Lycia (Turkish: Likya) is the westernmost section of Mediterranean Turkey. Lycia is also popularly known as the Turquoise Coast, and forms a substantial part of the Turkish Riviera. With clear waters and beautiful Mediterranean coastline, the region is great for divers, swimmers and yachting.
- 1 Dalaman has the region's airport and an accidentally built railway station.
- 2 Dalyan is a resort town with rock tombs, sea turtle nesting beaches, and wetlands.
- 3 Demre near the Lycian ruins of Myra was the home of St Nicholas, better known as Santa Claus.
- 4 Elmali in the western Taurus mountains is the starting place for hikes onto Mt Kızlarsivrisi.
- 5 Fethiye is the main city of the region, with verdant mountains, Lycian ruins, and a turquoise sea.
- 6 Ölüdeniz is renowned for its "Blue Lagoon".
- 7 Finike a tourist resort is the site of ancient Phoenicus.
- 8 Göcek is a centre for yachting and cruising.
- 9 Kalkan is a coastal town with whitewashed Mediterranean architecture.
- 10 Kaş is a coastal town with some well-preserved traditional architecture.
- 11 Kemer is a coastal resort.
- 12 Kınık is the hub for visiting the Lycian cities of Xanthos and Letoon.
- 13 Korkuteli is a town up in the Taurus Mountains.
- 14 Marmaris is very touristy, but a pleasant resort and start point for the "Blue Voyage".
- 15 Bozburun is the main village on the peninsula south of Marmaris.
- 16 Datça is the town at the end of the long peninsula west of Marmaris.
Other destinations edit
- 1 Butterfly Valley (Faralya) — a deep seaside canyon with some rare butterflies species: the only access from the sea or a hard climb down
- 2 Kabak Canyon — a coastal canyon similar to Butterfly Valley, but remoter, although accessible overland
- 3 Kayaköy — an abandoned village with hundreds of partially ruined houses south of Fethiye
- 4 Kekova — the island and nearby villages of Kaleköy and Üçağız are the sites of the ancient towns of Simena, Aperlae, Dolchiste and Teimioussa. Kaleköy, which is dominated by a hilltop Byzantine castle, is only reachable via a path running from Üçağız or by sea
- 5 Olympos — a backpacker destination full of wooden tree-houses with a rich nightlife
- 6 Patara — a dreamlike beach with a great archaeological site in the middle of a dune landscape
- 7 Saklıkent — a stunning inland gorge, great for a leisurely hike
Rugged and forested, pine-clad mountains in Lycia descent right to the coastline heavily indented with gulfs and coves, making the region the top yachting area in the country.
Geographically, Lycia occupies the Teke Peninsula, a large U-shaped expanse of land between the Gulf of Fethiye to the west and the Gulf of Antalya to the east, in the southwestern corner of the country. In modern political terms, Lycia forms the southern half of Muğla Province and the western third of Antalya Province, which divide Lycia into roughly equal halves along the Eşen Çayı, or the ancient Xanthos River, which flows to the south.
Ancient Lycia was a democratic federation of city states, which is thought to have influenced the United States constitution. Today, most towns in the region have some remnants from the ancient Lycian civilization, in the form of sarcophagi, distinctive rock tombs, or city ruins.
Unlike its neighbour to the east, Pamphylia, which welcomes its visitors in large all-inclusive resorts, Lycia is more of an independent traveller destination, and tourism in the region revolves around small guesthouses and fairly pleasant coastal towns, some of which such as Olympos still preserve a hippy-like atmosphere. However, some large resorts—not up to the scale that is found in Pamphylia, though—are present here too, in the western (around Marmaris, and Fethiye) and eastern (around Kemer) ends of the region, as local topography permits.
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The local dialect of Turkish is highly divergent from the official standard (which is based on the Istanbul dialect), and with much of its vocabulary being totally incomprehensible to even non-local Turks, it can even be objectively regarded as a language on its own (some half-jokingly prefer to call it Muğlaca, i.e. the "Muğla language", instead of the usual term of Muğla şivesi, i.e. the "Muğla dialect"). However, all people in the region, except perhaps older ones living in remote villages, can speak standard Turkish (albeit with a slight accent usually), and, thanks to heavy tourism in the region, if you don't intend to hike between mountain hamlets, English will likely be sufficient to communicate anyway.
Get in edit
By plane edit
Dalaman Airport (DLM IATA) is the main airport for this region, with seasonal budget flights from Europe, and daily domestic flights from Istanbul and Ankara. For convenience use Dalaman to reach Kaş and any point west of there.
1 Antalya Airport (AYT IATA) has more flights from Europe and from other Turkish cities plus Northern Cyprus. It's closer to Demre and any destination east of there, but the twisting coastal road makes for long transfer times.
Both airports have car hire, which you'll need if you're not being bussed direct to your hotel.
By bus edit
By car edit
By boat edit
There are ferries between some towns in Lycia and the nearest Greek islands.
Get around edit
Towns in the region are connected to each other with frequent minibus (dolmuş) services.
By thumb edit
Hitchhiking, while possible if you don't mind waiting for a lift up to two hours, is not really an easy way to travel around the region. Hitching from around Olympos in the east is definitely better, though.
On foot edit
The Lycian Way (Turkish: Likya Yolu), a marked hiking trail which is a collection of ancient paths and forest trails, starts from south of Fethiye and connects most of coastal towns and villages in the region, and extends beyond the regional boundary to Pamphylia in the east, towards Antalya.
- Hiking — Hiking is a great option to get more in touch with the history and nature of the area. There are lots of waymarked hiking trails (most of which does not exceed 10 km in length) with varying levels of hardness in the region, in addition to the grand Lycian Way. One place surrounded by a dense (relatively speaking) marked trail network is Kayaköy.
- Lycian Way Ultramarathon is run in September. Even these hardy athletes baulk at the full 540 km, but you can run 20 km, 37 km or 57 km eastern sections.
- Cruising — Lycian coasts are some of the most spectacular and rightly popular sections along a Blue Cruise.
Free cold water dispensers, or sebils as they are locally known, are abundant in the region, more so than in the rest of Mediterranean Turkey.
Stay safe edit
Go next edit
- Pamphylia to the east, though it has much in common with Lycia due to also being on the Mediterranean, has a fairly different character as far as travellers are concerned, due to mass tourism and package tourists there.
- In the Southern Aegean to the north, Greek ruins substitute for Lycian ruins, and olive groves replace pine forests.
- Rhodes and some other smaller islands in the Dodecanese group lie just off the Lycian coast, to the southwest and south, with ferry connections from the nearest Turkish harbour towns.