What better way to slow travel than to walk? And what better place to do it than in ancient Lycia, now Turkey’s southern coast. If you are after a dose of hiking in sublime scenery with a taste of ancient civilizations, keep reading! Have you ever heard of the Lycian Way? It is Turkey’s first long-distance walking route along the coast of Lycia, which runs from Fethiye to Antalya.
The Lycian Way covers 540km along Turkey’s old roads. And the good news is: it is waymarked and can be split up into 29 days of walking in nature and history. Read all about how to prepare for your hike and check out the helpful tools mentioned in this post. Use them during your hike as an on-the-road Lycian Way guide, post on your facebook page and get plenty of likes with the help of SubscriberZ.
Walking Roman Roads, Old Footpaths & Mule-Trails
What to expect when walking the Lycian Way? Well, you can expect to be wowed. The trail is situated between fabulous mountain peaks and a rocky coastline. You’ll be crossing charming and authentic villages, pine forests, pristine beaches, and ancient sites. Be prepared to stumble upon some ruins and rock tombs from the 25 historic sites along the trail, or to be mesmerized by the views.
When Is The Best Time To Walk The Lycian Way?
Lycia is hot in summer and despite the presence of the sea, the best time to walk the Lycian Way is spring or autumn. You’ll find refreshment along the way passing the odd waterfall or taking a dive into the turquoise sea, not to mention the hospitality of the Turkish villagers. Consult the weather statistics for the south coast to get a better idea of the risk of rain or heat, depending on when you want to trek the Lycian Way.
Check out the Lycian Way map below this post to see the details of the different legs. We’ve added an extra layer to the map with POI and ancient sites on the Lycian Way. To access the layer, click on ‘<– CLICK FOR LEGEND’, after that, check POI & ancient sites on the Lycian Way. Click here to view our Lycian Way map full screen.
How To Prepare For Your Lycian Way Hike?
Where To Start Your Lycian Way Adventure?
It is advised to walk the Lycian Way from its starting point in Ölüdeniz to Antalya. The reason for this is quite obvious, most of the books and guides you will find, describe the walk in that direction. The level of the walks is medium-high, but you’ll soon discover that the start is the easier part and the trail becomes more challenging as you progress.
The highest point of the Lycian Way is the summit (at a 2.366 meter altitude) of Tahtalı Dağı, also known as Mount Olympus. If you’re walking the Lycian west to east, from Fethiye to Antalya, you’ll have to crack this nut towards the end of your hiking journey.
The good news is that the modern world is never far away (except for a few sections) and that you will almost always have easy access to public transport and accommodation. Few people walk the route from start to finish, so depending on what you want to see and your level of fitness, you can skip bits and pieces at your convenience.
The nearest airport is Dalaman if your starting point is Ölüdeniz or Antalya if you walk the Lycian in the opposite direction. Both airports have easy connections with Istanbul airports if required.
What Are The Lycian Way Best Sections?
People often ask us about the Lycian Way best sections, but there’s no straightforward answer to that. Some like a challenging hike, others prefer spectacular views. There are no bad Lycian Way sections, the whole walk will take you from one awe-inspiring moment to the next.
It may leave you breathless at times, and not always because of the views, but sometimes because of the steep climbs. One thing is certain, it is the experience of a lifetime!
Inside The Kale at Simena
First Hand Lycian Way Experience
The best advice is first hand, so why not read the stories from people who have documented their Lycian hikes in a very detailed way? On the ‘Hike the Lycian‘ website, you’ll find the story of a couple that has hiked the Lycian Way for 30 days. They have video journals, packing lists, and even testimonials of other hikers for you to discover. As far as we are concerned, a great resource to start with! Possibly even a one-stop-shop.
Or how about The ‘Hiking the Lycian Way’ series made by ‘At Home in Turkey’. You’ll get to join this ex-pat living in Turkey on her entire Lycian Way adventure. She gives an honest account of what to expect en-route, and great tips on how to prepare for your trip. She also mentions the TrekRight apps that we’ve linked to below. So, we’re confident that we’ve listed the right tools.
Click here to go the entire ‘Hiking the Lycian Way’ playlist by ‘At Home in Turkey’
Lycian Way Apps & Guides
Then again, the ‘Culture Routes Society’ has a brilliant section on the Lycian Way as well. They also link to the official app that will guide you along the trail without a GPS. You can download it for free from the iTunes store. The app has tons of information on things to see and do along the way, as well as a detailed directory of places to spend the night.
It is the perfect substitute for a Lycian Way map pdf, which would be virtually impossible to read anyway. We would wholeheartedly recommend using an app, as – despite the efforts of the Culture Routes Society (who is responsible for maintaining the tracks) – the markings are not always easy to find. Having a little extra help from an app is safer, and less challenging.
More Lycian Way apps: The Culture Routes Society also offer a PRO version of their Official Lycian Way app. The paid version allows hiking without mobile data or Wi-Fi. As an alternative, TrekRight offers a trail guide for both iOS and Android, which seems to be getting excellent reviews.
If you prefer to have some non-digital resources at hand, then we would recommend the book written by Kate Clow: The Lycian Way: Turkey’s First Long Distance Walking Route. Kate Clow is the lady who has researched, designed, and waymarked the Lycian Way back in 1999. Additionally, you will find maps of the Lycian Way on the same website for Trekking in Turkey.
Marcus Aurelius Temple
Experience The Beauty, Have A Taste of Adventure
The Lycian Way offers an intense slow travel experience for anyone who wishes to reconnect with nature. Whether you choose to walk a part of it, even just one single day, or the whole route, is up to you. You’ll find boutique hotels, village houses, and simple pensions ready to accommodate you.
Those looking for an immersive trekking experience will be happy to learn that there are plenty of wild camping sites, most of them with access to water. Walking an ancient footpath along the Mediterranean is surprisingly easy in Turkey. You may even decide on extending your trek one leg at a time.
While the obvious thing to do on the Lycian Way is hiking, don’t let this primary activity keep you from doing other things as well. You’ll be walking past some amazing sites and great swimming coves. Consider a small detour to Kalabantia, for example. Or take a boat tour to the sunken city of Kekova, when you reach Simena. If you’re into numbers, try counting the Lycian sarcophagi in Kyaneai, there’s no other Lycian site that beats this number. Or how about a dive in the old harbor of Phaselis? In short, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Check out our map page to discover what else lies on your route.
Are you traveling to Turkey from abroad for your hike? Don’t forget you need a visa! Check out our Turkey travel resources page to help you to prepare for your trip.