Fethiye in Winter: Pure, Chilled Bliss

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As I prepared to leave the sub-zero temperatures of Cappadocia in November, I had one thing on my mind:

I need to get warm.

And with that, I headed to Turkey’s southwest corner on the Mediterranean — to Fethiye.

Oh God, this was such a wonderful place.

I first heard about Fethiye from Julia and Barry of the blog Turkey’s for Life.  They described a beautiful seaside city filled with friendly people that was actually more pleasant in the winter than the summer.  The latter factor sealed it for me — I wanted a town that didn’t die out when the temperature dropped.

Not that it dropped too far.  Temperatures were in the sixties — a warm welcome after the teens of Cappadocia!

During the summer, Fethiye is overrun with British holidaymakers.  While the town itself doesn’t have a beach, it’s close to the Oludeniz (Turkey’s “Dead Sea”), which leads to the Butterfly Valley.  Fethiye also is the end of the Lycian Way, and many people come for the hiking.

But during my November visit, I didn’t see a single foreigner in town.  Every day, I would take a few long walks around the marina and through the town.  Families strolled together, children played on the playgrounds, groups of teenage boys tried to look tough while commandeering a block.

I could crack open a book and sit on a bench, reading in the sun, all day.  And I did.

How amazing would it be to have a house on one of those hills, looking over the marina and the mountains?

Further away from the water, Fethiye was filled with boulevards with chic boutiques, cute cafes, street food carts, and just enough tourist town amenities to stay afloat during the winter — like secondhand bookstores, my favorite.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I wasn’t really in a traveling state of mind when I was in Turkey.  I was there more or less by necessity and I had a hard time mustering the desire to sightsee.

So I spent my days taking those long walks, reading, working, talking with the people in town.  Between the temperature and the incredibly chilled out atmosphere, Fethiye in winter was the perfect place to relax and take it slow.

Fethiye, to me, was pure sunshine.  I have a hard time elaborating beyond that — the town just brought a smile to my face.  Any town that does that is a special place.

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12 thoughts on “Fethiye in Winter: Pure, Chilled Bliss”

  1. The photo of the houses stacked up on the hill reminds me so much of Wellington. I have a feeling I, too, would love this town in the off-season!

  2. We have an apartment in Fethiye overlooking the town out to sea – the views are spectacular! Don’t get there enough that’s the only problem!

  3. I LOVE Fethiye and I’m glad you loved it, too! I’d go back there in a heartbeat. Even when I was there in peak tourist season, there was still such a lovely vibe in the town (unlike nearby Oludeniz – it’s a cesspool).

  4. Thanks for the mention and glad you survived your stay in Fethiye intact. 🙂 It’s always a bit scary when people say they’re heading to town to check it out because of something we said. We’re so biased, you see.
    Julia

  5. I am very surprised to hear you didn’t see any foreigners given the number of foreigners who call Fethiye home these days. You should have seen it 15 years ago! Still, I’m glad you enjoyed Fethiye. It has a big place in my heart and I enjoyed seeing your recent photos.

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