Likya Way bicycle touring: Korsan Koyu to Kaş? No, Demre!

Alternatively titled: The ancient sites of Belos, Myra, Andriake, Sura

After a pretty hilly ride to get from Antalya to Korsan Koyu, I was amazed to have such a flat road all the way from Korsan Koyu to Finike. It was a coastal road with some nice views.

IMG_20210425_154237 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210425_154736 by bryandkeith on flickr

Of course it wasn’t hard to find some mountains. The next day I climbed over 1500m. Most of that elevation was on the detour from Finike to the ruined Likyan city of Belos.

IMG_20210426_093319 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210426_093717 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210426_094923 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210426_095512 by bryandkeith on flickr

There’s not a lot to see. Few people passing through Finike bother making the effort to come up here. The Likyan Way (a trekking trail) passes right through here, but as one of the most remote sections of the route, it’s one of the most commonly skipped sections (easily done by dolmuş on the coastal road).

I kind of remember reading something about a Grand Basilica at Belos. Maybe that’s what I found here:

I think this must be the basilica by bryandkeith on flickr

There are a number of nice looking coves on the curvy coastal road between Finike and Beymelek. We stopped at one on a previous trip.

There are a number of nice looking beaches like this between Finike and Beymelek.  I have only been to one of them. by bryandkeith on flickr

Having been through Demre once before about seven years earlier, I decided to skip both İsion and the Saint Nicholas Church. However, I seemed to recall that Myra was too good to pass up, and it was only a couple kms of flat riding out of my way.

IMG_20210426_151156 by bryandkeith on flickr

Likyan rock-cut tombs:

IMG_20210426_151438 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210426_151811_4 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210426_152322 by bryandkeith on flickr

Yeah, that seemed like a worthwhile stop.

I feel like Demre kind of gets a bad rap, but there’s a lot to see. I had read that many people like the ancient city of Andriake even more than Myra so I was excited to visit. First, I rode through the middle of the city, bought some beers, and pitched my tent for the night right on the beach (Taşdibi Plajı) at the recommendation of the beer seller.

IMG_20210426_160028 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210426_174258 by bryandkeith on flickr

Uh, wow, yes, I confer, if you have to choose between Myra and Andriake, go to Andriake! It’s the old port for Myra and, along with Phaselis and Aperlai, was one of the major centers of murex purple dye manufacturing in Likya. The best preserved building is the huge granary which has been converted into the very good Likyan Civilizations Museum (Likya Uygarlıkları Müzesi).

There are a couple churches:

IMG_20210427_101924 by bryandkeith on flickr
Church B by bryandkeith on flickr

and a hamam:

Hamam by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_102540_3 by bryandkeith on flickr

Here’s the huge granary building from the outside:

IMG_20210427_114128 by bryandkeith on flickr

and the inside:

IMG_20210427_111709 by bryandkeith on flickr

And if that’s not enough, check out the Plakoma Cistern. From above:

IMG_20210427_102710_3 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_102920 by bryandkeith on flickr

and below:

IMG_20210427_103039 by bryandkeith on flickr

If you haven’t been to İstanbul or Dara, that could be the highlight of the visit. I was definitely impressed.

IMG_20210427_113537 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_113315 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_113531 by bryandkeith on flickr

One of the things I read about at the museum was the four types of Likyan tombs. There are monumental tombs of which perhaps the best example is the one from Xanthos at the British Museum in London. Another type of tomb are the rock-cut tombs like we saw above at Myra. A third type are the pillar tombs. Again head to Xanthos and/or London. Finally we come to the sarcophagus tombs. If that’s your thing, well, I highly recommend heading up the hill from Andriake to Sura where they’re spread out all over the place between two roads, some greenhouses, and a steep valley.

IMG_20210427_133231 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_133645 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_134117 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_134446 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210427_140127 by bryandkeith on flickr

Could this be the remains of a monumental tomb?

IMG_20210427_135856 by bryandkeith on flickr

The highlight at Sura, however, is this one, the first one I noticed before I even left the highway:

IMG_20210427_131456 by bryandkeith on flickr

But I’m confused. Is that a pillar tomb? With a sarcophagus on top? And a rock cut tomb underneath?

At this point I was really looking forward to the next part of my ride, in the direction of Kaş. I was only about 40km from Kaş via the main road, but before getting there I was hoping to visit a bunch more Likyan sites. I had kind of sketched out a route to take in Trysa, Hoyran, Tyberissos, Kyanneai, Oninda, Apollonia, Tyinda, İsinda, and Sebeda. Wow, there’s a lot to see, and that route avoids places I’ve already visited on three other trips in this area!

However, none of that was to be. The covid death rate in Turkey went from a low in February to reaching record highs by the end of April when I was in Demre. The government sensibly called for a full 17-day lockdown, lasting until the end of Ramadan. I put my bike on a dolmuş and am back in Antalya, dreaming of Likya.

Oh, as I coasted down from Sura to the Demre bus station, I came across this:

"What is this?",  I wonder. by bryandkeith on flickr

at one intersection. No sign, and I haven’t been able to find anything about it on the internet. A Roman church? Or what? Any ideas?

Nine day bicycle tour, 270km by bryandkeith on flickr

I blame Cathy and Curt for this “trip by numbers” thing, but with the gps on the phone it’s so easy to record this information now. Also, I find these numbers for quite useful for future planning.

  • 270 tour distance (km)
  • 7021 total elevation gain (m)
  • 9 days of the tour
  • 7 cycling days
  • 5 nights in the tent
  • 60 most distance cycled in one day (km)
  • 1659 most elevation gain in one day (m)
  • 38 average distance on cycling days (km)
  • 1003 average elevation gained on cycling days (m)
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