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Fethiye In Winter – Eight Wonderful Ways To Survive It

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Well, as far as we’re concerned, surviving the winter months in Fethiye isn’t about surviving at all. We love it!

But we do get many people asking us, “But what do you do in winter?

What’s the weather like? Don’t you get bored?”

No.

In fact, we’d love the winter season in the Fethiye area to be on everyone’s travel itineraries. It’s a great time of the year to be here.

For starters, with the exception of Saklıkent Gorge or perhaps boat trips, our Fethiye Must Sees would be very easy to complete.

Of course, the long, hot summer days and balmy nights are what immediately come to mind when Fethiye is mentioned.

The area is quite rightly a top summer destination.

Fethiye Is A Working Town In Winter

But life here doesn’t come to a grinding halt just because the summer season is over.

Fethiye is a working town and daily life continues whatever the season.

This is when Fethiye and its residents switch to winter mode.

The summer crowds have departed. Now it’s time to make the most of what’s on offer when the sun isn’t sapping every ounce of energy.

Things To Do In Fethiye In Winter

So, let’s have a look at some of the things to do in Fethiye in winter.

Winter Trekking

There are many trails around the dense pine forests and hills of Fethiye, and a sunny day in winter is perfect for getting away from the centre and enjoying the open spaces.

We love to walk from Fethiye to Kayaköy or from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz, or even both at once, depending on how energetic we’re feeling.

Kayaköy To Ölüdeniz Walk
Blue skies and a vista of the Ölüdeniz blue lagoon on a winter hike

It’s only in sunny weather in winter that the air is so clear.

The summer haze disperses, leaving extensive views and colourful contrasts of the azure blues of the Mediterranean Sea against the lush green of the pine forests.

It’s easy to see why this area is known as the Turquoise Coast!

More often than not, as January takes hold, the mountains are capped with glistening white snow.

It’s scenery like this that strips away any tendencies to start becoming blasé about where we live.

And, for those of you who are keen on photography, winter time is when you’ll get your best photos of the Fethiye scenery.

If you are heading out into the hills for a hike, make sure you check what time of day the sun sets. Winter days are short.

You can take a look at all of our recommended Fethiye walks if you need more inspiration, for winter or any other time of year.

Head To The Beaches

We’re not beach people. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy beaches.

We just don’t like sunbathing. So, if you’re ever looking for us in summer, you’re more likely to find us in a bar rather than horizontal on the sand.

However, once the winter months hit, the beaches around Fethiye are deserted. That’s when they come into their own for these two non-sunbathers.

Ölüdeniz Belcekiz Beach
Deserted Ölüdeniz Beach in December

The Fethiye winter months usually have oodles of days where we’re bathed in bright sunshine.

Take a picnic and enjoy the solitude of the bays as it’s likely you’ll be the only people there.

Unless you go on a Sunday, that is.

Sunday is chillout day for Turkish families. And that means picnics and barbecues galore.

Whilst some of the private bays close in winter, public beaches and many beach restaurants are open all year.

Paradise Beach Ölüdeniz
Enjoy some winter sun at the lagoon in Ölüdeniz

This means you can enjoy a swim – if you’re brave enough to immerse yourself in those cooler sea temperatures.

Or you can just sit and chill and enjoy the food and refreshments on offer at the restaurants.

Heading over to Ölüdeniz to enjoy the beach and a tasty pide at Kumsal is a favourite activity.

Or head to the rear of the lagoon where some of the private beach clubs stay open. This is where the winter pace of life really slows down.

Bliss!

You can also watch the paragliders descending from here, too. Because, weather permitting, you can also do paragliding in winter.

Take In The Sights – And The Sites

Weather permitting, of course, winter in Fethiye is perfect exploration season!

For us, it’s the best time for hiring a car or taking a bus to some of the nearby archaeological sites and towns such as the supremely pretty Kaş.

Where the archaeological sites are concerned, as with the beaches, this is the time of year where you could well be the only people there.

Kayaköy High Chapel View
Clambering around Kayaköy is a great winter pastime

This gives you a real feel for the place and you’re not going to be sweltering as you explore the site.

Ever looked up at the Lycian rock tombs with the tomb of Amyntas in town and thought you’d like to go up there. But it’s just too hot?

Or wished you could linger for longer around the ruins of Kayaköy without wilting under the hot sun?

Hello, winter in Fethiye. Get yourself up there!

Ancient Letoon Ruins, Turkey
You often have archaeological sites to yourself in winter

We were the only visitors there when we visited the Turkish UNESCO heritage sites of Letoon and Xanthos one winter’s day.

And, of course, it’s much easier to get your photos and choose the angles you want, without people’s heads bobbing in the way. Or tour buses suddenly coming into shot in the background.

The best thing about winter exploration – it really does make a huge difference, having the place to yourself.

And winter is the time when you have the best chance of that.

Build A Snowman

This is one for when winter in Fethiye really kicks in.

Once you feel that telltale bite in the winds at sea level, you know the snow has started to fall in the nearby surrounding mountains.

By February, the snow will have encroached to the lower slopes and we will only be a 20-minute drive away from snowball fun.

This is not an activity we partake in every year. But it’s certainly good fun when the folks of Fethiye hit the road and head to the snow above the village of Nif for the day.

Snowy Mountains In Nif, Near Üzümlü, Turkey
Head to the snow in the mountains

If you decide to join the convoy, expect roadside barbecues (despite the snowy weather), people sledging on plastic carrier bags and in washing up bowls.

And the sculpting of many, many snowmen.

Local travel companies sometimes organise day trips to the snowy areas in the yayla above Fethiye.

If you’re heading to the mountains under your own steam, make sure to check Fethiye weather conditions and also ask locally about current snow levels.

Some areas require snow chains.

Stroll Along The Seafront

In winter, Fethiye enjoys many bright, sunny days.

Because we’re in a working town, most bars and restaurants in Fethiye remain open and are particularly busy in the daytimes; especially at weekends.

Join the weekend crowds along the harbour. Sit at a cafe or restaurant or simply stroll, enjoying the warm winter sun.

Winter In Fethiye
Join the winter crowds along Fethiye harbour

Along Çalış Beach, a handful of bars and eateries stay open and they’re often busy on a sunny winter’s day.

Fethiye In Winter Çalış Beach
A very busy Calisto on a sunny winter’s day

Daytimes in winter are busier than those of high season for the bars and restaurants.

And, as it’s winter and the days are shorter, you don’t need to wait long for the famous Çalış Beach sunset. A winter suınset is often far more dramatic than those of the summer months.

Take In Post-Storm Winter Scenery

Winter in Fethiye is not all about pleasant winter sunshine.

We do get our fair share of rainy days.

We also get some bitingly cold weather. And some pretty spectacular storms to boot.

Whilst a storm is in progress, hole yourself in your accommodation, bar or restaurant and once the storm has passed, you can witness a whole other dramatic beauty to the area.

Çalış Beach, Winter
A post-storm February scene along Çalış Beach

In summer, whilst the sea at Çalış can get choppy from the summer surf, in winter, a storm can turn the sea from flat-calm to crashing, tumbling frothy waves that sometimes breach the wall along the kordon (promenade).

We filmed this sort video after a February storm once the sea had calmed a little and it was safe to be on the beach.

As you can see, in winter, the sea often washes the pebbles away and we get a sandy beach for a short while.

Just one of the natural changing faces of the area throughout the seasons.

And, if it’s just a bit of light rain you need to contend with, there are still lots of things you can do when it’s raining in Fethiye.

Enjoy The Local Fethiye Bars & Restaurants

In summer, we enjoy sitting outside the bars and restaurants of Fethiye, just as we do in winter.

In winter, especially at weekends, restaurants along the harbour and along Çalış Beach will have sunset live music.

For us, Çalış Beach is one of the best places to go and enjoy some late afternoon live music and watch the sunset.

Once the sun goes down, it can be very difficult to tear ourselves away from the warmth of our own home on the cold winter nights. But there’s usually something going on that tempts us to brave the cold occasionally.

Denizatı Restaurant, Fethiye
Restaurants such as Denizatı have a cosy interior

Of the bars that stay open during winter, live music is regularly on offer.

Restaurants in the town centre and along the harbour all stay open and are fully geared up for winter with heating both indoors and outdoors.

Some even have a cosy open fire.

Enjoy The Winter Festivities In Fethiye

Winter in Fethiye, of course, also encompasses the festive period and Christmas and New Year are great times to be here.

Çalış Christmas Fair Gifts
Crafts for sale at Çalış Christmas Fair

In early December, you can do some Christmas shopping at the craft stalls of the Çalış Christmas Fayre.

And if you fancy a little day trip, there’s also a fayre in nearby Dalyan, too.

On Christmas Day, lots of the local restaurants serve up a traditional Christmas dinner (of the UK variety) so you can enjoy the day with your friends or family.

Or, if you’re in a villa or apartment and you prefer to dine at home, check out our Christmas food ideas – all with a Turkish twist, of course.

And then it’s New Year’s Eve. A lot of Turkish people treat New Year’s Eve as we do Christmas.

So it’s like having two Christmases for us.

Most local restaurants serve up a set meal of various Turkish favourites before it’s dancing to Turkish classics.

Fethiye Paspatur Deep Blue Bar
Winter at Deep Blue in Paspatur – New Year’s Eve

And for the younger crowd – and those who don’t like such an arranged setting – it’s off to Paspatur and any of the bars and clubs there.

So, if you find yourself in Fethiye in winter, you’ll see there’s lots going on and you can pick and choose between crowds and solitude.

Fethiye is a perfect summer location – we’re biased – but it’s also a great place to be in winter, too.

Which would you prefer? A good mix of Fethiye winter weather or endless summer days?

Fethiye In Winter – FAQs

Are the hotels open in Fethiye in winter?

Whilst a lot of the big resort hotels close, many of the town centre hotels remain open.

This means you are close to all the shops, bars and restaurants and lots of these hotels have sea views, too.

Are there flights to Fethiye in winter?

The nearest airport to Fethiye is Dalaman Airport.

In some winter seasons, direct flights from the UK are available from selected UK airports.

For most people, however, a stay in Fethiye in the winter months will mean a flight to Dalaman Airport via Istanbul.

Alternatively, some people prefer to fly direct to Antalya Airport. This is about a 3 hour drive from Fethiye via the mountain road. This can get snowy in January and February.

Book a private transfer from Antalya Airport to Fethiye.

Or, if your flight is at a suitable time of day, get to Fethiye under your own steam. The tram goes direct from the airport to the bus station and from there, you can get the Antalya-Fethiye bus.

Does Fethiye close in winter?

No. Fethiye is a working town and daily life continues. Shops, bars and restaurants stay open.

The weekly markets, including the area’s biggest market – Fethiye Tuesday market – are all up and running so you can enjoy winter seasonal fresh produce. December is the height of citrus season.

And if you want to put your bargaining skills to the test, winter is the time to haggle for fabrics and other goods on the markets.

In the resorts of Ölüdeniz and Hisarönü, most of the shops and restaurants close but you can still enjoy the beach and a few of the open beach bars.

In Çalış, some of the beach bars and restaurants close but there are more than enough open to keep you occupied.

The same can be said for shopping.

Does the dolmuş run in Fethiye in winter?

It’s still easy to use the dolmuş system in the Fethiye area in winter.

However, there will be a reduced service to some popular summer places like Ölüdeniz and Kayaköy.

Check with the driver when the last one is if you’re relying on it to get you back to town afterwards.

Is Fethiye cold in winter?

Winter in Fethiye can really be a mixed bag.

November and December can have rainy days and January and February can be bitingly cold. BUT amongst all that, we also get lots of bright sunny days, too.

Check out more details on our Fethiye weather page for average temperatures for each month. Here, you can also find sea temperatures and the wettest months, for example.

Does Fethiye have snow?

Whilst it very rarely snows actually in Fethiye (we got a light sprinkling in winter 2021), the surrounding mountains are often thick with snow and are just a 20 minute drive away.

If you want to enjoy snowy days in the Fethiye area, the best month to visit is late January to mid February.

Are there any boat tours or day trips from Fethiye in winter?

In the winter months in Fethiye, it’s all about fitting into daily life in the town.

That said, there are sometimes short boat trips where a Turkish breakfast is on offer.

Some local tour companies will also organise trips up to the mountains to enjoy the snow and Christmas shopping trips to the big shopping centres of Antalya.

And, weather (and snow) permitting, paragliding is still on offer during some of the winter months.

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Turkey's For Life

Friday 7th of December 2012

@ Rambling Tart: Completely agree. If you're not fond of the crowds, this part of Turkey is perfect in winter. :)

Rambling Tart

Friday 7th of December 2012

It looks so beautiful in winter. :-) That's one of my favorite times to travel because you have so many places all to yourself. :-)

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 6th of December 2012

@ Joy: Wow, I don't think we'd ever be bored in Istanbul either, whatever the season. We've been in winter but never seen the snow there. would love to - again, just for the novelty. might get annoying if we lived there. :)

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 6th of December 2012

@ Sophie: We'll do you a swap. you come to experience the Fethiye winter and we'll do a Scandinavian one...just for novelty. :)

@ BacktoBodurum: Take it you're enjoyign your winter in Bodrum, then? :)

Joy

Thursday 6th of December 2012

Great ideas on what to do in Fethiye in the colder months! In Istanbul, I like not having a lot of snow. I like it when the mass crowds of tourists disappear. I like how the city seems to slow down a bit too. I'm never bored! ;-)

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