Trek: The Lycian Way

The Lycian Way

Rugged, beautiful trek along Turkey’s southern coast

Pretty Pictures

Here’s a taste of what you’ll see / experience along the Lycian Way:

  • Hiker crossing the Roman bridge between Çavdır and Üzümlü
    Crossing the Roman bridge between Çavdır and Üzümlü, May 2011
    Photo by Altug Senel. Used with permission.

Description

Located along Turkey’s beautiful Turquoise Coast, the 400 km / 250 mi Lycian Way (aka “Likya Yolu”) is still a relatively unknown trail despite it being heralded as one of the top 10 long distance trails in the world. The scenery is jaw-dropping. The people are incredibly friendly. You’ll find yourself awash in pure history virtually every step of the way (what other trail has you actually walking on an ancient Roman aqueduct for a significant stretch?). One day you are high up in the mountains and the next on one of the top beaches in the world, with the ruins of a magnificent ancient city as a backdrop. And most of the Lycian Way can be done without camping gear if you choose — and if you are camping, you’ll be pleased to discover that you can camp just about anywhere!

The Lycian Way is an incredible experience – there is something for everyone. We are thrilled to help make others aware of this relatively unknown gem, and to provide information and resources that will help you get the most from your journey.
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Suitability

The official trail itself is hiking-only due to frequent rugged, uneven sections and many areas with narrow trails. However, it would be easy to bicycle along the general route of the Lycian Way using nearby rural (low traffic) roads. You’d still be able to reach almost all attractions along the route and would enjoy many of the same excellent sights (creating an ‘unofficial Lycian Way cycling route’ is definitely on our ‘to do’ list!). Moderate hiking experience is recommended, though many sections can be done by beginners / day-hikers.
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Characteristics

What are the notable characteristics of the Lycian Way? Here’s what jumps out to us:

  • Rugged terrain, though mostly on good-quality trails.
  • Moderate-quality waymarkings – GPS tracks and/or our mobile app highly recommended.
  • Frequent ascents and descents, often very steeply.
  • Jaw-dropping scenery combining rugged mountains, bustling agricultural deltas, endless coastline with turquoise waters and pristine beaches, charming towns and villages, hidden craggy coves, burning rocks (!), caves, and more.
  • Delicious food. Really, really delicious food! Seriously. Delicious.
  • Ancient ruins everywhere (you’ll literally be tripping over them).
  • Can be done without camping, albeit skipping over some sections.
  • If you do want to camp, it can be done almost everywhere.
  • Excellent local transportation.
  • Nice mix of sights, attractions, and experiences that keeps the trail always interesting.
  • Relatively low costs for food and accommodation.
  • Outside of the major towns, generally only Turkish is spoken though villagers are extremely friendly and patient with foreigners (learning even just a handful of Turkish words will take you a long way).
  • Quite safe; locals are very helpful and supportive.
  • For the most part, drinking water is readily available though there are some sections (which can be bypassed if desired) where water is scarce much of the year and extra has to be carried with you.
  • Can be done in either direction, though most people seem to walk it west-to-east.
  • Did we mention the delicious food…?
  • Easy to skip any portions that don’t interest you or where you are limited for time.
  • Deservedly famous Turkish hospitality, especially in the remote communities.

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Overview Map

To avoid cluttering the display, this map just shows the main route and the more notable communities (of course, our TrekRight app also includes alternate sections, access trails, side trips, etc. and, of course, comprehensive details on communities, attractions, accommodations, services / F & B, and points of interest along the entire route – all shown on detailed offline maps). Click on a community’s icon to see a brief description about that community.
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Popular Route Options

The following are some route options for the Lycian Way. These are all based on going from west-to-east, though of course they can be done in reverse, too, if desired.

Official Route: Ovacık to Hısarçandır

405km Over 27 Stages.
Details

Fethiye – Hısarçandır

417km Over 28 Stages.
Details

Fethiye – Kaş

Ideal for a 14-day Itinerary.
Details

Best of the West

A great mini-trek for those with limited time.
Details

Is there a route you’d like us to include? Let us know using the feedback form to the right.
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When to Hike

You can do the Lycian Way any time of year. However, spring and fall tend to be best since the temperatures are mild and it’s not too wet. Spring has a small advantage in that water sources are more likely to actually have water, which can certainly help in some of the more remote sections. In both spring and fall, the trail will be very quiet for most sections — indeed, there will be many days when you won’t see anyone at all. On the downside, many pensions will be closed (though you will still normally have no problem finding available rooms).

Winter will have some cold nights up in the mountains – you’ll need winter-rated gear for the mountain sections, or simply bypass them. Some of the mountain sections should only be attempted in winter by highly experienced winter hikers.

Summer, on the other hand, is hot. Very hot. Unless you have experience hiking in hot conditions you might prefer one of the other seasons. If you do choose to hike in summer, try to do your hiking very early in the morning before the peak heat sets in – even if this means extending the timing of your trip (ie, adding days because each day’s available hiking time is shorter). Also, some sections are notably lacking in cover — you might want to skip some of those outright and focus on the sections at higher altitude.
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More Lycian Way Information

Below are some articles we’ve written with more information about the Lycian Way.

Kate Clow & the Creation of the Lycian Way – Some background info…

Is it safe? – Always a good question to ask.

Where to Stay – Lots of options!


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Useful Resources

Below are some great resources we’ve gathered to help others planning their Lycian Way walk. If you have suggestions on other resources, please let us know!

A Walk by Altuğ Şenel and Mehmet Koçdemir

Type: Travelogue / Blog
URL: http://www.lycianway.org/

Excellent site by two veteran hikers of the Lycian Way (and of other trails in Turkey), providing details of their hikes, trail maps, and lots of great photos.

The authors speak excellent English and are happy to be contacted if you have questions. The authors also provide guided tours and logistical assistance on the Lycian Way and other major trails in Turkey. They are both clearly very passionate about the Lycian Way, giving talks / presentations, hosting a popular Turkish-language Facebook group about the Lycian Way, sharing photos and information, and generally being amazing ‘trail ambassadors’.

If you want help organizing the logistics for your Lycian Way walk, of if you want a guide, give them a call. (And no, we aren’t compensated in any way for touting their site or services – we’re just genuinely impressed with their community-focused support of the Lycian Way)

Historic Anatolia

Type: Reference Site
URL: http://www.histolia.de/

This very informative and useful site has lots of great information on just about every historical site in the Anatolia region (thus including the Lycian Way). For most sites there are detailed area maps, making it much easier to appreciate what you are seeing when visiting the ruins.

Written in German, but very readable with Google Translate enabled.

Lycian Turkey – Discover the Beauty of Ancient Lycia

Type: Reference Site
URL: http://www.lycianturkey.com/

Great site with a massive amount of well-written, interesting information about the Lycians. It has content covering the history, government, language, religion, and so on of the Lycians, plus lots of information about the ruins you can still see today. There’s lots of photos too.

The Lycian Federation

Type: Reference Site
URL: http://www.lycianfederation.co.uk/

This excellent site by David Cunliffe Pointer describes all of the Lycian historical sites, giving information about each site in general and about the highlights you’ll see there. The page for each site has lots of great photos.

The website isn’t updated very frequently. However, the Lycian Federation hasn’t really been up to much lately so I suspect most of Mr. Pointer’s information is still fairly up-to-date… 🙂

Alexander Chorny’s Travelogue

Type: Travelogue / Blog
URL: medium.com

Alexander Chorny posted an outstanding, in-depth report about his May 2015 walk of the Lycian Way that is a great travelogue about his experiences but which also contains a huge amount of useful tips and suggestions for other walkers. As a bonus, the lengthy post is filled with many high-resolution, incredibly beautiful photographs.

This is how travelogues should be done!

Written in Russian but very readable using Google Translate.

Turkey from the Inside

Type: Travelogue / Blog
URL: http://www.turkeyfromtheinside.com/

Good English-language reference site and blog on travel in Turkey, written by a British ex-patriot currently living in Göreme who was previously a writer for Lonely Planet (and who has authored several award-winning guides about Turkey).

Described by the author as an “insider’s guide to Turkey”, the site highlights interesting places throughout Turkey and often includes suggestions on places to stay and eat. While only a small portion of the site touches on places along the Lycian Way, the articles are nevertheless well-written and often with interesting commentary about the destination.

Turkey’s For Life…

Type: Travelogue / Blog
URL: http://www.turkeysforlife.com/

Well-written, frequently updated English-language blog focusing on Fethiye but also touching on things of interest throughout Turkey. Regular reviews of restaurants, bars, and attractions in the Fethiye area and articles on various goings-on. Warning: this blog has been known to cause people to want to make Fethiye their new home…

Always interesting reading. Highly recommended.

Magnus Hedström’s Video

Type: Travelogue / Blog
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nlZCQ_WZIY

Great video by Magnus Hedström of his 2015 walk that beautifully captures the essence of the Lycian Way.

He told us: “Amazingly beautiful area, friendly people, good food and stunning weather.” We couldn’t agree more. He also noted, though, that the trail could be rough at times and he had trouble finding his way on occasion (a common complaint and the primary reason we created TrekRight).

Check it out — time well spent! 🙂

For more of Magnus’ adventures, take a look at his website:

http://www.magnushedstrom.com/

It’s in Swedish, but very readable with Google Translate. He’s been to some interesting places and he’s got some great photos on his site.

Trekking In Turkey

Type: Trail Info
URL: http://www.trekkinginturkey.com

This is Kate Clow’s website, with information on the guides she has available, her blog, and her contact details. Kate has done an amazing job creating, maintaining, and promoting the Lycian Way (and other trails) and generally building awareness and interest in hiking in Turkey.

Stop by her website and perhaps drop her a line of thanks!


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Feedback Wanted: If you have any suggestions on how we can make our Lycian Way content more helpful to you and other hikers, please let us know. Likewise, your feedback on anything in Trekopedia would be very much appreciated. Send us your tips, personal experiences, funny and/or interesting stories, trip photos, links to your trip journals, and so on. Likewise, please pass along any interesting trail-related news you hear about – we’ll help spread the word within the Trekopedia community.