Lycian Way
Route Planning
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Trail variants. Skipping sections. Short itineraries. Choosing suitable stage lengths.


Read on for more info.

Painted directions on boulder at 3-way merge point above Kabak Beach.
Image credit:  
Stu Hackett
, All rights reserved

Trail Variants

The Lycian Way isn’t actually a single, unbroken path. Instead, there are multiple, lengthy stretches where there are more than one option. For example, there are two official options between the villages of Kabak and Alınca, one descending to Kabak Beach and then ascending via a beautiful path up to Alınca while the other follows a hillside ridge. And from Alınca there are also two different official paths connecting with the village of Bel. One goes via the hamlet of Dodurga (with the Sidyma ruins) and the other, more popular, option goes via the village of Gey (aka Yediburunlar).

Even more notably, there are two variants between the beach resort of Çıralı and the mountain village of Göynük Yayla. One goes through the mountains, passing close to the peak of Tahtalı Dağı (2,365 m / 7,760 ft). The other follows the coast, passing through the town of Tekirova before ascending into the mountains as well, merging with the mountain variant on the opposite side of Tahtalı Dağı.

There are also many places were unofficial –but popular– variants are available. For example, instead of the official path between Faralya and Kabak Beach, many people follow a marked but unofficial variant that hugs the coast all the way (which we prefer ourselves).

On top of that there are many options, typically by rural road, that you might take just for convenience such as to avoid a difficult section in bad weather, perhaps, or to save time, or to bypass a stretch that would otherwise require camping.

Skipping Sections

Unless you are a completionist (of which your humble author is frequently guilty), there really isn’t any need to do the entire Lycian Way. Feel free to skip over sections if they don’t interest you or if you are limited in time.

For example, many people skip over much of the Letoon to Kalkan stretch because it is mostly endless greenhouses (there are three excellent ancient cities along that stretch, but they can be seen via a half-day taxi outing if desired).

Likewise, many skip Finike to Karaöz for similar reasons, especially since there isn’t even any ancient cities along that stretch.

Some skip the fantastic Myra to Finike stretch simply because they aren’t doing any wild camping.

Simplifying Your Hike

Most of the time, the Lycian Way follows an excellent set of footpaths that take in the best possible balance of footpath quality, available sights, historical ruins, and interesting communities.

However, quite often the Lycian Way also follows rugged, uneven, poorly maintained goat tracks simply to take the trail off-road, despite a quiet rural road or track running almost parallel. Avoiding road-walking is preferred, of course, but sometimes it just adds a lot of bother for no real gain – no enhanced viewpoints, no interesting ruins, just more trudging through over-grown prickly bushes over sharp, jutting, slippery-when-wet rocks, all to avoid 200m of rural road. Ugh.

Our recommendation is to defer to the official path as a general rule. It mostly gets it right. However, don’t be shy about looking at your map, giving consideration to the type of terrain you’ve been going through, and the time and weather, and making a command decision. For some people, off-road sections are always to be preferred to roads. Full stop. For them, off-road is what they are here for and they’d rather endure than bypass. For others, it might be an undesired chore if there is a perfectly good low-traffic rural road running the same way when the official footpath isn’t going anywhere worthwhile or conditions would make it miserable to hike.

Likewise, if an area has a lot of boring-looking road walking, consider hitch-hiking to the next village. It’s a long trail; no need to beat yourself up just to say you walked every step. Unless that’s your thing! 🙂

Releasing Your Inner Explorer

Don’t be shy about experimenting a little bit and going off-trail. The way-marked Lycian Way is just one path among many thousands of paths that go back thousands of years… there are usually many routes between destinations and generally you are never very far from a village.

The Lycian Way is itself a fantastic trail but it is even better as a baseline from which to explore.

If you have the time and are suitably adventurous, explore a little bit. Use common-sense safety precautions, of course, since this entire region is rugged and some paths can lead through potentially dangerous areas. In general, though, except for some of the remotest stretches of the Lycian Way it is easy to just ‘explore’. When you see something you aren’t ‘supposed’ to see, it is that much nicer. And visiting isolated villages that usually never see a hiker can be a great experience (for you and them)!

Thus, take a good look at the map for intriguing alternatives. Talk to locals in the villages to get recommendations. And have fun!

Short Hike Options

If you don’t have time to do the full Lycian Way trail, there are many shorter portions that can be done and which will still be an excellent hiking experience. Some popular options include:

– Fethiye to Kabak Beach (or to Alınca), 2 or 4 days
– Gelemiş to Kaş, 4 – 5 days
– Kaş to Demre, 3 or 4 days
– Ovacık to Letoon, Kalkan to Kaş (skipping the delta), 6 – 8 days (typically 7)
– Çıralı to Göynük Canyon, 4-5 days

These all have decent transport options to get in / out of the endpoints (though care should be taken during the off-season to check on dolmuş availability).
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