Hiking The Lycian Way In Turkey: A Complete Guide

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

Named after the Lycian civilization that once thrived in this region, the Lycian Way meanders through jaw-dropping coastal scenery, charming villages, and numerous archaeological sites. Discover how to hike this amazing path in this guide!

Turkey Travel Blog_How To Hike The Lycian Way

Some people are very energetic. I want to point out that it’s not me, but some people are, and if that’s you, I commend you. Your energetic nature means you get to go out there and see more. If you’re in Turkey, that energetic side will undoubtedly reward you, especially when it comes to hiking the Lycian Way.

Turkey isn’t all about shopping and chilling on the beach. Those are perfect things to do, of course, but there’s so much more to it than that. Turkey is a very outdoorsy country, and if you have a good pair of hiking boots, you’ll find some amazing trails.

One of those is the world-famous Lycian Way, a 520km/323-mile long-distance trail that will show you some of the most spectacular sights along with a hefty dose of history along the way.

So, if you’re feeling the need to experience a little adrenaline, keep reading!

What Is The Lycian Way? A Long-Distance Trekking Route

Hidden Gems In Turkey - Famous Lycian Tombs of ancient Caunos city, Dalyan, Turkey.
Lycian Tombs

Along the south Turkish coastline, you’ll find the Lycian Way, a 520 kilometer (323-mile) long footpath that is a true gem for outdoor enthusiasts and history lovers alike.

The Lycian Way, or Likya Yolu in Turkish, traces its origins back to ancient times. Named after the Lycian civilization that once thrived in this region, the path meanders through jaw-dropping coastal scenery, charming villages, and numerous archaeological sites. Dating as far back as the 3rd century BCE, Lycia’s rich history is evident in the fascinating ruins left behind by the Lycians.

Reviving forgotten trails and ancient paths, the Lycian Way was created in 1999 by a woman named Kate Clow, a British writer and explorer who sought to showcase the beauty and heritage of this remarkable area. This ambitious project not only became Turkey’s first long distance footpath but also one of the most renowned walking trails in the world. Today, the Lycian Way attracts adventurers from all corners of the globe, eager to immerse themselves in the magic of this historical and natural wonderland.

The trail takes you through diverse landscapes, ranging from rugged coastal cliffs to untamed forests and idyllic sandy beaches. You’ll find magnificent vistas, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and fragrant pine forests that stretch as far as the eye can see. The trail also winds through stunning geological formations, such as the Chimera flames, ancient rock tombs, and the awe-inspiring Mount Olympos.

If you’re into history, you’re in luck. Along the route, you will encounter well-preserved Lycian ruins, including Xanthos, Patara, and Myra. Marvel at the grandeur of the ancient cities, witness intricate rock-cut tombs, and stroll through the remnants of amphitheaters and fortresses that once stood as a testament to Lycian civilization’s prowess.

Who Is The Lycian Way Suitable For?

This scenic route is suitable for a wide range of adventurers, from seasoned trekkers looking for a challenge to casual hikers seeking a leisurely escape from nature. While certain sections of the trail can be demanding due to steep ascents and descents, there are also more relaxed portions that offer gentle pathways and tranquil surroundings. Basically, the Lycian Way caters to individuals with different fitness levels and hiking preferences.

Of course, you don’t have to hike all of it either. You can head to the starting point in Oludeniz, walk a short distance until you get tired, and then go back. Then, you can say that you walked some of the Lycian Way! You can probably guess that’s precisely what I did the first time before choosing to be a bit more adventurous after that.

Lycian Way Route

As you travel across Turkey’s stunning Mediterranean coastline between Fethiye to Antalya, the Lycian Way passes through various towns and villages, each offering its own unique charm and cultural heritage.

Here are some notable towns and villages you may encounter along the Lycian Way route:

Ölüdeniz, Fethiye

Fethiye, Turkey Guide - Tlos ruins and tombs, an ancient Lycian city_Turkey_Depositphotos_625459582_S

This is the starting point of the trail. Fethiye is a vibrant coastal town known for its beautiful harbor, lively markets, ancient ruins like the Lycian rock tombs, and the famous Oludeniz Beach.

The trail itself starts behind the cable car up Babadağ Mountain in Oludeniz itself, famous for paragliding.

RECOMMENDED POST

Kayaköy

Kayaköy Ghost Town, Turkey

This ghost town is an abandoned Greek village from the early 20th century, featuring UNESCO-protected ruins and a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere. I’d highly recommend you stop here and check out the sights.

Village Of Faralya

Perched atop high cliffs, Faralya offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s an excellent spot for observing butterfly migrations and enjoying the tranquillity of nature.

Kabak

Kabak Beach - Turkey

Hidden among lush greenery and turquoise coves, Kabak is known for its pristine beaches, camping spots, and laid-back hippie vibe.

Patara

The ancient city of Patara boasts an impressive 18-kilometer long sandy beach, well-preserved Roman ruins, and a nesting ground for endangered loggerhead sea turtles.

Kalkan

A charming coastal town, Kalkan is famous for its narrow streets, colorful houses, rooftop restaurants, and lovely marina.

Kaş

Best beaches in Turkey - Kaputas beach Antalya

Kaş is a picturesque town offering a mix of historical sites, stunning diving opportunities, boat trips to nearby islands, and vibrant nightlife. Here, you will find world-famous Kaputas Beach, where I definitely recommend stopping for a swim.

RECOMMENDED POST

Demre

Demre is home to the well-preserved ancient city of Myra, with its famous Lycian rock-cut tombs and the Church of St. Nicholas, the original inspiration for Santa Claus.

Antalya

Antalya Guide - Hidirlik Tower in Antalya, Turkey

The final destination of the Lycian Way, Antalya is a bustling city with a rich history, beautiful beaches, a charming old town (Kaleiçi), and plenty of vibrant shopping and dining options.

RECOMMENDED POST

The trail winds its way through ancient Lycian cities, Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, and remote villages. From the spectacular views of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea to the awe-inspiring landscapes of soaring cliffs, pine forests, and idyllic beaches, this trail showcases nature’s beauty in all its glory.

You can expect a variety of surfaces, including loose rocks, narrow pathways, and occasional muddy sections during wetter seasons. While some stages might require surefootedness and a good level of physical fitness, there are also parts where you can relax and enjoy more accessible trails.

It’s important to note that the Lycian Way is not a manicured or heavily maintained route, which adds to its adventurous appeal.

The good news is that the trail is well-marked with signposts, wooden trail markers, and helpful guidebooks to assist you along the way. Several campsites, guesthouses, and small villages are also available where you can find accommodations and replenish supplies. It’s a good idea to carry enough water and snacks for the day, as well as a sturdy backpack to carry personal belongings.

Overall, the Lycian Way offers a range of experiences, from day hikes to multi-day treks. It’s a versatile trail that can be enjoyed by solo hikers, couples, families, or groups of friends.

Brands We Use And Trust

  

Sights To See As You Hike The Lycian Way

For me, the best thing about the Lycian Way is the freedom it gives you. You don’t necessarily have to race from sight to sight because the whole thing is a sight in itself. The panoramic views and countryside you move through are enough to give you plenty of photo opportunities and wow moments.

However, there are some notable things you should have on your visit list. Here are my recommendations:

Patara Beach

Patara, Turkey: group of travelers sit on camping chairs and enjoy and watch the stunning sunset over the sand dunes of Patara beach, Antalya

A couple of hours on Patara Beach is a must-do. This is a 12-kilometer stretch of pristine shoreline. With its golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, it’s the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun.

Ancient City Of Xanthos

Xanthos-Letoon

As you wander along the Lycian Way, make sure to explore the ancient city of Xanthos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is brimming with history, featuring ruins of grand amphitheaters, necropolises, and elaborate tombs. Imagine the stories that unfolded within these ancient walls.

Saklikent Gorge

Saklikent Gorge Turkey - natural wonder in Türkiye

This impressive natural wonder is one of the deepest canyons in the world, offering stunning views of towering cliffs and the rushing waters of the Esen River. It’s also probably the coolest place to be during the summer months, for which you’ll probably be grateful. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the sheer beauty of this place!

Butterfly Valley

Best beaches in Turkey - Butterfly Valley in Oludeniz

Nestled between two towering cliffs, Butterfly Valley is a hidden gem along the Lycian Way. This tranquil paradise is home to over 80 butterfly species, making it a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts. Take a leisurely swim in the crystal-clear waters or unwind while surrounded by the lush greenery and cascading waterfalls.

Ancient City Of Myra

No visit to the Lycian Way is complete without a stop at the ancient city of Myra. Explore the well-preserved Roman theatre, rock-cut tombs, and the magnificent Church of Saint Nicholas. Whether you’re a history buff or intrigued by ancient civilizations, this archaeological site will leave you in awe.

Olympos

Sandy Beaches In Turkey - Aerial view of Cirali Beach from ancient Olympos ruins

As you approach the end of your journey, make sure to pass by the famed Olympos. This ancient city boasts a unique blend of historical ruins and beautiful beaches. Take a detour to explore the Roman ruins, hike up to ancient tombs overlooking the sea (if you have any energy left), or relax on the picturesque beach.

Remember, the Lycian Way has countless other hidden gems along its path. As you embark on your adventure, embrace the unexpected surprises that come your way.

Accommodation Options During Your Hike

It’s essential to plan your accommodation carefully when hiking the entire route, especially during the warmer weather months when the trail can be busy. Luckily, there are a variety of unique and exciting options available.

Traditional Guesthouses

You’ll come across several quaint villages that provide traditional Turkish guesthouses known as “pansiyons.” These accommodations are usually family-run and offer cozy rooms, warm hospitality, and delicious homemade meals. Staying in a traditional guesthouse allows you to immerse yourself in local culture, interact with friendly locals, and get a taste of authentic Turkish life.

A few of my recommendations include:

  • The Olive Tree Inn: Nestled amidst a beautiful olive grove, The Olive Tree Inn offers cozy accommodations to rest your head and feet. With its traditional stone architecture and wooden interiors, this guesthouse provides a charming and rustic experience. 
  • The Lycian Lodge: Situated in a picturesque village, The Lycian Lodge is known for its authentic Lycian atmosphere. The guesthouse features traditional wooden rooms with spectacular mountain views.
  • The Mountain View Retreat: As the name suggests, The Mountain View Retreat offers sensational views of the Lycian Mountains. The guesthouse combines traditional architecture with modern amenities to provide a comfortable stay.

Of course, there are countless more, but these are three good options to get you started and give you an idea of what to expect from Lycian Way accommodation.

Camping

If you’re seeking a closer connection with nature, camping is a popular option along the Lycian Way. The trail provides plenty of camping spots, both designated and wild, where you can pitch your tent and enjoy starry nights under the open sky.

Homestays

If you’re seeking an authentic and immersive cultural experience, homestays are an excellent choice. In some villages along the Lycian Way, locals open their homes to travelers, offering a chance to stay with a Turkish family, share meals, and learn about local traditions.

Food & Drink

Plates of Ciğer Kebabı (Liver Kebab) in Turkey

 

There are many food and drink options along the Lycian Way. Along the way, you can indulge in delicious kebabs, flavorful mezes (appetizers), freshly caught seafood, and delectable baklava for dessert. Don’t forget to try the refreshing ayran, a traditional yogurt-based drink, or the solid and aromatic Turkish tea.

Along the trail, you will encounter charming villages that offer authentic, hearty homemade meals. The warm hospitality of the locals will make your dining experience even more enjoyable.

You’ll also find numerous roadside stalls and bustling markets. Here, you can grab a fresh and juicy orange to quench your thirst or try a gözleme, a traditional Turkish flatbread filled with savory goodness like cheese, spinach, or minced meat. For those who need an extra energy boost, you can find a variety of nuts, dried fruits, and homemade energy bars that are perfect for on-the-go snacking.

There are also several small shops where you can replenish your supplies, but all of this is a lot more accessible during the warmer months.

If you choose to hike the Lycian Way during the winter, you will find far less in the way of food and drink options, so remember to pack accordingly and stock up when you come across a town or village.

When Is The Best Time To Hike The Lycian Way?

Turkish Riviera - Sunset view of the city and mountains, Fethiye Turkey

Spring

Springtime, from April to May, is an excellent opportunity to hike the Lycian Way, and this is the time I recommend the most. During this period, temperatures are quite pleasant, ranging from mild to warm, making it comfortable for extensive hiking. You can expect averages in the low to mid-20s during the day, but evenings do drop quite chilly.

At this time, the Lycian coast bursts into life with vibrant wildflowers, so it’s an excellent time for photography. Of course, springtime ensures lower visitor numbers compared to the summer months, so you can fully appreciate the tranquil beauty of the landscape without having to move out of someone’s way every five minutes.

RECOMMENDED POST

Summer

On the other hand, if you prefer warmer weather and the chance to take a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters, hiking the Lycian Way in the summer, specifically from June to August, might be your ideal choice. However, it’s important to note that temperatures can soar during these months, reaching highs of 40°C. Personally, I’d avoid these hottest months; yes, the weather is fantastic, but it’s incredibly tiring.

If you decide on a summer trip, starting your hikes early in the morning or late in the afternoon will help you avoid the scorching midday heat.

Additionally, summer is the peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and potentially busier trails. Also, there isn’t a whole lot of shade along the trail, so definitely take a hat and plenty of water.

RECOMMENDED POST

Autumn

Autumn, from September to October, offers a middle ground if you’re seeking a balance between favorable weather conditions and fewer tourists. The temperatures start to cool down, providing a comfortable climate for long days of hiking—you can expect mid to low 20s as the months roll on.

The summer crowds begin to disperse, allowing you to explore the trail at a more leisurely pace, immerse yourself in the surroundings, and interact with locals along the way. Another advantage of hiking in autumn is the stunning transformation of the trees as they gradually transition into vivid shades of golden orange and fiery red.

Winter

If you are a more adventurous hiker and enjoy a unique experience, tackling the Lycian Way during the winter months, from November to March, could be your cup of tea. However, it is essential to note that winter brings cooler temperatures, occasional rainfall, and even some snowfall in the higher elevations. Trails might be muddy and slippery, so proper gear, including waterproof shoes and warm clothing, is essential.

For sure, hiking during this time offers solitude and a chance to witness the landscape in a different light. The crisp air and snow-covered mountain peaks will provide a magical touch to your journey. However, there may be a lot less availability in terms of accommodation and food, so plan ahead very carefully. I’d say that winter hiking is really only for the very experienced.

RECOMMENDED POST

10 Tips For Hiking The Lycian Way

Fethiye King Tombs, Fethiye center of the 4th century BC, carved into the rock tomb. The Lycian Amintas King Tombs were built in Ionian style and carved from a single piece of rock.

Before you don your hiking boots and set off along the Lycian Way, here are my top ten tips:

1. Plan And Prepare

Before embarking on the Lycian Way, research the route thoroughly, understand the difficulty level of the trail sections, and gather all necessary equipment, such as sturdy hiking boots, clothing layers, a map, a compass, and enough food and water for the duration of your hike. You can never be too prepared!

2. Start With Shorter Sections

If you’re new to hiking or have limited abilities, consider beginning with shorter and more manageable sections of the Lycian Way. This way, you can gradually acclimate to the trail and assess your comfort level before committing to longer portions.

3. Listen To Your Body

Pay attention to how your body feels during the hike. If you’re feeling tired or experiencing pain, it’s important to rest and take breaks as needed. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to exhaustion or injuries, which can ruin your hiking experience.

4. Pace Yourself

The Lycian Way hike in Turkey offers a variety of terrains, from steeply ascents to rocky descents. It’s essential to pace yourself accordingly, especially during uphill sections. Take small steps, maintain a steady rhythm, and don’t be afraid to take breaks to catch your breath.

5. Use Trekking Poles

Trekking poles can provide stability and support while hiking, especially on uneven terrains. They help distribute your body weight and lessen the strain on your knees and joints, allowing you to hike more comfortably and with reduced risk of injury.

6. Carry Emergency Supplies

Safety should be a priority. Pack a basic first aid kit, a whistle, a headlamp, a lighter, and a fully charged phone in case of emergencies. It’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected.

7. Stay Hydrated And Refuel

Remember to drink enough water during your hike to stay adequately hydrated, especially in hot weather. Carry extra water bottles or a water filtration system to ensure a continuous supply. Also, pack energizing snacks like nuts, dried fruits, and energy bars to keep your energy levels up.

8. Protect Yourself From The Sun

The Lycian Way offers stunning coastal views but also has very little shade. Protect your skin by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF. Additionally, consider wearing lightweight, breathable clothing that covers your arms and legs to minimize sunburn and heatstroke risks.

9. Respect The Environment

The Lycian Way is known for its pristine beauty, and it’s essential to keep it that way. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, which include packing out all your garbage, sticking to established trails, and avoiding disturbing wildlife or plants.

10. Enjoy The Journey

Last but not least, remember that hiking the Lycian Way is not just about reaching the destination. Take your time, connect with nature, and truly enjoy the journey.


Lycian Way FAQs

LYCIAN WAY FAQS

What is the Lycian Way?

The Lycian Way is a long-distance hiking trail located in southwestern Turkey. It stretches along the coast of the ancient region of Lycia, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, rugged mountains, and historical sites.

How long does it take to complete the Lycian Way?

The entire Lycian Way can typically take 29 days to complete (and up to 45), depending on your pace and the number of detours you take to explore nearby attractions. However, it is also possible to tackle shorter sections of the trail based on your preferences and available time.

Is it necessary to have prior hiking experience?

While having prior hiking experience can be helpful, it is not necessary to complete the Lycian Way. The trail is well-marked with red and white painted markers, and there are various levels of difficulty, allowing hikers of different skill levels to choose their desired route.

When is the best time to hike the Lycian Way?

The best time to hike the Lycian Way is generally during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). The temperatures during these seasons are usually mild, making it more comfortable to hike. However, it’s essential to be prepared for variable weather conditions and check local forecasts before embarking on your journey.

Are there accommodations along the trail?

Yes, there are a variety of accommodation options available along the Lycian Way. These include guesthouses, campgrounds, and even opportunities to stay with local families in some villages. It is advisable to plan your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons, or consider carrying camping gear if you prefer to camp.

Are there refueling points along the trail?

Yes, there are several villages and towns along the Lycian Way where you can find cafes,  grocery stores, and restaurants along the way to refuel and restock supplies. It’s recommended to carry enough water and snacks with you for the stretches between these points, especially during hot weather.

What should I pack for the Lycian Way?

Some essential items to pack for the Lycian Way include sturdy hiking shoes, comfortable clothing suitable for layering, a backpack, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, a first aid kit, a good map or GPS device, and a water bottle. It’s also advisable to carry some cash, as credit card acceptance can be limited in some areas.

Is it possible to hike the Lycian Way independently?

Yes, it is possible to hike the Lycian Way independently. The trail is well-marked, and there is a website and guidebook available that provide detailed information about the route. However, it’s always a good idea to inform someone about your plans and check for any updates or changes before setting off.

Can I hire a guide to hike the Lycian Way?

Yes, if you prefer to have a local guide or would like additional support, you can hire a professional guide or join guided group tours to hike the Lycian Way. This can be a great option if you’re seeking more in-depth knowledge about the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty.

Are there any safety precautions to consider while hiking the Lycian Way?

It’s essential to stay hydrated and carry ample water, especially during hot summer months. Additionally, take appropriate precautions against ticks, wear sunscreen, and be mindful of your surroundings. Always follow the trail markings and inform someone about your plans, especially if hiking alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!