We have just returned from Turkey where we re-visited parts of the Lycian Way.
Several years ago, generally in October, we would come to walk sections of the route carrying just a guidebook, spare clothes, sleeping bags and a pot to cook over an open fire in case we found ourselves in an area we wanted to camp the night maybe high in the mountains or on a beautiful beach. The book was useful especially to know where to find water. One year we came in Spring and were astounded by the quantity and variety of flowers. Our lunches were normally with shepherd families or in small rural village homes. Well a few years have gone by and our rucksacks seem to have grown heavier. We decided to spoil ourselves a bit and do some of the route in style. It is quite amazing how those small extras make for a relaxing trip – even if you have a (despite a) long days walk. No more heavy bags to carry as a vehicle would take them to our next pensiyon (guesthouse). We knew a room would be waiting for us and if necessary we had support in the event of anything going wrong. And the hot showers, splendid breakfasts and delicious evening meals rounded off the days walk.
The Lycian Way is over 300 miles long with very varied terrain including mountain trails unsuitable in winter and early spring, coastal stretches to be done early in the relative cool of mornings in the summer and even sections of tarmac road unsuitable at any time except in an emergency!
Every section of the route has its highlights, be it the flora or forest scenery, the ancient trails, beautiful beaches or ancient cities and monuments. For first time visitors to the Lycian Way who would like to see the best in a short period of time – forget it! It is impossible there is just too much. Better concentrate on a good area and enjoy that properly. The sections between Faralya and Yediburun are superb Also the sections from Adrasan to Goynuk, here in a week of excellent walking you can take in the ancient ruins of Olympos and several minor ancient sites, the everlasting flames of the Chimaera, some of the best beaches of Lycia, the ceder forests of Mt Tahtali and the verdant cool of the Goynuk Canyon.
Some guided trips are available along the route and the local knowledge of the history, flora and fauna, local people, their traditions and language combined with route finding make the trip more interesting and relaxing. Christian, one of our guides, lives in the Beycik area speaks several languages and is a professional guide and botanist. Nihat is the EWP guide in the Faralya and other areas of the Lycian Way. He has contributed to trail making and has great local knowledge and botanical knowledge.
For those who are coming back to Lycia (as we have many times) things have changed. Local associations, sponsored by local administrations, have created networks of trails. In the Kemer-Beycik area there are now over 200 miles of walking trails. Similar networks have been developed by Fethiye and Faralya associations, incoorporating the mysterious ruins of Kaya village, made famous in Louis de Bernières “Birds Without Wings” and many more stunning beaches, ruins and ancient trails. Another major network has been developed in the Demre area following the travels of St Nicholas.
The following maps are ideal for walkers in Lycia:
Eastern Lycia (Kemer, Beycik areas)
Central Lycia (Kas, Demre)
Western Lycia (Fethiye, Faralya, Kalkan)