Turkey on the cheap — in Fethiye

This item appears on page 33 of the April 2010 issue.
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I traveled solo and on the cheap in Turkey for nearly all of May ’09. I described my visits to Bodrum (Oct. ’09, pg. 14), Selçuk (Jan. ’10, pg. 30) and Marmaris (March ’10, pg. 47). Heading south along the Aegean coast, I next hit Fethiye; the bus trip — a great way to see the country — took three hours (TL16, or near $11), and again I used the Pamukkale Bus Company (phone 0 232 892 3961).

2,500-year-old Lycian rock-cut tombs above Pinara. Photos: Praksti

I got a room at the Ideal Pension (I.Karagözler Zafer Cad. No:6 48300, Fethiye, Turkey; phone +90 [252] 614 1981, fax 612 8049) for TL25 ($17) per night, including breakfast and free WiFi. I had to walk up three flights to get to reception, but the view over the bay was spectacular. The room was nice but pretty basic.

I checked out the 2,200-year-old, 2,500-seat Roman theater (free) next to the main road. Only recently excavated, it was mostly muddy and disorganized; watch for broken glass.

I walked a couple of blocks down to the oceanfront and checked out all the restaurants, tourist shops, fishing boats and yachts. Sunset along the docks was fantastic.

The next day I hiked up to the crazy, cool, ancient Lycian tombs, over 2,500 years old and cut right into the rock. Some of them are 60 feet high with fabulous exteriors. The tomb of Amyntas is the most spectacular. Without going in, I skipped paying the entrance fee but still got great photos.

Hiking a quarter mile left of the big touristy site, I found the less spectacular tombs (free) and had them all to myself.

The Fethiye Museum was closed for renovations, but the guy in charge let me into the back garden for free to check out all the cool sarcophagi and carved marble statues.

Fethiye has several 2,500-year-old Lycian sarcophagi scattered about town, and it was fun to try to locate them in the maze of streets. You can walk right up to them and even look inside.

On day three in Fethiye, I rented a moped (TL25) from Levent Rentals (Yat Limani Ece Marina Karsisi No:37-B, Fethiye; phone 0 252 614 8096), filled the tank (TL14.50) and cruised out to the Tlos ruins. These are mostly Roman, with a big theater, a hippodrome and some columns and such. There is also an 18th-century castle on the hill and a bunch of rock-cut Lycian tombs. The photo ops from the road were perfect.

Heading into the mountains, I stopped at Arsakoy to ask directions and ended up having tea with an older gentleman at a one-table outdoor café.

Douglas Praksti and one of the many, 2,500-year-old Lycian sarcophagi scattered around Pinara.

Back down the mountain, I aimed for the Lycian ruins of Pinara. It took about an hour to ride there, mostly on two-lane backroads, and I had to ask directions about four times. The last two kilometers were dirt road.

As I pulled up, the attendants were just leaving for the day. I paid the entry fee (TL8) and was the only person on the mountaintop.

Spread out over the entire mountaintop and several valleys, Pinara was a large and important city. There are hundreds of rock-cut tombs carved into the cliffsides (some are 200 feet off the ground) and a huge Roman theater. Huge stone sarcophagi are all over the place plus thousands of carved stones, columns and pedestals strewn around — absolutely amazing.

I spent three hours hiking around and checking out all the cool things. Arches and carved blocks — you never know what you’ll find hidden among bushes or a grove of trees.

I think Pinara is way cooler then even Ephesus. It’s not as spectacular, but the site is huge and you can touch everything. Another thing — the views are unmatched. You can see for 20 miles down into valleys and all the way to snowcapped mountains. Just fabulous!

Heading back to Fethiye, I rode into the beautiful setting sun, putting 120 miles on the moped that day.

My last day in Fethiye, I found a small yacht club that was unoccupied and lay out on their pontoon dock to tan. A bunch of Turkish teenagers (Alli, Alli, Adam and Avet) came down to swim and we had a great time attempting to talk to each other.

That evening, I walked down and watched an English-language movie (TL9). I would continue down the coast the next day.

DOUGLAS PRAKSTI
Turtle Creek, PA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I traveled solo and on the cheap in Turkey for nearly all of May ’09. I described my visits to Bodrum (Oct. ’09, pg. 14), Selçuk (Jan. ’10, pg. 30) and Marmaris (March ’10, pg. 47). Heading south along the Aegean coast, I next hit Fethiye; the bus trip — a great way to see the country — took three hours (TL16, or near $11), and again I used the Pamukkale Bus Company (phone 0 232 892 3961).

2,500-year-old Lycian rock-cut tombs above Pinara. Photos: Praksti

I got a room at the Ideal Pension (I.Karagözler Zafer Cad. No:6 48300, Fethiye, Turkey; phone +90 [252] 614 1981, fax 612 8049) for TL25 ($17) per night, including breakfast and free WiFi. I had to walk up three flights to get to reception, but the view over the bay was spectacular. The room was nice but pretty basic.

I checked out the 2,200-year-old, 2,500-seat Roman theater (free) next to the main road. Only recently excavated, it was mostly muddy and disorganized; watch for broken glass.

I walked a couple of blocks down to the oceanfront and checked out all the restaurants, tourist shops, fishing boats and yachts. Sunset along the docks was fantastic.

The next day I hiked up to the crazy, cool, ancient Lycian tombs, over 2,500 years old and cut right into the rock. Some of them are 60 feet high with fabulous exteriors. The tomb of Amyntas is the most spectacular. Without going in, I skipped paying the entrance fee but still got great photos.

Hiking a quarter mile left of the big touristy site, I found the less spectacular tombs (free) and had them all to myself.

The Fethiye Museum was closed for renovations, but the guy in charge let me into the back garden for free to check out all the cool sarcophagi and carved marble statues.

Fethiye has several 2,500-year-old Lycian sarcophagi scattered about town, and it was fun to try to locate them in the maze of streets. You can walk right up to them and even look inside.

On day three in Fethiye, I rented a moped (TL25) from Levent Rentals (Yat Limani Ece Marina Karsisi No:37-B, Fethiye; phone 0 252 614 8096), filled the tank (TL14.50) and cruised out to the Tlos ruins. These are mostly Roman, with a big theater, a hippodrome and some columns and such. There is also an 18th-century castle on the hill and a bunch of rock-cut Lycian tombs. The photo ops from the road were perfect.

Heading into the mountains, I stopped at Arsakoy to ask directions and ended up having tea with an older gentleman at a one-table outdoor café.

Douglas Praksti and one of the many, 2,500-year-old Lycian sarcophagi scattered around Pinara.

Back down the mountain, I aimed for the Lycian ruins of Pinara. It took about an hour to ride there, mostly on two-lane backroads, and I had to ask directions about four times. The last two kilometers were dirt road.

As I pulled up, the attendants were just leaving for the day. I paid the entry fee (TL8) and was the only person on the mountaintop.

Spread out over the entire mountaintop and several valleys, Pinara was a large and important city. There are hundreds of rock-cut tombs carved into the cliffsides (some are 200 feet off the ground) and a huge Roman theater. Huge stone sarcophagi are all over the place plus thousands of carved stones, columns and pedestals strewn around — absolutely amazing.

I spent three hours hiking around and checking out all the cool things. Arches and carved blocks — you never know what you’ll find hidden among bushes or a grove of trees.

I think Pinara is way cooler then even Ephesus. It’s not as spectacular, but the site is huge and you can touch everything. Another thing — the views are unmatched. You can see for 20 miles down into valleys and all the way to snowcapped mountains. Just fabulous!

Heading back to Fethiye, I rode into the beautiful setting sun, putting 120 miles on the moped that day.

My last day in Fethiye, I found a small yacht club that was unoccupied and lay out on their pontoon dock to tan. A bunch of Turkish teenagers (Alli, Alli, Adam and Avet) came down to swim and we had a great time attempting to talk to each other.

That evening, I walked down and watched an English-language movie (TL9). I would continue down the coast the next day.

DOUGLAS PRAKSTI
Turtle Creek, PA