Last Updated April, 2022
Two months ago when my mama came to visit, we decided to take her on a one-week road trip from Antalya to Fethiye and back to Antalya. Yes, I know, spending so much time on such a short distance may seem like a lot. But we wanted to take it really slowly.
With many cute villages, ancient sites and beautiful beaches, if we drove the entire distance in a day or two, we’d just miss so much. But I wanted her not only to drive in a car and see beautiful scenery but actually to experience things and visit historical important landmarks. Especially considering how many of them are on this side of the Antalya coast.
So we turned it into a slow adventure and went with a flow. And I want to share a copy of our long road trip along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and show where we stopped. If you plan to repeat and drive the same distance between Antalya and Fethiye, here is what to expect.
If you want to make it longer, you can definitely do so since there will be lots of things to experience! Also, you can use my other road trip from Fethiye to Pamukkale to build your itinerary and see more of the coast.
Where did we rent a car? As always through LocalRent. But I recommend you read my guide to car hire in Turkey and things to know before renting a car in Antalya to see which rental company will work better for you. In both of these posts, I discuss a few options.
How Far is Fethiye From Antalya?
The distance between Antalya and Fethiye depends on the road that you choose. One road, which is shorter, goes through the mountainous area. Another road, the longer one, winds along the coast through such famous cities as Kemer, Demre, and Kas.
If you take the longer coastal road, the distance is around 300 km and typically takes around five hours, with no stops. The shorter one will take around 3 hours to drive.
However, the short road is not really famous for any sights. Besides a few cities, nature parks, and some theme restaurants, there is nothing really to do on that drive. A coastal road on the contrary has so many points of interest. Plus the drive itself is very scenic.
Antalya to Fethiye Road Trip Stops
Cable Car to Tünektepe Mountain
The first stop we made on the Antalya to Fethiye coastal road was a cable car to Tünektepe mountain. If you have recently arrived in Antalya but haven’t seen much, why not make a stop here too to overlook the city from above.
The Tunektepe Teleferik cable car is a modern funicular that opened in 2017. The height of Mount is 618 meters above sea level and the top offers an excellent observation deck with several cafes (selling tea, coffee, ice cream, and other snacks), and a free bathroom.
Teleferik consists of 36 cabins that can accommodate up to 8 people at a time. The ascent to the observation deck will take you about 9 minutes.
It is better to visit the mount in the warm months of the year when there is no strong wind and rain. In this case, nothing will be distracting you from the gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains, and Antalya city. However, even in good weather, pay attention to the views of the mountains. If they are in fog, then the view from above will be through the haze.
And here is their location to make it easier for you to find it.
Göynük Canyon is one of the most visited canyons in Antalya province with magnificent nature, trees, waterfalls, and pools. When we came to visit, part of it was closed due to some repairs. So we told ourselves we will return on a separate trip.
You may want to do the same and come here when staying in Kemer or Antalya. Otherwise, if that’s your only visit to the region, definitely add this canyon to your road trip.
By coming here, you can cool off and spend an unforgettable day by participating in unique water or nature sports.
The length of the canyon is 14 km. You can either walk it or go on a ride on an inflatable boat. There are also horseback riding excursions available, a small zip line, and nature walks. Although the most popular reason why people come here is for a breathtaking boat ride or descent through the canyon in a wetsuit.
NOTE: The nature of the Goynuk canyon is amazing at any time of the year. However, summer is the best season to visit it. If you go there in winter, when the stream turns into a full-fledged mountain river, the water is freezing cold and has dangerous rapids.
A Turkish resort city Kemer is one of the most popular vacation spots near Antalya famous for nature, nightlife, lively beaches with crystal clear water and vibrant restaurants.
Ideally, you’d want to make a stop here for a few days to relax on one of the wide and clean pebble beaches and breathe the healing sea air saturated with the scent of pine forests.
If you do not want your holiday to focus only on the sea, sun and sand, visit Kemer to walk around the center, pop in the Folklore park to learn about Yoruks who lived in this Mediterranean region for more than 700 years, and go on a hike to a forest part that separates Kemer from Kiris.
There is also a beautiful walking path that starts near Kugulu Park and ends near Mcdonald’s. It winds between all-inclusive hotels and the sea, offering scenic panoramas.
The Olympos Teleferik cable car is located in the heart of the Beydaglari National Natural Park in the south of Kemer. There you can go from the lower station of 726 m to Mount Tahtali (which in ancient times was known as Mount Olympos) at an elevation of 2365 meters above sea level and admire the stunning natural combination of mountains, sea and woodlands.
But even if you don’t want to take a cable car, there is a chance to see Kemer’s panorama from the lower station. There is a free parking lot as well as a cafe and an observation deck with stunning views of the Kemer region, the ruins and bays of the ancient city of Phaselis.
Also, in the same area, you can walk independently through the beautiful pine forest and climb the mountains to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature of the Beydaglari National Park.
Find out about the prices and schedule as well as more activities on the Olympos Teleferik website.
Ancient City Phaselis
On a very beautiful small peninsula, covered with cedars and pines, stands the ancient city of Phaselis founded in the 6th century BC by colonists from the island of Rhodes.
Today it is nothing more than ruins and an open-air museum. You won’t find any village there or settlement where people reside. Just ruins of ancient city walls, an amphitheater of the Hellenistic period, a city fortress (of the 3rd century BC), as well as the ruins of a temple and crypt. On the slopes behind the northern harbor, you can see the necropolis. And if to believe the legends, it is here that Alexander the Great was buried.
The best time to come to Phaselis is in the evening after numerous tourist buses leave at 4 o’clock. Once you turn from the highway on a small road towards the museum, you will drive under the pine crowns to the ancient aqueduct. As a matter of fact, the aqueduct, an artificial canal that supplied the city with water from a spring on the northern hill, is the most impressive sight.
A small Phaselis bay is an incredibly picturesque place with azure clear water. Besides a history walk, you can also swim in the warm (even in May) clear sea imagining how merchant ships entered the ancient port.
Cirali is a small town located in a valley by the sea in a nature reserve. It is forbidden to build tall buildings anywhere there, so you won’t find any large hotels in that area. Only small cozy B&Bs or pensions with 10-20 small bungalow houses surrounded by lovely gardens with fruit trees, chickens, ducks, and hedgehogs.
It is one welcoming and homey town with a country atmosphere where you can relax in a boutique hotel, enjoy a beautiful beach, go on a tour around the harbor, rent a kayak towards Porto Ceneviz Bay, or take a historical tour by bike. And of course, while there, breath fresh air with the sea scent mixed with the scent of tangerines.
Since Çıralı is located on the border of Olympos Coastal National Park where Caretta turtles breed and live, you have a big chance of seeing them on the beach. More than that, you have a chance to swim alongside them in the most beautiful waters.
Cirali town hides many activities and is just the right place where to come either for a day tour from Antalya or pause for a night in an exquisite bungalow or 2-story wooden house. And the next day, continue your road trip to Fethiye or explore the surroundings.
It would not be possible to go to Cirali without seeing the burning rocks of Mount Chimaera (or as it’s also called Yanartas).
The Fires of the Chimera are a mystical natural phenomenon, an unusual place in the world, where a fire burns on the mountain all year round. The flame breaks out to the surface from the ground in several places periodically fading out then igniting with renewed vigor.
This fire arises due to the fact that natural gas comes out to the surface of the earth. The place with the Chimera flames has been known since ancient times, but earlier the fire was more intense with the highest flames reaching 2 meters and even serving as a beacon for ships sailing into the bay.
Different people say different things about Mount Chimaera. Some think it’s a very unique place to visit in Turkey while others insist it’s a complete waste of time. Mark and I totally appreciated our time on the mount and thought it was an interesting and unique spot. However, we visited at night.
If you will be staying in Cirali overnight, I highly recommend you come to Chimaera after the sunset. It looks really mysterious and even romantic. We went there with a thermos of tea and snacks but other people were roasting marshmallows on the fire and drinking wine. While sitting under a clear night sky we could observe the stars and meteor showers. Oh, we even saw Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites flying across the sky.
NOTE: You can drive all the way to the beginning of the trail and park your car there. The entrance fee to the park is around €1.5 per person.
Another ancient city on the road between Antalya and Fethiye is also located next to Cirali. In fact, it is more than just an ancient city. Olympos is also known as the hippie land with its bohemian atmosphere on all sides surrounded by nature. You’ll find it in a valley completely covered with pine trees.
With its tree houses, affordable bungalows, ancient town, and sparkling beach nearby, Olympos attracts visitors with its calmness and charm. One of the things that makes it beautiful is that it responds to all kinds of needs. You can stay there overnight too, although I think that Çıralı is more ideal for accommodation.
Olympos’s ancient part was not as well preserved as other ancient cities in Turkey but thanks to the restoration work, you can already see the remains of the city walls, the ruins of temples, an amphitheater from the Roman period, tombs, and fragments of floor mosaics. In the past, it was a powerful city among all 6 cities of Lycia (Lycia was an ancient country in the south of Asia Minor) which were part of the Lycian Union.
Olympos beach is very beautiful. It doesn’t have any infrastructure and feels wild. And with large pebbles, turquoise sea, and mountains around it is the first choice of those seeking peace and quiet. From the beach you can see the remains of the fortress on the mountain. If you follow the path to that fortress, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the bay!
NOTE: Ancient Olympos hides in the shade of trees. But since it is located in a gorge, it is very stuffy there on hot days. So it is much better to go on an excursion in the early morning.
If you are staying overnight, it is better to spend a day in Cirali, then go to Chimeara Mount in the evening and devote the following day to Olympos.
The picturesque village of Adrasan is located in the same area where Olympos and Cirali are, although on the opposite side of the Olympos Coastal National Park. It takes around 45 minutes to drive from Cirali to the coastal part of Adrasan. Any construction is also prohibited there, this is why 80% of local businesses are established and maintained by the villagers themselves.
In summer, Adrasan offers the cleanest sea, sand, and gentle sun. Here you will not find noisy entertainment, so the village is absolutely quiet and perfect for a peaceful, quiet stay.
When you just arrive in Adrasan bay, at first it seems that there is nothing particularly remarkable in the area. It looks like an ordinary village by the sea as many others in the Turkish Mediterranean.
But its charm lies precisely in the fact that there is a special atmosphere with quiet and calm surroundings, fewer tourists, beautiful nature, and clear water of the bay. The sea offers swimming, diving, fishing, and water skiing. And if you have more time in the area, do not miss a boat tour from Adrasan to Suluada island that has water like in the Maldives.
In the evenings, it is pleasant to wander through the cozy streets of a small town, among which private guesthouses and coastal mini-hotels are lost.
Finike City & Surroundings
The next stop that you can make on the way from Antalya to Fethiye is Finike, the orange capital of Turkey. Even if you do not know about Finike’s existence you can be familiar with this name if you’ve seen the word “Finike Orange” on the market labels.
The city of Finike (west of Olympos) is surrounded by citrus plantations on all sides. A bigger percentage of the oranges that you’ll find in grocery stores around Turkey (and often outside the country) comes from here. And if you go during the season, you’ll smell a strong orange scent in the city.
However, oranges on their own are not the reason why you should visit.
Finike is also famous for its ancient city Limyra, the Mausoleum of Pericles (IV century BC) decorated with caryatids, another Lycian city Arykanda, a sandy beach that stretches to the east, and some rocky coves stretching to the west.
When we made a stop for a few hours there, we stopped to walk in the center and see the marina and have a picnic on Gökliman beach.
Ancient City of Demre
The Turkish city of Demre, with architectural monuments that are more than 2.000 years old, is another must-visit place on the Mediterranian coast of Turkey. And it is easy to see it if you have a car and passing through it.
In fact, it is a place that almost everyone who has vacationed on the South Coast of Turkey has heard of at least once. People usually come here for sightseeing of ancient sights, hiking in the mountains, and beach recreation. A big number of ancient sights allow to immerse in the spirit of antiquity and plunge into the depths of history.
Among the top places to visit in Demre are the ancient city Myra, St. Nicholas Church, and Kekova Island. Although we personally thought that visiting Myra on our own was a bit of a mistake. It would be much more meaningful to go on a tour so we could not just look at the ruins, but to understand what kind of history lurks behind them.
Among other important sights are Soura and Andriake ancient cities. A visit to Andriake can be combined with a boat tour to Kekova island since boats depart from the Andriake harbor. And if you don’t mind going a bit off the road, drive to Simena ancient city and Üçağız village.
Kas, as some people say one of the most romantic coastal towns in Turkey, was our stopping point for two nights. Every one of us loved slowing dowing there, particularly on the peninsula.
I feel like I don’t even need to say much about Kas since everyone who plans to visit southern Turkey has this town on their mind. We also did. And what we loved more was not the mainland but the peninsula and the number of activities available in the area.
In Kas you won’t find any all-inclusive hotels, just customized guesthouses and unique B&Bs. It has this creative relaxed atmosphere that attracts independent tourists and Turkish bohemia. Kas is extremely rich in terms of beaches, caves, and coves and it can offer every activity sought by those who want to spend a full holiday.
To be able to experience Kas to the fullest, I suggest you stay on the peninsula (as we did) but during the day drive to the Old City to explore it on foot. Don’t miss an old center with small boutiques, antique shops, souvenir shops, jewelers, and carpet stores just like in Alaçatı and Bodrum. Check out a few beaches (our favorite were Küçükçakıl beach, Belediyesi Halk and Büyükçakıl beach) rent a kayak, sip a cocktail at Narr Beach & Cafe, and go on a boat tour.
If you decided not to go to a Kekova Island from Demre, then Kas is another point for departures. Enjoy a day relaxing on the sunny deck with plenty of time to swim and snorkel near Kekova Island and Sunken City.
When you get back on the road towards Fethiye, do not miss the next location – Kaputas Beach. It’s only 20 km away from Kas and takes around 20 minutes to drive there.
Kaputas is one of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey and one of the prettiest Mediterranean beaches. It amazes with its turquoise sea and yellow-white sand. This small beach is hidden in a gorge between high mountains, so it is possible to miss it if you don’t know where to stop.
I personally like the view from above but never want to go down to the beach. In the summer it is always crowded, there is no tree shadow below and no infrastructure. Plus because of constant winds, the sea is always wavy.
I am not sure you will be comfortable swimming there too. The seafloor deepens very quickly and too high waves make it difficult to swim. But a crystal clear blue appearance captivates from first sight.
NOTE: If you decide to go for a swim, better do it in the morning while the water is more or less calm and there are not many people yet.
Kalkan can be the next stop on this road trip to see a totally different style of architecture and grab a meal. Otherwise, it also can be a wonderful place where to stay overnight.
Kalkan is a small town on a hill overlooking a tiny bay. Its snow-white houses with shuttered windows and balconies and cascades of flowers descending down the streets complete the panorama of the quiet resort town. Narrow winding streets lined with souvenir shops lead to an attractive waterfront.
It is another lovely peaceful town where to go for a walk or hit another awesome beach. Accommodation options here are more sophisticated and luxurious. Tourists who book a stay every morning take a boat to transfer from the town to the nearest beaches and small coves.
Patara with its ancient city ruins and the beauty of its beach is another important city of the Lycian Civilization. It has an important place in history due to the fact that the world’s first parliament building is located there.
Patara is also known as the birthplace of God Apollo and as a destination with one of the top ten most beautiful beaches in Turkey. The beach by the way is also the spawning ground of Caretta turtles.
It makes sense to stop here if you have at least half a day left unless you plan just to take a couple of photos and leave.
Ancient City of Xanthos
If you feel you didn’t get to see enough ancient cities yet, don’t miss Xanthos then. It is one of the most beautiful and greatest (in terms of history) ancient cities, formerly the capital of the Lycian Kingdom.
Some of its areas are covered with lush greenery and shrub thickets. And from the hill where the city is located, there is simply a stunning view of the valley surrounded by the beautiful Taurus Mountains.
Because of its significant historical and cultural value, the Xanthos city has been included on the UNESCO list since 1988 and is a historical landmark of Fethiye.
Expect to spend 2-3 hours in the city to be able to see the ruins and all the important sights.
Oh, and here is one more ancient city before I finish my list. And by the way, it is worth a visit too. Pinara is an ancient city founded in the 5th century BC. It was one of the three largest settlements in the Xanthos Valley and one of the six most important cities in Lycia. Nowadays it stands in ruins.
The Pinara ruins are neighboring picturesque pine forests and olive orchards. Central to the archaeological site are the remains of three pagan temples dedicated to Apollo, Athena and Aphrodite. The last structure is notable for its unique heart-shaped columns. Also in Pinara, you can see the tombs of the Lycians – typical burials that are pretty common in this area. The Tsar’s tomb, decorated with reliefs depicting conquered cities, is especially luxurious.
Among other structures, it is worth noting the agora, the Odeon, the ruins of the baths. At the bottom of Pinara is the Greek amphitheater. If you climb to its top, then from this point a panorama of the entire archaeological site will open up.
Our Road Trip Back From Fethiye to Antalya
Overall we spent 3 days in Fethiye. On the way back home to Antalya we took another road D330 highway through the mountains and cities such as Sogut and Korkuteli.
Since that drive was very short (around 3 hours) and we were not interested in visiting big cities, we just made a quick detour to Saklikent Canyon. I am going to write my next post about our visit there but if shortly, it became the highlight of our return trip.
If you are wondering if the Saklikent canyon is worth a drive, definitely! Just go in the early morning to avoid the crowds.
Where We Stayed On Our Fethiye Antalya Road Trip
The first hotel we stayed in was Seven Seas Hotel Life in Göynük. It was my birthday and we wanted to do something special, so we chose an all-inclusive property for 3 nights. And we were very impressed. The hotel was small but had excellent service and terrific food.
Staying there helped us combine active travel with relaxation on the beach. I think if we chose a bigger hotel, we’d just hang out on the property all days long.
My favorite part was waking up super early before everyone else to run watch the sunrise. Like here:
After Goynuk, we drove straight to Kas and stayed in Olea Nova Boutique Hotel for 2 nights. And as the first hotel, this one was outstanding too, just of a different concept. Olea Nova hotel was a small family-style boutique hotel. It had a pool overlooking the sea and Greek islands and offered access to a small homey rocky beach.
I made all my bookings through Booking. But since it doesn’t work in Turkey, I just use VPN and recommend you do the same if you prefer this aggregator too.
More Travel Resources For Antalya
- Antalya to Pamukkale Road Trip – Things to See & Stops to Make
- Where to Rent a Car in Antalya
- 10 Mistakes Not to Make On Your Turkey Holidays