5 (wait, 6!) Great Activities for Kids in Fethiye, Turkey

by Renee on January 9, 2012

Fethiye is an easy-going resort town on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and our temporary home for the winter. After seven months of touring Europe in a camper, we’re loving putting our feet up in one place for awhile, making friends and getting to know the town more intimately. Fethiye is a convenient base for exploring the area, as well as a charming destination in its own right.

What to do in Fethiye with kids

If you and your family are lucky enough to visit beautiful Fethiye, there are tons of things to do locally with your kids.

1. Hike to the Kayaköy ghost town

In 1923 the residents of Kayaköy, a thriving village of Ottoman-Greek Christians, were jerked from their homes and 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 the dinghy Athenian suburb where they ended up.

Today the town is uninhabited, except for ghosts. 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 kiss 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. Because 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. The cruises all have different personalities, so do some research before booking. Some of the boats have loud music, some are quiet, some are huge, others smaller. Before putting down lire, 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’re quick to 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. Here are her recommendations:

  • 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. Everyone can get something different, and you all bring your purchases to the restaurant.)
  • 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

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 with2kidsintow January 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I loved fethiye when I visited 11yrs ago. Great to read about all the kid-friendly things to do there–we hope to get there again but with our kids next time.

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2 Renee January 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Fethiye is wonderful, isn’t it? Do bring the kiddos! SO many wonderful things to outside.

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3 with2kidsintow January 10, 2012 at 3:21 am

What do u think of our Vancouver recommendations?

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4 Ranee January 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

this has made me miss Fethiye so much. I LOVE Nar suyu and my weekly meet up at the markets for gozleme with friends. sob sob……

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5 Renee January 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I know! I can’t bear to think we’ll be leaving too in a couple weeks.
Renee recently posted..5 (Well, 6) Great Activities for Kids in Fethiye, TurkeyMy Profile

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6 Amy January 10, 2012 at 12:38 am

Sounds like a beautiful place! I love the first two photos in particular.

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7 Mark January 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

Thank, Amy! The credit there goes to Renee. The first photo was taken from the ridge behind the little apartment we rented in Fethiye. Nice view! Only wish we could see this from our window! The Kayaköy photo doesn’t do justice to the size and scope of the place. It was kinda sad. And eerie.

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8 Living Outside of the Box January 10, 2012 at 4:35 am

Wow…that abandoned town looks so interesting. I will have to learn more about it! Trampolines on the harbor look like a near-perfect combo, too!

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9 Mark January 20, 2012 at 6:56 am

You should check out Kayaköy on the internet. It’s a fascinating story of wholesale movement of people, still going in today in other parts of the world. It’s really a sad story when you rummage around this abandoned town, preserved as the people left it.

And kids LOVE trampolines! It’s a great way to release pent-up energies.

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10 Mary January 10, 2012 at 6:31 am

Love the addition of the food at the end! Sounds and looks like a beautiful place to visit! Thanks

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11 Alan January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

. . you’ll be putting down roots at this rate! Good to be reminded by fresh eyes of all the good stuff around us.

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12 Renee January 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm

You’re not kidding, Alan. We’re already feeling at home here…

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13 Barbara January 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

The more I hear about Fethiye, the more I want to visit. It just looks fabulous!
I’m wondering if adults are allowed on the trampolines. It really does look like fun… as does everything else on your list, of course. I’m just a big kid at heart, really.

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14 Diya January 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I loved the historical context you provided to some of these places. We’ll be in Turkey for a couple of months in April and May – let us know if we will overlap. Thanks for the tips, these are well balanced!

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15 Renee January 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thank you!

No, sadly we’re leaving in a couple weeks but we’re hoping to come back.

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16 Emiel January 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I can totally understand why you have decided to spend wintertime in Turkey after a long trip through Europe!
I have a secret passion: ghost towns… :)

Emiel
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17 Lisa Wood January 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

that list is fantastic – I never ever realised that there was so much to do in Turkey – I love the idea of a pig out :)
oh and the trampoline looks brilliant…so does the harbour cruise.

Actually I have never thought to have Turkey on our “to do list” but now I am thinking about all of your activities for kids! Great read.

Cheers
Lisa
Lisa Wood recently posted..Making Dinner Outside The MotorhomeMy Profile

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18 Heidi January 13, 2012 at 2:52 am

As if the Blue Lagoon and Mediterranean hillside ghost town weren’t enough, you had to tempt us with the food! What an amazing city – thanks for the recommendations. Someday we will be there!

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19 wandering educators January 14, 2012 at 1:41 am

fresh figs! fish! and swimming? all these good things – i need to go!
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20 Andrew Graeme Gould January 14, 2012 at 3:32 am

Looks like a wonderful place to be to relax and eat — and hike, either before or after the eating! All the best from Chile…
Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted..Coquimbo, Chile: Children at the portMy Profile

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21 Tracy January 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Fethiye looks amazing. I’m so disappointed we didn’t make it there. Next time … and hopefully in summer so we can check out the lagoon.

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22 Renee January 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Do come. You’ll love it. Still hoping to see you guys in Venice. We’re in Cesme tonight, waiting for our ferry to Greece tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed the timing will work out.:-)

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