The Lycian Coast of Turkey
The Lycian coast of Turkey refers aptly to the area in the Mediterranean region that was formerly governed by the Lycian empire from approximately the 15th century BC to 546BC. Although it has not been verified, historians strongly suspect their demise came about, when their cities were invaded by Harpogos, a median general that is credited with having put Cyrus the Great on the throne of Persia. His story is elegantly told in a book by Atulya K Bingham, who recounts her friend’s story of having hiked the Lycian way in present times. Other than that, tell-tale signs of their existence can be seen all over the stretch of coastline.
The World Famous Lycian Trek
Recognized by the Sunday Times as one of the best 10 walks in the world, the 516 kilometre official trek stems from the region of Antalya to Fethiye. Along the way, walkers visit some of the most breath-taking landscape scenery as well as hundreds of historical sites built by the Lycian empire.
Xanthos, that was the centre of the Lycian empire has unearthed some of the most exquisite artefacts including the tomb of Pavaya, that is now in the British history museum. Four kilometres away is Letoon, the most important religious sanctuary of its time.
Near to Fethiye sits Tlos, with its large Lycian rock tombs overlooking the Xanthos valley, and Patara that was a key trading centre, thanks to its seaside port location is also allocated for more excavation works. The ancient city of Myra, further up the coastline in an area known as Demre, has a magnificent theatre but is also famous for the church of Saint Nicholas, otherwise known as Santa Claus, who was the Bishop of the region.
Resorts of the Lycian coast
Towns and villages sitting on the Lycian coast, have four advantages. Not only do they belong to the Lycian way but also the Turkish Riviera that is a popular sailing centre for yachts from all around the world.
Thirdly, sitting on the Mediterranean coast, they enjoy admiration as the second most popular holiday destination in Turkey, after Istanbul. Lastly, the major coastal road called the D400 connects towns, village and cities, providing easy transportation and access, which in turn boosts visitors looking to complete self-drive holidays of Turkey.
Some resorts have maintained a quiet and dignified appearance such as Cirali, which is a one-street village, while the neighbouring resort of Olympos started its claim to fame in the seventies when backpacking hippies flocked there for the vibes of living off the land and being at one with nature.
Places like Gocek and Kalkan are promoted as upmarket destinations and this is evident in the luxury boats living the marinas. Many wealthy Turks have purchased second holiday homes in those areas, while resorts such as Olu Deniz, and Calis are middle market and attract mainly British clientele, who like the vibes and atmosphere of their home country that restaurants, bars and hotels have provided in order to attract more holidaymakers.
No doubt the most favourite area of the Lycian coast is Antalya, a destination with a knack for accommodating all nationalities and types of holiday makers. Adventure sport lovers flock to places like Koprulu canyon while history enthusiasts admire Aspendos and Phaselis, an ancient sea trading port deserted after constant attacks by pirates.
The city centre is a major hub for business, tourism and transport, while the smaller resorts, like Kemer are respected for their beaches. Anyone considering a visit to the Lycian coast, will surely find what they are looking for whether it is beautiful landscapes, historical value or simply a taste of Mediterranean living.