Both thrilling and tranquil, this is one place you will return to time and again. One of the most popular destinations on the Turkish Riviera, Fethiye is the largest town in Muğla, located at the junction of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Fethiye, a homeland of the ancient Lycian civilization, is a well-known yacht charter stop and is passionately loved by all sea enthusiasts. Enjoy the welcoming, vibrant blue sea against the pine-clad hills around the Gulf of Fethiye, or the Ölüdeniz region with its numerous bays boasting awe-inspiring natural beauty, by setting out with your own boat from the marinas in Fethiye and Göcek.
The best-known bays of Fethiye are Bedri Rahmi Bay; Hamam Bay; Tersane Island; Gemiler Island, an abandoned island where the ruins of an old Greek village, including stone houses and monasteries, can be found; and Ölüdeniz which is located in southwest Türkiye and offers gorgeous swimming and sunbathing spots at the Blue Lagoon Bay, Belcekız Bay, Kumburnu Bay, and Kıdrak Bay. It is also paragliding heaven. The lagoon is a protected area and as a result, sea vessels are prohibited from entering Ölüdeniz. Yachts must anchor in the strait of Gemiler Island, with visitors continuing by boat.
Other must-see nearby locations are Kabak Bay, Kıdrak Bay, Kelebekler Vadisi (Butterfly Valley, which is surrounded by approximately 350-meter-high steep rock walls and gets its name from the more than 80 different butterfly species that live here), Şövalye Island, Samanlık, Akvaryum, Dalyan, Kızılada, and Çalış Beach.
Sports activities: paragliding, bouldering, canyoning, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, trekking, biking, water sports
Marinas: Ece Marina, Fethiye Port
Fethiye, 200 km/124 miles (3 hours) west of Antalya, and 131 km/81 miles (2 hours) east of Marmaris, rests on a broad Mediterranean bay boasting some of Turkey's best beaches and yachting. Dalaman Airport makes access fairly easy.
The wide swath of Çalış Beach, several kilometres long, is only 5 km (3 miles) northeast of Fethiye. Ölüdeniz, perhaps Turkey's most beautifully-situated beach, is 8.5 km south of Fethiye, over the hills.
Besides the beach, visitors like the ruins of ancient Telmessos scattered through the city, and the day-long 12-Island yacht cruise of the bay, especially the stop at Gemile Island, covered in unrestored Byzantine ruins. Boats depart on the cruise every day in the warm months from Fethiye's busy harbour.
Fethiye is a favourite getaway for British travellers. You may hear English spoken in the streets, shops and markets.
Some 2400 years ago, Fethiye (FET-hee-yeh) was the prominent town of Telmessos, but earthquakes have left only a few Lycian stone sarcophagi from the old town, along with the dramatic Tomb of Amyntas carved into the sheer rock cliff high above the town.
Fethiye is the starting point of the Lycian Way, a 500-km (311-mile) footpath through the rugged mountains of the Tekke Peninsula to Antalya.
Most people come to Fethiye by bus or car. The nearest airport is 50 km (31 miles) west of Dalaman.
From mid-June through August there is a direct ferry service between Fethiye and the island of Rhodes, Greece.
Fethiye, Turkey Transport
From Fethiye, the coastal highway heads southeast along the coast to Kalkan, Kaş, Demre, Olimpos and Antalya. This is the longer but scenic way to travel between Fethiye and Antalya.
The inland highway climbs into the mountains past Tlos, over Karabel Pass (1300 meters, 4265 feet), across broad yaylas (high mountain fields and pastures), and through the town of Korkuteli, then down to sea level at Antalya.
The mountain scenery is fine for much of the ride, and travel time on this route is hours less than the coastal highway.
Bus and car are the way to get to Fethiye by land. The nearest airport is 40 km west (25 miles, 45 minutes) at Dalaman.
Or you can come by yacht.
In summer, there are sometimes ferryboats between Fethiye and Rhodes, Greece.
There is no train service to any point along the western Mediterranean coast.
Distances & Travel Times
Antalya (coastal route via Kaş): 295 km (183 miles) E, 6 hours
Antalya (inland route via Korkuteli): 222 km (138 miles) E, 3.5 hours
Bodrum: 270 km (167 miles) W, 5 hours
Dalaman: 40 km (25 miles) W, 1 hour
Dalyan: 76 km (47 miles) NW, 1.75 hours
Demre (Myra): 150 km (93 miles) SE, 3 hours
Ephesus (Selçuk): 306 km (190 miles) NW, 4.5 hours
Göcek: 30 km (19 miles) W, 30 minutes
Istanbul: 890 km (553 miles) N, 16 hours
Kalkan: 81 km (50 miles) SE, 1.75 hours
Kaş: 110 km (68 miles) SE, 2 hours
Letoön: 67 km (42 miles) S, 1.5 hours
Marmaris: 170 km (106 miles) W, 3 hours
Muğla: 160 km (100 miles) NW, 3 hours
Olimpos: 215 km (134 miles) E, 5.75 hours
Ölüdeniz: 8.5 km (5.3 miles) S, 15 minutes
Pamukkale (Denizli): 251 km (156 miles) N, 4.5 hours
Patara: 81 km (50 miles) SE, 1.75 hours
Xanthos: 63 km (39 miles) SE, 1.25 hours
Ölüdeniz, near Fethiye, Turkey
Ölüdeniz, only 8.5 km (5.3 miles) south of Fethiye over the mountains (map), has some of Mediterranean Turkey‘s most, famous, popular and beautiful beaches.
Hundreds of hotels, flats/apartments and villas accommodate the international sun-seekers who flock here in the warm months.
Belcekız Beach at Ölüdeniz (ur-LEW-deh-neez, “dead” or calm, sea), is big enough to handle the crowds of swimmers and sunbathers, but not always the number of cars and buses that cram the access road.
Paragliders leap from nearby mountaintops, soaring and floating above the beach and the sea, finally landing right on the beach. Tandem paragliding, where an inexperienced person flies with and under the control of a pilot, is very popular.
The fertile alluvial plain behind the beach is now filled with small hotels, pensions and restaurants, and any further expansion has been relegated to the nearby hilltop towns of Ovacık and Hisarönü.
The beach takes its eerie name from the secluded lagoon at the beach’s western end by the 3-star 94-room Hotel Meri. Protected by hills and entered by a narrow channel, the lagoon is calm during even the worst storms.
The Lycian Way, a 500-km (311-mile) rustic footpath, starts in Fethiye and wanders through the hills, descending to Ölüdeniz before ascending again above Kıdrak and Faralya, passing the head of Butterfly Valley before wandering southeastward toward Pataraand, ultimately, Antalya.
To get away from it all, consider the Mandarin Boutique Hotel in Faralya, past Ölüdeniz along the coast.
If you plan only a short stay at Ölüdeniz beach before moving on, you might want to stay in Fethiye, where prices tend to be lower and take one of the frequent minibuses to Ölüdeniz for the day. All intercity busesoperate out of Fethiye’s otogar (bus terminal).
For distances from Ölüdeniz to other places, see the distances on the Fethiye page, and add 8.5 km (5.3 miles).
Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz Turkey
Butterfly Valley (Kelebek Vadisi) is a breathtaking Mediterranean "fjord" a few kilometres southeast of Ölüdeniz, near Fethiye.
Yachts on day cruises drop anchor here for a swim in the quiet cove, and yachters often come ashore to enjoy the sandy beach.
Rustic tree houses rent beds at rock-bottom prices. There are few services—but then, the rustic life is the point here.
If you hike the Lycian Way, you'll pass above Butterfly Valley (Kelebek Vadisi) and get this fantastic view of the valley, the beach and the blue Mediterranean.
Lycian Way Hiking Trail, Turkey
The Lycian Way (Likya Yolu) is Turkey’s first long-distance hiking trail, a 500-kilometre (311-mile) footpath from Fethiye to Antalya, the impressive achievement of Kate Clow, a Briton resident in Turkey, and her crew of dedicated trailblazers.
The way-marked trail wanders up and down through ancient Lycia, Mediterranean Turkey‘s mountainous Tekke Peninsula (the southward “bulge” of land between Antalya and Fethiye).
The trek is rated as moderately strenuous to difficult, with the easier portion being nearest to Fethiye and Ölüdeniz.
Among the most popular portions is the westernmost, from Fethiye via Ölüdeniz, Butterfly Valley and southeastward toward Patara.
There are few lodging and dining services along the route. For most of it, you must carry your own shelter, food and other supplies, which makes it ideal for those who like to rough it.
Culture Routes in Turkey also describes the many other way-marked hiking trails originated by its dedicated staff and volunteers.
Dalaman Airport (DLM), Turkey
The town of Dalaman (pop. 20,000) on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast between Marmaris and Fethiye, exists for farming and for Dalaman International Airport (DLM).
The airport, 5.5 km (3 miles) south of the town centre, receives domestic flights from Istanbul daily, and nonstop flights from Europe(charter and scheduled) several times weekly.
To fly to Dalaman from a Turkish city other than Istanbul, you will probably have to connect through Istanbul.