Likya Way bicycle touring: Antalya to Korsan Koyu

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.

IMG_20210420_065821 by bryandkeith on flickr

The climb continued in the morning to get to Söğütcuması where I started to get views of the beautiful Alakır Valley.

IMG_20210420_101718 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_095626 by bryandkeith on flickr

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.

IMG_20210420_103910 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_103842 by bryandkeith on flickr

Kitanaura is easy to access — a good road goes right through the old city — and it was more interesting than I expected.

IMG_20210420_105307 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_110413 by bryandkeith on flickr

There were some nice reliefs on this tomb (?):

IMG_20210420_112608 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_112518 by bryandkeith on flickr

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.

IMG_20210420_122120 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_130241 by bryandkeith on flickr

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.

The second time I've had a fantastic lunch on a bicycle tour in Altınkaya by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_142438 by bryandkeith on flickr

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!

IMG_20210420_163455 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210420_172835 by bryandkeith on flickr

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.

IMG_20210421_093206 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210421_093312 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210421_095955 by bryandkeith on flickr

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,

IMG_20210421_111738 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210421_114646 by bryandkeith on flickr

and it did except for this one short section on the Beycik-Dağdibi connector road:

This section was short, steeply downhill, definitely the worst road of the week -- between Beycik and Dağdibi by bryandkeith on flickr

That was the worst section of road of the week. In Turkey I’m used to the roads being more like this:

IMG_20210421_131038 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210421_134104 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210421_142422 by bryandkeith on flickr

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.

IMG_20210421_182024 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210422_102859 by bryandkeith on flickr
Karaöz
IMG_20210422_113407 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210422_120310 by bryandkeith on flickr
Korsan Koyu
IMG_20210422_123042_4 by bryandkeith on flickr
Korsan Koyu

Korsan Koyu was known as Melanippe in ancient times. You can still see some old walls around.

IMG_20210422_131845 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210422_151016 by bryandkeith on flickr

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.

IMG_20210425_123241 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210425_123548 by bryandkeith on flickr

Everyone headed back to Antalya by car on Sunday afternoon, but I turned west, continuing to search for more Likyan ruins.

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1 Response to Likya Way bicycle touring: Antalya to Korsan Koyu

  1. Mike Painter says:

    Beautiful pictures and interesting places!

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