The Fethiye area is perhaps best known as home to the ‘Blue Lagoon’. The pale bank of sand spanning into vibrant shades of light turquoise and azure blue in Fethiye’s Oludeniz has enticed holidaymakers to Turkey for years. But Fethiye has far more to offer the beach lover. From crowded main beaches in the summer resorts, to the hidden coves and deserted stretches, there’s a beach perfect for everyone. Here’s our guide to local beaches around Fethiye – all perfect for topping up that all important tan!
Oludeniz Belcekiz Beach. The popular resort and bay of Oludeniz, lying at the foot of Babadag Mountain, is quite simply stunning. A 20 minute drive from Fethiye, you turn a corner on the top of the mountain road to be confronted with it’s beauty. A one time back-packer haunt, it has grown dramatically over recent years and is now one of the regions most popular and charming holiday resorts. You won’t find high rises here, or for that matter noisy all night clubs. What you do find is a good range of sophisticated hotels, bars, shops and restaurants tucked into a small bay to the rear of a 4km long stretch of sand and shingle beach ending in the famed bank of sand known now as the ‘lagoon’. The main Belcekiz Beach is a free beach so does get crowded during high season. Lined with beach bars and cafes, it’s a place to watch the paragliders land with their tandem passengers along the front promenade. A place to take in a well deserved coffee or cocktail and watch the sun set through it’s shades of orange and red as day turns to night and the atmosphere changes. Off season, from November to April, it is quite the contrast. The beach deserted but for a few locals walking their dogs or enjoying a pide or afternoon beer in one of a handful of cafes still open along the front. If you’re staying in the resort chances are you will visit Belcekiz beach at some point. There are sun loungers and umbrellas to hire, alternatively you will find many locals just throwing their towels or beach mats on the ground and enjoying a few rays. Daily boat trips are also available for a small cost from the front each morning. Note: Do be careful with the kids as there is a steep shelf in the sea along the main stretch meaning you can get out of your depth very quickly.
Kumbrunu (The arm of the Blue Lagoon) Kumbrunu is the name given to the famed and widely photographed sandbank lying at the mouth of Oludeniz Blue Lagoon. A designated National Park and now the signature coastal image for Turkey, there is a fee on entry and additional is charged for the hire of sunbeds and umbrellas. Kumbrunu is a pale sandy beach. It’s not really a lagoon as the name would suggest…it’s actually a sheltered inlet allowing a constant stream of water in and out. It was originally a place where passing boats found shelter on stormy days and traders haggled over their wares. Inner Kumbrunu, and the private beaches surrounding the inner lagoon, are ideal for families. The waters are clear and shallow allowing kids to play and and spot fish or the occasional sea turtle, it’s also ideal for snorkeling. There are a couple of stalls selling refreshments and snacks, and pedalos, canoes, kayaks and a few other water sports are available if you fancy being energetic.
Oludeniz Lagoon Side Private Beaches. Heading out past the entrance to Kumbrunu’s National Park, you will find the entrances to a number of private beaches tucked among the pine trees around the back side of the lagoon. The majority charge no entry but do charge for sunbeds, sunshades and pedalo hire. The private beaches do tend to be quieter than Kumbrunu, especially in high season and the water temperature is often above 25 degrees in summer due to the shallow depth. The facilities differ from beach to beach but all have a restaurant/cafe. Some offer BBQ or entertainment nights throughout the summer and they are popular venues for that dreamy sunset beach wedding. Beaches like Billy’s Beach, Seahorse, Golden Sands and Sugar Beach offer a pick up and drop off service for customers…simply call the evening before and they will come and get you at a specified time the next morning. It is easy to while away a day lazily dipping in and out of the water in between a few drinks, a burger or a mixed mezze plate. The private beaches are certainly worth checking out if you are in the area and fancy a change from the crowded public beach, most locals and ex-pats favor at least one of them. Note: Shallow waters make the lagoon beaches ideal for families and children.
Kelebek Vadisi (Butterfly Valley). Butterfly Valley is a beautiful, deep valley tucked between 200m high cliffs just a few kilometers along the coast from Oludeniz. Accessible by boat (no road access), it is a popular stop off for daily boat trips that tend to drop anchor just in front of it’s pale shingle beach around lunchtime. The valley became very popular with backpackers and does offer basic tent, tree-house and overnight accommodation throughout the summer. It has a small rustic restaurant serving snacks and drinks and it’s possible to walk up a trail to the back of the valley to see a small waterfall early season. The valley does offer a daily boat transfer service that leaves from Oludeniz beach once or twice a day returning before sundown. It’s best to ask locally for times.
Kidrak Beach. If you are trying to escape he crowds in Oludeniz, hire a car or catch a taxi and head 2km away from Belchekiz along the mountain road towards Faralya. Here you will find the beautiful, decidedly quieter, Kidrak Beach. The entrance is just before the main gates to Lykia World holiday resort/hotel and there is a small entrance fee. Kidrak is a long stretch of sand and pebble beach with pine trees offering shade to the rear. There a a few sunbeds for hire. It’s a good idea to take your own picnic lunch, an umbrella and lots of sunscreen. You may well find that you are the only ones on the beach, or simply one of a handful even in high season. Note: Kidrak is a great escape from the crowds but the sea does have a sharp shelf a meter or so out so do watch the kids as they swim.
Kabak Beach, Faralya. Follow the coastal road from the rear of Oludeniz, past the back of Lykia World Resort and across the top of Butterfly Valley towards Faralya. Around 12 km, or 30 minutes drive, you will come to Kabak. The road is asphalt and in reasonable condition. The sea views as you drive along the winding cliff sides and across the tops of deep valleys are incredible…don’t forget your camera! On a clear day you can even see Rhodes island in the distance. There is no real road access to the beach although locals do use off road vehicles on occasion. You can park at the end of the track and walk around 15 minutes down – do take plenty of water. The beach is tranquil and beautiful with pine-trees to the side offering shade. It is a sand and shingle beach. There are restaurants, camping, cabins, yoga retreats and boutique hotels in the area, many offer food and accommodation at varying prices.
Gemiler Beach. Heading away from Hisaronu, following the winding road through Kayakoy ‘Ghost Town’, you find Gemilar Beach. A small sandy beach about 500m long with a couple of basic restaurants serving local food, drinks and snacks (check prices first). The beach faces St Nicholas Island famed for it’s basilica dedicated to St Nicholas (worth a visit). It is possible to hire a boat, or take a trip and cross over to walk around the ruins. Local legend would have you believe the island was once a ‘Pirate Island’ and boatmen often refer to it as this. This may well be the case back between the 7th and 13th Centuries. From Gemiler watersports are normally on offer including the hire of speedboats, pedalos and ringo or bananaboat rides. The beach does get busy high season and of a Sunday when locals tend to be off work and take their families. St Nicholas Island also gets busy daily, around lunchtime, when the daily boat trips stop off for half an hour or so. The beach does charge an entrance fee.
Calis Main Beach. Just 3km from Fethiye Town is the popular resort of Calis. The area can be reached easily from Fethiye via a frequent local bus (dolmus) service, by water taxi from the main harbour front in central Fethiye, or by walking or cycling along the impressive seafront promenade. Calis is a popular tourist resort for good reason. The area is flat so ideal for those with mobility issues, the beach seemingly endless, and the sea front benefits from a constant refreshing breeze making it ideal for water sports. The beach is just over 4km long and backed by no end of bars, shops and restaurants. The pebble beach faces Sovalye (Knights) Island, Red Island and a number of other islands found around Fethiye…it’s an impressive outlook. Perhaps one of the most popular pastimes in Calis, and one that attracts tourists for all over the region, is sitting down and watching the sunset over the islands. This is something not to be missed. The beach is a public beach with no entry charge.
Koca Calis. Towards the end of Calis Main Beach is Koca Calis, a continuation of the Calis Main Beach but far quieter. This starts where the long bar and hotel lined promenade ends and the private beaches and beach clubs start. Here you find a number of exclusive hotels and complexes with their private beaches to the front, a little further you find private beach clubs in a similar manner to those around the Oludeniz lagoon. There are many as you head along. Most have a restaurant serving a varied food, run special BBQ nights though out the summer and are perhaps best known for their Turkish Breakfasts (especially of a weekend). Eating a Turkish Breakfast spread is something that should certainly be tried whilst visiting Turkey. It is a Turkish tradition to eat a lazy breakfast made up of eggs, meats, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, fruit, varied breads, pastries with an endless supply of tea served in little hourglass shaped glasses. Many Turks only get Sundays off work so choose to take the family to beach clubs or seafront restaurants to enjoy an impressive breakfast spread. The Koca Calis beach clubs are popular with locals for this reason. If you get chance, do partake if a morning buffet if on offer, or a ‘koy kahvalti’…you will be impressed – the array of little dishes to graze on seems endless!
Gunluklu Bay Beach and the Bay Beach Club. Head out along the highway towards Gocek and Dalaman and around 19km from Fethiye you find a turning for Gunluklu Beach or sign for The Bay Beach Club. Once a popular basic camping destination, the beach has since been protected by the government due to the rare Storax or Liquid Amber trees that cover much of the area. It is a beautiful, private sandy beach and not normally crowded during weekdays (it does gets busy on Saturdays and Sundays). It appears The Bay Beach Club are now managing much of the site and have made it into a beautiful retreat with superior cabin and bungalow accommodation. They have a nice restaurant alongside running events and weddings on occasion. The grounds are well maintained and the beach clean and well looked after with sun loungers and umbrellas.
Fethiye Beaches, Karagozler Peninsular. Although you won’t find a beach in central Fethiye, head out through the town centre, past the marina towards Karagozler, and there are a number of beaches to be found on the arm of the peninsular. Locals tend to favor these beaches so they do get busy of a weekend, weekdays are far quieter and more enjoyable. Most of the beaches are privately run offering ranging facilities, all tend to have a cafe or restaurant serving drinks, snacks and local food (prices vary). There is sometimes an entrance charge and some do hire sunbeds and umbrellas, others stilted wooden traditional seated areas under trees. Some of the popular options include Aksazlar just past Club Letoonia Hotel, Kuleli, Boncuklu and Alesta Beach Club. It’s worth driving out and stopping off at one that takes your fancy. The beaches are a mix of sand and shingle, some are tucked into coves so the water is calm and shallow on entry, others facing directly onto the bay tend to be a little more choppy with a steeper inner shelf.
Remote/ Wild Beaches around Fethiye. The Fethiye area boasts some of the most stunning coastline in Turkey. The entire region lies on what’s known as the Turquoise Coast for good reason. There are many untouched hidden coves and wild beaches in the area but most are only reached by boat. Bes Tas (5 Stone) Beach, Camel Beach and Karacaoren Beach are often visited by daily boat trips, or during a 12 Island tour. Daily boat trips are easily organised. Wander along the Fethiye harbour front and pick the boat you fancy, speak to your travel agent or pop into an activity/excursion shop in resort. Destinations and routes vary, as do prices, boat size and capacity. If it’s a quiet, less crowded boat trip you are after, tell the Rep and they should be able to point you in the right direction. Others may be cheaper but tend to be busy. Most boat trips include a BBQ style lunch and mezzes and charge extra for drinks brought on board. They normally leave around 10am and return late afternoon and offer a pick up/drop off service. Alternatively, if there’s a group of you, it is possible to hire a boat out privately.
Have you been to any of the beaches around Fethiye mentioned above? What did you think? Are there other beaches in the area worth a mention? We appreciate your comments.
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