Lycian Way

general information and best places
540 km

Of the trail
29 days

With stops for photos and food break
≈ 12k meters

Up and down
Turkey is not only a popular resort with all-inclusive hotels on the Mediterranean coast. The country has a vast historical heritage, such as the city of Troy, or former municipalities of the Roman Empire: Ephesus and Phasellis. In addition, Turkey has many unique natural attractions like Cappadocia or Pamukkale. But here we are going to talk about one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world - the Lycian Way, which combines breathtaking landscapes and monuments of the ancient Lycian civilization.

You don't have to be an avid hiker to follow the trail. If you are used to an all-inclusive vacation, you can try out trekking by adding a day tour along the Lycian Way to your holiday itinerary.
General information
The Lycian Way is a beautiful 540-kilometer trail that runs from Fethiye to Antalya. Some sections pass mountainous terrain, but mostly it goes along the sea. The cool thing about the Lycian way is that many villages are on the way. Thanks to this, you can stay at local guesthouses while hiking, get to different parts of the track with local buses or taxis, and quickly get off the trail if you are too tired.

Kate Clow researched, designed, and waymarked the Lycian way in 1999 to identify and protect some of Turkey's old roads. She is a British/Turkish amateur historian.
History note
The Lycian trail got its name after the people who lived there - Lycians. They inhabited this area several thousand years ago.

Lycian tombs are the main monuments that have remained in good condition till the present time. They were carved from stone and were of three types: rock-cut, pillar, and sarcophagi.
The Lycians were buried in tombs with jewelry, so the tombs were often looted. That is why they created a special detachment, ensuring that the tombs are safe. Also, the Lycians had a tradition of burying people with the attributes of their professions. For example, writers were buried with a pen.

The tombs in Lycia were expensive, thus people began to take care of them during their lifetime. Mid-income people built simple tombs, but you can also see the tombs of wealthier people on the trail. It is possible to identify them by various bas-reliefs on the tombs. Also, there were frequently used bas-reliefs displaying people with the tails of a lion or a lion's head: because the lion was a sacred animal of the Lycians.

Lycia is also unique for being the first democratic union of ancient times which inspired the democratic systems of the modern times. Twenty-three member cities elected one, two, or three representatives to the Assembly (Synedrion), depending on the size of the city. Smaller towns combined to send one representative. The six largest cities - Xanthos, Patara, Pinara, Tlos, Myra, and Olympos - each held a maximum of 3 votes, and the less important cities possessed one or two votes each. Taxes and other public financial burdens were also allocated in these proportions to the various towns.

However, ancient Lycia was not in a state of total independence. For some time, it was part of the Persian kingdom and the Byzantine one. Lycians were also part of the Roman Empire.

The route
As I mentioned above, the Lycian Way stretches between Fethiye and Antalya on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The route map with the most significant points can be viewed below. The path is marked so getting lost will be complicated. To feel more secure, you can download the app on your phone and refer to it. It is very convenient and works without an internet connection. Here is more information about the navigation on the Lycian Way.

It takes about a month to complete the entire Lycian Way, depending on your pace. But it is not necessary to cover the whole trail at one time. Instead, you can choose the sections you like the most and go through them selectively.

The Lycian Way is divided into three parts: western, central, and eastern.

The western part starts in the village of Oludeniz and concludes in the city of Kas. The most popular continuous section of the west part is from Oludeniz to Patara Beach. The trail runs along the sea but at a significant distance, so swimming in the sea while hiking is rarely possible. Also,
there are many villages in this section, so you can go trekking backpack-free, staying overnight in hotels or guesthouses. On this part of the Lycian Way, you can see many natural attractions, such as Mount Babadag, Butterfly Valley, and a beach in Kabak with turquoise water. It is also full of the Lycian civilization monuments: wealthy Romans' tombs in Fethiye, which the Lycians made. These tombs are rock-cut in the form of entire temples! Other valuable historic places on the way are Kayakoy, Sidima, Patara, and Xanth.

The central part of the route starts at Kas and ends at Finike. It runs from Kas to Demre as close as possible to the sea, and only from Demre to Finike it goes up into the mountains. In this section, you can visit the sunken island of Kekova, which was submerged by an earthquake in the second century BC. In the city of Demre, there is an open-air museum with rock-cut tombs. Sarcophagi can be found right along the footpath; for this, you do not even need to go to museums. The Lycian Way between Kas and Demre is suitable for people of any physical fitness level since the altitude gains are insignificant.

The eastern Lycian Way lies in a mountainous area. If you decide to hike this part, you might consider starting from the Goynuk Canyon and completing at the famous Chimera fires. The journey would look like you are going through the mountains to the sea. We hiked this part of the trail, starting a little before Genynuk, in the village of Khirchisandir. The eastern part of the trail is undoubtedly beautiful, but there will be no tombs right on the route. This section of the Lycian Way is more challenging than the central and western parts, as there are fewer villages along the way (you will need more food to carry with you), and the altitude gain is higher. There is also Mount Tahtali which you can hike backpack-free, leaving your backpack at the bottom before ascending, or skip it and go further along the route. Near Tahtali, the trail passes at an altitude of about 800 meters, so you need a warmer sleeping bag. After the lights of the Chimera, you can continue the route and go to Adrasan and then to Gelidoniya Lighthouse.
Best time to hike the Lycian Way

Of course, you can walk along the Lycian Way any time of the year, but it is too hot in summer, and winter is rainy. I have been on the Lycian Way in winter, spring and autumn. You can read more about the weather conditions on the Lycian Way in this article.

More information about how to pass the Lycian Way and the necessary equipment can be found here.

Despite the seeming freedom during backpacking with a complete set of equipment, everything is not so simple. There is some uncertainty about available camping spots and water. In general, there are enough questions during preparation. Therefore, you can also read articles about each section of the Lycian Way.

We organize hikes for those who do not want to bother with careful preparation for the upcoming adventure or do not want to backpack.
The combined knowledge and experience have allowed me to choose the most beautiful, enjoyable, and safe part of the Lycian Way for my guided hikes. We will see breathtaking views and ruins of ancient cities. To learn about the history of the locations we're visiting during the tour, the 7-day hike also includes a museum visit and a boat tour to the sunken city Kekova.
Here are some of the Lycian Way highlights

It is a small village which has a lovely beach with turquoise waters. The Lycian Way begins at this point, and a sign is installed there.
You can get to Oludeniz by minibus from Fethiye; you can get to Fethiye by flying to the airport in Dalaman or Antalya.


The mountain at the foot of which Oludeniz and Fethiye are located. You can climb the mountain on a lift and paraglide from there.

Butterfly Valley and Faralya village

You can get there both on foot and by car.
Faralya is a rocky area above the sea, but you can go down to the beach through Butterflies Valley. However, the descent is not very comfortable, so think well before you go. Up to 100 species of butterflies can live in Butterfly Valley during the summer.


Kabak is a small town with a stunning beach. There are hotels right on the coast and a little higher along the Lycian Way, from which breathtaking scenery opens.

Alinca village

A cozy and peaceful place where you can take a break from the bustle of the city, even if you do not plan to wander the Lycian Way. A distinctive feature of both Alinca and Kabak is that there are glampings (some even with swimming pools) where you can enjoy scenic views.


Famous long sandy beach with dunes. In the past, there was one of the largest cities of the Lycian civilization. You can visit it if you are coming from Kas to Fethiye or vice versa. You will be able to see the well-preserved triumphal arch and tombs. I especially remember the kiln for firing clay products. Just think how long ago ceramics appeared!


The next on the route is the ancient capital of Lycia, Xanthos. The history of this glorious city has more than three millennia! First, it was destroyed and reborn from ruins, and now its majestic remains are under the protection of UNESCO.


One of the coziest towns on the trail! Small, but at the same time, everything is in there for a modern person, including a tourist. You can walk around the city center in 15 minutes, but if you start looking closely at each house, it will take much more time to enjoy.


It is a small sea village, home to numerous amount of yachts. From there, you can go on a boat tour and look at the sunken island of Kekova or go to Simena Fortress on foot.


In my opinion, the main attraction of Demre is the remains of the ancient city of Mira. You can see what the rock-cut tombs of the ancient Lycians were. We visit this museum during my guided tour.

Lighthouse Gelidonia

A beautiful place, especially if you come there at dawn. Usually, it is very windy there, so it is better to be prepared for any weather.


An ancient city, well preserved and slightly restored. You can look at old constructions, but in my opinion, the city is not as attractive as, for example, Mira or Xanthos.


A popular place among yoga tourists :)) A secluded village far from the main road, with hotels, markets, and a fabulous beach where turtles lay their eggs in the spring. You can go to the lights of the Chimera from Cirali village.

Lights of the Chimera

It is one of my favorite spots on the trail. Just imagine the fire coming out of the earth's bowels for several thousand years. Chimera lights are the only place on earth where the fire goes on continuously 365 days a year. There are the upper and the lower fires of the Chimera. The upper lights of the Chimera are up along the Lycian Way. You can see them first if you hike from Ulupinar to Cirali. The upper lights burn weaker than the lower ones.

Goynuk canyon

You might start hiking along the eastern part of the Lycian Way from here. Goynuk is a canyon with turquoise water with the possibility to enjoy a tour on an inflatable boat with an instructor or swim on your own, taking a wetsuit for an additional fee.
Travel tips
Have you already noticed that the Lycian Way is full of many tourist wonders? Let me give you some practical advice before you travel:

Start simple. If you are hiking for the first time or accompanied by unprepared companions, it is better to organize the route in such a way as to spend the night in hotels or equipped campsites and eat in cafes. It is even better to take a guided walking tour and go backpack-free.

If you decide to go by yourself, read carefully about water points: some of them might be dry during fall. Most of the wells on the route are empty or dirty.

Take care of the local nature. It would be best if you do not leave garbage or "commemorative inscriptions" behind you, even outside the territory of national parks. You are in the sacred temple of Nature and History!

Beware of snakes. There are very few dangerous animals in these places, and they do not seek to rendezvous with humans. But there are poisonous snakes. Do not show aggression - and the reptile itself will leave the place of a chance meeting.

Be sure to take care of the connection. It might make sense to buy a local SIM card for communications since it costs about $ 20. Roaming might be more pricey.

Don't forget about insurance. Take a policy for active recreation for each participant in the campaign. It can be easily bought on the Internet.

Don't be afraid to get lost. The Lycian Way is marked up and down, so follow the signs. You can also read this article to understand how to navigate while hiking the Lycian Way using your smartphone.

That's all for now!
I wish you an excellent rendezvous with ancient Lycia and the natural beauties of modern Turkey! :)
Feel free to comment or ask your question