I was in Fethiye last summer and would like to introduce you to some of the top things to see and do in this beautiful town on the Turkish Aegean.
Fethiye has so much to offer for night owls, beach lovers, culture enthusiasts and shopping tours that no one will get bored here. I have also listed some tips for day trips in case you want to get out of town. I stayed at the “very luxurious The Residence at TUI BLUE Sensatori Akra Fethiye on the northern outskirts of the city.
Table of contents
Things to See and Do in Fethiye Town Centre
Fethiye Old Town and Marina
When you visit Fethiye’s Old Town, you can look forward to some relaxed lanes lined with cafes, restaurants and the usual tourist shops selling bags and souvenirs. Have a Turkish tea or coffee and let the atmosphere soak in. It gets more lively in the evenings and attracts night owls.
Strolling along the Marina and Harbour Promenade is a must when visiting Fethiye town centre, as it’s one of the top things to do in Fethiye. Here, numerous tour operators offer everything possible on the water, from boat tours to water sports activities.
At one end of the Old Town is the Roman Amphitheatre and at the other end is the Fethiye Archaeological Museum, which unfortunately was closed for renovation during my visit. Here you can see finds from the rock tombs.
Shopping: Basars in Fethiye and Çalış
Fethiye Old Town’s Market Street is packed with stalls offering everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to traditional handmade souvenirs. The atmosphere is lively and the smells and colours are simply irresistible.
If you are looking for a more traditional Turkish bazaar experience, then Fethiye’s weekly bazaar in Çalış is just the thing for you. It takes place on Sundays. Here you can find hand-woven carpets, leather goods and jewellery. But don’t forget to haggle to get the best price!
Of course, there are also large modern shopping centres in Fethiye where the brand goods are actually genuine. A good air-conditioned stop for your Fethiye sightseeing tour. You also don’t need to haggle and you can pay by card. I went to the “Erasta” shopping centre.
Promenade Fethiye Kordon
The cobbled promenade “Kordon” along Fethiye beach stretches from the old town to Çalış. If you have time and are fit, you can walk the whole way to combine a visit to the Çalış market and the old town centre. If your feet are tired, choose one of the many cafés or restaurants located on Fethiye’s Kordon.
Lycean Rock Tombs and Fortress
Above the old town you can glimpse ancient shapes in the rock. These are the Lycean rock tombs and the Tomb of Amyntas of the ancient city of Telmessos (Fethiye’s former name). The Lycian rock tombs date back to the 5th century BC and are carved into the rock, showing how advanced the Lycian civilisation was in terms of architecture and burial rites. The Tomb of Amyntas, also known as the Lion Tumulus, is a fascinating archaeological gem dating back to the 4th century BC. It was the mausoleum of the Lycian king Amyntas.
The Lycian rock tombs are one of the most important things to see in Fethiye and there is an entrance fee. However, you can still get an impression from outside the fence.
A few minutes’ walk from the tombs are the remains of the medieval castle, which offers breathtaking views over the town and bay.
Çalış Beach and More Beaches in Fethiye
In Fethiye Bay there are many beaches and the most famous is Çalış Beach – a real attraction in Fethiye. If you want to get from Fethiye town centre to Calis beach, the best way is by dolmus boat. The boats run regularly from Fethiye to Calis and offer a picturesque and convenient way to explore the coast. There are also other transport options such as taxis or minibus “dolmus”, but the dolmus boat is definitely the most beautiful option.
Tickets for the dolmus boats are affordable and can be purchased at the departure points or even directly on the boat. Departure times vary by season, so be sure to check the current times in advance. At Calis Beach you will find a variety of hotels and restaurants suitable for every budget and taste. Learn more about Fethiye’s most beautiful beaches here.
Are you looking for a hotel in Fethiye?
Day Trips Around Fethiye
Even though there are enough attractions in Fethiye itself, the odd day trip is worthwhile. Worth seeing are Turtle Beach, Butterfly Valley, the ghost town of Kayaköy, waterfalls and canyons, famous Ölüdeniz with its world-famous gorgeous beach. I’ll introduce you to my highlights.
Kayaköy Ghost Town
For just a few Lira, the dolmus (shared taxi) takes you to the ghost town Kayaköy, also known as “Karmylassos” in Greece. The town consists of over 350 house ruins that have been abandoned since the Greco-Turkish war over 100 years ago and are picturesquely decaying. If you like “Lost Places”, this off the beaten track attraction near Fethiye should be on your bucket list.
The story behind Kayaköy is really moving. Formerly Greeks lived here who were “exchanged” with Turks from Greece during the war between the two countries back then. Just one of the many forced resettlements between the two countries at that time. Imagine having to leave everything behind and start a new life in a foreign country… With these thoughts in mind, a visit to Kayaköy is sad and creepy at the same time. Some areas are fenced off because they are so dilapidated. There is no shortage of photo opportunities here.
At the place where the dolmus goes back to Fethiye, there is a cafe or restaurant.
World Famous Ölüdeniz Beach and Blue Lagoon
The bus ride from Fethiye to Ölüdeniz takes about 30 minutes. Even if you’ve never heard the name before, you’ll definitely recognise photos of the beach! In my opinion it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and a must-see attraction near Fethiye.
Ölüdeniz Beach is famous for its crystal clear, turquoise coloured water and dazzling white sand. Entry is free but there is a charge to use sunloungers and parasols. The beach stretches across a headland that shapes the Blue Lagoon. There is an entrance fee for the Blue Lagoon, but it includes sun loungers and parasols. If you are still looking for that perfect social media shot, you have come to the right place in this picturesque bay! If you still can’t get enough of dreamy beaches around Ölüdeniz, you should take a boat tour that also includes the scenic Gemiler Bay.
Watch paragliders plunge from Mount Baba above Ölüdeniz and see the lagoon from above before landing on the beach.
If you only have one day for sightseeing outside Fethiye, visit Kayaköy in the morning and Ölüdeniz in the afternoon.
Baba Dag – Cable Car Up Ölüdeniz’s Mountain Backdrop
The cable car up nearly 2000 metre high Mount Babadag in Ölüdeniz (“Teleferik”) is now in operation. From up there, there are not only panoramic views from Fethiye over the Blue Lagoon to Butterfly Valley, but also the opportunity to watch the paragliders take off. Just looking at them made me feel queasy! If you want to join in spontaneously, there are plenty of operators up there. Prices vary depending on exchange rates and tourist numbers. When I was there during Coronavirus times, paragliding was going for just 40 Euros. An absolute bargain!
Gizlikent Waterfall snd Saklikent Canyon
At the start of the picturesque Saklikent Gorge you will come across a cosy cafe by the water where you can recharge your batteries and enjoy the surrounding nature. As you continue along the path, a zipline awaits thrill-seekers. The route through the gorge is well signposted and not too challenging, so suitable for the whole family.
The Gizlikent Waterfall is located in a side arm of the canyon. Although not huge, it’s still very photogenic.
Saklikent Canyon is 45 km from Fethiye. If you have a rental car, take this day trip from Fethiye. Otherwise, there are dozens of tour operators offering combinations with ziplining, river tubing etc. One of the top natural attractions in Fethiye for nature lovers!
Activities in Fethiye
If you prefer to be more active, Fethiye also offers plenty of possibilities. From paragliding over Ölüdeniz to canyoning, boat tours to secluded bays (12 Islands Tour or “Blue Voyage”), river rafting or hiking in the Saklikent Canyon on the Lycian Way.
The Lycian Way stretches 509 km from Fethiye to Antalya and offers the perfect mix of ancient ruins, scenery and meeting the locals. We did a short part of the hike from Fethiye to Ölüdeniz and were accompanied by the scent of the pine forests and the view of the Blue Lagoon.
Conclusion on the Best Things to Do in Fethiye
I would go back to Fethiye immediately, because I haven’t even seen half of what I wanted to. Which Fethiye attraction do you like best? Or have I forgotten anything important? Let me know in the comments! If you want to treat yourself to a bit of luxury like me, book The Residence at TUI BLUE Sensatori Akra Fethiye (adults only) or TUI BLUE Sensatori Akra Fethiye (for families).
Questions and Answers About Fethiye’s Things to do
What is Fethiye famous for?
Fethiye is known for its natural landscape with beaches and mountains as well as hiking trails. The ancient history with amphitheatre and Telmessos ruins is also famous. Another highlight is the paragliding with breathtaking views.
Is shopping good in Fethiye?
In Fethiye there are many small shops, stands and bazaars with handmade goods, local specialities and souvenirs. The weekly market every Tuesday and Friday with diverse wares at low prices is highly recommended.
When is the bazaar in Fethiye?
The bazaar in Fethiye takes place every Tuesday and Friday. The streets are full of colourful stalls with fruit, vegetables, handicrafts and traditional delicacies. I recommend getting up early to get the best deals.
Where is the most beautiful place in Fethiye?
Fethiye’s harbour with its colourful boats, cafes, restaurants and sea views is one of the most beautiful places. But Calis Beach with its golden sand and calm, clear waters is also very nice. My favourite place was the old fortress – not a soul up here and the best views over Fethiye.
How many residents does Fethiye have?
According to the latest census, Fethiye has approximately 150,000 residents.