The ancient Lycians once referred to the modern town of Fethiye as "The virgin of the lands of brightness".
This gifted land, with all its overwhelming cultural heritage gleaned from the Lycians, Carians, Romans, and Persians, boasts exquisite natural beauties and spectacular views. The Fethiye of today was once the most important city in Lycia (one of the oldest Anatolian civilizations), situated at the border of Caria. This wonderous place lies within the Fethiye Gulf, and features several small and large islands, all backed by picturesque hills blanketed with pine forests. Fethiye’s town centre winds along shaded, narrow roads, small squares and preserved/controlled building structures. Its friendly townsfolk further highlight its welcoming atmosphere; even newbies will feel like locals.
Fethiye’s climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot and dry summers and rainy and mild winters. The easiest way to access Fethiye is from Dalaman Airport (70km). A taxi from the airport costs about €60 (from Bodrum Airport it is 255km).
There are a plethora of activities available to visitors to Fethiye, including yachting in the secluded natural bays, scuba diving in turquoise sea, paragliding from Babadag and flying over one of the world’s paradisiacal regions. It's also possible to try out rafting and kayaking in the clear spring waters of Dalaman, Karacay, and Esen, or to go trekking in the exciting inland canyons and pine tree covered hills.
Natural beauties of interest in Fethiye are:
Blue Lagoon (Olu deniz):
Olu Deniz is the eden that God bestowed on the world. With its 3km long beach, this natural lagoon is the perfect place for swimming, where turquoise meets emerald. This blue lagon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area due to its startling natural beauty.
This pretty coastal village combines wild nature with friendly locals and is a popular tourist destination.
Situated about 5km from the town center, Calis’s 4km-long beach is a favored spot of the endangered Caretta Caretta sea turtles. It also boasts marvelous sunset views. As one the most attractive touristic area of the region, Calis beach is ideal for all types of water sports.
Gemiler (St.Nicholas island):
Gemiler is an island that can be reached by boat from the Blue Lagoon or from Gemiler Bay. Remains of churches, chapels, and other structures dating back to 15th century B.C. attest to Fethiye’s legacy as one of the centers of Christianity. It’s also a favourite stop for Blue Voyage yachts.
Butterfly valley (Kelebekler Vadisi):
Butterfly Valley is approximately 6km away from Blue Lagoon and can be reached by boat. If you want to feel how paradise feels then Butterfly Valley is worth a visit . This deep valley, which features a clear waterfall flowing down to the sea, has a large beach and crystal clear sea. The valley is surrounded by 350m-high hills, bursting with pink oleanders. The thousands of "Jarsey Tiger" butterflies that occupy the valley between June and September have given the valley its name. Lying between Hisaronu and Ovacik, two typical Turkish villages, this idyll is very close to the Blue Lagoon -- an area filled with shopping, entertainment and accommodation options.
Situated 18km from Dalaman airport and 30km from Fethiye town center, Gocek is a Blue Voyage hot spot. It boasts secluded bays and six modern marinas. This small charming resort, which is largely depedent on its fishing industry, features a range of modern facilities. It is also well known for its natural beauty with its numerous islands, bays, ancient ruins, and pine forests all around. Don’t miss the 12-island boat trip that takes off from the Gocek marina; one that’s sure to satisfy with spectacular nature and history. There you’ll have a chance to explore places such as Yassica, Hamam, Gobun, Boynuzbuku, Gocek Island, Domuz Island, Zeytin Island, Bedri Rahmi, Yavansu, Kursunlu, Tersane Island and Kizil Island.
The small coves of Boncuklu, Kuleli, Akvaryum, Turunc Pinari, Mempasa, and Kucuk Samanlik are excellent excursion spots in Oyuktepe.
Lying 19km away from Fethiye’s , Kargi is surrounded by Storax trees -- or sweet gum trees -- used for the treatment of itchiness, asthma, bronchitis, and ulcers; it’s also used to make perfumes. With its beautiful natural features, the Kargi cove continues to dazzle visitors.
Hidden City (Saklikent):
In Fethiye, touristic activities are not only limited to history, the sea or swimming; other wonders also await. Saklikent is one such example, situated 50km from Fethiye near the Karacay Brook. Known as The Hidden City, Saklikent is an 18km-long canyon, of which its walls extends up to 600m in height in some areas. It boasts awesome cliff climbing, swimming and trekking opportunities. Nature lovers will dig the canyon’s steep rock cliffs, plane trees and spring waters.
Historic areas of interest in Fethiye are:
Telmessos Antique Theatre:
Built in the early Roman period, around the 2nd Century, this amphitheater once welcomed 5000 spectators and was mainly used as an arena. Presently, the theater has a seating capacity of 1500 people.
Lycian Rock Tombs:
The Lycian rock-cut tombs, which date from the 4th century B.C., are one of the main attractions in Fethiye's town cetre. The large Amintas is the most elaborate of these tombs. There are many other tombs from Lycian times worth exploring, and the most interesting one is the tomb ascending from the sea. Its carvings and frescoes add to its attractive appearance.
Xanthos was the Lycian federation’s capital. Situated some 55km away from Fethiye, Xanthos is a well- preserved ancient site that boasts the remains of Lycian, Roman, Persian, and Byzantium civilizations. Xanthos’ history extends back to 1200 B.C.
Known as Levissi in the past until the population exchange between Turkey and Greece in 1922, Kayakoy was a Greek settlement in the 14th century under the Ottomans. It was founded on the site of the ancient city Karmillassos, which was almost completely demolished due to earthquakes in the region.
The city was established at the source of the Xanthos brook. Situated 40km from Fethiye, Xantos spring was the subject of many myths throughout the ages. In Araxa, rampart ruins, a public path, and water canals are some of the remaining ruins dating back to the Byzantine period.
This mythical city is said to have been where the hero Bellerophon and his winged flying horse Pegasus lived. Tlos lies 45km from Fethiye and boasts a history dating back to 2000 B.C. It is one of the greatest cities in the Lycian federation.
The spiritual center of the Lycian federation, Letoon is located 55km from Fethiye. The churches of the early Christians were also uncovered in Letoon. It’s also renowned for its temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis, and Apollo.
One of the biggest cities in the Lycian federation, Petoon is 55km away from Fethiye. The temple, which was dedicated to the Goddess Aphrodite, is beautiful and follows a very unusual architectural design.
Situated 25km from Fethiye, the Lycian city of Carianda attracts visitors due to its ancient theatre, agora, stadium, public bath and monumental tombs.
This fortress was founded by the Knights of St. John.
Fethiye Museum's Archaeology and Ethnography Halls are home to many art works from the early Lycian period, such as statues and hand-woven crafts, from jewellery to tombs. The museum is open daily from 9:00 to 18:00, except on Mondays.
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"The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time" - Bill Bryson