Fethiye is a beautiful resort town on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and our temporary home for the winter. After seven months of touring Europe in a camper, it’s been lovely to stay in one place for awhile, making friends and getting to know the town more intimately. Fethiye is a fantastic base for exploring the area, as well as a charming destination in its own right.
If your family is lucky enough to visit beautiful Fethiye, here are some things that might interest the kiddos.
1. Hike to the Kayaköy ghost town.
In 1923 the residents of Kayaköy, a thriving village of Ottoman-Greek Christians, were forcibly deported during the Greek-Turkish population exchange. The well-preserved settlement is nestled on a hillside amongst the pine trees and provides an interesting look at life a century ago, as well as a sad reminder of the 1923 tragedy. One’s heart breaks for the residents, forced to trade this piece of paradise for bustling Athens suburb where they ended up.
Today the town is uninhabited. For a small fee, you can wander through the village and explore the abandoned homes. Hike up to the little chapel at the top for a brilliant view of either the valley below or, if you turn around, the sparkling Mediterranean.
Be sure to wear somewhat sensible shoes (not flip flops anyway) as the cobblestone paths are worn smooth and can be slippery.
You can hike to Kayaköy from the trailhead behind the Atapark Hotel, but watch carefully for the small red and white striped trail markers painted on trees. If you’re busy talking (like we were), you might miss one and have to turn around later (like we did). If your kids are small or hike-averse, just take a dolmus directly to the village.
2. Play at the beach.
Lots of beaches dot the Fethiye area, but two of most well known are Ölüdeniz and Patara, both just a short dolmus ride away. At Ölüdeniz, try tandem paragliding or splash in the clear and tranquil water of the famous Blue Lagoon. A giant sandbar separates it from the sea, so the water stays calm even in windy weather. It can be crowded in summer so if you prefer a little more elbow room, try Patara. At 20 km long and 50 meters wide, it is generally uncrowded. Also the ruins of ancient Patara are just inland from the beach (another fun outing) and the area is an archeological zone, so the beach has been spared heavy development.
3. Jump on the trampolines
For only a few lira your kids can jump off all their extra energy on massive, fenced-in trampolines at Olgun Trampolin on Cahit Gündüz Caddessi (facing the harbor). Enjoy multiple cups of çay and precious adult time, while your kids burn off energy, hopefully making a few Turkish friends while they’re at it.
4. Take a harbour cruise
Take one of the many 12-island boat cruises leaving from Fethiye harbour. Some of the boats have loud music, some are quiet, some are huge, others smaller. Before booking, it’s not a bad idea to stroll along the marina one evening around 6:30 when the boats are returning, so you can see which ones are less, erm, boisterous. Also, if you’re traveling with a small group (or large family) consider booking a private boat so you’ll have some extra elbow room.
The 12-island cruise is all day, so if that’s too long for your youngsters, try the Fethiye to Gocek trip that runs every Sunday. You get to get off the boat and spend 2 hours in Gocek. It’s quieter and cheaper.
5. Get soaked at the aqua park.
There are two aqua parks in town, both great options for the summer when the temperature hits 40℃. The one at Ovacik, between Fethiye and Ölüdeniz, is newer and better. There’s also one in Çalis Beach, and I’ve heard they’ll confiscate any outside food and water (grrrrr). However if you’re already in the Çalis area, this might work for you. Besides, afterward you can stroll along Çalis Beach, enjoy a breathtaking sunset, and maybe even spot dolphins or sea turtles.
6. Pig out!
My daughter’s a huge foodie, and going out to eat is pretty much her favorite thing to do. If you have this kind of kid, then you’ll have no problem keeping him/her occupied in Fethiye. I asked my daughter to recommend a few of her favorite snacks around town:
- Gözleme and nar suyu (Turkish pancakes and fresh pomegranate juice) from the vendors at the Tuesday farmers market
- Fresh figs from the farmer’s market. Also lokum (Turkish delight), baklava, fresh roasted nuts, fresh cheese…the list is endless.
- Balik ekmek (fish sandwiches) from Popeye’s boat restaurant.
- Fresh seafood from the Fethiye fish market (Pick out your fish and have one of the adjoining restaurants cook it up on the spot.)
- Iskender (slices of lamb döner over grilled pide, covered with fresh tomato sauce and bubbling melted butter poured from a copper pot) from Bursa (on Atatürk Cad. across from the Post Office).
There’s plenty more to do with kids in Fethiye, but this list should get you started.
Heading elsewhere in the world? Try these suggestions from other traveling families for great kid-friendly activities.
Australia – Brisbane – OurTravelLifestyle
Australia – Central – Wandering Photographer
Australia – South – Living On The Road
Belize – Ambergris Caye – A King’s Life.
Canada – Vancouver, B.C. – With 2 Kids In Tow
Canada – Kingston, Ontario – EdventureProject.com
Costa Rica – Bohemian Travelers
England – London – Travels with a Nine Year Old
Guatemala – Antigua – Raising Miro
Israel – The Nomadic Family
Mexico – Lake Chapala – Living Outside of the Box
The Netherlands – Act of Traveling
Thailand – Chiang Mai – The Dropout Diaries
USA – Boston – Great Family Escape
USA – New York City – Minor Diversion
USA – Seattle, Washington – Walkingon Travels
USA – Sunset Coast, Michigan – WanderingEducators.com
USA – Washington, D.C. – Grow In Grace Life