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Friday, 12 March 2010

Ten years on the Lycian Way


One of the many stunning views along the 500-kilometre trail.

Turkey’s most impressive walk, the Lycian Way, turns ten years old this year.

The track winds around Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline, trailing through lush valleys, rocky hillsides and grassy plateaus. Walkers pass through ancient Lycian ruins, quiet coves and great swathes of pine forests on the 500-kilometre walk that stretches from Fethiye to Antalya. You’ll meet walkers from all over the world, shepherds herding goats in the same way they have for thousands of years, and villagers in the rustic settlements you’ll pass along the way.

The trail was the brainchild of British/Turkish citizen Kate Clow, who spent many years researching and planning the route, the concept of which was a foreign one for Turkish authorities to get their head around at the time. What was the point of a walking trail? They wondered. Who would even use such a thing?

But their doubts were unfounded, and the walk that has been dubbed the 15th greatest walk in the world by the UK’s Country Walking Magazine now sees around 12,000 hikers each year travel to Turkey to walk the route.

The trail winds along the Mediterranean coastline from Fethiye to Antalya.

The trail links sections of Roman road, old mule tracks and forest paths to make one continuous route, which at its lowest dips to sea level, and at its highest scales Mount Tatahli’s 2635 metres.

Walking the route

It’ll take the keenest walker over a month to complete the entire 500-kilometre trail, so you may want to consider walking only the sections that interest you. Areas along the route like Kas, Kalkan, Finike and Adrasan have a wide range of options for accommodation. However, there are suitable places to stay all along the trail, especially if you’ve packed your tent. In some of the more remote areas you can stay with local villagers – this is a great way to find out more about the local culture and to help out the local economy with a few lira.

The walk is dotted with ruins dating back to the Lycian era.

Even if you’re planning to use a guide or go with a big group, it’s worth investing in Kate Chow’s guide book to take along with you. The guide has detailed descriptions of the plant and wildlife you’ll encounter along the way, as well as comprehensive maps, advice, route descriptions and history.

There are around a hundred travel agencies offering guided tours to the route, which may hold some appeal to less seasoned walkers. The guide company will arrange all of your travel and accommodation and will even arrange for your bag to travel ahead of you so you need carry no more than a day pack.

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