Sitting atop the ancient city of Telmessos, the most important city of Lycia, whose history dates back to the 5th century BC, modern Fethiye is one of Turkey's most popular tourist destinations, drawing visitors from around the world.
Despite its enormous popularity, however, Fethiye has managed to maintain much of its village charm. Particularly popular with British travelers, Fethiye (along with Ölüdeniz) was chosen as the best tourism center in the world by The Times and The Guardian newspapers in 2007. It’s easy to see why: the marina is excellent, living is inexpensive and there is a bustling nightlife scene during the summer. Scuba diving, paragliding off mountain peaks and hiking ancient trails are just a few of the activities possible in and around Fethiye.
In Fethiye’s town center you’ll find an antique theater that dates to Roman times, as well as a two-story sarcophagus. A ruined Crusader tower, constructed by the Knights of St. John, stands on a hillside east of the city, while on the cliffs above town there are a number of rock-cut tombs, some dating as far back as the 4th century BC.
Beyond the attraction of the town itself, Fethiye has a number of great options for day trips to the surrounding region. Not only does Fethiye mark the beginning of the Lycian Way, a gorgeous 500-km hiking trail that runs along the Mediterranean coast all the way to Antalya, but it is also the starting point for popular cruises during the summer. These consist of three to six days of utter relaxation and sparkling blue waters aboard a Turkish gület, which will take passengers from Fethiye to Olympos and back, or around to a number of the area’s nearby islands. There's also a day-long 12-island yacht cruise of the bay, with stops at such sites as Gemiler Island, which is full of Byzantine ruins.
Also nearby is Ölüdeniz, also known as the "Blue Lagoon," one of the nicest beaches in Turkey and a center for extreme sports such as paragliding. Butterfly Valley and Kabak are also relatively close; both are isolated canyons bordering the sea to the south of Fethiye, and both feature waterfalls and secluded beachfront campsites.