Fethiye to Xanthos - narrative
along the Lycian Way

We heard about this walk as one of the ten best long distance walks listed by The Times (London). Turkey is a beautiful place and a major path by the sea, passing historic ruins was appealing. Owing to other commitments we had to go in mid- September (2010) even though we knew it might still be too hot. And it was! (We should have gone in October.) But the sea was lovely and warm and we enjoyed the craggy limestone hills and some spectacular sunsets. The paths were mostly good (Kate Clow's book gives plenty of description) and the pines and mediterranean flora were splendid.

DAY 1. Fethiye to Ovacik and Faralya.
As Fethiye is quite near the popular resort of Ölü Deniz, this meant there was easy access to the start of the walk. Getting off before the resort, we had a little trouble finding the beginning of the path, but soon had the pleasure of getting going. The photo gallery includes a picture of the famous beach and people paragliding; but as I like empty countryside, I was happy to be beyond this quite quickly, and out in the peace of the pine forest. Bee-keeping is a major activity round here, and we passed numerous lines of bee-hives, sometimes being tended by the local farmer. And, of course, we enjoyed eating the honey. My main memory from this day was the splendid evening, with the grandeur of the cliffs and a glorious, red sunset. We took a beer to the cliff edge, sat on plastic chairs and drank it all in - nature at its impressive best. As our first village B&B, George House was reassuringly used to Westerners, and we had a pleasant, communal dinner, outside, round a big trestle table.

DAY 2. Faralya to Kabak.
We decided on a short day, so that we could spend some time at the beach. As the picture shows, we walked with the mountains on our left and the sea on our right. You can see in the photo gallery that we met lots of quite tame goats. Mama's Restaurant turned out to be another relaxed place, with a good view. The scramble down to the beach went past a number of persions and then through pine woods, fairly steep but not impossible. We swam; the beach was pebbly and lacking in shade so it was particularly hot in the early afternoon. We had another delightful evening at Mama's as the sun went down.

DAY 3. Kabak to Geh.
This was a longer day, including a pause for lunch in Alinca. Here we met a group of blokes coming the other way (meeting other trekkers on the trail was a rare occurrence). As we'd been feeling a bit apprehensive about Geh accomm-odation, we were pleased to get a recommendation from them for the Ramazan Pansiyon there. In the village we asked directions in the shop (which actually sold ice lollies!) and the owner got his son to show us the way. It was the most authentic of our overnight places: literally in a family house, with a pretty shaded veranda. As we were in an Islamic country, my husband was pleasantly surprised to be provided with cool beer. And we received a warm and gentle Turkish welcome; the couple spoke no English, but we were given the main room to sleep in (mattresses on the floor) and a generous and delicious evening meal.

DAY 4. Geh to Gavuragili.
This day included the highest we climbed on this trek (just above 800m); we were on a more exposed path with a big open view. It was particularly hot. In the pines near the village of Gavuragili, we had difficulty finding our way. This all combined with the exhaustion of a long day, and I fell over - at the last hurdle. I cut my hand quite badly; but luckily, we were near to Patara Lodge, and the kindly Turkish-German owner cleaned up the gash and generally looked after us. Once I'd recovered, I saw we were in another fine place, being well provided for. The Lodge was beautifully situated - these people definitely know how to make the best of the view.

DAY 5. Gavuragili to Pydnai
and Xanthos.

After the rigours of yesterday, I was happy to have a gentler day, with a less demanding walk to Pydnai, where we explored the ruins just by the path. After that we crossed a sweet little stream and began to feel we were back in civilization, with the world of motors. This meant we could get a dolmus to Xanthos, with its delightfully shambling ruins. Still tired from the heat, it was good to find we could easily get a bus back to Fethiye and the Doygu Pension felt like home, after our explorations.
© Diana Ambache 2011