n 1958 an earthquake levelled the seaside city of Fethiye (feh-tee-yeh), sparing only the remains of the ancient city of Telmessos. More than half a century on, it is once again a prosperous hub of the western Mediterranean, and a major base for gület (Turkish yacht) cruises. Despite its booming growth, Fethiye is low-key for its size, due mostly to restrictions on high-rise buildings and the transitory nature of the gület business, which brings travellers flocking here between April and October.
Fethiye’s natural harbour is perhaps the region’s finest, tucked away in the southern reaches of a broad bay scattered with pretty islands, including Şövalye Adası, glimpsed briefly in the James Bond film Skyfall. Fethiye also makes a good base for visiting Ölüdeniz, one of Turkey’s seaside hot-spots, and many interesting sites in the surrounding countryside, including the ghost town of Kayaköy (or Karmylassos) just over the hill.
There’s not just the 12 Island Boat trip that you might have heard about – although they are certainly amazing value for money (prices change throughout the season but are very reasonable) – 8 hours, about 5 swim stops and your lunch included. If you’re based in Ölüdeniz, there are also daily boat trips from the beach, there, too.
In summer, take the Karagözler dolmuş to most of the bays in Fethiye. Aksazlar Bay , Samanlık Bays and Kuleli. Büyük Boncuklu has had a facelift and the most recent addition to this list of beaches is Help Beach And Yacht Club. If it’s not too hot, you pass all of these bays on the Fethiye Peninsula trek. Sundays will be very busy with Turkish families.
Kayaköy has many ruins left from the population exchange between Turkey and Greece in 1923. Beautiful countryside, Turkish village life and a sad reminder of the past. Don’t leave Kaya without going to Cin Bal restaurant where you barbecue your own food. (The dolmuş to Kaya from Fethiye is every hour on the hour from the dolmuş station. Every half an hour in high season. The last dolmuş back to Fethiye is around 8pm in low season and 10pm in high season so check with the driver if you don’t want to end up in a taxi. Journey time from Fethiye – about 40 mins) Or you can walk to Kayaköy from Fethiye if you feel like it!