[Photos at the bottom of the page] I was feeling completely exhausted lately both personally and from work (as many other folks I know), so a much needed last minute vacation to the seaside was the right choice. We looked at last minute flight prices and conditions of entry from Switzerland to different countries in the Mediterranean and landed on Turkey, a country I have not been to before. We really enjoyed our stay there and I can sincerely recommend this part of Turkey (I will start with tips and the photos you can find below, as usual). As of July 2021 Turkey required a covid antigen or PCR test to enter. Overall, we liked a lot Fethiye area and all the areas around it, though it was peak season and a bit too busy with tourists (Bodrum and Marmaris were nice too, but I would spend most of the time near Fethiye).
Turkey is one of the cheapest countries I have been to. These are the prices we experienced: food: 1-15 eur, rental car 35 eur/day (with petrol), hotel: 50eur / night 2 pp, boat ride: 15 eur / day (food incl), sunbeds: 1.5-3 eur/day per person.
Side note: Since more than a year ago, we started travelling on a budget, we rent the cheapest car, we don’t spend more than 50 eur/nigh/2pp for hotel and we don’t go for luxury holidays or restaurants, as we want to be financially independent in a few years (we practice the FIRE movement). That requires living on a budget and investing almost all savings. We still spend money on experiences, activities and things we want, but the decisions are well calculated.
When should I visit?
For beach holidays, June or September are probably perfect. We went during high season July-August when most tourists go & it was quite hot ~35C, but being next to the sea and taking boat trips made it ok. May, October are probably good periods to visit too, but water temperature will be lower.
We usually use booking.com for our hotels 8+/10 review score and under 50 eur/2p/night, then double check the offers on Google maps (as other providers or the hotel itself might offer better deals). All inclusive hotels are popular in Turkey but we didn’t do that during this trip, we just stayed at regular small hotels.
- in Bodrum: stay a couple days near the old town: the area on Google maps between Bodrum castle and Bodrum beach
- in Fethiye: either Calis beach (the more south you are, the closer to Fethiye old town) or you can stay in Fethiye
- in Oludeniz: we stayed at Taner hotel, but any hotel in the streets around it are good location
There are a few airports that are good for this area: Doleman airport (closer to Fethiye) or Bodrum airport.
We rented a car but you can probably get by with taxis or public transport like buses, too. We usually look at websites such as skyscanner.com and choose the cheapest car given our budget type of recent travel and our FIRE goals. We have car insurance from the Swiss credit card so we don’t take insurance with rental companies (make sure you check what the insurance covers!). We normally take the car from the airport; in Turkey for a certain fee ~20eur (in our case) you can ask for the car to be delivered to your hotel. You can also use taxis, they are ok.
Places of interest/Beaches/Activities
- Bodrum old town between Bodrum Castle and Bodrum beach; Feathiye old town, search for “paspatur” on Google maps
- Boat trips:
- Calis beach to Fethiye old town public boat (every 30min, 1.5 eur)
- Sugars boat tour (20ppl max, 25 eur/pp/day, divine homemade food included)
- Bodrum itinerary 2 (you find sellers everywhere, we paid 15eur pp simple average food incl., max 40 ppl)
- Paragliding in Oludeniz (the Mecca of paragliding): 65 eur pp, there are tons of companies on Google maps
- Diving in Fethiye (Fethiye diving center, 20-25eur pp for 2 dives and day boat, food included; if family members don’t dive and want to come on the boat, the price is 10eur pp per day)
- Turkish bath & hammam & massages (Oludeniz, Sanctuary day spa; 30 eur for 1h massage; 15-25eur for full Turkish bath with peelings and other rituals).
- Visit to Saklikent Gorge mountains (could include rafting/tubing); at a 20min drive you have the Fish Yakapark where you can eat fresh river grilled fish and enjoy the small water falls (YakaPark) and 5min further you have Tlos Amfi Tiyatro (old ruins)
- Dalyan trip (you can park near Dalyan Kooperatif and take a public boat 3eur return trip 30min each way) or get a private boat that will be 50eur or so for the day; that area has beautiful ancient monuments that are visible during the boat trip
- Kayaking 30min from Marmaris: we did a 2h kayak trip after we ate Kopru restaurant (30min from Marmaris) which costed us 10eur per person. The kayak company was Amazon “smth” (can’t remember) and we spontaneously saw the river and kayaks and decided to hop on one (it was located across from Kopru restaurant).
- Kaputas beach
- Oludeniz beach and blue lagoon (the best part was the “tip” of this area)
- Butterfly Valley beach (requires 20min boat trip from Oludeniz beach, can’t reach by car)
- Turtle beach (can’t reach by car requires 30min boat trip from Dalyan village)
Food and drinks
- One of the highlights of our trip was eating gozleme at the local farmers fruits & veggies market (in Fethiye: Tuesdays & Fridays 9am-7pm; near Calis beach in Fethiye: Sundays same hours); gozleme is a local pie that is made fresh and can be filled in with anything from spinach to potatoes, cheese or meat. We also enjoyed buying fresh fruit because this is what we eat in the mornings and the variety was incredible.
- Oludeniz town is lovely but the food is really bad; a 30min drive will take you to Fethiye & the area near Calis beach, which has excellent food options (e.g. Calis Balikcisi or our all time favorite place KahveAlti Ev Yemekleri).
- Bodrum: Kecibodrum and Iki Sandal restaurants were our highlight.
- Fethiye: KahveAlti Ev Yemekleri
- We loved the mezzes (aubergines, beans, peppers)
- A 30min drive from Marmaris: Kopru restaurant
- Dalyan: Gel-Gor restaurant
- Bring euro in cash and exchange it at a bank (better rates than exchange centers); most ATMs charge an inconvenient commission
- Booking.com does not work while you are located in Turkey, so get VPN to be able to use it
- When you book a boat trip in Turkey, ensure you understand what’s included or not (most times lunch was included but not drinks – not even water, so ensure you understand that & additional costs)
- Shopping is great in Turkey, make sure to negotiate and double check the quality and other offers before you buy smth
- Normally from Bodrum or Fathiye you can easily take short ferries to Greece, but due to the pandemic this was not possible (Kos or Rhodes islands)
Places I wish I saw but didn’t have time
- Kas town
- Wish I spent more time in Kalkan village