The Lycian Way (Turkish: Likya Yolu) is a 540-km, waymarked hiking trail in southwestern Turkey, connecting Fethiye in the west with the vicinity of Antalya in the east (more precisely the village and climbing centre of Geyikbayırı up on the mountains) along the Lycian coast.
The Lycian Way is a great way to get a sense of the true Turkish Mediterranean, away from crowded beaches, expensive resorts, and non-native palm trees.
The route was researched by Kate Clow, a British expat living in Turkey, with the help of a few volunteers. It was waymarked with the support of Garanti Bank and the permission of the Turkish Ministry of Culture in 1999. The Lycian Way connects a number of villages, mountain hamlets, Lycian and Roman sites on its route and ranges in elevation from sea level to the 1,800 m pass near Mt Tahtalı (one of the several mountains known as Olympos around the ancient Eastern Mediterranean). It's not a single footpath that has been intact since times immemorial, rather it's a series of ancient paths, mule and caravan trails, forest and backcountry roads. For many sites, it's the most convenient way to reach them, and for many others, they can be better appreciated by arriving over the original old road.
Although some hikers do the whole trail in one go, most people prefer to do it in sections. Some segments are inevitably more popular than others, and those near the main towns can be considered suitable for day walks.
The trail is mostly without litter, except for areas used by the Lycia Marathon which were not subsequently cleared. Once rubbish-strewn, it is very hard to clean the trail up, as it mostly lies in remote and rugged territory. Therefore, following leave-no-trace guidelines is important. Also, think ahead carefully about what you will need and what you won't, as anything that is regarded as "trash" will need to be carried to the nearest garbage bin – a convenience even some of the mountain hamlets completely lack, let alone the trail itself.
The Turkish Culture Routes Society maintains and supports the route and sells the official guidebook from its website.
Signs and waymarks
The standard waymark of the Lycian Way is a half white, half red rectangle . The recommended standard distance between marks is 80 m, but when the trail starts to twist and turn, they are more frequent and when the trail extends on a straight line, as an easy-to-follow path, they are farther apart. They are mostly painted on rocks along the route, though you can also spot some on utility poles, garden walls, or on the actual path itself.
Other waymarks include an angled mark which precedes a turn; the angle points in the direction of the turn. A "red cross" is marked on "wrong" trails and roads, usually accompanied by the standard rectangle painted on the "correct" way.
Once every five or so years, a number of volunteers renew the waymarks. However, in the meantime some local villagers repaint the marks on some sections and this may cause the new marks shifting a few (hundred) metres on either side of the actual trail. In some cases, villagers have diverted the trail to pass their accommodation or cafe. However, the "new" marks join the "old" marks somewhere in some way, so you will not get lost even by following these "accidentally" painted marks.
Signs, easily-recognizable, distinctive yellow arrows with the header Fethiye'den Antalya'ya Likya Yolu, "the Lycian Way from Fethiye to Antalya", are nowhere as frequent as the waymarks, but still can be seen, and indeed are useful, on most junctions (where for example trail branches off from a main road) and at village exits. They name the next destination on it with the distance in kilometres. The distances on signs are approximate, so don't worry if you see the distance going up or down by 1 km on the next sign.
April–June and September–November are the best and most popular months to hike the trail, as you escape both the infernal summer heat, and chilly, rainy and in general dreary winter weather.
There are no fees or permits required for hiking or camping along the Lycian Way.
You may consider bringing in:
- Maps — Maps are not absolute necessities to follow the trail as waymarks are sufficient to do that. Kate Clows guidebook "The Lycian Way" contains a map of the Lycian Way. It's useful to get an overview, but difficult to use for orientation or spontanious route changes (no scale, grid, contours or north directional information). In March 2015, the maps "Lycia East Hiking Map 1:50.000" and "Lycia West Hiking Map 1:50,000" were released (MapSite Verlag). Together they cover the entire area of the Lycian Way and contain all important topographical features and informations on accommodation, catering, water sources, sightseeing and so on. Some years ago, three more maps were released (east, west, and middle) which are based on the old Soviet military maps (by EWP). The maps of ancient Lycian sites (can be found in the Internet) could be useful in order to understand better the locations of ancient Lycian cities with respect to modern Turkish cities and villages. Interactive, detailed maps are available for each route section and each community, showing accommodation, attractions, services, waypoints, and other useful locations in the Lycian Way Wiki.
- Tent and camping gear — While you'll find some kind of accommodation (mostly family-run guesthouses) in some villages (usually separated from each other by a distance of an average daily walk) along most of the route, there are two sections where wild camping is your only choice for two nights in a row. Even if you don't plan to hike such a section, camping is a great way to reduce your accommodation costs and having camping gear at hand gives much more freedom: Who wants to walk the further 5km to the guesthouse you plan to overnight while you are totally exhausted and are standing against a gorgeous view? But this choice, of course, has a toll: The lighter your backpack, the happier you will be.
- A torch — To have a torch or some other source of light is a must as no part of the trail, except where it traverses the villages, is illuminated at night, and it quickly becomes a nightmare to follow the waymarks once the night sets.
- A phrasebook — Bring in a Turkish phrasebook as the trail goes through really remote mountain hamlets and most villages along the route hardly sees any non-locals, let alone foreigners, other than the hikers – although sometimes only a few kilometres (and a good deal of elevation) separates these remote villages from mass tourism.
- Bottles and bottles and bottles of water — Hot and dry Mediterranean climate reigns the area, and you'll need lots of water. If you have the misfortune of hiking the trail in summer, be ready to walk under the scorching sun for 3-4 hours straight without ever seeing a source of water in some areas. In general, you are recommended to add rehydration salts and water if you go during the summer, but check with your doctor for advice on this before you go.
- Cash and change — there are some unmanned kiosks selling bottles where you put the money in a strong box.
- Wikivoyage print-outs — In addition to the actual trail details below, there are separate Wikivoyage articles for relatively larger communities along the trail (indicated by blue links when viewed online). Make sure you check them out for more details on what to see and do and where to eat and sleep while passing through before setting out.
It's fairly easy to get to the western trailhead by minibuses (dolmuş): take those heading for Ölüdeniz, and get off just south of the Ovacık/Hisarönü roundabout, at the large sign of 'Montana Resort Hotel'; the trailhead sign is just past that hotel.
The eastern trailhead at Geyikbayırı is 20 km west of Antalya and can be reached by local buses or taxi. It is not signposted.
If you are not on a through-hike, you can always go back to larger towns such as Fethiye or Kaş by taking a minibus along the main road.
While the official start of Lycian Way is in Ovacık, the northern suburb of Ölüdeniz, you can hike it all the way from Fethiye (about 15 km away from Ovacık, and the hub of the region), thanks to the officially separate but connecting side trails. In 2014, the trail has been extended northwards from its former eastern terminus, adding an extra two days of hiking, and finishes at Geyikbayırı, where you could chill out and do some rock-climbing.
Total distance: 8-9 km
A waymarked, cobbled and wide medieval trail through a pine forest link 1 Fethiye to Kayaköy, the "ghost town" on the hills, providing a quite easy hike between these locales, with the only hardish section, particularly if it's summer and you are carrying a large backpack, being the first or so km out of Fethiye (ascending and no shade). Some sections of this path is surfaced with tarmac though, so your peaceful walk will be interrupted a few times by the road, but these sections are short fortunately.
The waymarks of this trail are sometimes yellow&red, suggesting that this is a side trail, while some other marks are white&red, meaning that this is the main trail. Yellow defaced with white and white defaced with yellow are also common. But no matter what, they are frequent and visible enough as not to let you get lost. The signs bear the title Likya Yolları, "the Lycian Ways", rather than the usual Fethiye'den Antalya'ya Likya Yolu and Kayaköy is referred to as Kaya (Levissi) on them.
From downtown Fethiye, start by following brown "Kayaköy" (sometimes "Kaya" or "Karmylassos") road signs. From the corner of the mosque, turn right (towards the hills and rock tombs), and pass by the minibus stop for Kayaköy. Then you will come to a T-junction, turn left and then about a couple of hundred metres later, right (look for the street sign saying "Kaya"). This will take you to the tarmac road out of Fethiye, heading for Kayaköy, after passing by a Lycian sarcophagus right in the middle of the road before you left the built-up area. At first the road follows a valley bottom, with rock tombs small and big carved on both sides. After having a bird's eye view of Fethiye to the right, the road will bend left, still ascending. After passing by a few cottages to the left, you will see the first sign of the trail pointing that way. The path enters the forest after passing a small stone bridge over a dry creekbed, but it isn't waymarked, nor clearly visible. This is actually a shortcut and rejoins the tarmac road a couple of hundred metres ahead. After a short walk on the side of the road turning left, the actual trail begins next to a fountain with cold water (the sign also confirms the way): refill your bottles here because this is the last fountain until Keçiler, about 6 km away. Initially the trail is a dirt road with loose pebbles scattered about. After a short ascent, and before the trail turns towards right, there is a beautiful view of the Gulf of Fethiye on your left. A hundred metres along, the very-well designed cobbled path begins and gently ascents towards the ridge, where you will once more join the tarmac road. After keeping on the side of the road for about 1 km, and having the first distant view of the ghost town between the trees, there is another sign saying Kaya (Levissi) 5 km, pointing left which the road bends. It may look like it's showing the tarmac road, but it's not! It's showing the (re)start of the good ol' cobbled path, not clearly visible at this point, because of its lower alignment but actually just next to the road. The 'cobbled' trail at this point is not nearly as wide, or level, or as much of a defined trail as its earlier sections, so is easy to miss. The cobbled trail quickly turns right into the forest afterwards, while the road keeps running straight ahead. After a gentle descend in the forest, the path is once more intersected by the road. This time, there is no sign or nearby marks to show the way. From where you exited the forest, you'll need to go to the right for a few metres and you will quickly see a rocky path, soon turning into a wide cobbled path, leading down to the right from the tarmac road. The trail will keep descending, and will cross the tarmac road again, at which found you need to walk a short ways to the right on the tarmac road and you will again see the wide cobbled path. Soon the forest disappears with the first buildings since you left Fethiye. This is the village of Keçiler, officially a neighbourhood of Kayaköy 2 km south. A coffeehouse will welcome you into the village, take the path to the left at the crossroad in front of it. From this point on, you will walk on dirt roads with no descends or ascents. After walking for a while, the road winds right and passes by a Lycian sacrophagus on the hillside to your left. After the sacrophagus, you will, for the last time, join the tarmac road that descends from the hill to the left. This is the main road that's been following you from a distance from Fethiye. After walking on its side for a little bit, you'll arrive at the village square with a large fountain to the left (very warm water!). You should take the straight road for Kayaköy, and a sign points towards the road to the right leading to Afkule and Gemile (14 km on a combined hike). After a quick walk between some restaurants, you will arrive at the centre of Kayaköy proper, the ghost town.
The ancient town of 2 Kayaköy has a number of guesthouses, restaurants, a grocery store (cash only; on the left of the road turning right in front of the church, ask for market), and an old fountain. The water from the fountain doesn't taste wonderful but is drinkable as many people, even non-locals, drink from it with seemingly no problems. There is also a stand-alone map of the village, an illustration, on the side of the road between the fountain and the church. It's posted reversed: anything that shows up on the right of the illustration is on your left and vice versa.
From Kayaköy, you have two different trails to choose from to get to the 1 official trailhead of the Lycian Way in Ovacık: either the one that gets you to the beach next to the Blue Lagoon at Ölüdeniz, or the one that takes you right to Ovacık over the hills. If you choose to take the route via the beach, then you will have to walk on the side of the ascending road with somewhat heavy traffic (in high season) between Ölüdeniz and Ovacık for about 3 km. An alternative is to take a minibus (dolmuş) to avoid that section.
Total distance 4-5 km
This route is reported to be one of the easiest hikes in the region (always descending, after the brief initial ascent passing over the ridge behind Kayaköy) and can comfortably be taken in 2 hours. The waymarks are the usual red&white or red&yellow rectangles.
The route starts near the St Taksiarhis Church (Upper Church) in the centre of ghost town. The trail partially runs through pine forest and offers impressive views of the sea below and St Nicholas Island off shore. At one point the trail connects to the road next to the beach clubs and leads to 3 Ölüdeniz.
Distance: 7 km
As does the trail to the Blue Lagoon/Ölüdeniz, this path begins in front of the Upper Church.
Total distance: about 8 km, elevation: 250-750 m
4 Ovacık and nearby Hisarönü are on the main road between Fethiye and Ölüdeniz. They are both fairly developed resorts typical in the area, with all kinds of tourism infrastructure: Lots of hotels and guesthouses, restaurants and bars, grocery stores which accept credit cards and which offer a large selection of foods and drinks.
The official start of the Lycian Way is east of the road southwards from Ovacık to the sea. From Hisarönü roundabout, walk towards the direction of Ölüdeniz, and in about 1 km later, you'll see the first yellow sign of the Lycian Way on the left; or on the right side of the road 3 km uphill from Ölüdeniz, if you have walked the coastal route. The sign says Kirme 10 km, and all signs along this section drop Kozağaç in favour of Kirme as the first village on the route. However, this small sign is obscured by the adjacent and much bigger signs of Montana Resort Hotel (easily visible) and some other signboards informing about the Lycian Way project put up by local charities.
For this section, take along at least 5 litres of water per each person as this is a hard walk almost always ascenting with no descends or level grounds, there is almost no shade and there is no water source for 8 km straight other than three rainwater cisterns with buckets recruited from old cooking oil tins. However, the cisterns are of no use unless you have purifying tablets or filters, and perhaps not even then, as the water inside is full of mosquito larvae and stinks to high heaven. Take this note seriously before attempting the trail especially in summer.
After passing by the Montana Resort Hotel and a smaller guesthouse, the tarmac road gives way for a dirt (but still wide) forest track. You'll pass under the start sign of the Lycian Way at this point. From this point on, all waymarks are the standard white and red.
Trail begins in a pine forest, but the trees will disappear eventually in favour of Mediterranean scrub, the maquis, and the forest track will turn into a narrow footpath, sectionally cobbled but mostly covered with loose gravel. With some fantastic views of the Blue Lagoon to your right, you'll start ascending along the trail which turns and twists on the side of the mountain. This mule trail was the only connection of the inhabitants of the hamlets of Kozağaç and Kirme to the rest of the world until 1983, when a much wider dirt road was bulldozed from the other side of the mountain. It's still rarely used by local shepherds and their flocks. Be extra careful in this section as there is sometimes literally nothing between you and high cliffs. There are also some branching trails that should not be taken, so watch out for those red crosses at the junctions. At some point of the trail, green dots join in; however, they are not to be followed. They rather show the way for the trail climbing up from the Ölüdeniz beach direct to the summit of 2 Mount Babadağ, 1,970 m. The green dots accompany white and red rectangles until near Kozağaç.
Along most of this section, occasional screams you'll hear are nothing to be worried about. Just look above and you'll see those are just paragliders having fun on their way from the summit of the mountain to the beach.
After a sometimes-heavy and shadeless ascent which feels like forever, and passing through the occasional gate carved into rocks blocking the trail, you'll arrive at the last cistern and a large tree which offer lots of shade – a great spot to rest. However, be careful about scorpions and other possibly dangerous arachnids in this area. At this point, you have taken about two-thirds of the trail to Kozağaç with about a third more to go. If your water has started to go low, start water saving measures: Drink only when you are really thirsty, drink only one or two gulps, and stop eating snacks. The first (drinkable) water source is in Kozağaç.
The trail once more starts ascending immediately after the cistern. About 1 km away from Kozağaç, it will suddenly level off into a ground covered with larger gravel, surrounded by some new constructions, including a castle-like house. Its large stone-covered towers will welcome you back to civilization here. The trail afterwards joins a wide dirt road. After turning left, you will have full view of Kozağaç. Here is the first fountain, with very cold and good-tasting water to the left of the road. However, do not use soap in this fountain to avoid sud build-up as the long trough below the fountain is where local goats drink from. You can use soap, however, at the lower fountain coming from the trough as the wastewater there goes directly down the drain.
The green dots branch off to follow their way near the fountain, but as mentioned, you don't follow them.
Distance: about 4 km, elevation: 750-650 m
5 Kozağaç is a mountain hamlet with only a few houses sandwiched between the towering granite body of Mt. Babadağ above and the high cliffs of the Kıdrak Valley below. It's just under the route of the paragliders. There is no accommodation or a shop here.
The trail starts to descent slowly as it leaves Kozağaç, where you will pass by another fountain with cold water. After passing by the abandoned school building you'll arrive in a section covered with fine grey sand. This is where a part of the mountain slided in an earthquake in 1957, and still tens of big rocks fall daily and some pass through here. About 100 metres after the grey sands, you'll pass next to a source of water. It's not easily visible as it's not a fountain really, only a blue hose with no sink or through, but according to locals, the tasty water there comes from the very summit of the mountain and has no possibility of contamination. At this point, you'll enter a pine forest. Most guidebooks and maps speak of a shortcut immediately on the edge of the cliffs through the forest here, however, there were no waymarks in the forest as of July 2009, and the waymarks along the wide dirt road were persuasive enough that the Lycian Way is coterminous with the road. Regardless, walk into the forest to the edge of the cliff to enjoy the stunning view of the Kıdrak Valley below, a much more grandiose version of the more famous Butterfly Valley (7-8 km further ahead on the Lycian Way). The resort lying on the edge of the bottom of the valley is Club Lykia World, a name you should remember in case you want to view the valley from the reverse angle.
After a short and gentle ascent, the view of the Kıdrak Valley disappears, as does the pine forest, and the dirt road winds towards the left. After passing by another abandoned school building and a fountain full of bees, you'll arrive in a junction. As the waymarks confirm, turn left into Kirme. The other roads lead to Karaağaç, a village still higher in the mountains, and Ölüdeniz via Faralya (this is the road used nowadays by local people and vehicles to reach Kozağaç and Kirme).
Distance: about 4 km, elevation: 650 mt to 350 mt
6 Kirme is, like Kozağaç, a mountain hamlet with no accommodation or shops, but is slightly bigger than Kozağaç.
The trail immediately starts to twist and turn as soon as it enters the village, so watch the waymarks carefully. From this point on, you will always be descending until Faralya. After finding the right exit at the little maze between the garden walls in the village, you'll walk along a little valley with a dry creekbed in the middle and surrounded by fields and orchards. After passing two fountains in the valley, in addition to one inside the village, you'll start to quickly lose elevation towards Faralya on the side of a hill covered with shrubs. After climbing down some rocky terrain, with rocks lined like a gentle stair, you will suddenly arrive in a stream with a little waterfall which will welcome you to Faralya. Next to the waterfall is the hotel Die Wassermühle, converted from the old watermill of the village. You can quickly refresh yourself with the water, however it's best to keep adhering to leave-no-trace guidelines out of respect for the visitors of the waterfalls at the Butterfly Valley downstream.
Distance: 8 km
7 Faralya. is the village on the cliffs above the 3 Butterfly Valley. . This is the first village on Lycian Way since Ovacık which has a number of guesthouses, a restroom (albeit a squat type primitive one, though they have running water and liquid soap; next to the mosque of the village - don't look for a Blue Mosque, it's a green little building. It's for free), a grocery store (Faralya Market; cash only, a very meager selection of vegetables, drinks, and snacks; it's located at the exit of the village, on the road to Kabak, though you will have to stray away from the Lycian Way as it's located after where Lycian Way forks from the road), and garbage bins (there is one in front of George's House, about 200 m off the trail towards the cliffs of Butterfly Valley). There is a fountain in front of the mosque, but the water doesn't taste very good and it comes out of a moss-covered marble wall.
After arriving to Faralya at the side of Die Wassermühle, the Lycian Way joins the tarmac road that is coming from Ölüdeniz. For a view of -or climbing down to- the Butterfly Valley, walk to right towards the direction of George's House opposite the mosque. This is a small village, so after passing away the mosque and a Lycian or Greek sacrophagus on the hill near it to left, the village ends. The Lycian Way quickly turns left into the forest after the exit of the village, abandoning the tarmac road towards Kabak, which is referred to as either Faralya (Kabak) or Kabak on signs from the point you entered Faralya on (Die Wassermühle).
Climbing down to Butterfly Valley
The climb is comparatively steep and there are ropes to use in several parts. Nevertheless the well trained locals can do the climb up form the valley in 15-20 minutes. Not suggested to climb in rainy weather since the rocks become slippery. One can stay there in the bungalows or tents for rent (35-40 TL), go to visit the natural park with the waterfall or take a ferry to Ölüdeniz.
For some more details and safety tips on climbing down to the Valley, see Faralya article.
Distance: 7 km
8 Kabak. , consisted of an upper village proper and a number of bungalows below on the 9 coast in Kabak beach. , has a number of guesthouses and a small grocery store (cash only; at the upper village).
There are 2 ways to go to Alınca — via the beach of Kabak (descends down to the beach and connects to the hill road later) or via the hills around the valley with the fabulous sea views from the up. On the way one can find nice wild camping places.
From Kabak on, until Kınık (which is about three days walk away), there are no running water sources except the notable exceptions of the mosques at the hamlets of Bel and Dodurga, and most villagers rely on rainwater cisterns around this area. While you will not have problems regarding water for drinking or having a shower in the guesthouses along this section, be ready to filter your water from sparsely located cisterns in the countryside out of the hamlets. Some cisterns that were noted at outdated guidebooks might have fallen out of use in the meantime, so plan ahead and pack along accordingly.
Distance: 9 km
10 Alınca. An upper hill hamlet of just 13 households with no descend to a beach. There is no shop in the village. However, a villager, named Bayram, rents rooms for 500 TL a night. There is another guesthouse in the village, housed in a stone building: 1 Alamut, ☏ , (cell phone), firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Alınca, there are two ways — either the (non-waymarked) paved road used by vehicles or the actual Lycian Way route, which traverses a section which went through a landslide badly deformed the hillside, as well as some very narrow paths with deep cliffs just the length of a feet away from your steps.
Between Alınca and Gey one can find a running water source if one continues hiking on the road (around 3 km away from Alınca after passing few farm houses on the left).
Close to Alınca, an alternative trail leads away as well, which goes through the village of Boğaziçi (4 km).
Distance: 6 km
11 Gey. Its official name is Yediburunlar and it is comparatively bigger village compared to Alınca and has a mosque, 2 shops (named Lycian market, cash only), WC and a water source brought there just few years ago. This is again an upper village with no descend to a beach.
The village mayor (muhtar) Bayram (not to be confused with the other Bayram in Alınca) rents a room and open-air patio of his two-story wooden house to hikers for overnights stays. Bayram can also reportedly arrange transfer of your excess luggage to your final destination with his pickup. [formerly dead link] Yediburunlar Lighthouse, ☏ , (mobile), Leonhitge@hotmail.com. Another beautifully located boutique guesthouse just outside the village, run by a Turkish-South African couple that has 1 small room they keep for walkers on the Lycian Way. Cliff-top views. Open year-round. 160 TL for 2 persons, half board.
There are 2 ways to continue to Bel — direct route that continues from Lycian market to the right or you may take the side trail through the ruins of Sidyma near the modern village of Dodurga, which is a little longer.
Distance: about 10 km
Continue from the Lycian market in Gey to the left taking the road that starts to ascend, if around 20 min later you will pass the water source building on your left then you are on the right path. Continue until you will reach crossroads with few households from where you need to take the ascending road again. There on the top you should find the Lycian road signs again. Continue to Sidyma — the road will start to descend, first you will see the castle wall on the left, but your way continues to the modern village Hisar first (drinkable water sources available) and after that you will find the ruins of the ancient city of Sidyma. . The ruins that survived until these times are mainly the tombs though and few other ancient house ruins sometimes hidden in the bushes and the trees.
To return to Bel you will have to come back to the Lycian Way sign 'Bel 3 km' and from there the road is descending all the time, you will pass also the few households visited before from where you will continue using the descending road to the left (not taken before). After a while on your left you will see a village down in a valley with a mosque which is Bel.
Distance: 10 km
12 Bel. The village has a mosque with drinkable water available.
The signposts along the trail in this section indicate a settlement named Belceğiz between Bel (4 km away) and Gavurağılı. 2 Belceğiz. This is just a single stone-built dwelling that belongs to an old shepherd who lives there just sometimes. The place around the dwelling though is very good for camping and has also fireplaces. During the night though it might become humid and cold. The only water source there — a cistern — is drinkable if purified or boiled before usage.
The way from Belceğiz to Gavurağılı descends down from the mountain.
Distance: 6 km
13 Gavurağılı. A hamlet with very few households, no shop and seems no drinkable water sources as well. One can use the car road from Gavurağılı to arrive to Pydnai in case the Lycian waymarks are lost. The car road running south of the Lycian Way along the coast is waymarked with red and white hashes. There are also two easily visible water sources off the south side of the road. After following the Lycian Way off the road and literally through doors of the Pydnai ruins, the waymarks seem to disappear. However, there is a clearly visible trail following the hillside towards the northwest end of the beach. You will hike along the hillside, past several plastic hoophouses and come out on a road from which a waymark is visible. The beach is a short hike down the road. Camping on the beach is illegal during certain times of year as it is a hatching ground for baby sea turtles.
Distance: 8 km
14 Pydnai. It consists of the ancient town remains on a hill with an intact surrounding wall (which makes up most of what remained there to see in the town nowadays). Out of the walls, the town is surrounded by marshy ground, which was possibly a gulf serving as the harbour of the city back in ancient times. The Lycian Way enters the city wall from one gate, and exits from another one after traversing the ancient town from one end to the other.
Pydnai (also spelled Pydnee on non-Lycian Way road signs) is situated close to the modern village of Karadere municipality where one can find a shop and several drinkable water sources, but it is around 2.5 km extra walk one way to the shop from Pydnai. In Karadere municipality one can find also shuttles to the nearby villages and towns including Kınık (Xanthos).
After traversing Pydnai, the trail descents towards the coast (if the way marks are lost one can just continue in the direction of the beach) and crosses River Özlen (Özlen Çayı) close to the river's mouth on a narrow, flimsy-looking wooden bridge at the western edge of Patara beach.
Most of this section lies on the level ground of a coastal plain, through an uninspiring "sea" of greenhouse plastics.
Distance: 4 km
Letoon. The main religious centre of Lycia, ruins of which now lie on the top of a slightly higher hill surrounded by greenhouses covering the coastal plain.
You will pass Eşen Çayı, known in ancient times as Xanthos River on a modern road bridge immediately at the entrance of Kınık, a relatively big-ish town on the route (at the very least, it's the biggest one since you left Faralya, or even Ovacık behind), and the hub for visiting both Letoon and Xanthos.
Distance: 1 km
Kınık. is comparatively big town with lots of tomato green houses, ATMs, plenty of shops, cafeterias, bus station and available places to stay overnight. There are many signs from Kınık showing the direction to Xanthos — which one could say is almost in the town itself — situated on the hill just to the left after crossing the bridge to enter Kınık. Even though Xanthos is a museum with an entrance fee (4 TL), sometimes after its working hours it is possible to visit it for free.
Passing Xanthos and continuing the road a little bit forward away from Kınık one can find a nice camping place next to the grain field and olive trees.
Total distance to Üzümlü: 17 km
16 Çavdır. The trail runs on the top of an ancient aqueduct for quite a while in this section.
Üzümlü. A large-ish village with a restaurant (offering trout on the menu) and a guesthouse run by the village council (muhtarlık misafirhanesi).
İslamlar. Here, there is a branching side trail (16 km) with a loop at the eastern edge of Patara beach (and the ruins of ancient city of Patara).
Distance, 17 Akbel. to Bezirgan 10 km.
At this section of the route, a side trail leads to the modern town of Kalkan, 3 km away.
The trail follows the main highway of the region for part of this section, passing by the town of Kalkan.
On the open plateau before arriving at Bezirgan, you will pass along a number of wooden granaries with corrugated metal roofs. These structures are said to be centuries old and the very same design is purported to be used by Romans or even Lycians.
Distance: 7 km
18 Bezirgan. A large uphill town (yayla) with guesthouses available.
Distance: 13 km
19 Sarıbelen. A small village. A local villager named Neşet rents his patio for campers, as well as Tim, an Australian settled in a distance from the village.
Distance: 8 km
Gökçeören. Another small village. A guesthouse run by a villager named Hüseyin is available.
Distance: 14 km
Hacıoğlan Deresi. Unlike other location names found on the Lycian Way signposts, this is not a settlement but is just a creek (dere translates "stream" in Turkish).
Distance: 3 km (But Lycian Way signposts drop Çukurbağ in favour of Antiphellos, which lies 11 km away from Phellos)
20 Phellos. Was a mountaintop Lycian city. Well-preserved typical Lycian sacrophagii is among what can be seen here.
Distance: 8 km
21 Çukurbağ. Like Bezirgan, is another large-ish uphill town, yayla.
- Eco-Organic Farm/Guesthouse, Çukurbağ, ☏ , (mobile), email@example.com. Run by an artist/yoga practitioner couple, this guesthouse has a sertificated organic garden, products of which are used in meals. Wine, beer, solar-heated hot water, and free Wi-fi is available. €40 pp including breakfast; 20% discount for hikers.
Distance: around 19 km
Antiphellos. The ruins of an ancient city just east of major town of Kaş (about 0.5 km) 22 Kaş. A comparatively big touristic town with ATMs, shops, cafeterias, hostels, hotels, bars and a bus station. It has a little beach (Küçük Çakıl Plajı) inside the beach clubs close to the city center and a bigger beach (Büyük Çakıl Plajı) around 20 min walk away from the center.
The Lycian way continues from Büyük Çakıl Plajı to Limanağzı (about 3km), but be careful at one point the way branches into 2 - one continues over the hill forward and the other one descends to 23 Limanağzı. Has a beach club, including restaurants and drinkable water sources.
From Limanağzı you can continue the Lycian way and reach the point where the two paths connect again, but one should be careful not to take the path back to Kaş since the Lycian way marks disappear for a while on the correct path and appear only later on. The path goes also through the fenced garden area and arrives later on to the uninhabited beach. In the next inhabited area there was a construction of a beach club (as of June 2011) where it was possible to buy water from the workers. The Lycian way from here continues on the road and then next to the seaside again passing several nice wild camping sites and the beach near Üzümlü. Later on the way is well marked until ancient ruins without particular name known. From this point the Lycian way marks might be faded and difficult to notice (as of June 2011). At the last Lycian way mark when facing the ruins the path continues behind you and does not follow the road down. Time to time there are also some stone made marks by people next to the faded Lycian way marks to attract attention of the trekkers. If the way marks are hopelessly lost one can try to reach the road which is on the left if the ruins passed before are behind you. On this road further you will arrive also to the Lycian yellow arrow with the direction to Kılınç (Apollonia). The first inhabited place which one will reach is Boğazcık. It is a little hamlet without any shops or drinkable water sources apart from Ali Kızmaz's pension where one can stay also over night or have a lunch, but one should take into account that in the hottest season the people are migrating to highlands. From here one can continue to the ruins of Apollonia or pass by the modern village Kılınç with a mosque and a little shop. The shop though might be closed at the hottest season because the owner might move to highlands, too.
Distance: around 7 km
24 Apollonia. The ruins of an ancient town, located close to the modern little village Kılınç. In fact on the yellow arrow signs both names appear together.
25 Üçağız. Also known as ancient Kekova.
Total distance: 21 km
Major localities and sights in this section are:
- Sura (8 km to Myra).
- 4 Myra (just north of Demre). An ancient Lycian town
26 Demre. A modern town. The last place with accommodation options until Finike, 30 km away, a distance which is hiked in three days by most hikers — a tent or sleeping bag is essential for two nights in this section.
Total distance: 12 km
- Alakilise — ruins of a basilica which dates back to sixth century.
At Goncatepe, the trail reaches its maximum elevation of about 1,800 m above sea level.
Total distance: 18 km
Finike is a modern major town and Lycian Way merges with the major highway D400 (or, rather ceases to exist) here, until near Mavikent, which is about 20 km away in the east. Taking public transport (or even hitchhiking) is the obvious sensible choice to cross this uninteresting coastal plain, covered by nothing else but greenhouse plastics.
Total distance: 8 km
- Cape Gelidonia (Gelidonya Burnu) — the cape with the lighthouse. There is a well next to the lighthouse with reportedly drinkable water. It's possible to camp on the level ground beside the lighthouse, even on a platform by the yard, however be extra careful about scorpions in this place, as many hikers report them.
Distance: 16 km
It takes at least 5 hours to hike this section which is one of the remotest parts of the trail. Inexperienced hikers are generally advised not to attempt this section alone, even by Kate Clow herself.
Some maps show a single source of water in this section, about a quarter of the way short of Adrasan, but most hikers report of not noticing it, so have extra water supplies when attempting this section.
Total distance: 20 km
- Upper Olympos (Bakacak) — the ancient city up on the hills.
- Lower Olympos — ancient city on the beach, next to a heavily travelled backpacker destination.
At Çıralı, Lycian Way branches into two: one of the routes closely follow the coastline (if sometimes actually a little away from the beach), and the other via the mountains inland. The routes merge again in Gedelme up in the mountains and keep running towards north.
Total distance: 22 km
- Phaselis — the ruins of an ancient city south of Kemer.
Between Aşağıkuzdere and Gedelme, there are some mountain gorges, as well as a Roman bridge over a creek to pass.
- Chimaera (Yanartaş) — the "burning stones", natural bonfires on the side of the mountain caused by a natural gas seep
Total distance: 29 km
- Yukarı Beycik
- Yayla Kuzdere
Between Yukarı Beycik and Yayla Kuzdere, you'll pass just east of 2,300 m-high summit of Mt Tahtalı, one of the mountains known as "Olympos" to ancients.
Total distance: 24 km
Total distance: 22 km
Total distance: 8 km This section was opened in 2014 and, with the exception of the first part on the road, was waymarked in May 2014.
Total distance: 18 km. This section was opened in 2014 and was waymarked in May 2014. Both this section and the one above appear in the new edition of the Lycian Way guidebook (2014). The route now finishes at Geyikbayrı, where there is accommodation at several pensions which are used by rock-climbers on the bolted routes of the climbing walls around the valley.
There is a variety of lodging (mostly family-run guesthouses and some campgrounds) in some of the villages along the route, usually 10 km in between. However at some remoter sections, wild camping is your only option. Plan ahead to see whether you will be needing camping gear or not. There is a list of accommodation on the official website.
You'll be mostly fine and safe by following the marks and keeping on trail, but there are certain things that one should be wary of.
- Do not take shortcuts. Waymarks will lead you where you should be going. In fact, what may seem as a shortcut may take you to a very different direction than where you should be heading.
- Scorpions thrive in this hot region with rocky areas, and their habitats are under the rocks in particular. So never remove a rock unless you absolutely have to. Keep zips of your backpack and tent always locked. Check and shake your shoes before wearing them. Snakes are less of a concern, however be wary of them near streams.
- By sweating, you don't only lose water, but you also lose sodium, which is just quite as serious as dehydration – and you will sweat a lot on the Lycian Way. Pack along sports drinks (usually available in Turkish supermarkets) or fortified powdered drinks (generally not available in Turkey). Having a salty soup at the end of the day will also balance some of your sodium loss.
- If you camp at the foot of Mt. Babadağ (around Kozağaç and Kirme), be wary of the very strong katabatic wind that suddenly comes out of the blue around midnight and keeps blowing until the early morning. Make sure all your stuff is neatly placed away from the cliffs, and the tent is wind-proof and secured to the ground. Also don't camp on the course of the falling rocks near Kozağaç (the grey sands area).
Most of the trail has a satisfactory GSM signal – the exceptions are around the lighthouse and in the bottom of canyons. The best service is from Turkcell.
So your legs are not tired enough yet?
- The Saint Paul Trail is a wilder and remoter counterpart to the Lycian Way with a trailhead at Perge just east of Antalya. It loosely retraces the steps of Paul the Apostle during his first missionary journey across Asia Minor, heading inland over the Taurus Mountains to Yalvaç, ancient Antioch of Pisidia, in the Lakes District to the north.
- The Carian Trail is an extensive collection of hiking trails following the convoluted coastline north of Fethiye. It has sections extending over the Datça and Bozburun Peninsulas, along the Gulf of Gökova between Akyaka and Bodrum, and inland to Muğla, Milas, and Lake Bafa.