If you like mediterranean coastal scenery, rugged walking paths, ancient history and Turkish cuisine then walking along parts of the 500 kilometre Lycian Way on the southern coast of Turkey might be something to put on the bucket list. It is still uncrowded but will no doubt become one of the world’s popular walks as accommodation options increase year by year.
Starting point is at Ovacik thirty minutes from the town of Fethiye in south west Turkey. One of the interesting things about Fethiye is that from here you can take a one and a half hour ferry to the Greek island of Rhodes. When we walked the first nine days of the Lycian Way a few years ago we actually began our holiday in Rhodes exploring the ancient city and island at leisure. ( Tip- Before starting the Lycian Way near Fethiye head to Rhodes by ferry for a holiday of a few days or a week)
Preparations before walking – Although The Lycian Way can be walked independently like we did there were significant challenges during the walk. The way marking was not always clear, communications in remote places were poor and accommodation was not always easy to arrange. For this reason it may be wise to consider either a guided tour or a self guided tour such as those available here
The highlight of this coastal walk has to be the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean Sea which can be seen from high, rugged cliffs. These views were present for 80% of our walk
One of the challenges of the walk was the lack of well signed paths which were often rocky underfoot and involving steep sections. As the pathways become upgraded this will cease to be a problem.
Accommodation options were sometimes limited which meant that we occasionally stayed with locals in their homes. This resulted in a full cultural experience of language, local Turkish food such as gozleme, Mezes and home made Ayran and of course, a unique chance to meet fascinating people.
The ancient Lycian people inhabited this part of Turkey well before the time of Ancient Greece and Alexander the Great. The entire walk is interspersed with ancient tombs, ruins, amphitheatres, temples and cities some dating to second or third century BC. The ancient city of Patara is an unfolding archaeological project of discovery and is an astonishing experience to walk into.
The number of walkers that we met during our walk were few in number and it is an off the beaten track tourist destination. This may have appeal for some people. It was always a highlight to meet other people in overnight accommodation or on the walk.
Opportunities for relaxation and reflection abound on this walk as you come up close to secluded beaches, a wildness of landscapes in isolation and the living proof of past, ancient civilisations.
Our stopping point after nine days of walking along the Lycian Way was the small, elegant town of Kas. This was the perfect spot to rest weary bodies, swim in crystal clear water, explore the restored amphitheatre and other ancient ruins and take the day ferry across to the Greek island of Castellorizo.
To prepare for walking The Lycian Way read The Lycian Way by Kate Clow.