The best places to visit in Fethiye Turkey
After exploring the enchanting seaside town of Fethiye for 14 days, we’ve assembled a list of some of the very best places to visit in Fethiye, Turkey. This popular holiday spot is a big hit with both international tourists and Turkish holiday seekers, with an endless number of things to do in and around town.
Ancient history, stunning beaches, boat adventures and rich Turkish culture can all be found here. Whether you’re staying in Fethiye, the nearby town of Oludeniz, Calis Beach, or are just passing through the area, we hope you’ll be inspired with our attraction recommendations. They can all be reached by a short car hire or taxi ride, or as part of an organized tour.
Read on for the best places to visit in Fethiye. Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions or have your own recommendations. 😊
Fethiye Old Town
Fethiye Old Town is the beating heart of Fethiye. It has a labyrinth of narrow streets filled with market stalls, shops, bars, restaurants, and even Turkish baths. At any time of the day, the old town is an eclectic mix of tourists and locals. However, on an evening, it really comes alive. Unlike some of Turkey’s tourist towns, we found Fethiye Old Town to be rich with culture and tradition.
It’s a great place to buy handmade clothes, bakery sweet treats, spices, house decorations and other wares that Turkey is famous for. Explore the old town during the day and then on an evening for a completely different experience. We recommend heading straight to the central market and then exploring the streets that lead off it.
Amyntas Rock Tomb / The Ancient City of Telmessos
If you look closely at the Fethiye town skyline from the harbour area, you’ll see stacks of ancient rock tombs carved into the north-facing side of the mountain. There are a lot of these tombs cascading across Fethiye’s mountains, with Amyntas Rock Tomb being the most famous. The intricate structure dates back to the 4th century BC and depicts an Ionian-style temple.
You can visit Amyntas Rock Tomb via a short walk from Fethiye Town centre. On arrival, take time to look up and marvel at the many tombs, then climb up the stairs for a closer look at Amyntas. This captivating structure has one of the best views of the town. Additionally, the wider historical area is known as The Ancient City of Telmessos and is well worth exploring on foot. It holds some of Fethiye’s oldest buildings.
If you’re like us and love a long walk with scenic views on an evening, the promenade is one of the best places to visit in Fethiye. Starting at Fethiye harbour and stretching all the way to Calis Beach, it’s a beautiful area of town that comes alive on an evening. Tour boats dock at one side of the promenade, with views of the calm bay as a backdrop. You then have an endless selection of water-view restaurants and bars.
Fethiye promenade is pedestrianised so you can enjoy a leisurely stroll before or after dinner. We personally enjoyed ordering an ice cream from one of the promenade vendors for a post-dinner treat.
The main town centre of Fethiye doesn’t have a beach. Therefore, many people visiting for a relaxing beach holiday choose to stay in the area known as Calis Beach, a short drive from Fethiye’s Old Town and harbour area. As a typical Turkish tourist resort, it has plenty of facilities, shops and restaurants for beach lovers.
Calis Beach lacks the cultural appeal of other areas of Fethiye but it’s still worth visiting for its long stretch of white sands. We highly recommend catching the water taxi over from Fethiye harbour for a scenic arrival. You can then go for a long walk on the Calis promenade, relax on the beach or enjoy a drink in a sea-view café.
The Fethiye Beach Clubs
In addition to Calis Beach, Fethiye has a number of small beach coves spread out around the peninsula. Some are only reachable by boat; others are home to some excellent beach clubs. Help, Hillside and Sea Me are just a small selection of some of the best beach clubs to check out in the area.
Unlike public beaches, which can get pretty crowded, beach clubs are privately owned venues where you have to reserve a sun lounger for access. Capacity is limited, so they never feel too busy. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, bathing in the sun or grabbing a bite to eat or drink. We personally recommend Help Beach Club. It’s only a 10-minute drive by taxi from Fethiye marina and the bohemian design makes it an idyllic beach retreat. It has more of a relaxed vibe over an upbeat party atmosphere.
The Ghost Town of Kayakoy
The abandoned city of Kayakoy, also known as a ‘ghost town’ due to its eerie, abandoned buildings, is only a 15-minute drive from the centre of Fethiye. The town was founded by the Greeks in the 18th-century and was formerly known as Levissi. After the Greeks were forced to leave town in 1923 as a result of the Greece-Turkey ‘population exchange’, the town was occupied by Macedonians and was renamed to Kayakoy. The new inhabitants didn’t like the town and it was then abandoned again, sitting as a ‘ghost town’ ever since.
As one of the world’s top 10 ghost towns according to National Geographic, it’s well worth stopping by to explore the decaying ruins. Rows upon rows of old house ruins sit on the side of the mountain, and you can climb to the top of the hill for amazing views of Kayakoy below. There’s something very cool about exploring such a large area that has been completely abandoned! The open-air museum is home to over 500 buildings, including an impressive Gothic-style church.
Oludeniz Town, Beach and Lagoon
The widely known tourist town of Oludeniz is famous worldwide as being one of the best places to paraglide. On less windy days, waves of paragliders descend on the town after taking off from the huge Babadag Mountain above. It’s a popular place to stay on the Turquoise Coast, but it makes a great daytrip too.
Venture into Oludeniz Town for scenic sea-views from the promenade and plenty of café, restaurant and shopping options. Afternoons are best spent on the long and sandy Oludeniz Beach, or if you really want to see something cool, walk further along the promenade to Oludeniz Lagoon. Often crowded with tourists but still breathtakingly beautiful, the lagoon is an idyllic place to relax. Go for a swim in the shallow waters or hire a sun lounger and kick back on the pebble beach.
Oludeniz Lagoon is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Fethiye.
Paragliding from Babadag Mountain
Speaking of paragliding, if you’re a keen adventurer and want to take part in something exhilarating, this is a must. Amateur and pro paragliders flock from across the planet to experience the scenic views of Oludeniz Bay from the sky. Paragliding experiences can be booked with one of the many companies in Oludeniz Town.
Once you book, you’ll then be driven to the top of Babadag Mountain. This is where you’ll be strapped in tandem to a paragliding instructor. Your paragliding journey will then begin with a short run and jump of the side of the mountain runway, where you’ll proceed to glide, twist and turn in the sky, descending slowly to the beach town below. The scenery you’ll see on the way down is stunning!
Fethiye Marina is one of the best places to visit in Fethiye on an evening. From the yacht marina by the south-west of the bay, to the long promenade lined with tourist and fishing boats, it’s a great place to go for an evening walk. It’s also one of the best places to eat! Choose a restaurant with a sunset view and enjoy a the traditional Turkish meal of your choice. We personally recommend the upmarket Mori Restaurant. After dinner, take a long walk along the promenade and enjoy one of the many Turkish dessert treats from the street vendors.
If you visit the Fethiye Marina area first thing on a morning, you may even see one of the giant sea turtles feeding in the bay. We were amazed to stumble across these guys on our first day in Fethiye!
Tlos Ancient Ruins
Out of all of the amazing ancient ruins sites we visited in and around Fethiye, we found Tlos to be the most impressive. It’s said to be one of the most important religious sites for the Lycians, with areas of Tlos dating back 4000 years. The hilltop location and beautiful valley scenery sets the scene for a true piece of ancient history.
Tlos sits on the mountainside, with intricate tombs carved into the side of the rock face, and a grand citadel at the top of the hill climb. You can explore the ruins on foot, hiking up to the top for scenic views and then venturing to the lower depths of Tlos to see the Roman amphitheatre and remnants of one of the most important Lycian cities. As Tlos is located a 15-minute drive from the next attraction on our list, Saklikent Gorge, we recommend exploring both areas in one day.
Currently rated as the number one best thing to do in Fethiye on Tripadvisor, Saklikent Gorge is located around 50km from Fethiye, deep into the Turkish wilderness. Saklikent, which means ‘hidden city’ in Turkish, is one of the deepest gorges in the world. It’s open to visitors that want to trek through the gorge by themselves, or join a guided tour that ventures deep past the touristic area of the gorge.
Wade through the stream, clamber over boulders and experience Turkey nature at its best. Saklikent is one of the best places to visit in Fethiye for those that love adventure. It also suits those will all levels of hiking experience. Our key recommendation is to bring a sturdy pair of water shoes as the rocks will hurt bare feet.
The appropriately named Butterfly Valley is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fethiye. It’s a small cove with a beach, which is surrounded by a towering cliffside. Butterflies flutter around as you relax on the beach and can also be seen at the top of the Butterfly Valley viewpoint.
There are two main ways to see Butterfly Valley. This first is an organised boat trip from the nearby town of Oludeniz. The trip usually involves a couple of other cove stops, a freshly cooked lunch on the boat and some time to relax on the beach.
The second, and our preferred option is to drive to the top of the Butterfly Valley viewpoint for the best views of the valley. You can then choose to admire the view from afar or take the challenging climb down to the beach.
The Lycian Way hike
The Lycian Way is an epic, 500km+ hiking route that stretches from Fethiye, all the way to Antalya. Whilst the full route will take you many days to complete in full, you can sample a small section of the trail in Fethiye. Beaches, mountains, ancient ruins and some amazing viewpoints of the Turquoise Coast can all be seen on a short trek.
Complete 2 hours, 3, 4, or a full day if you’d like. The Lycian Way is a hiking route that appeals to all levels of experience. We recommend embarking on the hike first thing on a morning whilst the temperatures aren’t too high.
View a Google map of the starting point of the Lycian Way trek here.
Explore the coves of Fethiye by boat
As a popular yachting destination, Fethiye marina and harbour have countless boat excursions on offer. What way better way to explore the stunning Turquoise Coast of Turkey? The peninsula around Fethiye has some excellent beaches, coves and snorkelling spots. If you’re lucky, you might even see the giant sea turtles that make region their home.
We personally recommend booking a full day boat trip with Rastapus Tours. Most tours offer similar itineraries, exploring the nearby coves, with snorkelling spots and a lunch feast onboard. If you want a more luxurious Fethiye boat adventure, why not charter a private yacht for the day?
Discover the ancient ruins of Xanthos and Letoon
The ruin-filled sites of Xanthos and Letoon are some of the best places to visit in Fethiye for those that want to sample more ancient Lycian history. Letoon was an important sanctuary for the Lycian people, dedicated to the three national deities of Lycia, Leto and her children Artemis and Apollo. It has a number of temple ruins, which were built in homage to the family. It also features an impressive amphitheatre and host of other building remnants.
A 10-minute drive down the road from Letoon is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xanthos. It was the centre of culture and commerce for the Lycian, later conquered and occupied by the Persians, Greeks and Romans. The site has equally as impressive structures as Letoon. You’ll see a grand theatre, traditional Lycian standing tomb, and other ruins that span the history of its many conquerors.
Along with Tlos and Patara Ancient City, these form the best ancient ruins to explore whilst in Fethiye.
Visit Patara Ancient City, sand dunes and beach
According to Greek mythology, the Ancient City of Patara was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. It has a history that dates back to being conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, onward to the Roman and Byzantine Empires. The ruins at Patara were discovered in the 18th century and a significant portion has been uncovered and restored. However, as the area is so vast, there’s still a lot of ruins that are yet to be excavated.
Once you’ve paid entry to the Patara Ancient City, you can explore the many ruins at your leisure. A Roman Triumphal Arch, ancient necropolis, a selection of temples, the Patara city gate, a lighthouse, an amphitheatre, churches, bath houses and many more sites are all to be explored. Any lover of history will be impressed after spending time here.
In addition to the ancient ruins, Patara is home to the longest beach in Turkey. Spanning a length of 18 kilometres, the beach is a protected area and nesting ground for sea turtles. Tourists occupy the soft white sands on one section of the beach in the busy summer months. However, much of the beach is completely empty and free to explore.
Before heading to the beach to relax, be sure to stop at the vast array of rolling sand dunes for some breath taking viewpoints.
Pro-tip: Letoon, Xanthos and the attractions of Patara are all located within a short drive of each other. Therefore, we recommend planning a visit to all destinations in one full day trip.
Wander around Sehit Fethi Beyp Park
Sehit Fethi Bey Park isn’t just any park; it’s one of the best parks you’ll ever experience, seriously! Neatly manicured gardens overlook the seaside promenade, showcasing statues, artwork, a fitness track, ponds and a number of cool adventure attractions. Many tourists miss this park off their itinerary, but it’s well worth exploring, especially if you have children.
Go for a long walk in Sehit Fethi Beyp to experience its tranquil scenery. Enjoy a picnic on a park bench or marvel at the interesting artwork. There’s something unusually different at every corner, so make sure you explore the park in its entirety. It’s located just south of Calis Beach and 30-minute walk from Fethiye town centre.
That wraps up our guide on the best places to visit in Fethiye. As you can see, the town and the surrounding area has no shortage of cool places to visit. So much so, you’ll be entertained for the full duration of your trip! If you have any questions about any of the places we’ve featured on our list, be sure to post a comment below.
By RickyAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.