Hiking The Lycian Way: Turkey’s Long-Distance Footpath

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Lycian Way

In year 2018, we traveled to Turkey for the first time to see with our own eyes the beauty of this Mediterranean country. We brought home with us sweet memories of the natural beauty, unique history and archaeological sites of Southeastern Turkey.

A year later, in October 2019, we flew to the transcontinental country again. This time, we hiked the Lycian Way on south Turkey and watched at the 41st Vodafone Istanbul Marathon.

The 11 hour flight on Turkish Airlines took us to Istanbal for a short layover before boarding a connecting flight to Dalaman Airport about 2 hours flight time away on the Southwest. We hopped onto a van from the airport and went straight to Kayaköy, in the port city of Fethiye.

 

The Lycian Way is a 540km marked footpath around the coast of ancient Lycia.

Souvenir stall at Kayaköy
Ghost-Village-of-Kayakoy

The Lycian Way is a 540km marked footpath around the coast of ancient Lycia. The trail starts from Ölüdeniz near Fethiye to Geyikbay?r? about 20km from Antalya.

The Ghost village of Kayaköy, also known as Karmylassos, once a Greek settlement was abandoned in 1923 due to population exchange between the Muslim majority Turkey and Christian Greece. This is the starting point of our multi-day Lycian Way hike in Turkey.

The village used to have 13 chapels, 2 churches, 2 school buildings and a customs building alongside houses when they were built during the second half of 19th century and first quarter of 20th century.

The now uninhabitable Greek houses were built on a higher ground of one another so that none of the houses is blocking the view of the other. The window and door frames of most Greek houses are painted in blue color as the Greek believe that blue color will scare scorpions away from their houses.

 

The second day hike from Ovac?k to Faralya was an experience of a life time.

Trail from Kayakoy to Oludeniz
Oludeniz Belcekiz Beach view from atop
Abandoned Houses in Kozagaci Village

The 4.5km hike led us through hard stony trail by the mountain slopes overlooking the Turquoise Coast before ending at the small neighborhood of Oludeniz.

The second day hike from Ovac?k to Faralya was an experience of a life time. The village of Ovac?k is located at the foot of Babada? Mountain. Literally means father mountain, Babada? Mountain is famous for paragliding. Zigzagging the mountain trail, the hike rewarded us with the spectacular panorama view of Oludeniz Belcekiz Beach from atop.

At the half way point of this 14.5km hike is the Kozagaci village. Backed by the mountain range on one side and the coastal line on the other, this tiny farming village once attracted the wave of foreigners building holiday homes on lands purchased from the villagers until the authorities imposed restrictions to protect the interests of the villagers. As a result, many incomplete houses are seen abandoned in the village.

 

A hiking trip in a foreign land become even more meaningful when you are invited to the home of the villager for lunch.

Gözleme, a traditional Turkish flatbread
Lycian Way
Villager Processing Grape Juice by feet
Villagers Cooking Pekmez

A hiking trip in a foreign land become even more meaningful when you are invited to the home of the villager for lunch. The host cooked Gözleme, a traditional Turkish flatbread, fresh in her courtyard for us. We were even given the opportunity to learn making Gözleme ourselves.

Hiking on the ancient Roman Road was like walking on historical pathway when our Guide shared the history of Anatolia with us. With the Babada? Mountain still as the backdrop, our hike continued from Kozagaci to Kirme before cutting into narrow trails of villages along the way to Faralya.

Out of our expectation, we chanced upon villagers in the process of making Pekmez. Another traditional Turkish food, Pekmez is made by reducing grape fruit juice by way of boiling to syrup. It is a laborious task as one has to squeeze 600kg of grape fruit for 300 litres of grape fruit juice before boiling it down just to produce 20 litres of Pekmez.

 

It is not about the hike but the experience that counts after all.

Oludeniz Belcekiz Beach
Cafes at Oludeniz Belcekiz Beach
Butterfly Valley (Faralya)
Hiking Lycian Way with our Casio Protrek WSD-F30-RG that comes with Wear OS by Google
The blue water Aktas Beach
Kabak Beach

After a long day hike, take a swim or simply relax your feet in a café at Oludeniz Belcekiz Beach. The sandy blue lagoon is filled with tourists and it is the landing place for paragliding.

The weather in Lycian Way in the month of October is conducive for hiking. Between 18 to 25 degrees Celsius, the sun is not intense and the cool air does not tired us quickly. We continued our hike on the third day from Faralya to Aktas Beach and Kabak Beach.

Also known as Butterfly Valley, Faralya used to be the home of a large swarm of butterflies. Although the cliffy valley has lost its glory days, hikers still walk the steep valley trail that forms part of the Lycian Way. Bee farming for honey is a popular industry here. Bee farms are seen along the trail towards Aktas Beach until the end of our 10.5km hike at Kabak Beach.

Although we have hiked just a friction of the 540km Lycian Way, the stunning mountains, spectacular valleys, beautiful coastlines, rustic villages, ancient ruins and unique culture have proven to us that the world’s top ten long distance hiking trail does not earn its name from nothing. It is not about the hike but the experience that counts after all.

 

The 41st Vodafone Istanbul Marathon 

The 41st Vodafone Istanbul Marathon
More than 37,000 runners from 106 countries participated in the 41st Istanbul Marathon 2019.

After hiking the Lycian Way, we took part in the world’s only intercontinental marathon.

More than 37,000 runners from 106 countries participated in the 41st Istanbul Marathon 2019, from Istanbul’s Asian aside and ended in the European side of the city. Despite last year’s participation in the run, the huge turnout of participants at the 41st Vodafone Istanbul Marathon still fascinated us.

Regarded as one of the best marathons in Europe under the motto of “Istanbul is Yours, Don’t Stop, Run”, the race took participants through a route connecting the Asian and European continents, crossing a bridge over the Bosporus. A total of 63 elite athletes partook in the Marathon which started at the Martyr’s Bridge and finished in the historic Sultanahmet Square on the city’s European side.

The 2020 edition will be held on 8 November 2020.

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