with vineyards, homemade wines, weaving called “dastar”, orchids and very special type of mushroom called “Kuzugöbeği” which is very healthy for digestion system. Even “Kuzugöbeği Mushroom Festivals” are organised every year in April.

YANIKLAR VILLAGE & “YEŞİL VADİ” (Green Valley)

If you want to try a natural and simple style of ecological holiday, Yanıklar Village could be a good alternative. Even though it’s close to touristic regions, somehow this village managed to protect the rural texture. Mostly it is oriented to agricultural tourism. Everything is so fresh and organic that even you can collect your own eggs from cage-free chickens. Keep it in your mind to taste “Arapaşı Soup” made from beef and chicken juice which belongs to the village as special. If you come from the chaos of city; swinging in the hammock at the beach with peace and meeting with the warmth of friendly people are totally going to purify you from stress. One of the most quietest beach of Fethiye ,“Kara Ot Plajı” is there. Many groups are coming with their tents for their yoga activities to this beautiful village which has walking paths, magnificent sunsets, silence and naturalness.

Green Valley” is the closest valley to Fethiye. Located in the village of “Yanıklar”,only 20 km away from Fethiye. The Green Valley is a place you should definitely stop by when you arrive at Yanıklar Village. There are lots of activities and facilities you can get in the 20 km length of the canyon such as mountain hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, playing football and volleyball on the fields. There are also playgrounds for kids. You can enjoy the local village breakfast with special baking breads and the fish cooked in stone oven for dinner. To have your meal in the wooden pergolas with cushions under the trees is such a big pleasure. You can prefer to stay in other parts, rent a tent for camping or bring your own tent. The sunset of Green Valley is indescribable. So the only way is experiencing those moments by existing at that wonderful place.

Hisarönü

Hisarönü is a colorful and pretty active town with it’s cozy bazaars, bars, cafes and restaurants. It can remind you of the western towns in movies. Located between Ölüdeniz and centrum of Fethiye. 12 km away to Fethiye, 2 km away to Ölüdeniz. Hisarönü is at a point where Babadağ, Kayaköy and Fethiye meet, covered with pine trees. By the reason, it is at a higher level than Ölüdeniz & Fethiye, the weather is much cooler and the pine forest breeze adds fresh air to your night. It’s one of the most popular place for night life. Even though it’s not on the coast line, especially British people prefer to buy their houses there. In time it became as a small British town. So don’t surprise if you feel yourself in England. To be established in pine forests on high hills makes this town special with it’s fresh climate. If you like nature sports like hiking, trekking, biking, horse riding etc. you can keep that place in your mind as an alternative.

Saklikent (The Hidden City)

Another wonder of nature Saklıkent is really hidden between the big rocks of the mountain. 47 km away to Fethiye. It was found by a shepherd 25 years ago. Now it’s under protection with the declaration of ‘National Park’. To be at this pretty deep and long canyon is almost like playing hide & seek. This wonderful valley is a very nice example of natural formation occurred from the calcareous terrain which was eroded by water in time. With its water spreading out from the ground, the waterfalls pouring from the surrounding slopes and the harmony of water sounds… It’s impossible not to be enchanted. After an effective trekking you can enjoy eating fresh trouts directly fished from their own water. Saklıkent Gorge Club, on the right photo above, is a great place to chill out. Additional information: Saklıkent is perfect for water sports, rafting, fishing, mud bathing and picnics.

TLOS ANCIENT CITY & TLOS YAKAPARK

Located in the east side of Fethiye with 42 km distanced to centrum and in the border of “Yaka Village” in Seydikemer Town. Tlos is one of the most important settlements of Lycians with the most amount of ruins. It should be visited as you already came to Saklıkent. In some sources for Tlos, it is considered more appropriate to call ‘country’ instead of ‘city’. It made sense when I saw this ancient city has a very wide geography. The ruins are carrying us the history of the people living in this region up to 11 thousands years ago. It’s on the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List. Tlos is the country of Legendary Winged Horse Pegasus and the protagonist Bellerephontes. The rock tombs are the unique examples of classical Lycian tomb architecture. The tomb monument of Bellerephontes is the most impressive one, where he and Pegasus were portrayed while fighting with the three-headed monster Chimera. And yes…”The Kronos Temple” is there too. Kronos is “The God of the Gods”. There isn’t any other temple in Anatolia which was dedicated to Kronos. If you visit Tlos, you will see the Acropolis and Necropolis areas, theatre, small and large baths and a stadium.

After the tour probably you will be hungry and tired. To get some rest by having nice foods, Yakapark is the best choice as it’s already on your way in Tlos. Just 2 km away to ancient city. 650 meters higher than the plain. Perfect place to cool yourself during hot season. Tlos Yakapark is a natural water paradise in harmony with nature. By overflowing of water from the gutters of hundreds of years old plane trees, rich waterfalls are formed. The water is incredibly cold and delicious. Even there is a funny promotion about it: If you manage to stay in cold water for 5 mins you get your beer for free� 10 mins is awarded with free meal.

KELEBEKLER VADİSİ (The Valley of Butterflies)

If you pass to Kelebekler Vadisi from Saklıkent which has got short distance between each other, you can have the chance of seeing not only the special type of “Jarsey Tiger Butterflies” but also the waterfalls. It’s impressive to see the shadow of colorful butterflies falling into the valley. If you feel hot you can refresh yourself in the cool waters of the valley. While you are enjoying the view by walking if you see the sign of “George House” I recommend you to follow it. Because at the end your stomach will be having feast with his very delicious local village foods and beverages. If you want to over night, there are cute bungalows and terrace type cottages between the trees. Or camping with tent could be another option.

FARALYA VILLAGE & KABAK BAY

Favorite village of recent years in the region. 25 km away from Fethiye, 10 km away from Ölüdeniz. Known as “Uzunyurt” too. History and natural beauty gushes from all over the region. In world-wise famous “Times Magazine”, Faralya took it’s place as one of the hidden 6 paradises in Turkey. Faralya; in addition to the Roman and Lycian ruins, by being surrounded with the Valley of the Butterflies and the Kabak Bay, it is just like a hidden paradise. From Faralya, it’s possible to arrive to Kabak Bay in half an hour by hiking in the beauty of nature. Your all senses will be satisfied with the scent of forest, breeze of sea and fantastic view of mountains. If you would like to increase the level of your satisfaction, keep on following the south coast to discover “Alınca Village”, “Yediburunlar Bay” and “Sidyma”.

XANTHOS & LETOON ANCIENT CITIES

The ancient cities of Xanthos and Letoon, which have hosted many various civilizations since ancient times, were evaluated together by taking their place in UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE list in 1988. These two precious heritages were registered as a 1st degree of archaeological sites and are subjects to National Legislation. Xanthos located at “Kınık Village” in Fethiye. The distance between Xanthos and the neighbor city Letoon is just 4 km. The two sites strikingly illustrate the continuity and unique combination of Greek, Anatolian, Byzantine and Roman civilizations. During your visitation you’ll see the church and theatre ruins, a fine example of early Christianity. The remarkable archaeological complex there; represents the most unique extant architectural example of Lycian Civilization of the Iron Age in Anatolia. Xanthos was the capital city, Letoon was the religious centre of Lycian times. The most important texts in Lycian language were found in Xanthos and Letoon. When you go there you will see the rock art tombs, pillar tombs and pillar-mounted sarcophagi as a novel type of funerary architecture. These tombs enable us to understand the successive acculturation phenomena which took place in Lycia from the 6th century onward. When I was in England, I was very surprised to see the “Harple Tomb” (the 2nd pic above) in “British Museum” which was moved from Xanthos in the 19th century. An excursion to Xanthos & Letoon means getting the chance of seeing directly the whole extraordinary collection of historical treasures in their original locations. Doesn’t it sound more exciting than a museum?�

PINARA ANCIENT CITY

One of the important Lycian ancient cities which attracts attention with it’s rich historical heritage although it’s name is not heard. It’s around “Minare Village” with the distance 45 km to Fethiye. A part of famous Lycian Way is passing from here. When the capital city Xanthos was overpopulated, some groups of elderly people established this city on the top of ‘Cragus Mountain’ and gave the name “Pinara” means round. You can understand the reason when you see upper acropolis with it’s round shape. The name of the city is read as “Pinale” in Lycian inscriptions. Besides the wonders of the nature, you can be able to see hundreds of carved tombs, odeon, bath, agora, theatre, high and lower acropolis.

GEMİLER KOYU (The Bay of the Ships) and St.NICHOLAS ISLAND

It’s one of the most famous bay surrounded by olive and pine trees in Fethiye. Gemiler Bay is a natural port where you can visit the sunken city around by diving. There are special diving tours for that area. It’s possible to pass by boat from here to Saint Nicholas Island. In the medieval guidebooks of sailors it’s written that St.Nicholas lived here before the huge earthquake in 240 A.D. It could be interesting for you to see the historical ruins belong to Byzantium Empire. Churches belong to Early Christianity period are taking the attention. There is a 500 meters length tunnel which connects two churches. Between the stairs of two churches there are 17 stations inspired by the 17 rests of Jesus Christ before he was crucified.

LYCIAN WAY

The Lycian Way is an unforgettable walking route from Fethiye to Antalya with the most beautiful landscapes which was used by Lycians for trade in ancient times. According to the “Sunday Times” The Lycian Way is one of the top ten most beautiful long distance hikes of the world. Lycian Way is another wide chapter that I will write to you soon. Adventure & trekking lovers can follow from traveltalk.travel to get all the specified information. But for now when we are in Fethiye for sure I can not skip without mentioning about this important part. The start route of 509 km distanced way is, Fethiye. The slopes of Babadağı, Faralya, Kabak Bay, the cliffs of Butterfly Valley, Karaağaç Alınca Village, Yediburunlar are the main walking routes in Fethiye. It’s a coastal walk with mild temperatures, means it can be walked throughout the winter months as well. Can you imagine the pleasure you can get if you merge this experience with all the trip suggestions I presented for you above?�

As I told you at the beginning…The wonders of Fethiye is undefined by words. When you go to there, all the surprises are going to welcome you. All you have to do is giving decision for enjoying your Fethiye journey� � .

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