Starting on Turkey’s west coast has got to be the move. Maybe I’m biased because that’s what I did, but it worked out spectacularly well. The ferry from Rhodes goes to either Marmaris or Fethiye (pronounced Feh-tee-yah). In speaking with other backpackers, I believe that I chose the correct one. Fethiye is a small port city and can be used as a central location to see surrounding beaches, ruins, islands, and more. However, the real prize is a 15 minute minibus ride away to a smaller town called Ölüdeniz.
Spend Time at The Beaches and Lagoon
Famous for the Butterfly Valley, I actually found the main beach and accompanying lagoon to be much more worthwhile. I took a minibus up to the top of the valley but could barely see it. Google the photos and you’ll see what I missed out on. You can also take one of these enormous pirate looking boats that blasts music the whole ride, and they will give you the best views. I even met people who camped at the top of the valley and said that it was amazing. There is allegedly a hostel at the bottom of it but it’s anyone’s guess how to get there. I found the whole thing to be overrated.
The big debate is whether or not to stay in Ölüdeniz because the one hostel there is a total dump (aptly named Ölüdeniz Hostel). I spent two nights there and one in Fethiye, just for the proximity to the beach. You can obviously spend more than the 10 bucks I spent and stay right on the beach for $40. The little town of Ölüdeniz has a bunch of bars, shops, and beauty salons (where I got an $8 pedicure and foot massage). What you may not know prior to going is that this place is basically little Britain. Apparently the English love the Turkish riviera…cannot say that I blame them.
Watch Out For the Contiki
Most people want to paraglide while in the area. It looked amazing and is pretty inexpensive at $35. I passed in favor of spending more time soaking in the November Mediterranean sun. The whole place just has a real authentic backpackery vibe. Even the one hostel in Fethiye, Sakura, gets a ton of travelers.
The one night I was there, I met up with a group of Australians on a Contiki tour (Aussie/New Zealand travel group that gets you drunk every night and takes you to a million cities in a short period of time – be wary, they’re everywhere in Europe). We ended up having a ton of fun, dancing in 2/3 main bars in Fethiye: Zilly and Mejnun. They were the same, not many people inside…the ones who were there were Russian, and the DJ was decent.
"Harvey Falcon" is the the senior adventure corespondant for Ski Bum Van Life. From Europe to Asia to South America and beyond Harvey offers an exciting take on adventure travel. Read all his stories here.