Fethiye – overview

Fethiye is a very popular area in the western Mediterranean; this is a holiday destination for British tourists and a new home for British expats. Travel agents like to call Fethiye all tourist towns scattered around the place; however, it is good to know the difference between the proper Fethiye and all other nearby places. I have marked Fethiye and nearby resorts on the map below, and you can read about each one of them in separate posts.

A. Fethiye

B. Hisaronu

C. Oludeniz

D. Calis Beach

Fethiye, with population of over 70.000, is one of the biggest holiday centres in the area of Dalaman. It is a charming Turkish town which managed to relatively resist tourist commercialisation, and even though you will see hordes of British or German tourists around in the town, you can still feel that you are abroad (unlike places like Calis Beach or Hisaronu). Fethiye is not a purposely built tourist village, as the town’s history reaches back 2000 years to ancient Lycian times, when Fethiye was known as Telmessos. Since then the town has been under Persian, Roman and Ottoman rule, and remains of the distant past can be found around modern-day Fethiye.

Fortress in Fethiye

Ruins of Byzantine Fortress in Fethiye which marks the place where the city was originally founded

The city with vivid history has not allowed mass tourism to take over its authentic character; therefore it is a good holiday destination for those who expect a bit more than just sun and colourful drinks in soulless seaside resorts. Saying that, accommodation in Fethiye is slightly more expensive than in nearby concrete-made Calis Beach or Hisaronu, and even though our final destination was Calis Beach itself, we so much wished we had booked one of many pensions located around Fethiye’s marina.

lycian tomb in Fethiye

One of many Lycian tombs scattered around a hill overlooking the town

If you want to book your stay in Fethiye, look for accommodation on generic websites like booking.com or hostelbookers.com, or follow travel guides’ recommended places, as low cost holiday sites do not really offer accommodation in the centre of Fethiye, but list hotels situated in Calis Beach (and call them Fethiye hotels!), or expensive grand resorts on a small peninsula to the west of the town.

Fethiye does not have a beach either, so you need to be ready to be making trips to either Calis Beach or Oludeniz. This should not be a problem, because fast and frequent dolmuses can take you to either destination. Making trips to the beach will mean that only once a day you have to put up with sad sights of places spoiled by mass tourism. Staying in Fethiye amongst the locals will remind you what travelling is really about.

If you’re looking for best time to go to Fethiye, I’d not recommend high season months – July and August must be unbearable, and even though we stayed in Fethiye in the middle of September, the days were very hot and nights not much more comforting. This part of the Mediterranean coast is definitely milder than Antalya, though.


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