There are many ways to travel around the southern coast of Turkey and they all have their pros and cons. The local buses are the least expensive but the most time consuming, renting a car is convenient but pricey, and then there’s a gulet (sailboat), where you can wake up to the crystal clear waters every morning. We opted for the boat.
We flew from Cappadocia to Dalaman (the closest airport to Fethiye) and caught the local bus directly to Fethiye to spend a couple of days there before our 4-day gulet boat cruise to Olympos.
Fethiye is a small town on the southwest coast of turkey. Arriving here we were pleasantly surprised with our accommodation. We stayed at V-go hotel and guesthouse; it’s part hostel, part hotel. Our room had a beautiful view of the marina in front, a pool, a large terrace with BBQ dinners for ($10 USD) and a free buffet breakfast every morning. The staff were also very helpful.
We highly recommend renting a scooter ($30) to drive yourself around the small town and coastline to visit the many beaches and viewpoints. We stopped at Fethiye Beach Club which had sun beds, a decent menu and a blow-up water park to use for the day, which you can see from most places around Fethiye.
Gulet Blue Cruise – Fethiye to Olympos
There are a few cruise companies that do the same Fethiye>Olympus route but we opted to go with Alaturka Cruises (Blue Cruise Turkey) for our cruise. They were the easiest to communicate with, the price was right and, they had the most up to date reviews on Trip Advisor, plus they had a good website ;).
Cruising the Aegean/Mediterranean sea was another real highlight for us. Not only were we surrounded by crystal clear blue waters for 4 days, but we were very fortunate to be on board with an awesome group. 8 of us became very close almost instantly and funnily enough 6 of us grew up, lived and worked within 10 minutes of each other in Sydney.
In total, there were 15 passengers + 4 crew and we cruised for 3 nights and 4 days stopping periodically in different villages and bays.
The boat itself wasn’t all that flash but it worked. Yes, it would have been nice to have a proper shower and a different menu but the small things didn’t affect us too much. What we did enjoy about the boat was the very communal set-out. There were beds on the front deck for us to sleep outside every night, we were given buffet style lunch, breakfast and dinner and although the food was exceptionally oily, it kept us fed for the duration of the trip. The Turkish diet has tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and bread with EVERY meal so it was slightly repetitive.
Where we stopped
If you opt to drive or bus, you can stop at nearly all of these places as well.
Butterfly Valley – We walked through the bush to a “waterfall” that was more of a running tap down a rock but we did manage to spot 3 or 4 butterflies! Beautiful clear waters, you can camp here for a minimal cost also. This beach isn’t accessible by vehicle so you can either hike down from the top or take a boat there directly from Oludeniz Beach.
Oludeniz beach (Blue Lagoon) – This was the most beautiful scenery in the world and we were lucky enough to go paragliding 6000ft off a cliff to take it all in. So awesome! It felt relatively safe until Emily’s guide decided it would be a good idea to light up a cigarette mid-air which gave her nothing short of a fright; he quickly put this out and kept up the safety regime.
St Nicholas Island – Stunning view to watch the sunset! We had the opportunity for water sports here so 8 of our group went on a banana boat ride in which we were wiped out left right and centre, limbs were flying, bruises received but it was very entertaining. The highlight here, besides the sunset, was an elderly Turkish lady and man rowing to meet our boat to freshly make us a delicious Turkish pancake, a Gozleme. There were 3 different & delicious flavours to choose from.
Kas – It was so hot when we came here it was almost uncomfortable to walk around the town so we didn’t visit too much of the town itself. Here we also had the opportunity to go diving with turtles. We had been diving before so gave this one a miss but our friends did and unfortunately were very disappointed as they barely saw anything and spent minimal time in the water.
Smugglers Inn – A bar shack in the middle of nowhere. The drinks here were overpriced but it is where all the boats dock for a “night out”. We stayed for a little while and then came back to our boat for a late night swim with our group.
In between all of these, we stopped in many bays to jump off the boat, float on the noodles, drink from the bar, play games and lay in the sun.
Meeting the group we did, waking up to the ocean & jumping overboard, swimming with turtles + paragliding over the beaches and hills made for an awesome trip.
Olympos is a chilled beach hippy town, with ancient Roman ruins from 2000BC scattered around the area. The area is also known for its Treehouse accommodation and bungalows but certainly not its service or food.
We stayed at the infamous Bayrams Tree Houses and highly recommend it. Good value, great location with free breakfast and dinner.
Ensure you grab a gozleme from one of the restaurants in this area. The town is very small and is just one road so everything is easy to find.
Olympos beach is a very long pebbly beach and the water is warm and enjoyable. To enter get the 10 card entry card (7.5tL) not the single entry (5tL). We recommend coming back at night too and walking up the beach to have food at one of the restaurants on the beach. These are generally known for their fresh seafood.
Look for turtles on the beach in July and August! Walking home along the beach one night we spotted 3 turtles creating their nests to lay their eggs. One was just beginning, one was in the middle of laying her eggs and the other was creeping out of the water! It was really cool to watch them up so close.
Chimera Eternal Flames
Nearby the main town of Olympos, you will find Chimera, a mountain that has “eternal flames” coming out of its rocks. On a section of the mountain, it looks like a handful of never-ending campfires, but with no wood, just fire coming from out of the rocks. You can blow it out and it will re light.
You can get a bus here for 25tL from most hotels that drops you at the base of the mountain or you can get a bike like we did and ride up to the mountain. From the base, it is steep but doable 15minute hike.
Make sure to bring marshmallows (for roasting) and booze to enjoy once you reach the top. We also brought biscuits and chocolate to make S’mores. This was a really cool experience, backed up by Turkish singers and guitar players at the top of the hill.
After a delightful 2 weeks, it was time to pack up and move onto Greece. Anyone doubting a visit to Turkey, think no more and make the trip! You will eat copious amounts of tomatoes, cucumbers, bread and olives, devour a whole lot of meat and eat many Turkish delights but it is all worth it.
The Turkish people were friendly, the vibe was great & the diversity between all the Turkish cities made this a really cool & fun place to visit. We only wish we had longer!
Married days survived: 108