Lycian Trail – Road.Travel

Lycian Trail

Road Trip Route. Visit the ruins of ancient cities!, Walk the canyon, climb the mountain, swim in the turquoise bays, have a picnic., Discover the most touristy region from a different angle!.

The Lycian Trail is a long hiking and automobile route through the ancient region of Asia Minor. Throughout the first millennium BC, Lycia had a distinctive culture: language, writing, architecture. It was conquered by Persians, Alexander the Great, Romans and Turks. It remained autonomous for a long time, being a part of ancient empires. Lycia stretches from Antalya to Fethiye. On this trip you have the chance to touch the grandeur of its antiquity by walking through its ruins. In addition, the nature here is fascinating.

History and Culture, Active Leisure, Relaxing Leisure, Adventures. From: Antalya

Olga Ratia. Travel Expert.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: Goynuk Canyon and the beginning of the trail!

On the first day of your trip you will have a walk around Antalya, see the beautiful Göyinkük canon and visit the ancient town of Faselis.

Antalya Airport (AYT) (Antalya Havalimanı)

We fly to Antalya, take the car and set off on an amazing adventure through ancient Lycia!

Hadrian's Gate (Üçkapılar (Hadrian Kapısı))

Be sure to take a walk through the old town. It is a cozy and beautiful place. See the Hadrian's Gate, a triumphal arch in Antalya, Turkey, built in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who visited Attalia in 130 AD. It is the only surviving entrance gate of the walls surrounding the city and the harbour.

Duden Waterfalls

The Duden Falls are part of the karst system. The lower Düden waterfall is a large cascading waterfall about 50 meters high, falling directly into the Mediterranean Sea. The most beautiful view of it is from the sea, especially in the evening when it is beautifully illuminated.

Bisküvi Mutfak & Kahve Evi

Before going into nature, you need to eat, stock up on food so that you will have the strength for the further difficult and fascinating journey.

Goynuk Canyon

Göyņük Canyon is one of the most picturesque places on the coast. It is a gorge six metres wide and 350 metres high, stretching for 14 kilometres and ending in the spurs of the steep Bedaglar cliffs. It is not an easy walk, so you should not expect to spend more than two hours here. Wear comfortable shoes that can get wet and don't forget your swimsuit.

Фаселис

Be sure to visit the ancient Phaselis! According to tradition, this city was founded in the 7th century BC by colonists from the island of Rhodes. Most of the ruins date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods and are located on the main street connecting the northern and southern harbours. The theatre, built in the 4th century BC on the slope of the acropolis is comparatively small (its 20 rows can seat 3,000 people). Its stage was built by the Romans. In the late Roman period it served as an arena and in the late Byzantine period its stage was used as part of the city wall. To the right of the entrance to the city are the oldest walls of the city fortress (3rd century BC) and the ruins of a temple or monumental crypt. The most impressive ruins of Phaselis are the towering aqueduct above the car park. Nearby water tanks can be seen. The city was supplied with water from a spring on the northern hill. There were three agorae in the town: one opposite the theatre, the other two on the right side of the main street leading to the southern harbour. Inside the agora opposite the theatre, the ruins of a Byzantine basilica can be seen. The town baths in the area of the town square are also impressive. Particularly interesting are the small baths, whose heating system was typical for Roman baths. Two of the city's necropolises contain tombs with lids depicting figures of Eros and lions.

Day 2: Tahtali Mountain and Chimera Lights!

On the second day of the trip you will see the beauty of Turkey from the heights by climbing Tahtali Mountain, which in ancient times was called Mount Olympus. You will also visit an amazing sight: the Chimera Lights. And have a small picnic right on top of them. Be sure to walk through the ruins of the town of Olympos. It's almost overgrown, but it still breathes history. And Cape Helidonia, with its pirate harbour and lighthouse. These sights will not leave you indifferent!

Tahtali Mountain

It's time to climb the peaks! Or take a chairlift. Be sure to visit the local Olympus! From this mountain you have gorgeous views! Drinking coffee with goodies at the top, admiring the scenery from 2365 m above sea level - it's worth it! Round trip tickets cost 32 euros for adults, 16 euros for children from 7 to 16 years old and free for under 7 years old. The road to the cable car comes from Faselis.

Chimera Lights

And now - another unique natural sight on the slopes of Yanartash mountain! A flame bursting out of the ground due to natural gas escaping to the surface. The fire locations periodically change, the fire almost dies down, then flares up again with renewed vigor. This place has been known since ancient times and the gas has been burning for at least the last few thousand years. But earlier the flames were more intense, the highest lights reached 2 meters and even served as a lighthouse for ships coming to the bay. Tourists now come here to have a picnic on a natural fire that does not need to be kindled! There is a stone-paved path up the hill to the place where the torches are lit. Entrance to the mountain is charged at 9 Turkish Liras (as of November 2020).

Olympos

The ancient city was built above a small gulf in a deep gorge, along a small river and is known to have been a member of the Lycian League in the 2nd century BC. Olympos together with the town of Phaselis was from time to time pillaged by the Cilician pirates, and in 42 B.C. it went under Roman rule. During the Roman period the town reached its peak of prosperity. In the following centuries the city lost its importance and was abandoned by its inhabitants. In the 7th century, the Arabian raids contributed to the decline. The town is badly overgrown and rather poorly preserved. It is less well maintained than other ancient monuments but it does have its own face. The old riverbed, the remains of fortress walls, a colonnade, the ruins of a very small theater (for 500 spectators) and the remains of buildings overgrown with greenery. Admission is chargeable and costs 24 Turkish Liras (as of October 2019).

Pirate Bay

There are many picturesque coves along Turkey's coastline, but this one has an amazing story of its own! Once upon a time (in the 1st century BC) there was a town here - a real pirate fortress, the remains of which can still be found on the rocky shores. Then the Romans drove the pirates out and the town was safely destroyed and abandoned by its inhabitants for 20 centuries. The picturesque bay remained a wonderful place for secluded rest.

Helidonia Lighthouse

The way to the lighthouse is not easy, but it's still worth going up there. Look from above and imagine how many ships have sunk there! Near the cape the undercurrents behaved very insidiously and pulled the passing ships right to the rocks, where they broke and sank. In front of the cape there is a trap of five islands. It looks beautiful, of course, but it is deadly: many ancient ships have perished next to them.

Day 3: The ancient cities of Lycia!

This day is all about the ruins of ancient Lycian cities. In one day you will visit four of these towns. They may be similar in some ways, but each has its own history and significance...

Hatır Kahvesi Kumluca

A contemplative and delicious breakfast in a cozy coffee shop near another ancient ruin!

Rhodiapolis

The history of Rhodiapolis dates back to early Antiquity. It is believed that in the 8th or 7th century BC, colonists from Rhodes sailed to the south-east of Lycia and founded a small settlement here, which was given a simple name meaning "land of Rhodes". From the ruins that can be seen there are remnants from the classical period to the Byzantine period. There is an amphitheatre, a Turkish bath, a basilica, a necropolis and many other buildings.

Limira

The city was founded supposedly in the 6th century BC by the Luvians. In classical antiquity, the main symbol for patronage was the Sun. It has been established that there was a centre of worship of the Holy Mother of the Sun. Annual celebrations in her honour were held here.

Aricanda

Arikanda is considered to be one of the oldest cities in Lycia, whose name in Luvian means "Place near high cliffs". The historical facts state that it existed as early as the 5th century B.C. Arikanda is rich in architectural monuments, many of which are well preserved. Above all it is known for the largest complex of baths which can be found in no other Lycian town. There are well preserved gymnasiums and public toilets with coloured mosaics on the walls. There are also temples to Helios and Trajan. The ruins of the amphitheatre that was built during Roman rule are also quite remarkable. It consists of twenty rows of seats which are divided into seven sectors. If you walk to the eastern part of the city, you can get acquainted with the Buletterion - a place where the city's nobility gathered and resolved important state issues. The ruins of this structure occupy the mountainside and the rows of seats were carved directly into the rock. The building of the Odeon is also worth a look. In ancient times it was a very beautiful structure, inside and outside decorated with magnificent decorations. To this day, remnants of coloured marble decorations can still be seen on the walls and seats.

Altıntaş Piknik Restaurant

Time for lunch or dinner before the last interesting antique point for today. We're getting tired and need to refresh ourselves, there's still one more push ahead. This good spot on the riverbank will allow you to rest and catch your breath.

Peace

Mira is the most important trading port of Lycia. The city was founded in the 5th century BC. During the Byzantine period of Theodosius II it became the capital of Lycia. Here they printed their own coins. According to tradition, the Apostle Paul moored in this harbour before leaving for Rome. What remains of the city are the ruins of a Greco-Roman theatre and tombs carved in the rocks. The uniqueness and peculiarity of the tombs can be explained by the fact that the Lycian people used to bury the dead on high places, as it was believed that this would help them get to heaven.

Day 4: Antique port and coves.

Today's program includes a half-wrecked ancient port town, several other interesting and historically significant towns, and beautiful bays! This day is as intense as the others, and the impressions will be digested for a very long time!

Çalpan Restaurant

In the morning, before going to contemplate the lost beauty, you should have a good breakfast in a cozy atmosphere. The local cuisine is quite rich.

Andriake

Andriake was one of the most important port areas of Demre. It was an indispensable stopover for seafarers as well as a protected port for merchant ships. In Andriake you can see churches, baths, port structures, agora, Murek's workshops, cisterns, agora, synagogues, granariums dedicated to Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. Among the exhibits are the harbour structures. It is nice to see the houses and marine equipment that people used in the past. The main attraction in Andriake is a 16m Roman boat.

Kyanea

Cyanea was once one of the great cities of Lycia, the most important town between Myrrh and Antiphellos (nowadays Kash), but its date of origin is not known for certain. It was connected by road to the port of Theimoussa, 12 km. away, and was very wealthy and prosperous in Roman times. In the Byzantine era Cyanea became an episcopal center. The Acropolis of Chianea is built on a steep cliff and is surrounded on all sides by fortress walls with three gates. The buildings of the library, baths and two Byzantine churches were almost completely destroyed and overgrown with dense vegetation. On the western slope stands an antique theater (2nd century AD) with 23 rows of seats. Along the road linking the acropolis with the theater stretches a series of sarcophagi. Some of them are of classic Lycian style and some are of much simpler and more unsophisticated Roman style. Only some of them are decorated with lion heads.

Uchagyz (Teimussa)

The ancient city of Theimussa was built on the ruins of an even older city. Today, unfortunately, almost nothing is known about this city. The only fact remains that the city had a flourishing port as early as the 4th century B.C., as evidenced by the records found on the walls of the necropolis. Above the ruins on a low hill you can see a small fort that looks more like a house or a tower, and a little lower there is a picturesque pier.

Kalekei (Simena)

The city of Simena was founded in the 5th century BC and thanks to its convenient port it was considered one of the favorite harbors of sailors. In the 2nd century, during the cataclysmic and tectonic upheavals of the Taurus Mountains, the region lost its elevation above sea level. Part of the city went under water and the rest was abandoned by the inhabitants. The main attraction of Simena is the hill with the ruins of the Lycian Fortress of St. John, which later passed from the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire. The fortress is located on the highest point, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside: Aperlaia, Kekova, Uchayz and the Straits. The fortress was designed to protect the approaches to the cities from the sea. Another interesting landmark of the fortress is the 150-seat theatre, built of roughly hewn stone. It is the smallest known theatre of the Lycian era. Some of the unique Lycian tombs, carved in the rock, as well as the sarcophagi with caps in the shape of upturned boats, have been preserved (the Lycians, being fond of sea, believed that they could practice their favourite occupation even after death). Along the coast are the remains of ancient baths. The rest of the ancient city is flooded. The half-immersed sarcophagus is one of the most frequently photographed landmarks of Simena.

Fellows

Finding the town is quite easy: it stands on the Lycian Trail, and everything around it is perfectly marked. Overall, Fellos looks like a lot of tombs hiding from you behind the trees. There are very few other buildings here. There is a piece of wall and a couple of foundations. Pieces of columns hint that there may have been a temple here. The town sits on a ridge, and looks more like a garrison, a necropolis with a shrine, than a major trading post or metropolis of the time. The city may have been an industrial base or a summer residence for the residents of Antifellos.

Kasch (Antifellos)

It is one of the port cities of Lycia. Visit its ruins and Lycian stone tombs. Walk along the shopping street (Uzun Çarşı), eat at the local colourful eateries, preferably on the seafront, and buy inexpensive Turkish souvenirs. By the way, the amphitheatre sometimes hosts performances and local musicians play in the evenings.

Choban Cove

A beautiful quiet bay on the turquoise coast! Here you should spend a cozy evening, have a small picnic and swim in the cleanest sea!

Day 5: The desert, the sanctuary and the capital!

Today you will see a small Lycian desert! An amazing sight! You can take many beautiful pictures! You will also visit four other ancient towns, one of which was once the capital of the region. And visit the shrine of the goddess Leto!

Buse Gözleme Patara Restaurant

A lovely Turkish breakfast with hospitable people in a cozy town - what could be more pleasant?

Patara

One of the largest cities and the main port of the Lycian Union. Because of its proximity to the mouth of the Xanthus River, opening the way to a densely populated valley, it was of great strategic and commercial importance. In ancient times the city was the site of the famous sanctuary of Apollo and his oracle in the Greek world. Apart from the sights of the main street, as well as the baths, the granary, the theatre, the city council building and the necropolis, the ruins are almost completely covered by sand. The site of the former harbour is now swampy and has no connection with the sea. Archaeological works are being carried out on the territory.

Patara Beach

It's not just a beach, it's a branch of the desert. The blue water and endless sand dunes are more reminiscent of the landscapes of African deserts than the Mediterranean. From July to September, turtles lay their eggs on the beach, so you can often see the characteristic tracks in the sand during this period. The Patara beach stretches for 18km, so it's not difficult to find a completely deserted area. Be careful and stock up on sunscreen.

Letoon

An ancient sanctuary of the goddess Leto (Latona in Roman mythology) and her twin children Apollo and Artemis. The earliest archaeological finds found on the site of the sanctuary date back to the 7th century BC.

Xanthos

Xanthos, the former capital of the Lycian state, is one of the most famous ancient cities of Turkey. It was once the largest political, commercial and cultural center in the Mediterranean region and maintained this status for 8 centuries. The exact time of the founding of Xanthos is not known. Historians claim that settlements in the area existed already during the Iron Age. Despite its age, Xanthos is very well preserved. The ruins of the city walls and the agora and the remains of the commercial units can be seen here. However, the main attraction is the famous "Obelisk of Xanthos". It is a high mausoleum, on one of the columns of which there is an inscription in the Lycian language. At one time it helped scientists to solve the mystery of this ancient language. The Tomb of the Harpy, a huge stone sarcophagus erected at the end of the 5th century BC, is another place of pride. When you first see it, you are impressed not only by its size (over 8 metres in height), but also by the sumptuously decorated walls of the burial chamber. Not far from the sarcophagus there is another monumental structure that combines two tombs. On the lower tier is an ancient tomb dating from the 4th century BC, and on top of it is a traditional Lycian sarcophagus.

Pinara

Pınara is one of the largest ancient cities once located in Lycia. It was founded by natives of Xanthos in the middle of the 5th century A.D. The city was founded by the natives of Xanthos in the middle of the 5th century A.D. The remains of the numerous structures that were built there by the Hellenes and the Romans have survived to our time.

Tlos

The city was founded around the twentieth century BC. The first known mention of the city is found in the Hittite chronicles of the fourteenth century BC. Later Tlos was one of the six major cities of the Lycian Union and the sports center of the Federation. Tlos belonged to both the Romans and the Greeks, and later belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Up until the 19th century the city was inhabited by the Turks. The city of Tlos is known for its acropolis, the fortress on the mountain and the Lycian rock tombs. The entrance fee is 6 liras.

Yaka Gizli Vadi

Recreation base with entertainment and cafes, in the middle of a picturesque forest! It's a beauty! You can have a good meal and relax!

Day 6: Butterfly Valley and Ghost Town!

Last day of the trip! Relax and soak up the sun in the Valley of Butterflies. Wander around the Greek ghost town of Kayaköy and see Lycian tombs in Fethiye.

Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley is a perfectly beautiful wild place on the Turquoise Coast just 12 km away from crowded Oludeniz. It owes its name to the variety of butterflies - botanists estimate that around 100 species can be seen here. You can spend as much time as possible in this place! Walk through the canyon, admire the scenery and butterflies (if you are here in early summer). Eat at local cafes, swim at the beach.

The ghost town of Kayaköy

We need to spice things up a bit. Here's a real ghost town for you! The settlement itself was founded in the 18th century by a Greek community and was called Lebesos. The settlement had all the necessary infrastructure for a small town. In 1923 it was the end of the Turkish War, after which the Greeks had to leave the territory of Turkey and return to their country. Thus Kayakei was deserted, as the Turks did not want to live there. The village of Kayakei is built on a mountain, and the Turks were mainly building their houses on the plain, so they did not want to move into the houses of the Greeks and live on the mountain. Gradually, the houses collapsed, and the locals living nearby stole some parts from the houses to repair their houses. And in 1957 the earthquake that occurred in Fethiye further worsened the condition of Kayakey village.

The Tomb of Amintas

The Lycian tombs are the main attraction of Fethiye resort. The tombs date back to the 4th century B.C. They are a special kind of tomb art - huge stone sculptures made by ancient masters in an original form. The most famous of them is the tomb of Amintas. It is believed that Amintas was one of the kings who ruled in the city of Telmessos, which was part of the powerful commonwealth of towns in ancient Lycia. The basis for this is the inscription in Greek above the tomb, "Amintas, who is the son of Hermagios." The solitary tomb, carved high in the rock, and having impressive size (more than 12 meters in height) also indicates a very high status of the person who was buried in this structure. It was believed that the higher the tomb was located on the mountainside, the more significant was the status of the deceased.

Barbunn Cafe&Bistro

Soon to return. Or go further, but already on a different route. Have a bite to eat with a view of the sea, feel well all that you have experienced, what you have seen. And have a good trip!