Lycian Way: Hike through the best trekking route in Turkey

The Lycians built scads of city-states on the coast of the Mediterranean and formed the Lycian League to compete with other naval powers at the time. They were conquered by Alexander the Great and got Hellenized, much like everywhere else in between Athens and India.

The Lycian Greeks governed themselves democratically, grew lots of olives, minted coins, and built a lot of tombs. They had a thing about death, it is clear even in major cities like Fethiye you can find thousand-year-old sarcophagi in the middle of traffic roundabouts.

Fethiye, along with a few other places down south, has tombs carved into cliff walls, not unlike Jordan’s Petra. After the Lycians, it was the Romans, and after the Romans, it was the Byzantines; thus following the pattern of history everywhere in this country.

Lycia though had a distinct culture, and they left their imprint on the land. Hulking walls, tombs and crumbling castles dot the coast. Kate Clow saw a golden opportunity. Alongside teams of local and foreign volunteers, she bushwhacked through goat paths and mule trails and solid scrubby thorny brush to create a trail through the ancient kingdom of Lycia.

Her vision was to see the coast as the Lycians saw it, and as the shepherds of the mountain villages still see it – at walking speed. And so the Lycian Way was born – a 500ish kilometer-long trail from Fethiye to Antalya, weaving through rural coastal towns and ruins alike.

Clow wrote a guidebook, The Lycian Way, so detailed that she’ll describe the width of the path, the kinds of landmarks you’ll see and how long each stretch of trails should take.

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