Lycia is the historical name of the Tekke Peninsula, on Turkey’s South-west coast. Mountains rise from the rocky coastline, providing beautiful views over the Mediterranean, pine trees mixed with carob give way to juniper and cedar trees at higher elevations.
The Lycians were a democratic and warlike people, with a high standard of living for their times; their strategic position providing them with unique opportunities for sea-trade and piracy. After Persian rule, the Lycians welcomed Alexander the Great and absorbed some of the Greek culture. Later, Lycia became a province of the Roman Empire. From the 4th Century, Christianity took hold and several Byzantine monasteries were founded in the Lycian hills.
The Lycian Way (Likya Yolu in Turkish) is a 300-mile walk along the coastline, from Fethiye to Antalya. It is marked by a red and white striped logo and combines several historical routes used by the Lycian people.
It was researched, designed and waymarked by British amateur historian, Kate Clow, in 1999 and became Turkey’s first long-distance walking route.
The Lycian Way will take you through rocky terrain, deserted beaches, pine forests, mountain peaks and ancient ruins. You’ll pass through quaint Turkish villages, meet local Turkish people, eat delicious food, and have the opportunity to swim in the turquoise Sea. The path is mostly over limestone and can often hard and stony underfoot.
The Lycian Way is graded as “medium to hard“. It is not a level walk, having many ascents and descents as it approaches and veers away from the sea. The walk is a little easier at the starting point, near Fethiye, but gets more difficult as it progresses.
The path will take you through Patara, Kalkan, Kaş, Myra, Finike, Adrasan, Olympos, Cirali and Tekirova, where you can stay in pensions or hotels. Independent hikers will also find plenty of wildly beautiful camping spots along the way.
Highlights of the Lycian Way include:
- The slopes of Babadağ
- A stunning descent to Faralya, above the cliffs of Butterfly Valley
- The 12km long beach at Patara
- Spectacular views over the coast, from above Kaş and Kalkan
- The castle, harbour and sunken ruins at Ucagiz
- The church of the Angel Gabriel in the hills above Myra
- A ridge top walk to Finike
- The lighthouse at Cape Gelidonia
- Climbing Mount Olympos
- The canyon at Goynuk
- The ruins of hidden Lycian cities
If you want to attempt this epic 300 mile journey, it is recommended to do so in either spring or autumn. Happy hiking!