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Hiking The Lycian Way, Turkey

Turkey is an oft overlooked destination when it comes to hiking holidays. But the varied landscape and long-distance routes on offer in this amazing and historic country make it the perfect place to strap on those walking boots and get out there into the great outdoors. Perhaps one of if not the best hike in Turkey is that which takes you along the Lycian Way, an over 500km way-marked trail along the country’s Mediterranean coast between Oludeniz and Antalya. The mild temperatures mean that this route can be walked year-round, even during the winter. The summer can get too hot though and the route is most pleasant in Spring or Autumn. The Sunday Times called this walk one of the ten most beautiful long-distance hikes in the world.

Walking the whole of the Lycian Way is quite an undertaking. The route is graded medium to hard, and it usually takes around a month to walk. Of course it is entirely possible to walk a smaller section of the walk to take in some of the highlights if you do not have enough time to walk the entire thing. Even walking a small section will give you some insight into the Lycians – the ancient culture which once controlled this region. The route was the brainchild of an Englishwoman, Kate Clow, a passionate walker and conservationist. She said that she wanted the route, which she conceived and helped to create in the 1990s, to give people a little insight into what this coastline would have been like a thousand years ago.

It is possible to walk this route independently or to go as part of a tour, or with the help of a company who will transport your baggage for you from one hotel, guesthouse or village house to the next. If you are of a more independent bent then it is very easy to find wild camping spots near sites where you will be able to replenish your water supply.

There are many highlights on the route. You may choose the mountainous alternative route and go inland to climb Mount Olympos, where staggering views are to be had. Still, the coast yields plenty of highlights including the ruins and beach at Patara, the harbour, sunken ruins and castle at Ucagiz, and a swim in the Goynuk canyon. Further round the coast you will find the ancient ruins of Olympos and Phaselis and the wild, beautiful Gelidonya Peninsula with a lighthouse and a graveyard of ancient ships. Be sure to take a slight detour to see the Chimera, an eternal flame that has inspired myth and legend. The coastal stretch between Kas and Uchaz is particularly pleasing and scenic and the walk through cedar forests between Mira and Finike has particularly fine views.

Really there are too many highlights to be able to name them all. Beauty without crowds, glorious views of the Mediterranean, captivating historical and cultural sites, and friendly, laid-back locals all make this route a pleasant way to spend a hiking holiday.

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