The Lycian Way
Lycian Way is a Mediterranean Trail that stretches for 540 kilometers along the coast of southern Turkey. Lycian Way offers dozens of unspoiled sandy beaches, mountain trails, medieval churches, and restored monuments. Hikers will be lured by its rugged coastline, pine forests, and wild landscapes. The Lycian way is perfect for people who enjoy the outdoors!
The Lycian Way is one of the top hiking trails in Turkey. It offers hikers a chance to discover Lycia, an ancient region in the southwest of the country that once shared its borders with Caria, Pamphylia, and Pisidia. Lycia was located between two ranges of mountains, the Lycian Mountains to its north and the Taurus Mountains to its south.
Lycia also had rich tombs filled with treasures, imposing castles perched on rocky outcrops, natural harbors, and tranquil beaches often separated by dense forests. Many Lycian cities are situated on or close to Kıyıköy (literally “the shore village”) which means you will be able to experience village life as well.
The Lycian Way passes thru the following locations:
- Kınık (Show cave and Hiking),
- Ölüdeniz (Blue lagoon),
- Saklıkent (Valley of the Lycian kings) ,
- Geyikbayırı (Bear mountain – Trekking),
- Sarıbelen (Monks Valley – Trekking),
- Belören, Eşen, Ölüdeniz (Kaya Village – Trekking),
- Yenikent Prasonisi (Sandy beach) ,
- Hisarönü Kayaaltı Plajı (Sandy beach),
- Kayaköy (Ghost Town – Trekking) ,
- Kavaklıdere Kale,
- Gündoğan Kalesi (Castle ruin),
- Hisarönü Belediye Tesisleri (Hisaronu Public Facilities),
- Ağaçkonak Lycian Way Office-Çukurbük,
- Çamlıbel( White Valley – Trekking) ,
- Goncatepe (Mountain top with a view over the Lycian Coast
- and the mountain villages of Göcek and Fethiye.
The Lycian way is marked with red&white marks painted on rocks and trees. There are some Lycian Way maps available online, but you can also find them at Lycian way info points (usually near the most interesting spots). There is one guide for every group of hikers available in several languages, explaining everything from the history of Lycia to plant species along the Lycian Way. It has basic route information and useful contact information such as accommodation options and places to get supplies.
Lycian way maps are available for free at Lycian Way Docpoint (a document giving information on the Lycian way) which is located in Hisarönü, Fethiye. It is just next to Lycian Way Information Point which is located at the beginning of Lycian Way.
Lycium or Lycion (Ancient Greek: Λύκιον Lykion) was a city of ancient Lycia. Its name is most famous today for the Lycium fruit, which gave its name to a particular kind of smooth muscle tissue found in the eye. Lycia occupied the plain that stretches from the foot of Mount Mimas almost to the coast. Lycian Way winds along the mountainous coast of Lycia between towering peaks that are covered in forest or dotted with villages, farms, and ancient ruins. The Lycian way is a challenging experience for everyone who loves spending time outdoors.
The Lycian way ends at Fethiye but there are daily boat trips that pass thru the Lycian way. Lycia was bordered by Caria to the west, Pamphylia to the east, and Cilicia Trachea to the north. Lycia was said to have been one of the countries in which Jason sought refuge during his flight from Corinth after the murder of his father.
Lycus (Ancient Greek: Λύκος Lykos) was a river that flowed from Mount Cragus (modern-day Beşparmak, Turkey) through the Lycian heartland to the Mediterranean. Lycus was also worshipped as an agricultural god by the Lycians. Lycia features many ruins of cities built by its ancient inhabitants.
The Lycians were Indo-European people speaking Lycian, a member of the Luwian subgroup. Lycia attained its highest prosperity after it had been incorporated into the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great in 547 BC. In addition to local Lycian dyes such as crimson, people living on the coast also imported expensive dyes from abroad such as miniver and purple (made from sea snails) which were used in royal robes. Lycia was conquered by Harpagus for the Achaemenid Persian Empire in approximately 540BCE.
Most Lycian cities gained their importance around natural harbors that made them attractive ports for seafaring travelers between Anatolia and mainland Greece for commercial activities, and they had a traditional Lycian society where economy and social life were strongly intertwined. Lycia was known for producing high-quality carpets, which traded throughout the ancient Mediterranean world; the earliest of these rug fragments can be firmly dated to the first half of the 4th century BC.
Lycians also developed a thriving tourism sector as major exporters of Lycian artifacts and other souvenirs, such as stuffed olives and even some frankincense from Yemen.
Lycia has been distinguished by scholars into two main parts: “Greater Lycia” in the east covering roughly the coastal region as far as Alanya and “Lesser Lycia” to the west along the Kestros River including Xanthos Patara and Tlos. Lycia had a Lycian League formed in the 3rd century BC. Lycia was an ally of Rome during the Mithridatic Wars. Lycia became involved in Roman politics in the late second century BC when they allied with Aristonicus, who successfully waged wars against pro-Roman Lycian states and attacked cities in Caria.
The Lycians later sided with Pompey, who defeated Caesar’s assassins Brutus and Cassius in 48BcE On his return from defeating Pompey, Octavian fell victim to Lycians suffering casualties due to their unwavering support for Pompey at Zela where he won a war against them, but this did not last long. At one point all Lycia was subject to Rome, but Lycians were given privileged status. Lycia prospered under Rome and was made a province in 43 BC.
Lycia became an important early Christian center; Paul the Apostle preached in Lycia (Acts 14:21) on his way to the Roman province of Asia which included Ephesus, where he spent three years. Lycia continued to be a popular tourist destination during the Middle Ages with many Byzantine churches built along its rugged coastline.
Lycian Way is one of Turkey’s most popular hiking trails because it runs through the picturesque southern star panorama of the Lycian coastline between Fethiye and Antalya passing by ancient ruins among spectacular sceneries.