The Lycian Way is rapidly becoming one of Turkey’s most popular routes for trekking enthusiasts. It already has the distinction of being listed by the Sunday Times as one of the top ten walks in the world. The 500-kilometre trail has a long history as a trading route but was opened as an official way-marked route for trekking in 1999 under the careful supervision of Kate Clow. Sponsorship from Garanti Bank, one of Turkey’s largest banking companies, ensures that the paths are always well marked and regularly maintained.
The geological sub structure of most of the trail is limestone, and with many steep gradients and stony areas is a challenge for all but the fittest walker to undertake in one go. Nevertheless, in manageable stages it can provide most levels of walking enthusiast with a unique opportunity to get away from the tourist areas and delve deep into the ‘real’ Turkey.
The Lycian Way follows an historic trade route, much of which is along coastal paths between Fethiye and Antalya, although it does head inland from time to time, passing through some of the best archaeological sites in the region as well as some traditional mountain villages and farming communities. The pathways, once used by traders with their beasts of burden, was the only way to carry merchandise to different settlements along the coast but even today, on rare occasions, a donkey or mule can still be seen negotiating the pathway.
The wealth of historical sites in this part of the world is just one of the reasons why trekking around Fethiye and on the Lycian Way is proving to be one of the most popular areas in the northern hemisphere for walking holidays.
The region has some of the finest examples of classical architecture, and earlier examples dating back to the Bronze Age. The whole length of the Lycian Way is scattered with fine examples of ruins, ranging from temples, agoras and theatres to whole towns and cities. Some of these are accessible by transport but the real gems are those tucked away in the mountains, only reachable on foot.