Fethiye’s hidden gems
Uzumlu and CadiandaPretty Uzumlu is often overlooked by visitors as it’s a 20-minute drive inland. However, this gorgeous village, nestled in a lush green valley and good enough to eat, is well worth a visit, especially in the springtime when the hills are covered in cherry blossom. Stroll around the tiny Uzumlu village centre and stop for a bite and a glass of wine (Uzumlu means ‘grape’ in Turkish, and there are some palatable wines in the area). The town is also the gateway to some beautiful - and very underrated - ruins that can be reached by 4WD or by a steep path on foot. Cadianda’s Roman ruins are scattered throughout a pine forest. Because it’s so remote it’s visited by very few tourists and you can explore the unexcavated ruins in peace and enjoy the stunning views over the Xanthos Valley.
Deniz KafeFethiye is packed with bars, restaurants and cafes, which makes it difficult to choose just one. However, one of our favourites is Deniz Kafe. This little-known coffee spot is right on the Fethiye Harbour waterfront, but shielded from the main road. Gaze out over the water and revel in the peace and quiet with a coffee, beer or snack. You won’t find haute cuisine here, or even great coffee, but you might just find the most relaxing seafront spot in town.
Gocek boat tripThere are dozens of boat trips leaving Fethiye every hour during the summer months. Island tours, blue bay tours, Butterfly Valley tours and beach-hopping tours. Our favourite is the Gocek Market Sunday boat tour. It’s the perfect day trip as you not only get to shake off the cobwebs and enjoy the brisk sea breeze on board the boat, but you get a good two hours in Gocek to peruse the market, wander round the marina town’s charming shops and relax with a coffee. The price of the trip generally includes lunch. On the way back most of the boats will stop once or twice to let passengers off for a swim in the clear Mediterranean waters.
Kayakoy and Cin BalHaunting Kayakoy is a village that was abandoned by its Greek inhabitants in 1923 due to a Turkish/Greek population exchange agreement. However, the Turks never moved in and the village - complete with churches, a school and hundreds of houses - stands silently as a poignant reminder of a not-too-distant past. The UNESCO site is considered an open-air museum and it’s well worth a visit. Afterwards, we recommend lunch at Cin Bal, one of the original kendin pisir, kendin ye (cook it yourself, eat it yourself) restaurants. Diners cook top-quality meat over open-air barbecues and enjoy fresh mezes. Relax on cushions in one of the kosks and spend a long afternoon feasting and chatting with friends under the restaurants cool canopy of leaves.
TlosThis underrated historical site is off the radar for many visitors to Fethiye. We’re not sure why as it’s an incredible site, surrounded by the Akdaglar mountains with a simply amazing view over the Xanthos Valley. A Roman fortress perched atop the hill overlooks the site, which includes Roman baths, a theatre and some pretty spectacular rock tombs. Tlos was once one of Lycia’s most powerful cities and it’s worth taking a couple of hours to explore and get a sense of the grand scale of the site.
Gemiler Island and BeachYou’ll need to head to Kayakoy to access this beautiful Fethiye spot. Follow the road to Gemiler Adasi (Gemiler Island) until you get to the beach. The beach is pretty and quiet and surrounded by trees. A snack bar (open all year round) serves up coffee and snacks and cold beer. During summer there are sunbeds and a small crowd, but it’s never crowded here. During winter months it’s almost deserted - but nice enough to swim if you’re brave enough. Gemiler Island is also worth noting - archaeologists believe that the island was the original resting place of St Nicholas, everyone’s favourite gift-giving saint. The Byzantine ruins on the island are well worth a look.
The Old Turkish Bath Boutique HamamOK, we admit this one is a bit touristy, but The Old Turkish Bath is still a unique experience if you haven’t been to a hamam before. For the uninitiated: this isn’t like a pamper spa experience. Prepare for a vigorous scrub and massage. The hamam is beautiful, with old fittings and marble fixtures. Unlike other hamams, this one isn’t segregated. If you’re not comfortable with a man attending you just ask for a female masseuse. Purchase a package when you get in, change into your swimming gear and wait for the experience to begin.
The Fish MarketFor an alternative eating experience, you really must head to Fethiye’s fish market. A few years ago Fethiye’s mayor decided to turn the fish market into a dining hub by surrounding the stalls with dining areas where you could get your fish cooked for you for a small fee. With this simple - but wonderful - idea, Fethiye’s fish market has been transformed into a community hub where diners congregate to laugh and joke with neighbouring tables and enjoy live music. There is a wide range of seafood available, but if you don’t like fish you can buy meat at the butcher to get cooked up instead.
Buy a home in Fethiye for lifestyle and investmentThe Fethiye region is one of Turkey's most desirable and sought out areas for investment and those seeking to purchase a home in Fethiye because it is ideal for year round living due to year round facilities and lifestyle – there is a wide range of hospitals, top quality schools, and a good social life with a year round buzz, unlike neighbouring regions such as Kalkan, Gocek, and Kas which tend to die down slightly in winter months and doesn't enjoy the facilities that an area like Fethiye has.
Fethiye is also known as one of the most affordable places to buy and also to live in – cost of living in Fethiye when compared to say Kalkan and Bodrum is much cheaper. For example a great meal for two at a good restaurant has been known to be around 30-50% cheaper when compared to Kalkan harbour area or Bodrum - this obviously attracts those seeking cheaper lifestyle and just as luxurious settings for their new home in Turkey.
Fethiye is an ideal investment area for buy to let holiday homes especially Ovacik-hisaronu and Calis areas as you can find some properties that come with around 6-7% rental income contracts on average that buyers can take over and simply collect per annum.
From a nature lovers perspective, Fethiye is simply amazing. Areas like Kayakoy, Faralya, the twelve islands are amazing nature reserves and culture buffs can enjoy the ruins and fantastic views to be had.
All in all, when you consider Fethiye against regions such as Kalkan or Bodrum, the only compromise would be amazing sea views which Fethiye does not offer - there are some cons to owning a home in Fethiye, but overall, the pros certainly outweigh those and taking everything into consideration, it is easy to see why Fethiye is one of Turkey's most populated areas for expats and tourists alike.