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The 12 Best Things to Do in Fethiye, Turkey

boats in fethiye

Nestled on the turquoise coast of southwestern Turkey, Fethiye is a treasure trove of natural beauty, historical sites, and vibrant culture. This charming town, along with its surrounding areas, offers many activities for travellers of all tastes; from paragliding off mountains to exploring ancient ruins and enjoying serene boat rides.

a beach in fethiye

I read plenty of blog posts about Fethiye tourist attractions before we went in April 2024, but most of them included day trips, including hour-long drives and visiting neighbouring areas of outstanding beauty. However, if you are like us and want to make the most out of the luxury hotel with your kids, without committing to another coach or taxi ride, there is plenty to do in and around Fethiye without dragging your kids away from the pool!

The Top 12 Things to Do in Fethiye

TUI BLUE Sensatori Akra Fethiye

We stayed at the outstanding TUI BLUE Sensatori Akra Fethiye, a 5-star luxury hotel complex on the outskirts of Fethiye. To be honest, there was so much to do and enjoy at the resort, it was very difficult trying to persuade everyone to head into Fethiye itself, but I am so glad we did.

1. Stroll Along the Fethiye Harbor and Promenade

Fethiye marina and harbour

The harbour and promenade in Fethiye are perfect for leisurely walks, especially in the evening when the setting sun lights up the sky with vibrant colours. We took a boat from our resort and that was worth the trip on its own.

Lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, the promenade is a bustling area where visitors can enjoy local cuisine while watching the boats come and go. There is a huge town square, with little stalls lining the edges selling craft items and crocheted gifts and kids zooming around on mini buggy go-karts.

a sign with Fethiye written on it

The promenade itself is around 7 kilometres long, but it is worth the walk! Whilst strolling along the promenade, there were plenty of people on electric scooters, bikes and go-karts. The promenade is well set up for this, with a wide path for both pedestrians and bikers.

2. Explore Fethiye Old Town

the view of fethiye old town

As always, the best way to explore somewhere is simply walking around and getting lost. Fethiye Old Town, also known as Paspatur, is a charming and picturesque area in the heart of Fethiye, Turkey.

houses in fethiye old town

This historic district is a delightful maze of narrow streets and alleys, lined with restored traditional houses that now serve as boutique shops, cosy cafes, and lively bars. The architecture here beautifully blends elements from various periods, reflecting the town’s ancient Lycian, Roman, and Ottoman heritage.

3. Shop at Fethiye Bazaar

umbrellas hanging from a canopy

Whilst exploring Fethiye Old Town, you will come across Fethiye Bazaar. The area is famed for its unique shops selling everything from authentic Turkish carpets and leather goods to handmade jewellery and artisanal souvenirs. This is where you will find the photogenic “Umbrella Street”, where colourful umbrellas are hung up under the roof to help provide shade.

Don’t forget to visit the bustling and historic Fish market where you can select fresh seafood which local chefs will cook to order.

4. Visit the Ancient Theatre of Telmessos

Ancient Theatre of Telmessos

Located right in the heart of Fethiye, and next to Fethiye Bazaar, the Ancient Theatre of Telmessos is a testament to the town’s rich history. Originally built during the Hellenistic period and reconstructed in Roman times, this theatre once held up to 6,000 spectators.

a view of Fethiye bay

I walked the cliffs around Telmessos Theatre, which gave me a wonderful view of the marina, Fethiye Bay and past beautiful colourful Turkish homes. It only took me around 15 minutes, but it was one of my favourite walks whilst in Fethiye. It also gave me an insight into Fethiye’s turbulent past with earthquakes, with many homes lying in ruins and abandoned.

5. Attend the Tuesday Market

bags at a market

One of the main reasons we headed into Fethiye was for the bustling Tuesday Market. Vendors sell everything from spices and fresh produce to textiles and souvenirs. It’s an excellent spot for finding local goods and tasting street food.

the canal walking down to the market

We went for a bargain, and although we managed to pick up some handbags, artisan jewellery and a few jumpers, I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience. It was crowded, a lot of the produce was not good quality and at times, I felt a little harassed.

As our boat captain clearly pointed out when we returned, it is better to visit Fethiye Bazaar and I agree. The Bazaar is a quieter experience, with quality items on sale and a friendlier atmosphere.

6. Discover the Lycian Rock Tombs

Lycian Tombs in Myra Turkey

Perched on the cliffs overlooking Fethiye are the Lycian Rock Tombs, ancient burial sites carved into the rock faces. The most famous of these is the Tomb of Amyntas, dating back to the 4th century BC.

The impressive facade carved into the rock makes it a striking sight, especially at sunset.

7. Sailing Fethiye Bay

a boat in fethiye bay

You can’t visit Fethiye without getting a boat trip! Sailing around Fethiye Bay itself offers stunning views of the town and the surrounding islands.

a pirate ship in fethiye

Many local companies offer day trips on traditional gulets, allowing you to explore hidden coves and snorkel in clear blue waters. There are also trips to Ölüdeniz and Butterfly Valley, Dalyan and Pirate boat cruises with lunch and swim stops. I would have loved to do all of them, but we settled on a trip to Dalyan and Iztuzu Beach.

8. Take a Boat Trip to Iztuzu Beach

Iztuzu beach

Ok, I know I started this blog by saying we didn’t want to stray too far from Fethiye, but I will make an exception for Dalyan, Iztuzu Beach and the Lycian Tombs. I have been here twice before and it made such a lasting impression on me, I wanted my family to experience this wonderful day out.

Iztuzu Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, stretches over 4.5 kilometres with golden sands and crystal-clear waters. It is easily accessible from Fethiye, you can either take a boat cruise or book a coach tour to Dalyan and then hop aboard a river cruise which takes you to the beach itself.

a boat on Dalyan river

One of the most remarkable aspects of Iztuzu Beach is its role as a breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles. They come ashore between May and October to lay their eggs in the sand, a natural event that has prompted extensive conservation efforts to protect the beach and its marine visitors. The beach is carefully monitored, and access is restricted during the night hours during the nesting season to ensure the turtles are not disturbed.

boats on dalyan river

Because of the popularity of turtle watching, I found the beach overcrowded, particularly because of the amount of boats coming in and out of the quay. It was hard to spot any turtles (although we did see one from the side of the boat as our boat captain carefully came into the quay), but unfortunately, it was scared away when another boat sped in behind us and nearly collided with the turtle.

The Lycian Tombs Dalyan River
The Lycian Tombs Dalyan River

Although Iztuzu beach is definitely worth a visit, mainly because of the beautiful Dalyan River and the imposing Lycian Rock Tombs that tower over it, there are far superior beaches near Fethiye including Ölüdeniz, Gemile Beach and Kidrak Beach. If I knew then what I know now, I would have headed to Ölüdeniz instead.

9. Dalyan Mud Baths

a hot spring bath at Dalyan mud baths

You can’t visit Iztuzu without taking a river cruise down the Dalyan River, past the Lycian Rock Tombs and ending up at a traditional Turkish mud bath. Known as a hammam, it is a must when in Fethiye and Turkey. It’s not only a great way to relax but also an opportunity to engage with a centuries-old cultural practice that rejuvenates both body and mind.

mud bath at Dalyan

Fethiye itself has plenty of hotels and spas that offer Turkish bath experiences, but I prefer the visit to Dalyan mud baths, which are out in the open and have a hot spring. They don’t take walk-in guests, so you have to be part of a river cruise to visit.

10. Parasailing Over Fethiye Bay

parasailing in turkey

One of the most famous sites over Fethiye is the red Turkish sail on a parasail. Our hotel provided its own watersports, complete with parasailing, and we took advantage of this on the last day (although I stayed safely on the boat whilst I watched my husband take the kids up in turn!)

If you want the best experience out of parasailing whilst in the Fethiye area, Ölüdeniz is one of the world’s best spots for this. You get a full view of the beautiful Mediterranean landscape and I wish I had been brave enough to do it! My husband and kids absolutely loved it.

11. Relax at Çalış Beach

calis beach in turkey

Çalış Beach, just a few kilometres from the Fethiye centre, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The beach is known for its beautiful sunsets and its 4-km-long sandy beach.

The beachfront promenade is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a lively place to spend an evening. Nearby is Fethiye’s Bird Sanctuary, home to many species, including herons and kingfishers, and is especially vibrant during the migration seasons in spring and autumn.

12. Take a Day Trip to Ölüdeniz

Glider Flying over Oludeniz Beach

Just a short drive from Fethiye, Ölüdeniz, which is also the Turkish name for the Blue Lagoon, is famously known for its stunning blue lagoon and pebble beaches. It’s a must-visit for those looking to swim, sunbathe, or even paraglide from the surrounding mountains for breathtaking views of the coast.

The town itself is very lively, with plenty of souvenir shops and not too dissimilar to Fethiye. It is best to head straight to the Blue Lagoon itself and the beach. It is a protected nature reserve and has a very laid-back feel.

a street in Fethiye

Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient ruins, enjoying the natural beauty of the Turkish Riviera, or simply soaking in the local culture and cuisine, Fethiye provides a comprehensive experience that caters to all tastes and interests.

With its mix of historical sites, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant markets, Fethiye offers a rich and fulfilling travel experience. We loved our stay at the TUI BLUE Sensatori Akra Fethiye, it was the perfect base to enjoy a luxury holiday, with everything that Fethiye has to offer nearby.

Is Fethiye worth visiting?

Absolutely! There is more than enough to see and do in the town itself, and if the clear seas, wonderful beaches and friendly people aren’t enough, I’m not sure what you want out of a holiday!? 🙂

What is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit Fethiye is between late spring (May) and early autumn (October) when the weather is warm but not oppressively hot, making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the beaches.

How can I get around Fethiye?

It can be explored by local buses (dolmuş), taxis, or car rentals. Bicycles and scooters are also popular for shorter distances, especially along the beachfront areas.

Is it family-friendly?

Absolutely, Fethiye is a great destination for families. Beaches like Çalış and Katrancı are perfect for children, and many hotels and restaurants cater to families. Kid-friendly activities such as boat tours and visiting the Aqua Park are also available.

Is the town expensive?

Certain areas in Fethiye may carry a higher price tag compared to others. It all depends on where you go. Ölüdeniz tends to be pricier, but it feels more luxurious. However, it is still a cheaper place to go compared to other European destinations.

things to do in fethiye turkey pinterest pin

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