If you want to discover Turkey then this epic trail is the perfect place to start. The Lycian Way is a long-distance hiking trail which follows the Teke peninsula in the Mediterranean part of South Turkey. You will explore local nature, culture and history. There are numerous fascinating historical sites for you to visit along this route. Whilst at the same time you can explore lessor known areas of Turkey’s natural beauty. From breath taking coastline to fruit-filled rural hamlets this trail will lead you on a truly enriching cultural adventure. With 509 km of walkway to cover, hiking the whole trail is a big commitment. It takes around a month to complete so unless you are a seasoned hiker choosing a section to hike for a day or two is perhaps more realistic. You will still find it a very rewarding way to spend some of your holiday.
Following the Trail
The route, which was ‘launched’ in 1999 after a significant research project. It is not, however, comprised of one single road. There are a combination old Roman roads, forest trails and dirt tracks. Impressively a total of 25 antiquated sites are connected by the trail, which tell the story of the great Lycian League. The intention for this project was to both preserve and share the ancient marvels which populate this epic trail and to bring tourism to more rural areas of Turkey.
A British/Turkish amateur historian named Kate Clow embarked on the mammoth task of researching, designing and waymarking this epic trail. She rallied political and financial support and assembled a team of volunteers to help plan the best route. Furthermore, she has created fantastic resources to allow travellers like you to make the most out of the route. These include a guidebook for the trail and in collaboration with the Turkish Culture Routes Society a Lycian Way app. The app is available to you on iphone and android. They give you extensive information on points of interest, contoured maps and accommodation options.
Lycian Way Waymarks
The standard waymarks for the route reflect the colours of the Turkish flag (although other colours are also used). You will see red and white rectangles painted on rocks and garden walls. These are more frequent in areas where the trail curves and coils and less frequent on straighter parts of the route. You should look out for signposts along the route topped with the header Likya Yolu. Yellow arrows are position below pointing you in the direction of the nearest calling points in each direction of the walkway.
Which Lycian Way Route Should You Take?
Embarking on the full 29 day journey required to complete the trail is almost certainly too great a challenge for most. You can easily spend a few days of your holiday exploring parts of the trail, as the walkway is separated into many different sections. There are lots of great ‘short routes’ you could complete in a day or two. And yes they are within relatively easy reach of our beloved town of Kalkan.
Faralya and the Butterfly Valley
Another moderate section of the walkway runs between Faralya and Kabak. You will follow rural roads through unspoiled forests and meadows for approximately 8 km. The small village of Faralya is located in an elevated position above the Butterfly Valley. Here you will find a few highly recommended pansiyons for spending the night. If you prefer camping accommodation for tents is also available in this tranquil spot. You will love the incredible views over the valley and out to sea.
To add a real challenge to this section of the walkway you can descend down the butterfly valley to the beach but beware it is incredibly steep. In order to get to the bottom you will use ropes fixed to the rocky facade. We advise you not to take heavy rucksacks as the descent it tricky. You should allow a few hours for this detour. If you decide to take it to allow time for steady climbing as well as enjoying the views from the beach and a dip in the waters.
Local Village Routes
For a taste of traditional village life you could try the route which goes between the villages of Uzumlu, Islamlar, Bezirgan and Saribelen. These villages are all local to Kalkan. They have kept their traditional charm and are scarcely populated with families of farmers and shepherds. You will see old stone houses and wooden “ambarlar” where food is stored on stilts. You will come across multitudes of orchards with organic fruit trees, friendly-faced locals and of course the odd Mosque.
Spring is a particularly good time for you to walk this section. During this time the villages of Bezirgan and Saribelen are full of blossoming almond trees. This section of the route is 23 km long with a steep incline between Bezirgan and Saribelen. So by the time you get to the end you may want to stay in one of the pansiyons at Saribelen for the night and regain some strength.
You can access the start and end points for the above short routes by public transport. This is in the form of the local Dolmus services. These are small minibuses that charge you a minimal fee. They travel to other towns and main bus stations for connecting journeys.
Nature & Wildlife
As well as the incredible historical and social exploration the Lycian Way has to offer, the terrain of the trail itself holds many natural wonders. As you trek your way up soaring mountains, through extended valleys and along hidden coastal paths with secluded beaches you will observe profoundly beautiful scenery and become acquainted with a variety of native creatures.
You will commonly spot deer and wild goats along the route. Also expect to see smaller creatures such as porcupines, rabbits, red squirrels, lynx, tortoises and a variety of lizards including chameleons.
If you are a bird spotter there are many species of birds which you can see throughout the year. Due the mild climate there are two rare breeds which you may come across: the Smyrna kingfisher and the wall climber.
You may encounter endangered and dangerous animals along the way too. Snakes and scorpions live in certain mountainous areas along the trail so you should stay vigilant.
The endangered loggerhead turtles lay their eggs at both Patara beach and Cirali beach near to the site of Olympos and you can often see them in the turquoise waters along the coast. So if you decide to take a much needed dip in the sea to cool off along the way be sure to look out for their heads bobbing above the waves.
Where to sleep?
You will find that most accommodation along the Lycian Way route are family-run guesthouses. These are locally known as Pansiyons. Although these modest abodes may lack luxury they certainly make up for in traditional charm and warm hospitality. If the early parts of the routes appeal to you there are several quaint B&B’s to choose from. The Kayakoy Pansiyon is a reasonably priced 3 bedroomed wooden framed guest house in the heart of Kayakoy village near to many eateries.
At Faralya the Montenegro Motel and George House are well known hosts for partakers of the Lycian Way. They will offer you help with the routes and information on wildlife, flora and fauna to look out for. Montenegro has a number of traditional stone and timber chalets set in a beautifully maintained garden full of brightly coloured flowers. George House also allows campers to pitch their tents on their sea view terrace provided they make use of the restaurant for refreshments.
If the village route appeals to you the Hidden Garden is a great half-way stop off point between Islamlar and Akbel villages where you could spend the night before continuing on to Bezirgan village. Similar to the Kayakoy Pansiyon, Hidden Garden offers a number of wooden cabins for accommodation all nestled in thick greenery in a quiet location. Alternatively you could spend an evening at the much-loved Moonstone House in Saribelen, a welcoming haven after the elevating trek from Bezirgan village. If you are an animal lover you will be in your element here as the hosts take care of a large number of cats and dogs on their grounds.
What will you need?
The Lycian Way route leads you through populated areas between its’ rural and historical calling points. So you don’t ned to worry too much about taking lots of food supplies or cooking equipment. Trust us there are plenty of great options along the way. You can stock up at local convenience shops for snacks. Alternatively you can take a break to have lunch and the pansiyons provide wonderful Turkish breakfasts and evening meals. Make sure you have bottles which you can refill with water at one of the many public water fountains along the route. You will also find villagers full or hospitality and are happy to share their water or provide refreshing Turkish cay or fresh fruit juice in their gardens.
Good hiking boots are a must as the trail cuts through rocky terrain and of course be sure to carry Turkish Lira as rural areas don’t tend to support card payments. Many of the archaeological sites have an entrance fee which you should keep in mind when planning your budget for any sections you plan to walk.
How can Kalkan Holiday Property Help?
If you are searching for a quality holiday property to stay in before or after walking any sections of the Lycian Way please get in touch. Our professional team will be happy to assist. We can also advise you on more interesting sites to visit and help you plan your itinerary.