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The town of Fethiye has been on this bay since the Lycians founded Telmessos some 3,000 years ago, but it only became known as Fethiye, when it was renamed after a local war hero, in 1934. Fethiye is a bustling local market town, home to a huge marina but relatively few hotels in comparison to other popular Turkish resorts, Fethiye offers visitors far more of a taste of the “real Turkey” than most tourist resorts, its shopping streets as full of local farmers and tradesman in search of tools as tourists hunting out the conspicuously priced “designer” clothing Turkey has become famed for.
The weather in Fethiye as with most of Turkey is good year round. The most comfortable time to visit is between the months of May and October with the average temperature sitting around 77 degrees, but for all who really like to know they are in the sun the months of July and August will be a temptation as temperature often hits 86 degrees plus.
Rich in history and the filthy rich
As there are no beaches in the centre of Fethiye you might want to get that well earned tan by taking some time out to explore the town, along the waterfront is where you will see where the big boy’s toys are kept, with rows of million dollar yachts lining the increasingly glam marina, or visit the fishing harbour to see the traditionally bright painted fishing boats. A short stroll from here is the historic Ottoman Empire town centre, Paspatur, which is now a lively pedestrian shopping centre with masses of shops, restaurants and charming cafes to sample the excellent local snacks and coffee in and for those who need a little pampering, visit the Hamam for a Turkish bath and massage. Anyone wanting to search out some real history needs to head to the rear of the town, where, in the cliffs is the Roman amphitheatre and several exceptional Lycian rock tombs, the finest and most notable of these being the resting place of the 4th century BC King Amyntas. If all this leaves any wannabe Tony Robinson’s wanting more there are the ruins of a Crusader castle on the hilltop and a little archaeology museum to keep you going.
No knock off’s here...
Fethiye is home to some very picturesque window shopping or an epic workout for the credit cards if they can take it! The main shopping area, Paspatur, has several pedestrian friendly streets overloaded with superb shops selling gold and jewellery, carpets, leather and designer clothing. If you must you can buy your fake jewellery, sunglasses and clothes in the surrounding resorts, but here in Fethiye you can buy the real thing and take advantage of the duty free prices. The vast market that takes place on Tuesdays, home to literally hundreds of stalls, is in truth, more a sight for the average tourist than a viable shopping prospect, as while you can find out your usual holiday trinkets and some superb local art, it is mostly stalls of fruit and veg and wonderful smelling spices.
Dinner with a view
Fethiye has some really good quality local restaurants if you are more adventurous than the hotel buffet, many of these can to be found with a short wander to the Paspatur area or if you fancy imagining how you would spend a lottery win there are also many great places on the waterfront near the marina for a view of the yachts while you eat. Among the places that are notoriously good eateries are; Yat, which is near the marina, and offers diners another great view while they eat other than the water and boats, as it has live Turkish music and belly dancing on summer evenings. There is also Megri Lokantasi, which is in the old town, and does first rate grills. And if you’re missing the gastro pubs back home why not check out Türkü Evi, also in the old town, an atmospheric “Meyhane”, traditional Turkish pub to you and me.
Chilled out nights out
When the sun sets, the Paspatur area turns into the local Bar Street, with a collection of bars and clubs such as the Ottoman and Car Cemetery Bar offering mainly a cocktail and chill-out experience and rooms with “Nargila” (water pipes) on offer if that’s your thing. If chilled out cocktails doesn’t float your boat there are a couple of huge open air clubs with the usual mix of big summer tunes, big drinks and live dancers - Disco Marina, near the yacht harbour, and Yes! But the essence of Fethiye is more about finding an enchanting restaurant for a relaxed meal out with friends and family than it is about wild nights out on the drink.
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