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 a 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.
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. 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. Lycia is hot in summer and despite the presence of the sea, the best time to walk the Lycian Way is spring or autumn.
How to prepare for your Lycian Way hike?
It is advised to walk the Lycian Way from its starting point in Ölüdeniz to Antalya. 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 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 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.
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. 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.
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 the time.
All pictures except the Lycian Gate © @Aegean.Images