PLEASE NOTE: The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (I will refer to them as T$s). At the time of writing, US$1 = T$5.85 (it was T$6 2 weeks before).
I was making my way slowly up the mediterranean coast from Antalya to Istanbul.
I spent 3 nights in Kas.
It was, now, time to move on to Fethiye …
The bus stops every 45 minutes-ish at the main towns along the way. You get a short 5 minute break at each stop. We arrived at the Fethiye Bus Terminal at 1:00pm.
In the Bus Terminal, look across the parking area and you will see a big red Petrol Ofisi (Petrol Station) sign. Walk to the bus stop immediately in front of that petrol station (also starred to the south on the map). Flag down a passing bus to Calis Beach. The price is T$3.25. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. The buses stop all along the waterfront road that fronts Calis Beach from south to north.
Fethiye has a population of around 50,000 but this increases dramatically during the Peak Season.
In Greek times, it was named Telmessos. It was famed for its school of diviners who were consulted by Alexander the Great after the siege of Halikarnassos. Telmessos was a member of the Delian League in the 5th century BC. It was taken by Alexander in 334 BC.
Fethiye is known for its natural harbour, blue waters, and numerous rock tombs (including the 4th-century B.C. Tomb of Amyntas carved into a bluff overlooking the city).
Near-shore islands are popular for day trips by boat.
In the south, the beach at Ölüdeniz is sheltered by a lagoon, and Butterfly Valley is a designated nature reserve.
Past here you start entering open country.
In summary: Calis Beach is, primarily, a hotel-based tourist area where you spend you days lazing around your hotel pool with the odd visit to the waterfront beach and bars.
I couldn’t search for May (I was already in late May!) so, here is what was on offer in the month of October 2019.
PLEASE NOTE: Booking.com did not work in Turkey whilst I was there. You will have to pre-book from outside of the country.
I suggest that you use HOTELS whilst inside Turkey … they consistently offer the best prices, selection, and discounts.
PLEASE NOTE: HOTELS usually displays prices INCLUSIVE of TAXES.
A good alternative is an Holiday Home.
PLEASE NOTE: Other sites (such as Homeaway, FlipKey and VRBO are also worth a look).
GRANDPAckers cannot afford to come to Fethiye in Peak Season: June to September. You will have to come in Shoulder Season (April-May or October-November). You can get accommodation including breakfast at almost half the price (and, the weather is still good). For the best discounts / prices, book at least 2+ months in advance.
I used EXPEDIA to book a Double Room with Private Bathroom (single occupancy) at the Tugay Hotel. I pre-paid T$135 / US$24 per night. This included Breakfast.
The Breakfast was a typical Turkish Breakfast: cornflakes, boiled eggs, cucumber, tomato, olives, cheese, bread, and a selection of jams / spreads. A tea / coffee was included. It was served as a buffet.
Wifi was ‘good’ everywhere. You could stream video at night.
WHERE TO STAY:
You seem to have 2 basic choices:
- Stay in the Old Town harbour area; or
- Stay further north in the Calis Beach area.
I chose to do the latter, so I can only really comment on the Calis Beach option.
Have a look yourself:
EAT & DRINK:
There are Supermarkets in town, so this makes a villa option more viable.
The promenade wasn’t busy and it was pleasant to people watch and see the children play.
In a corner shop:
- 19 litres costs T$14
- 10 litres T$8
- 5 litres T$5
In a supermarket you can get a 1.5 litre bottle for 80c and these larger bottles a lot cheaper.
You will get the same T$10 beer in the cheapest restaurants for T$15 but expect to usually pay T$20. Down in the seafront costs start at T$15.
You should get your Breakfast included in your hotel room rate. If not, expect to pay an average of T$20 for a cheap local Breakfast with tea / coffee.
Expect to pay an average of T$25 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.
Expect to pay an average of T$40 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice / Small Beer.
You can walk everywhere.
I don’t know taxi prices, sorry. But, from what I hear so far, expect to pay about T$5 for ‘flag fall’ and T$5 per km.
A local bus from Calis Beach to the Old Town is T$3.25 each way. A public bus trip from the Old Town to an attraction within a 1 hour drive should cost about T$8 each way.
BANKS / ATMs / MONEY:
You can pay in Euros almost everywhere. Some places take GBP. A few take US$s. For the best prices, pay in T$s.
You will find several Banks & ATMs in town. There is no Bureau De Change but some of the shops offer ‘Money Exchange’ at varying rates. Many places take Credit Cards. Banks / ATMs thin out significantly as you get progress to northern Calis Beach.
Prices in shops are set prices; you get charged the same as locals do. HOWEVER, for ‘tourist items’ you should still try and ‘haggle’ – this includes the price of meals not shown on a restaurant menu.
Some ATMs offer withdrawals in Euro or GBP as well as T$s.
This was the first opportunity that I had to go around a few ATMs and compare costs.
I wanted to withdraw T$2000. At that day’s Wholesale Exchange Rate, this is NZ$525 (NZ$1 = T$3.81) / US$342 (US$1 = T$5.85).
YapiKrediti wanted to charge a fee of T$60 and did not display their exchange rate.
I chose to use Garanti who displayed that they would take a 2.5% commission and a T$50 ATM Fee. I was debited NZ$551.50. This means that they took a total of NZ$26.50 / US$18 (5%).
PLEASE NOTE: My home bank back in NZ does not charge Foreign ATM fees.
MY ADVICE: Use one of the bigger and better known nation-wide banks for the best rates.
INTERNET / WIFI:
You will, also, find free wifi in almost all of the restaurants and bars.
Back in Selcuk, I bought a new TurkCell SIMcard for T$100 and a 1 month Promotional Package for T$25. The latter came with 2GB of Facebook / Twitter data, 3GB of Internet data, 300 minutes of talk time, and 200 free SMSs.
I could re-buy this package for T$35 as and when needed.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
The first thing that you notice is the number of smokers; there is still a large % of smokers here. They even smoke in ‘no smoking’ areas without anyone complaining. Not a surprise when you can get a 20 pack of Rothmans ‘Click’ for T$11.
There is no reason to feel unsafe. As always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.
WHEN TO GO:
Fethiye has a hot mediterranean / dry-summer subtropical climate that is mild with moderate seasonality.
These climates usually occur on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of 30° and 45°.
Peak Season is June through September. Shoulder Season is mid April to May and October to mid November.
WHAT TO DO:
12 Island Day Cruise:
An armada of boats of all sizes leave their Old Town harbour each day between 10:00 and 10:30 and return at approximately 17:30. Most are run on a first come first serve communal basis. The typical trip visits 12 islands, including 4 stops of about an hour each, where you can jump of the boat into crystal clear blue and turquoise water. Lunch is usually provided, but ask ahead what to expect. Some play LOUD music – so ask first. Bring your swimsuit, sunscreen, a towel and water. Prices start from 25/50 TL per person (low/high season).
My brother-in-law investigated a private charter for 45 people who were attending a wedding in Oludeniz in mid July (Peak Season). He was quoted GBP420 for a boat that can take up to 45 people. Lunch was another GBP5 / person. This was the same per person price as the discounted rate being advertised on the streets in late May 2019 for bigger communal boats taking up to 70 people.
All-Inclusive Boat Trip:
Take note of the discounts being offered in late May … This may indicate what you can get them for in Peak Season if you haggle.
AND THE REST:
Swimming, lounging, parasailing, paragliding, canoes etc. The Dead Sea / Blue Lagoon “Ölüdeniz” region has pretty warm water temperatures during summer season.
Fethiye marks the beginning of the Lycian Way – a 500 km marked hiking trail running to Antalya. From here you can start hiking to Ölüdeniz.
Located on outer islands, take a boat from Ölüdeniz.
A hiking destination, these are the ruins of a Greek settlement abandoned in 1923 when the governments of Turkey and Greece mandated population swaps. Features some well-preserved structures, including a church.
Butterfly Valley and Kabak:
Two isolated canyons bordering the seashore to the south of Fethiye. They both feature waterfalls. Butterfly Valley is hippie heaven (though with growing interference from mass tourism) situated in a narrow canyon with almost no overland connection to the rest of the world. The remoter Kabak is the perfect place to escape package tourist groups and a great place to camp and have a truly laid-back experience.
Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.
MY ACTUAL COSTS:
My costs are broken down into:
- Cost of Existence: The basic costs of just being there
- Cost of Living: The additional costs that make being there fun
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
I EXISTED well within GRANDPAcking standard.
My accommodation was T$135 / US$24 per night. This was the highest that I’ve paid in Turkey so far.
I already had my TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month plan. I didn’t need to top it up.
I have apportioned T$30 for my Turkish eVisa.
I averaged about T$57 per day on food and water.
My COE worked out to be about T$151 (US$27) per day.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
I LIVED to GRANDPAcking standard.
In / Out Costs: My public transport costs to Kemer from Fethiye came to T$28.
Living Costs: I averaged about T$43 per night on drinks. I spent T$35 on a haircut and T$85 shopping (which included some new flip flops for T$30).
My total COL was about T$220 (US$40) / day. This was only 76% of my budget.
COSTS FOR 2 GRANDPAckers:
Again, costs are broken down into Cost Of Existence (COE) and Cost Of Living (COL).
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
Accommodation: I have booked you into a budget hotel for the first 2 nights that includes Breakfast. There are several budget accommodation options around town where you should be able to negotiate a better long-term room rate. Alternatively, find a villa for under US$450 / month (if you can!) and bring in groceries.
Transportation: I have budgeted a return trip to Fethiye Old Town Harbour on a local bus each week.
Communications & Fees: I have budgeted a TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month promo package. I have included the cost of 2 Turkish eVisas.
Food: Your meals budget averages about T$131 (US$24) / day for 2 people. This is to eat Lunch and Dinner in Cheap Restaurants.
Your COE is about T$248 (US$45) / day. This is 14% UNDER budget.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
This leaves you T$42 / US$8 per day to LIVE on.
To afford a month here you will need to:
- Come off-season (e.g. in May or October)
- Negotiate a long-term hotel rate once you are here
- You are unlikely to be able to secure an Holiday Home within GRANDPAcking price range (but, you may get lucky if you try and book one months in advance whilst you can still get deep discounts)
If you can get an Holiday Rental (or budget hotel with a good shared kitchen), you can easily reduce your food costs by half and, by doing so, have enough spare money to LIVE on.
Could you afford to retire here on a GRANDPAckig budget? YES …
BUT only just.