Fethiye is a popular destination on the Aegean coast of Turkey. This area is known as the Turquoise Coast, and as you might guess from the name, the sea is simply beautiful. And there's certainly no shortage of waterfront from which to enjoy the view (both in Fethiye itself and nearby beach resorts), but if you're anything like me, you'll quickly get bored of sitting around in the sun and want to actually do something.
I've had some time to explore as not-quite-a-tourist, because my dad's house is fairly close to Fethiye, so I thought I'd share a few of my tips for making the most of a break in the area.
If this inspires you to hop on a plane, the closest airport is Dalaman, which is served by loads of cheap flights during the tourist season. Our first port of call is usually flythomascook who have flights from Gatwick, Birmingham, and numerous other UK airports. Antalya is also an option - it's a bit further away, but there's a direct bus connection, and it has more winter flights.
1. Shop at the Friday market
Fethiye has two market days, but the Friday market is my favourite because it's dedicated to food. The stalls range from long tables piled high with produce, to tiny one-woman operations selling just home-grown quantities of a single product. If you're staying somewhere with a kitchen, this is the best place to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. If you're not, then consider picking up some spices to take home - sumac is underrated in my opinion (and stupidly expensive to buy in the UK), you can find several unusual kinds of chilli, and carob is sold fresh in the pod.
2. Visit some ruins
The area around Fethiye is completely packed with amazing archaeology. On the outskirts of town, these stunning Lycian rock tombs are carved into the hillside; there's an entry fee to go in, but you can see almost everything by simply strolling along the road outside. Fethiye also has a rather derelict amphitheatre, which shows you how relaxed Turkey has traditionally been about preserving its historic sites.
A little further afield, the abandoned village of Kayaköy is a monument to a very sad period of Turkey's recent past, while the ancient city of Kadyanda harks back to a long-lost age. (These are both easily accessible by bus and a little hiking.)
3. Hike the Lycian Way
If you're not averse to a bit of exercise, you can get the best views of the turquoise waters and jagged coastlines by hiking. The Lycian Way is Turkey's first long-distance walking route, and the section near Fethiye takes in some truly stunning scenery. We did a two-day hike and stayed overnight in Faralya, with a view over the Butterfly Valley; you could equally well do a shorter section as a day trip, or extend your walk further along the coast.
4. Take the dolmuş to a nearby village
You haven't seen Turkey until you've been on a bus that stops, lets someone off, and waits while they run across the road to go shopping. Quite possibly for furniture. But because it's Turkey, everyone will just smile and happily shuffle around to accommodate the table which has just joined you on your journey, and off you go again. And watching as people pass their bus fare forwards to the driver - and the change back again - shows just how much trust there is in the community. The dolmuş buses are really cheap, and will take you up into the hills to nearby villages, where you can see typical daily life. Timetables are pinned up at the bus station (as well as on the buses - snap a photo with your phone), but you can flag the buses down anywhere as they pass you.
5. Eat amazing Turkish street food
Turkish food is one of the highlights of any visit, for me. Gözleme (stuffed pancakes) are deservedly popular, with several stalls at the market dedicated to providing this yummy and hearty lunch. Bakeries are also great for snacks: some of my favourite purchases include simit (bread rings encrusted with sesame), açma (sweet, soft bread rings), and poğaça (soft rolls stuffed with cheese). In the summer, look out for stretchy ice-cream made with salep, a powder made from orchid root.