The Lycian Way in Turkey is one of the best long-distance hiking trails in the world.
Stretching for 540 kilometres around Turkey’s southern coast, this trail offers diverse natural beauty and passes through many places of historical significance.
Made up of old Roman roads, footpaths and ancient mule tracks, people have walked the Lycian Way for thousands of years, if not more.
There is a lot to see on the Lycian Way, and every day’s hike is different.
Narrow mountain paths, quiet fishing villages and beautiful beaches are just some points of interest, as well as cooling forests and ancient ruins.
On average, this trek takes around a month to complete, but with so much to see and do along the way, it is worth extending your trip.
If you don’t have the luxury of having a month of free time to explore the Lycian Way, you can walk different parts of the path at different times.
- Rugged Mediterranean coastal landscape
- Sites of historical significance
- Diverse terrain
- Great local cuisine and hospitality
The Lucian Way begins at Ölüdeniz and finishes at Geyikbayırı.
One of the greatest long distance walks in the world, the Lycian Way has lots to offer for any hiker. At 540 kilometres, you won’t be stuck for things to see and do.
Hugging the coast of Lycia, this path takes you on a journey of ancient civilizations. You will find evidence of the ancient Lycians and of the Roman era.
This stunning landscape can sometime be harsh, and although there are plenty of places to rest along the way, it is important to carry lots of water with you.
There are places to replenish supplies, but sometimes they might not be from clean sources. It is a good idea to take water purification tablets with you.
Ölüdeniz is a two hour drive from Dalaman airport. Anatyla airport is at the eastern end of the trail, about 20 kilometres from Geyikbayırı.
Public transport is good throughout the trail, making it ideal to walk in stages.
The length of the Lycian Way is approximately 500 kilometres. It starts from Fethiye, although the trail officially begins in Ölüdeniz and finishes at Geyikbayırı.
There are many opportunities for side trips, as well as alternative routes that either head into the mountain or follow the coast, which over the course of the trail will alter the length of it considerably.
Grade and difficulty of the walk
The Lycian Way is graded 4/5. This is due to the terrain, as well as the challenges of the climate. The sheer distance of this trail makes completing it an achievement. Most hikers walk the sections they prefer, rather than the whole length.
The terrain is mixed, with plenty of inclines and descents and the path weaves along the hilly coastline. There are some challenging section of the trail, and others that are fairly easy walking. The path surface is mostly stones and rock.
The easier parts of the trail are at the start, at the Western end, with difficulty increasing the further you go.
You can walk this trail in either direction, however most guidebooks cover it from west to east, so it is often easier to navigate if you walk that way.
You need to be a fairly experienced hiker to get the most from this trail, due to the rugged terrain, climate and remoteness of some areas.
It is not often hikers complete the length of the trail from start to finish, so if you do find the going tough, you can tailor your walk to the easiest sections.
Fitness is key for enjoying this trail. If you are carrying backpacks, you will need the stamina to make good distance on this terrain.
The way is not always clearly marked, and finding the right way can sometimes be a challenge. Navigational skills are useful.
With wild camping permitted, you can really turn this trek into an adventure if you have the ability to fend for yourself.
If you prefer a more comfortable hike, you can arrange to have your equipment transported between accommodation.
One of the most important things to remember with this trail is that the warm temperatures and physical effort can led to dehydration very quickly.
Some areas of the track offer little in the way of shade. Always carry plenty of water with you for your day’s hike, and add electrolytes to help you replenish salts lost through sweating.
No permits are required for hiking the Lycian Way.
Guided or Self-Guided
There are guided walks available along the trail, and the benefit of this is that all your accommodation is booked for you, in addition to your meals and transportation of backpacks.
If you don’t like to stick to an itinerary, self-guided walks are the best option. It may be possible use guide companies to transport your backpack, while you go it alone on the trail.
The Lycian Way is open to hikers all year round.
The best temperatures to hike this trail are during spring (February to May) or autumn (September to November).
During the summer months, the temperatures are often too high to walk comfortably so it is best avoided. If you do plan to walk in summer, go for the higher level parts of the trail where temperatures are cooler.
In winter the temperatures are still mild, but the trail is quieter so you will meet less hikers along the way.
A typical itinerary would be:
As this long distance trail is not usually walked in one go, there is no typical itinerary. However, the distances between convenient stopping points along the trail are:
Fethiye to the official trail head at Ölüdeniz: 14 kilometres
Ölüdeniz to Kozağaç: 8 kilometres. Extra water is needed on this section, as there is nowhere to replenish supplies.
Kozağaç to Faralya: 8 kilometres.
Faralya to Kabak: 8 kilometres.
Kabak to Alınca: 7 kilometres.
Alınca to Bel: 15 kilometres.
Bel to Gavurağılı: 10 kilometres.
Gavurağılı to Pydnai: 6 kilometres.
Pydnai to Letoon: 8 kilometres.
Letoon to Xanthos: 5 kilometres.
Xanthos to Üzümlü: 17 kilometres.
Üzümlü to Akbel: 5 kilometres. Here you have the option of including a 16 kilometre loop to visit Patara beach and ancient ruins.
Akbel to Bezirgan: 10 kilometres.
Bezirgan to Sarıbelen: 7 kilometres.
Sarıbelen to Gökçeören: 13 kilometres.
Gökçeören to Hacıoğlan Deresi: 8 kilometres.
Hacıoğlan Deresi to Phellos: 14 kilometres.
Phellos to Antiphellos: 11 kilometres.
Antiphellos to Apollonia: 19 kilometres.
Apollonia to Aperlae: 7 kilometres.
Aperlae to Üçağız: 12 kilometres.
Üçağız to Myra: 21 kilometres.
Myra to Goncatepe: 12 kilometres.
Goncatepe to Finike: 18 kilomteres.
Mavikent to Gelidonia: 8 kilometres.
Gelidonia to Adrasan: 16 kilometres.
Adrasan to Çıralı: 20 kilometres.
Çıralı to Gedelme (coastal route): 22 kilometres.
(mountain route): 29 kilometres.
Gedelme to Göynük Yaylası: 24 kilometres.
Göynük Yaylası to Hisarçandır: 22 kilometres.
Hisarçandır to Geyikbayırı: 26 kilometres.
Along the Lycian Way there is a variety of accommodation options for any budget.
You will find hotels, huts, and rooms in village houses available at regular intervals along the route.
There are some areas that are remote, such as between the town of Demre, near Myra, and Finike, where the only option is to wild camp.
You may need to take extra water supplies for the remote sections.
Wild camping is permitted along the trail.
If you like ancient history, this is a hike that will take you on a journey through some of the earliest evidence of civilised society.
With ruined ancient cities and other places of historical interest, there is plenty of opportunity to marvel at the wonders of the ancient world.
Admire the Lycian rock tombs carved into the cliff faces. Discover the ruins at the ancient city of Sidyma, some of which are hidden amongst bushes and trees.
The ruins at Myra are extensive, and include an amphitheatre and rock carved tombs.
The landscape is stunning. Visit the streams and waterfalls in Butterfly Valley.
Enjoy the beach at Patara, a 12 kilometre stretch of golden sand.
Watch paragliders at the start of the trail, as they glide from the cliffs above you to the beaches below.
At Cirali, take the mountain route to visit the Chimaera. This is a natural phenomenon where flames coms straight out of holes in the mountain.
These eternal flames are fed by natural gas that comes from deep underground. You can sit next to these small, natural ‘campfires’. Further above, there are more ancient ruins.
Spot plenty of wildlife, especially tortoises.
Take a side trip to marvel at the views the summit of Mt Tahtali, formerly known as the Lycian Mt Olympus, at 2366 meters.
Swim in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Make the most of Turkish hospitality and enjoy the cuisine.
|Skills Required||Hiking, Walking|
|Starts at||Ölüdeniz, 48340 Fethiye/Muğla, Turkey|
|Finishes at||Geyikbayırı, 07070. Turkey|
|Length of route||500 Km|
|Average time to complete||29 - 35 Days|
|Possible to complete sub-sections||Yes|
|Highest point||1800 metres|
|Equipment needed||Camping equipment, walking boots, Water Supplies|