Walking into Wild: Seven Days on the Lycian Way (Turkey Guide)

The Lycian way is an amazing path for people who love long hikes and unspoiled nature – you can spend even months walking it! While I have only walked for a week, I enjoyed it to the fullest. If you are planning to hike the Lykian yolu, this post is for you! Here is my itinerary from Ölüdeniz (Fethiye) to Letoon / Karaköy, which is around 70 km. The reason it took us whole week to walk this distance is that the terrain is quite hard – we walked between 10 – 15 km a day in a relaxing pace, camped at night and mostly started walking close to noon.

In my previous post you can find more general information on how to prepare for the Lycian way and what to expect once you get there.

So, let me break our walking diary to you:

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The ghost village of Kayaköy

Fethiye – Kayaköy – Ölüdeniz

Okay, okay, I know I am cheating you – but still I will start this out from the end. We actually walked to Kayaköy after coming back to Fethiye from the Lycian way – but you can easily start the way from the Fethiye downtown. Kayaköy is about 8 km from Fethiye and definitely worth a visit (even if you are not hiking!). It is famous for the ghost village on the hillside that has been abandoned for the good part of the last century. As an urbex devotee, I had a great time exploring the ruins for several days and succumbing to the rush that comes with being able to take photos during a golden sunset over there. The Lycian waymarks direct you right through the village (and in November, there is nobody to collect the supposed 5 lira museum fee, fortunately) and on to Ölüdeniz (where, cough cough, I haven´t walked myself) that is 6km further. If you are really into ruins, it is a good idea to explore more into detail and stay in Kayaköy overnight (we stayed at a couchsurfers place) – with a bit of discreetion, you can easily set your tent inside of one of the abandoned churches that will protect you from the wind and provide you with a hell of an atmosphere. (Pun intended!)

Discover more: a photowalk in the ghost village of Kayaköy!

You will get this view soon after leaving Ölüdeniz

Ölüdeniz – Faralya/Butterfly valley

It is a hilly walk, but the natural beauty is alluring. There is a good camping spot right above the valley (you can climb down to the beach too but they will charge you for sleeping there), even with a fireplace – turn left when you see the Hostel George.

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Butterfly valley from above

Faralya – Kabak

Kabak is a charming beach and although it is just about 8km from the Butterfly valley, it is worth hanging around and watching the sunset on a sunny day. In November, there are still people renting the camping space (and making sure you don´t use their “hello! Private! Private!” toilet), but you can easily camp for free if you are discreet enough. As far as I know, it is completely empty in December. There are some ancient graves, overflowing trashcans and the village is up the hill – make sure you fill your bottle in the fountain up on the main road before you climb down because there are no more water sources before Alınca. This ravishing beach is also a protected natural and archaeological area so be sure to behave respectfully.

At Kabak, we became a prey for wasps – did you know they are predators? One of them literally bit off a piece of my skin and other two grabbed a piece of chicken we were eating and dragged it away. I swear I am not kidding you!

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Autumn looks like spring in Kabak beach

Kabak – Alınca – Boğaziçi

I mention Alınca because it is on the top of the hill and offers a magnificent view of the bay. There are places to sleep and to buy some food or drink some chai as well, however, most of them are closed off season. The hike from Kabak to Alınca is crazy steep and you have to go up some slippery rocks; the same on the way down. It is beautiful though; let the indescribable sights be your reward.

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The kitten adventurer

On the way down from Alınca, we met this cute little kitty; he followed us quite a few kilometers, fearlessly jumping off the cliffs, until we arrived to the village of Boğaziçi (read: Boa-zichi) where he fell in love with an old lady. Fortunately enough, because we are both allergic to cats! I am sure he got something better to eat with her than our canned tuna fish with bread.

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The way to pick olives is to beat the tree with a stick.

In Boğaziçi, there is a small shop where you can get bread, biscuits and such – you should stash yourself here as there won´t be another one in a good distance. I think they open at eleven in the morning. We camped under a huge oak tree in the garden of a local lady, but if you walk up to the end of the village, you will find a nice spot with a water source where you can spend a comfortable night and easily cook some delicious powder soup on fire. Your local hygiene/prayer point (a mosque, obviously) is clearly visible (and if you can´t see it, you will hear it for sure) and very near from there too.

You can also take an alternative trail along the coastline from Kabak to Gey, which is marked with yellow and red.

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There are many bee colonies along the way

Boğaziçi – Sydima – Bel – Belceğiz

We got a bit lost here, according to the official trail maps; we walked from Alınca and took to the left on a cross-section near an old water well, so we ended up in Boğaziçi without passing through the village of Gey which is supposedly a bigger one. You might want to pass by there and refill your water and food supplies if needed.

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A typical Lycian grave carved into rock

On the way from Boğaziçi, we soon ran into ancient ruins; there is even one of the ancient Lycian graves carved in the rock – the grave itself is not really so special (you can see prettier ones in Fethiye, Dalyan or elsewhere), climbing up to it was fun and the view was great. The air was clear, there were no clouds and we could see faraway mountain tops that are covered in snow in the winter.

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Ancient Lycian graves near Sydima

Further, there are more typical graves of this region, which look like small houses. These are soon followed by a village that lies between the ruins of Sydima. Continuing from there, we walked to Bel – be careful not to lose the way as there are some places where the direction is not so obvious.

In Bel, we were easily lured into buying an expensive dinner by a local lady – the homemade food cost us 25 liras (30 at first shot) but was delicious and gave us lots of energy to continue walking as the dusk was getting thicker. The village of Bel is high up and there are not many good spots for camping, however, after walking some kilometers, the waymarks led us to a mountain hamlet of Belceğiz. It is a home to a few old shepherds who won´t mind you camping and making fire overnight. When we arrived, it was almost pitch dark, a dog was barking at us loudly from the darkness while we set the tent and the goats bells were ringing, but nobody came to check who came over for the night. It is windy up on the hill but you will appreciate the view of the mountains in the morning.

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Starry night and fire. Photo: courtesy of my husband.

Belceğiz – Gavurağılı – Pydnai – Letoon

From Belceğiz (read: Beljace) it is a steep way down the hill. By this time, we are used to the views and remain blasé. The next village is just a few houses, but has a water spring (turning right when you see an arrow on the stone wall with water and agua written under it) – this way, if you follow it, will lead you to a small beach. Continuing straight, you will cross a mountain – a very difficult terrain for us, loaded with our backpacks – and eventually see ruins in a small hill near the seaside. These are the ruins of an old village of Pydnai and although a romantic spot, it´s not a good place for camping as it´s full of rocks. The beach is somewhat dirty, but more importantly windy at night. We camped on an empty garden lot next to a glass greenhouse; there are some bushes that protected us from the wind and cold very well. If you go there, check it out – we founded a fireplace on the sand near the fence 😉 You can let me know if it is still there.

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The Patara beach is surrounded by a sea of greenhouses
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Ruins of Letoon

Are you up to hiking in the jungle? Check out my post on waterfall chasing in Colombia!

Next day, we refill water in the local paid camping and bungalows spots, use their toilet (weeeheeee) and take a dirt road to Letoon. If you want to cut it short (this way is not really pretty) you can take a minivan or walk on the paved road. In Letoon there are some interesting ruins, a temple along with a colosseum. You can also find a bigger shop if you continue walking to the next village (when exiting the ruins with your back turned towards the amphitheater, turn right) – it is at a cross section and you can satisfy all your food longings there (for me that means a huge bottle of Ayran!).

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The most amazing olive tree I have ever seen. Look at those roots!

Getting back to the civilization

You can actually take a bus (dolmus)(one of those vans) right in front of the shop I mention above, but if you know me, you already found out we don´t do much buses. (Common, it is easier to hitchhike in Turkey!) We hitchhiked back to Fethiye the same evening. (If you want to do that you must take the road to Karaköy; you will get to a bigger road there which leads from Fethiye to Antalya. From there, you can take in the direction you need.)

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Just another gorgeous view on the Lycian way. Photo: courtesy of my husband.

Seven Days on the Lycian Way: Walking from Fethiye to Karaköy

If you are about to walk on the Lycian way, I do hope this post was useful for you! Me and my husband not being very sporty, we prefer to walk slowly and enjoy the landscape instead of challenging ourselves and rushing through it (okay, I am talking about myself now) – however, you might find that you can walk faster if you simply get up earlier (surprisingly, there was not so much humidity in the air so we didn´t have problems with drying the tent in the mornings).

I said I loved traveling alone and I lied: an opinion piece

As for my favorites on this way, it is hard to decide – there are splendid vistas from the start in Ölüdeniz and all along the way, the landscapes are very dramatic with mountains rushing steeply to the seaside. A place I would not want to miss by any chance is the abandoned village in Kayaköy which lies mere 8 km walking from Fethiye. Kabak beach is also a charming place with pristine water and evergreen pine trees forest covering the hillside. On the other hand, walking from Patara beach to Letoon is a rather boring one and you might want to skip it and hitchhike / take a bus to get again to the mountains that follow in that direction, especially if you are short with time.

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Have you walked the Lycian way? I would love to hear about your experience! Have questions? Ask away – the comment section is here just for you!

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