Lycian Way

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One of the best hikes in the world

The Lycian Way

Turks refer to it as the “Likya Yolu”.

‘Launched’ in 2000, the Lycian Way is now widely regarded as one of the most interesting long-distance trails in the world.

British ex-patriot Kate Clow was the creator. She went on to promote other Turkish hikes including  the St Paul Trail, the Carian Trail and more.

AT A GLANCE

  • one of the top coastal hikes of the world
  • best months are probably April and May. September and October are good too but water sources will have dried up. Summer is too hot.
  • many international hikers fly to Antalya and stay in the old city of Kaleiç. to organize.
  • 500+ kms between the cities of Fethiye and Antalya. The official trailheads in 2017 were the towns of Ovacık, the northern suburb of Ölüdeni in the west to the village (and climbing centre) of Geyikbayırı in the east. Public transport is easy to arrange to both.

  • you can hike in either direction
  • tent or sleep in small village pensions

pension in Çıralı

  • can be done without tenting, but you may need to skip some sections if you don’t carry a tent.
  • thru hikers finish in about 30 days

While we were there in 2017 the Turkish President’s actions were resulting in very negative headlines. Tourism suffered. Many visitors had been warned not to travel to Turkey.

That said … we’ve not heard of any issues that have ever affected tourists on the Lycian.

Why We Like This Hike

  • great Mediterranean climate. Virtually no rain falls from mid-May to September.
  • gorgeous beaches 

  • very easy to tent almost anywhere for free.
  • good chance to see chameleons
  • wild flowers in the Spring
  • historical ruins at every turn
  • spectacular coastal vistas
  • lighthouse at Cape Gelidonia
  • something interesting to see nearly every day
  • local transportation via small shuttle vans is good. But you may spend time locating one.
  • free wifi is surprisingly easy to find in Turkey. Speed is good.

The Sunday Times once ranked Lycian Way one of the ten most beautiful long distance hikes of the world. We don’t agree. There are numerous sections that are boring, on pavement and/or cluttered with trash.

There’s no need to thru hike the Lycian. Pick and choose the sections you want to see. Be quick to jump on public transit or into a taxi if you are not enjoying any sections.

Phaselis

Considerations

  • finding water is problematic in some sections, especially late in the season. We carried as much as 4 litres / person at times.
  • water should be treated
  • outside major towns and hotels not much English is spoken. It’s well worth the time to learn a few words. And to carry a device that can translate for you.
  • It is waymarked with red and white stripes, the Grande Randonnee convention. Despite good intentions, most hikers get lost at some point nearly every single day.

  • surprisingly rugged terrain. Some sections are overgrown. You may want to wear long pants for protection from thorns.
  • surprisingly frequent steep ascents and descents

  • heat emergencies are a real worry, especially in the summer. You’ll appreciate shade and trees.

  • scorpions are a worry. Be careful picking up rocks and putting your hands somewhere without checking first
  • snakes are poisonous we were told. But not deadly. We saw two in a week in May.
  • dogs are a bigger risk. Be ready to wave a stick or threaten to throw a stone if one approaches.
  • mosquitoes are occasionally a problem. Other flying insects including bees, wasps, hornets and flies did not seem to want to bother with us in May.
  • most hikers don’t carry much food instead eating at restaurants once or twice a day

typical Turkish breakfast

many consider Turkish food one of the great highlights

You can’t fly with camping gas. In Turkey it’s not all that easy to find canisters. Check this page – Backpacking stoves and suppliers for Turkey.

We purchased from Tibet Outdoor close to the old city in Antalya. Tibet Outdoor also offers personalized guided trips to wherever you might like to go in Turkey.

Cost

In 2017 you paid £120 / night for an excellent guided 6 nights with On Foot Holidays out of the U.K. 

Or you could do the same 6 nights camping independently and spend as little as  $20 / night for food, transportation, etc.

Tenting you’ll likely you’ll spend closer to $27 / night / person as did Married With Luggage on their 31 day independent hike. They occasionally stayed in pensions rather than tenting.

A pension room in 2017 cost as little as $30 night with hot shower, AC and free wifi.

There are no trekking fees or permits on the Lycian. But you may want to pay small entry fees into attractions along the way.

For best value bring Pounds, Euros or dollars. Change those to Turkish lira in cities as needed.

Routes

We wanted to do about a week on the Lycian. But what section?
In the end we decided to start on the beach at Mavikent near Kumluca and exit via the tourist trap Kemer. We’d recommend that week long section for people who want to stay mostly on the coast. And camp on the beach.
The highest point (which we skipped) was the summit of Tahtalı Dağı 2,366 m (7,762 ft).

You start from sea level and climb up … there.

Many are tempted to take the the Olympos Aerial Tram to the top instead.

Trekking Guides

Local Information

By far the best source of up-to-date information is in Antalya. Visit the Cultural Routes Society office. You might even see Kate Clow there.

Best Trekking Guidebooks

Be sure to get the most recent edition. June 2014 was the 4th edition, for example. You can purchase the guidebook on arrival in Antalya at their office close to the old city.

Best Travel Guidebooks

LP is still our favourite.

Other Recommended Books

Best Maps

The Lycian Way by Kate Clow includes a very simplistic map. Don’t count on it for navigation. Compare the route against something with far more detail. A map on your phone, for example.

Kate Clow has a free iPhone / iPad app for the Lycian Way. It uses GPS but does not need to be connected by data. You can book accommodation, too.

The app is better for navigation than the guidebook, but you’ll still probably get lost with only the guidebook and app. An android version is planned.

There is another iPhone app available for $6. We’ve not consulted anyone who’s used it.

Lycia East Hiking Map 1:50.000 and Lycia West Hiking Map 1:50,000 would be well worth carrying.

Best Web Pages

Best Trip Reports

Movies

Click PLAY or watch Magnus Hedström on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch a Russian hiking group on YouTube.

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