Located in the south of Turkey in the Teke Peninsula is the beautiful Turquoise coast; a breath-taking combination of gorgeous beaches, clear waters and forest-covered slopes. On this little patch of paradise is the Lycian Way. Spanning between Fethiye in the west to Antalya in the east, the full Lycian Way route is an impressive 300 miles long and can take up to 29 days to travel. It is considered by many to be not only one of the best places to go walking in Turkey but one of the world’s greatest hikes. Along its route, hikers can enjoy some of the most breath-taking views to be found in Turkey from rugged mountains to pristine sandy beaches caves and coves. At the same time, also experiencing the diverse and fascinating history of ancient Lycia every step of the way.
A PATH LESS TRAVELLED
Lycia was home to an ancient civilisation that existed during the “Bronze age” of human civilization (between 3000 – 1200bc). Its history is one of diversity including times under the rule of Persia, Alexander The Great and The Roman Empire. The result is a truly varied and intriguing exploration into human history. Despite this long history, the Lycian Way as we know it has only been established since 1999. It’s the result of historian Kate Clow; who researched, designed and marked the route which took advantage of ancient Lycian foot and mule paths.
The traditional route begins at Ovacık (although, you can begin in Fethiye if you wish) in the west and finishing in Hısarçandır in the east. You can, of course, do the trek in reverse.
This route takes travellers via the Sidyma Ruins and includes climbing or taking the cable car up the Tahtalı Dağı on the path from Çıralı to Hisarçandır. The early section is the gentlest on the legs and prepares you for the steeper sections towards the end. For anyone looking for those extra miles, the route was expanded in 2014 beyond its official end in Hısarçandır to include Geyikbayırı.
STEP BY STEP
Walking the Lycian Way is going to be a challenging but rewarding undertaking. The ground can be hard, uneven and narrow as you traverse rugged, natural terrain. The trail also includes inclines and declines which can often be very steep and sudden as you move away from and toward the coast. For this reason, it is recommended you wear a decent pair of soft-soled, ankle-grasping hiking boots. To navigate the route, you can use the physical way markings, however, the use of GPS trackers and a map of the Turkey Coast is also advised. Further recommended equipment includes a backpack, water bottle, and a change of clothes.
Walking the Lycian Way can take up to 29 days and you’ll be able to find accommodation along the route. However, if camping is more to your style, then you’ll be pleased to know that doing so is possible, across almost the entire route.
For those with less hiking experience (or without the luxury of 29 days to traverse its full length) there are a number of smaller walks and sections of the Lycian Way which are suitable – including parts of the western portion. For those looking to cycle, alternative routes including along the Lycian Way are available using modern roadways. These routes still enable you to experience many of the same beautiful sites and historical wonders.
WHATEVER THE WEATHER
So you’ve decided to take on the challenge, the next question is when. You can trek along the Lycian Way at any time of year. However, spring and autumn seasons tend to be the best, weather-wise. If you were to opt to take part in spring you’ll get to enjoy snow atop hills while the lower landscapes are covered with flowers (which is why this time of year is our favourite). If you decide to take part during the winter, the nights can be cold despite the Mediterranean climate, so ensure you carry winter-ready gear. It is also advised that the mountainous parts only be taken by experienced winter hikers. It is to be noted that storms are also a possibility in the latter part of the year. Finally, summer is likely to be extremely hot and dry.
It is recommended that you start your journey earlier in the morning while the temperature is lower. It is also important to note that some sections of the Lycian Way lack suitable cover. However, these areas can be bi-passed.
A JEWEL IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
The Lycian Way rewards the days of tough walking with a truly spectacular and unique experience. Along your journey, you can visit places of historical significance, including an ancient Roman aqueduct, The Letoon, a religious ruin dedicated to Greek goddess Leto near the ancient city of Xanthos, the ruins of the river city Olympos, Patara – The Lycian Capital and the underwater ruins of Kekova-Simena.
Alongside the historical, you’ll also get the opportunity to visit numerous modern towns from tourist hotspots including Finike, and Kalkan, to less well known rural towns such as Çıralı giving you an excellent opportunity to enjoy real Turkish culture and of course no end of delicious food.
This combination of history, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and true Turkish culture means walking the Lycian Way has something to offer everyone and is a truly incredible experience.
HOW CAN KALKAN HOLIDAY PROPERTY HELP YOU?
If you’re looking for a luxury property to enjoy before embarking on your adventure or for more information on walking The Lycian Way, please get in touch with one of our specialist operators who will be more than happy to assist you.