Last updated on March 22, 2023 by Wandering our World
Are you dreaming of turquoise waters and the warming effects of the Mediterranean sun? Well, the Turkish coast is blessed with some of the most stunning destinations for a perfect European getaway.
Bodrum and Fethiye, both nestled in the country’s southwest region, are two popular destinations that offer a unique blend of history, culture, and relaxation. But as they’re quite different, which one should you choose?
For example, Bodrum is located on the southwestern coast of Turkey and is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. It boasts a rich history and is home to historic attractions like Bodrum Castle and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
With its lively atmosphere, luxurious resorts, and charming streets lined with shops and restaurants, Bodrum is a popular destination for those seeking a blend of culture, relaxation, and fun.
In contrast, Fethiye is a bit more relaxed, sits on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and is a picturesque seaside town that offers a mix of stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. It’s famed for its breath-taking beaches, turquoise waters, and rugged mountainous backdrop.
Fethiye also has a rich history dating back to ancient times and is home to attractions like the Lycian Rock Tombs and the Fethiye Museum. With its laid-back atmosphere, delicious cuisine, and range of outdoor activities, Fethiye is a popular destination for those seeking a more tranquil and authentic Turkish vacation.
However that’s just the start when it comes to how different these two destinations can be…
That’s why right here we show you which has the beaches, culture, nightlife, family activities, food scene and more. All so you can make the right vacation choice!
- Which Is Best For Culture?
- Which Is Better For Beaches?
- Which Is Best For Families?
- Which Is Better For Nightlife?
- Which Is Better For Food?
- Which Is More Expensive?
- Where To Stay According To Your Budget
- What Time Of Year Is Best?
- Which Is Easier For Getting Around?
- Which Is Easier To Get To?
- Which Is The Better Choice?
Which Is Best For Culture?
While Bodrum and Fethiye are both rich in history and culture, making it a tough decision to choose between them, Bodrum does have an ace up its sleeve for attracting the culture vultures…
Bodrum, formerly known as Halicarnassus, was once the site of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the castle of St. Peter, which houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits from ancient shipwrecks, including the Uluburun, the oldest known shipwreck in the world.
Another must-see cultural attraction in Bodrum is the Bodrum Amphitheatre, which was built during the Hellenistic period and is still used for performances today. The Amphitheatre offers breath-taking views across the sea and the surrounding hills.
In Fethiye, history is brought to life at the nearby Lycian Rock Tombs, carved into the cliffs overlooking the city. The tombs date back to the 4th century BC and provide a glimpse into the ancient Lycian civilization.
Visitors can also explore the Fethiye Museum, which houses artifacts from the Lycian, Roman, and Ottoman periods.
Visitors to Fethiye can also explore the ancient city of Telmessos, which dates back to the 5th century BC. The city was once a major center for trade and culture, and you can still see the remains of the city walls, the acropolis, and the theater.
While both locations have a rich history to discover, the fact that Bodrum houses one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World can just tip the balance in its favor…
Which Is Better For Beaches?
Whether you fancy dipping your toes in the Aegean Sea from Bodrum’s beaches or the Mediterranean Sea from Fethiye’s beaches, you can rest assured that both locations offer stunning beach options for their visitors.
So in that regard, it’s hard to separate these two destinations on beaches alone.
Although in general, Bodrum’s beaches tend to be busier and have more facilities, while the beaches in Fethiye are often more rugged, wild, but also very beautiful.
That’s why we’re going to have a quick run through of three of the top beaches in each location to help you decide whether Bodrum or Fethiye gets your vote…
Bodrum: The Beaches
Bitez Beach is located within a horseshoe-shaped bay and is protected from the wind and waves.
While not covered with super soft sand, the beach’s soft pebbles are easy on the feet, and with its protected location, Bitez Beach is ideal for families.
The bay’s protection means the water is usually nice and calm, and perfect for a cooling dip.
Gümbet Beach is a popular choice for those seeking a few activities on the beach. The clean and sandy beach has plenty of facilities and water sports and is conveniently located.
You can rent peddle boats and kayaks for the beach, and the beach also serves as a departure point for many boat tours.
If you’re visiting Bodrum for its vibrant nightlife, there are a few beach bars here with DJs and live music, and it’s a great place for a sundowner to get the night started.
Ortakent Beach is a long, soft-sand beach just outside the city and is considered one of the most beautiful in the area.
Located close to Bitez Beach, Ortakent Beach boasts calm and clear water and is a great place for a spot of sun-worshipping. There are also a few activities available from the beach, including windsurfing and scuba diving.
Fethiye: The Beaches
Ölüdeniz Beach (photo below) boasts stunning natural topography. The beach is also known as Blue Lagoon Beach, as it features a natural lagoon behind the main stretch of sand and is regarded as one of Turkey’s most beautiful beaches.
The stunning location is also a great place for paragliding, if you have a head for heights. The bird’s-eye view above the beautiful mountains and beach setting is not to be missed.
Kabak Beach is a great spot to enjoy Fethiye’s beaches in relative seclusion. The beach is located about 30 kilometers away and requires a short but steep trek down to the sand.
While it requires a little more effort to reach than some of the other beaches in the area, your efforts will be repaid with a stunning view away from the madding crowds.
Çalış Beach’s central location makes it feel a little more touristy than some of the other options, but the convenient location and watersports offerings make it a popular choice.
Kite surfing, windsurfing, and sailing are all possible here, and as the afternoon turns into the evening, it’s an ideal spot for watching the sunset with a cold beer.
Which Is Best For Families?
Bodrum and Fethiye both offer a plethora of family-friendly activities and attractions, making them excellent choices if you will be vacationing with the kids in tow.
While there are many similarities between the two, there are also a few differences to consider when deciding which destination is best for your family.
Bodrum is home to many large resorts that cater specifically to families. These resorts often feature facilities geared towards the children, including kids’ clubs, playgrounds, and activities like mini-golf and beach volleyball.
The beaches in Bodrum are also very family-friendly, with shallow waters and soft sand, making them ideal for young children.
Families with children can enjoy a day out at the Bodrum Aquapark, which has a variety of water slides and pools suitable for all ages.
The Bodrum Castle and Museum of Underwater Archaeology also provides an opportunity for families to learn about the rich history of the region while exploring the ancient castle and its exhibits.
And the Bodrum Dolphin Park is also a popular attraction, where visitors can swim with dolphins in a controlled environment.
Fethiye is the quieter of the two destinations, and the general atmosphere is a little more relaxed. While there are still plenty of activities for families to enjoy, such as boat tours and water sports, the town itself is not as geared towards families as Bodrum is.
Fethiye is home to some excellent outdoor family-friendly activities though, including hiking and biking.
Families can opt to take a boat tour to the stunning turquoise lagoon of Oludeniz, where they can swim in the crystal-clear waters or sunbathe on the white-sand beach.
While the Fethiye Museum is a great place to learn about the rich history and culture of the region, and Saklikent Gorge offers a scenic hiking experience through its narrow canyon.
The Fethiye Aqua Park is also a popular attraction for families, with its exciting water slides and pools ensuring a fun-filled day for all.
If you’re looking for a lively, resort-style holiday with plenty of activities for kids, Bodrum is likely the better option.
However, if you’re seeking a more relaxed holiday with opportunities for outdoor adventure, Fethiye is the way to go.
Which Is Better For Nightlife?
When it comes to life after the sun has set, both Bodrum and Fethiye offer a wide range of options to cater to different tastes and preferences.
But in Bodrum, the bar scene is more vibrant and livelier, with many venues offering stunning views of the sea.
A popular spot for locals and tourists alike is Marina Yacht Club, a sophisticated lounge bar with an extensive cocktail menu and cool live music performances.
For a more casual atmosphere, head to Kule Bar, a cosy rooftop bar with a relaxed vibe and great views of Bodrum Castle.
Fethiye also has its fair share of bars, but they tend to be a little more low-key and laid-back.
The lion’s share of them is located in the marina area, such as the popular Buzz Beach Bar, which offers a relaxed atmosphere and great cocktails. Another great option is Car Cemetery Bar, an eclectic and quirky bar that is popular among locals and tourists alike.
If you’re planning on dancing the night away, Bodrum is known for its extravagant and exclusive clubs that attract the jet-set crowd.
One of the most famous clubs is Halikarnas, a massive open-air venue that can host up to 10,000 people and offers spectacular shows and performances.
Another popular option is Club Catamaran, a floating nightclub that offers a unique party experience with great music and stunning views of the sea.
In Fethiye, the party scene is more subdued, with smaller clubs catering to a more local crowd.
One of the most popular options is Deep Club, a cosy and intimate venue that plays a mix of Turkish and international music.
Another great option is The Raki Table, a laid-back bar that offers a selection of local and international drinks and a friendly atmosphere.
While both locations have plenty to do after dark, Bodrum, as the larger city, has a few more options and is better able to cater to those looking for more high-end options…
Which Is Better For Food?
When it comes to dining out, both destinations have plenty to offer, but again, they have distinct characteristics.
In particular, Bodrum is known for its high-end dining scene, with many restaurants offering stunning sea views and fresh seafood dishes.
One of the most popular options is Limon Cafe & Restaurant, a chic eatery located on the beachfront that offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a modern twist. Another great option is Kocadon Restaurant, a traditional Turkish restaurant that serves delicious meze dishes and grilled meats.
Fethiye, on the other hand, has a more relaxed and casual dining scene, with many restaurants offering a mix of Turkish and international cuisine.
One of the best options is Mozaik Bahce, a cosy garden restaurant that offers a laid-back atmosphere and delicious homemade food.
Another great option is Baran Restaurant, a family-run restaurant that serves traditional Turkish cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients.
Which Is More Expensive?
When it comes to budgeting, both Bodrum and Fethiye offer a range of options to fit different wants and needs.
Bodrum is generally considered the more upscale destination, with more high-end hotel and restaurant options catering to a more affluent clientele.
However, it’s also possible to find more affordable accommodations and dining options, particularly if you’re willing to venture away from the more touristy areas.
Fethiye, on the other hand, is known for its more laid-back, chilled vibe and slightly lower prices. While there are certainly luxury accommodations and high-end dining options available, there are also plenty of budget-friendly choices that won’t break the bank.
You can find a variety of inexpensive guesthouses, apartments, and hostels, as well as local restaurants serving delicious and affordable traditional Turkish cuisine.
Overall, the cost of accommodations, food, and activities in Bodrum tends to be higher than in Fethiye.
But with both destinations offering plenty of budget-friendly options, you can vacation in either location on any budget. But Bodrum, in general, may suit those who prefer luxury resorts and fine dining as it has more choices.
Where To Stay According To Your Budget
Budget: Artunc Hotel is bougie budgeting! Located centrally to all the best Bodrum has to offer, this hotel is fantastic for anyone looking to relax in luxury without emptying their wallets.
Gorgeous private rooms, a cafe on the premises, a lovely garden, and a pool – you can’t get better than this for the price. Find pictures and details here.
Luxury: Luxury hotels get no better than METT Hotel & Beach Resort. Nestled on the coast of Bodrum, this gorgeous hotel offers a private beach, indoor and outdoor pools, a restaurant, and an inclusive breakfast (that comes with a buffet)! You find pictures and details here.
Luxury: The gorgeous, adults-only Ada Dreams History is one of the most photogenic stays throughout Fethiye. The villas, views, garden, and outdoor pool all make this a place to remember. See photos and rates!
What Time Of Year Is Best?
Bodrum and Fethiye are not too far apart, and both offer pleasant weather for much of the year.
The high season for tourism in both destinations runs from June to September, when temperatures are high and crowds are at their peak.
If you prefer quieter beaches and cooler weather, the shoulder seasons of April to May and September to October may be worth investigating too.
In Bodrum, the weather is generally sunny and warm from May to October, with temperatures peaking in July and August. Spring and autumn are a little cooler, but still pleasant, with fewer tourists in town.
Winter in Bodrum can be chilly and rainy, with some businesses closed for the season.
Bodrum also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, including the Bodrum International Ballet Festival in August and the Bodrum Cup Regatta in October.
Fethiye enjoys a classic Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers from May to September and mild winters from December to February. Spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling.
Fethiye also hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Fethiye International Air Games in October and the World Music Festival in June.
The months either side of the main peak season (April and May, and also September and October) are always worth checking out. While the weather is still hot and sunny, prices for flights and accommodations can be a little lower during these months…
Which Is Easier To Get To?
Bodrum and Fethiye are two of the most popular tourist destinations within Turkey and are separated by a little over 200 kilometers of stunning coastline.
Both locations are served by nearby local airports, and you should find it relatively easy to source a flight to either, especially if you are traveling from within Europe.
To get to Bodrum, the more western of the two locations, you can source a direct flight to Milas–Bodrum Airport (BJV), which is served by several major airlines from many of the major European cities and the Middle East. Transfer time from the airport into Bodrum’s center will take around thirty minutes.
Fethiye, to the east of Bodrum, can be reached by air via Dalaman Airport (DLM), which is a little under an hour’s drive away, to the west of the city. The airport receives flights from many airlines, with direct flights from a few major European cities.
As the larger of the two destinations, Bodrum has the busier of the two airports, and you may find it easier to reach with direct flights that suit your intended vacation dates.
The smaller Dalaman Airport has fewer direct flight options, but it is well connected to northern Europe in particular. As a result, Bodrum may be a more convenient option for international travelers, depending on the location of your departure.
If you are traveling from farther afield, you may find it easier to find a flight into Turkey’s capital city, Istanbul, and then transfer down to either Bodrum or Fethiye onboard a domestic flight. The flight time to either Bodrum or Fethiye from Istanbul is a little over an hour.
Which Is Easier For Getting Around?
Once there, both Bodrum and Fethiye are relatively easy to get around, with a couple of transportation options available to help you move about the cities and see their sights.
Fethiye boasts an extensive bus and taxi network which conveniently connects various parts of the city.
Similarly, Bodrum also has a bus network and plenty of taxis available, but also has a unique mode of transport known as the dolmuş.
These are shared taxis and are an easy and affordable way to get around the city and can be hailed from the side of the road.
Which Is The Better Choice?
Whether you choose Bodrum or Fethiye, you are sure to enjoy a superb, memorable vacation.
Both literally and figuratively, there’s little between these two stunning Turkish destinations. Bodrum and Fethiye both boast an array of stunning beaches and a warm, inviting ocean to cool off in.
Bodrum is a great option for those seeking a lively nightlife scene and luxurious accommodations, while Fethiye offers a more relaxed and low-key atmosphere alongside its breath-taking natural scenery.
If you’re planning a family vacation, you may prefer Fethiye for its wider range of outdoor activities and kid-friendly attractions, while culture enthusiasts may be drawn to Bodrum’s rich history, fascinating museums, and the chance to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Those on a budget may find Fethiye to be more wallet-friendly, with Bodrum having more high-end options, although both places offer plenty of affordable options too.
No matter which of these delightful Turkish towns you choose to visit, you’ll be treated to stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality…