The Likya Way is a ~500km walking trail connecting Fethiye and Antalya passing near ruined Likyan cities and modern Turkish beach resorts. Much of the trail isn’t accessible to bicycles, but in many places there are roads nearby so it’s possible to visit many of the same sites by bicycle. When I put this bicycle route together, I wasn’t specifically trying to follow the Likyan Way, but a few days into the trip I realized that’s what I was doing.
I met my first Likyan walker up in Hisarçandır on the same day I left Antalya. That was Elaine from Salk Lake City. She had just walked solo all the way from Fethiye (more or less). A couple days later I met a trekking couple descending from Beycik to the coast just like I was doing. They were hoping to walk all the way to Fethiye.
My plan for the first week was to head south to Korsan Koyu where I’d meet Ferda and other friends for the weekend. They were coming by car. Of course, going by bicycle sounded more fun to me. Also, not surprisingly, it ended up being very hilly.
I camped by the (very low volume) Çandır below Üçoluk on the first night of the trip. I climbed 1500m to get here.
The climb continued in the morning to get to Söğütcuması where I started to get views of the beautiful Alakır Valley.
I recognized some of these roads from previous trips in this area, but I had never been on the road that heads south from Söğütcuması via the village of Saraycık to the Likyan ruins of Kitanaura.
Kitanaura is easy to access — a good road goes right through the old city — and it was more interesting than I expected.
There were some nice reliefs on this tomb (?):
I descended less than a km from that site and arrived at a road intersection that I recognized. Sure enough I had been through here before, not realizing that the ruins of Kitanaura were such a short detour off my route. Still, it’s a pretty area. I wasn’t disappointed to be here again.
Seeing familiar territory reminded me of the amazing lunch I had in Altınyaka on my previous visit. I was getting hungry but instead of stopping for a picnic, I pushed on to try my luck in Altınyaka again. With both the pandemic and Ramadan, I figured my chances of finding an open restaurant were slim. Merkez Lokantası, where I had eaten before, was closed for improvements, but the owner, who claimed he remembered me, sent me on to Doruk, an excellent recommendation.
It had already been a bunch of climbing that day, but I had to work off that lunch, didn’t I? Another 600m ascent brought me to Üçoluk Yaylası, making it over 1600m of climbing that day (yikes).
Leaving Altınyaka I was joined by a four-legged companion who ended up staying with me for over 35km!
I thought perhaps the dog wouldn’t be able to keep up with me on the morning’s downhill to Beycik and the ruined Likyan city of Laodikeia, but the dirt road was fairly bumpy, and I wasn’t so fast.
Please do not get Likyan Laodikeia near Beycik confused with Frigian (or Biblical?) Laodikeia near Denizli.
It takes a little effort to reach those ruins as Beycik’s not the easiest place to get to. Then you have a walk a trail for a couple kms only to find that the site is rather spread out on the steep lower slopes of Tahtalı mountain. Unless you bring a friend, you’ll likely have the place to yourself.
From here I’d like to say the riding got easier,
and it did except for this one short section on the Beycik-Dağdibi connector road:
That was the worst section of road of the week. In Turkey I’m used to the roads being more like this:
I got on the main highway for about a km from Dağdibi to the Olimpos Kavşağı where a dolmuş driver was waiting. When he heard the story of the dog, he chastised me for not feeding it and immediately gave the dog some bread. I explained that I didn’t want to give the dog food because then it would never stop following me. Sure enough, when I left, the dog stayed with the dolmuş driver! I never saw it again.
The rest of the route to Karaöz and Korsan Koyu was more relaxed with flatter roads and smaller climbs.
Korsan Koyu was known as Melanippe in ancient times. You can still see some old walls around.
After over 4500m of climbing on this four day route from Antalya, I enjoyed two days of resting with friends. Here’s Defne at one of the nice views on the way to Gelidonya Lighthouse.
Everyone headed back to Antalya by car on Sunday afternoon, but I turned west, continuing to search for more Likyan ruins.
Beautiful pictures and interesting places!