A busy local market town with a large marina and relatively few hotels, Fethiye offers far more of a taste of real Turkey than most tourist resorts, its shopping streets as full of local farmers in search of plastic buckets as tourists hunting out saffron and pistachios. The tourist hotels are mainly a short distance from the centre on Çalis Beach, but even more people stay in nearby Hisaronu, Ovacik and Oludeniz and visit Fethiye for the day or evening.
Beach: There are no beaches in the centre of Fethiye where the pretty waterfront promenade leads past the fishing harbour, marina and port. The nearest beach is flat Çalis Beach, which stretches west for over 4km (2.5 miles), lined by hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars the whole way. Coarse sand at the end nearest the town, it is shingle at the far end. The best beach in the area is 15km (10 miles) away at the beautiful lagoon of Oludeniz.
Beyond the beach: Take time to wander round the town, along the waterfront to admire the colourful fishing boats, million-dollar yachts in the increasingly glamorous marina and the traditional wooden-built gulets. The historic Ottoman town centre, Paspatur, is a lively pedestrianised shopping centre with plenty of charming cafés and a historic hamam for a Turkish bath and massage. Behind the town, in the cliffs are the Roman amphitheatre and several magnificent Lycian rock tombs, the finest of them belonging to fourth-century-BC King Amyntas. There is a ruined Crusader castle on the hilltop and a small archaeological museum off Atatürk Caddesi.
Family fun: Everywhere in Turkey is child-friendly but Fethiye does not particularly target the family market. There are a few large all-inclusive resorts between Fethiye and Oludeniz that offer a wide range of children's facilities and there is a small waterpark, Sultans' Aquacity in Çalis Beach (www.sultansaquacity.com), where there are also gentle watersports.
Exploring further: Fethiye is the southern starting point for Turkey's famous Blue Cruises along the Mediterranean coast, so be sure to take a boat trip even if it is only a day trip around the 12 islands in the bay. Other options include snorkelling and diving and day trips by hydrofoil across to the Greek island of Rhodes (take your passport and be prepared to pay for another visa). Inland, explore the wonderful world of the ancient Greeks and Romans at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Xanthos-Letoön (67km/42 miles to the southeast). A few kilometres away is Patara, fourth-century birthplace of St Nicholas (aka Father Christmas), which also has a superb 18km- (12 mile-) white-sand beach. There are mud baths and a turtle beach at Kaunos, near Dalaman. The beautiful ruined cities of Tlos and Pinara, can be combined with an afternoon walking in the dramatic Saklikent Canyon (45km/30 miles).
Splashing out: While there are plenty of good restaurants in Fethiye town, for a real celebration, you need to head out of town to Oludeniz and the romantic seafront restaurant Beyaz Yunus (www.beyazyunus.com) or out to Yaka Park, Yaka Köyü near Saklikent (www.tlosyakapark.com), a delightful trout farm with fresh streams, mountain views, crisp cool mountain air and trout that was still swimming five minutes before frying.