Come to Fethiye during the summer months and one of the first things you’ll notice, apart from the heat and sunshine, is that there are some very special, uniquely Turkish and captivating smells.

Many of them are totally addictive, in the nicest possible way.

For Fethiye Times there are five aromas that are particularly appealing and trigger wonderful memories. Of course, we appreciate that one person’s perfume is another’s smell from hell… but here they are, in no particular order of preference, as we love them all equally but in different ways:

Top 5 Fethiye aromas – Kekik

Kekik on Fethiye’s hillsides

Kekik is a kind of pungent Mediterranean thyme that thrives on the rocks and crevices of rural hills and mountainsides. It loves the sunshine and as heat strengthens the aroma, during the summer its perfume pervades the not only where it is growing but also the surrounding area.

Kekik is a must have herb in the kitchen. Use it liberally in lamb dishes, add it to salads, and pop a sprig of it into a tea glass and infuse in boiling water, for a comforting if unusual drink.

With the addition of a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of honey, Turkish people drink it like this to ease coughs, sore throats and colds. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

Kekik çayı
Kekik çayı

Top 5 Fethiye aromas – Barbecues

Pirzola - lamb cutlets Turkish style
Pirzola – lamb cutlets Turkish style

OK… if you’re a vegetarian you might want to pass on this one but for carnivores visiting of living in Fethiye one of the most amazing aromas has to be the smell of pirzola (lamb chops) cooking on an outdoor grill.

As soon as the temperatures begin to rise it is one of the most deliciously hungry-making aromas around. Turkish mangal (barbecues) are everywhere, whole restaurants are devoted to them.

A grilled shop is the most simple but pure way of cooking meat, vegetables and think slices of bread. Rub the metal grill with a raw onion and throw in some kekik (see above) and it is guaranteed to make people drool with anticipation.

Turkish people love their barbecues, wherever they live but here in Fethiye we have the best weather for making the most of an outdoor feast… Afiyet olsun!

Top 5 Fethiye aromas – Lemon cologne

Lemon cologne
Lemon cologne

If you visit a traditional Turkish family it arrives as a matter of course. Or if you like to eat a pirzola feast with your fingers, it is an essential part of the post meal ritual. It will be sprinkled into your hands, you smell it and then wipe the back of your neck and then your hands.

Yes, we are talking about lemon cologne. The world’s most simple and pure aftershave, hand cleaner, cooling spritzer, the uses for this heavenly cologne are numerous.

Your nose will become so attuned to it that even when you are not in Turkey you will immediately recognize it and realise you are among Turkish friends.

cologne sprinkler
cologne and rosewater sprinkler

Top 5 Fethiye aromas – Rosewater

Roses are grown on a massive scale in and around Isparta, Turkey’s ‘Lake District’.

Although much of the sweet, romantic oil is exported to the world’s finest perfume houses, enough stays in Turkey to make many rose scented products. Soaps and creams are popular but rose water makes a great spritzer, just like its lemony cousin.

Rose oil /water
Rose oil /water

It parts of south Turkey like Hatay, and other countries of the middle east, rose water is used in cooking, particularly desserts but in this part of Turkey it is used as a cologne, particularly at funerals and one rare occasions, very important visits.

Spraying rosewater when the Turkish Prime Minister visited Fethiye several years ago
Spraying rosewater in Fethiye town centre when the former Turkish Prime Minister visited Fethiye several years ago

Top 5 Fethiye aromas – Turkish coffee

We love the smell of Turkish coffee. Just near to the everyday market there is a traditional coffee trader and the smell of the roasting beans is totally addictive.

Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee

The history of the tiny cups of thick Turkish coffee, sade, orta, şekerli, goes back a long way and we always imagine how the rich aroma must have been luring passersby into coffee houses for centuries.

We also love the ritual of reading the grounds ‘fal’ as it is called here.

To find out how to make a perfect cup of Turkish coffee read our article Lazy Suzan – Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee

Top 5 Fethiye – What are your favourite Fethiye smells?

We don’t expect everyone to agree with our choice.

After all, one person’s perfume is another one’s stink, so please do share your own favourite Fethiye smells with us and our readers.


  1. Great article! Smells are so much part of memories! I love the smell of the orange blossoms, and the night jasmine and melissa – although a little of those goes a long way!!

    • We love those smells too, Sue. Let’s face it this could have been our TOP 20 but your favorites have taken it up too top 8! Are there any more much loved smells out there?

  2. I don’t know what it is, but its the smell in the air when leaving the arrival hall, as I walk down the ramp towards the transfers, the smell is there. Its particularly noticable when landing on a night flight when its still really warm. I love it…means I am in my favorite place

  3. When I arrive at my property at this time of the year I am greeted with the wonderful smell of honeysuckle. If I smell it anywhere else, I always think of Fethiye and Turkey.