Nothing stays still for long in the Fethiye area. That includes Karataş Beach.
At the moment, the coastline of Çiftlik and beyond, further west from Çalış Beach, is seeing much development by way of the construction of huge hotel complexes.
We’re not fans of those, preferring instead the slower, more low key, more compact way of life.
So, with that in mind, let’s stay around that area and concentrate on one of the local, small bays there; Karataş Beach.
Karataş Beach, Fethiye
Karataş Beach has always been known to us since we first started coming to Turkey.
It was a tiny bay in the middle of nowhere (to us) and we would drive there with friends out of season for sunny winter beach barbecues.
No roads like there are today. Just rubble tracks and, for one stretch, a drive along the compacted pebbles of the beach.
Park the car up and get the barbecue, chicken wings and köfte out. Happy days!
Unfortunately, as the years progressed, Karataş Beach gained infamy rather than adulation. Many were the visitors and much was the debris that was constantly left behind.
We hadn’t spent any time on the beach in years – it’s not very local to us and why make a special effort to go somewhere that you know is going to be full of litter?
No sooner had volunteers done a litter-pick than all the litter was back again.
A ‘New’ Karataş Beach
And then, at the beginning of the 2021 summer season, a boardwalk appeared across the beach.
People on social media were rightly angry at the thought that yet another of Fethiye’s public bays was going to become private.
As it turned out, the work was being done by MUÇEV (Muğla Environmental Protection Foundation).
We went along that season and liked what we saw.
And then, in the winter of 2022-23, more change…
Wooden Stage Pub – that had been entertaining people like us in their setting opposite the Çalış water taxi office – upped sticks and took over the running of the beach.
Karataş Beach – Wooden Stage Pub
And that is no big disaster. We love Wooden Stage Pub.
There is no entrance fee to the beach, still. So, there’s no exclusivity.
If you want to go there just for a swim with your own deck chairs or whatever, you can do.
You are, however, requested by a sign at the entrance gate not to bring your own food and drink into the area.
A Beach Pub
These days, we think of Karataş Beach as being more like a beach pub.
If you want to go to the pub and sit in a beach setting, this is your place.
You can sit down at the picnic tables on the sand and order bar food and drinks. The Adana dürüm (wrap) is great, by the way – we were so hungry, I forgot to take photographs!
The table set up is perfect for us. We’re not sunbathers so it’s just not worth us paying for a sun lounger and umbrella.
On our most recent day there with friends, we had a table where we could sit together and chat and eat and drink. And when we got too hot, a quick dip in the sea for a cool down.
If you are sunbathers and you like the comfort of a bed and umbrella, two beds with one umbrella will cost you a fee for the day.
A short walk from your bed to the sea for a dip and you can rinse off all the salty water afterwards in the showers.
And what we love about Karataş is it’s a lovely mixture of both sand and shingle. Getting in and out of the water is easy!
And because it’s a sheltered bay, more often than not, the water is clear and calm.
But we did say Wooden Stage Pub was famous for its live music when they were based in the main part of the resort of Çalış.
That is still the case after their move – and that’s why we now think of Karataş as a ‘beach pub.’
High season has been mainly about DJs and the odd theme night such as ‘White Night.’
And, out of season, the beach is still a great place to go.
Wooden Fest – a day-long music festival featuring Fethiye’s local bands and musicians – takes place occasionally and we went along to one in early spring.
Fortunately, we were there early enough to park ourselves at a table – they soon filled up.
Turkish people are experts in these situations, however. Just about everyone who arrived had their own deck chair bagged up across their back!
And that was it. Everything set up.
Live music on stage. Kids playing football on the beach. People watching the bands and dancing or sitting and chatting. The bar in very full flow, barbecue on the go…
What a great way to spend a spring day!
Karataş Beach – In Summary
So, such a long time since we had been to spend any time on Karataş Beach and the changes made to the bay mean we were not carried back to those good old days of yore.
But that doesn’t matter. To see the bay being used in this way is lovely.
It’s not a beach club that that has any exclusivity aspirations.
Some will argue there shouldn’t be a business there, at all.
But, for us, the facilities, the rubbish bins and the supervising staff making sure the beach stays clean can’t be a bad thing.
Swathes of coastline along this area are, and will be, out of bounds to those not staying in the all-inclusive hotels.
Long may Karataş Beach remain accessible so that all of us can enjoy the sea and the views.
- Update for Summer 2023; there is a dolmuş service that takes you all the way to Karataş Beach from Fethiye.
- Alternatively, you can take the Fethiye-Çalış dolmuş to the last stop. From there, it’s around a 30 minute walk.
- If you’re a beach person and love to visit different bays around the area, take a look at our Fethiye beaches page. There, you’ll find local (and slightly further afield) beaches along with an interactive map so you can find them easily.