The Lycian Way - Karia and Lykia Pathways Await Guests

Hiking the Turkish Riviera

Crystal waters, Roman ruins, and dramatic vistas line the Lycian Way.

Winding through 300 miles of rocky terrain in Southwest Turkey, the Lycian Way offers a stunning tour of the Turkish Riviera. The Culture Routes Society, whose chairperson Kate Clow blazed the trail in 1999, suggests giving yourself a month to hike the whole thing. But if you don't have the stamina, or the vacation days, or simply want to look before you book, you can see some of the Lycian Way's extraordinary sights below.

HOW BLUE-GREEN WAS MY VALLEY Anadolu Agency/Getty Images HOW BLUE-GREEN WAS MY VALLEY Visible from the trail but only accessible by sea, Butterfly Valley is surrounded by soaring cliffs and brilliant blue-green waters. Lepidopterists take note: these scant 20 acres play home to approximately 100 species of — you guessed it — butterflies. GHOST TOWNS Anadolu Agency/Getty Images GHOST TOWNS A succession of ancient civilizations — the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans — held sway over Lycia in centuries past, and their picturesque ruins are scattered along the trail. THE FOREST AND THE SEA VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images THE FOREST AND THE SEA The gorgeous green and azure of the Kabak Valley show why this stretch of Mediterranean shoreline is sometimes called the Turquoise Coast. WORLD HERITAGE Anadolu Agency/Getty Images WORLD HERITAGE The ancient city of Xanthos and its Roman amphitheater are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Xanthos-Letoon, on the Lycian Way. SACRED GROUND Anadolu Agency/Getty Images SACRED GROUND The remains of temples to the Greek gods Leto, Artemis, and Apollo still stand in Letoon. SCENIC DRIVE Anadolu Agency/Getty Images SCENIC DRIVE State road D400 curls over Kaputas Beach. NO GIFTS, PLEASE Anadolu Agency/Getty Images NO GIFTS, PLEASE Stepping off the trail, hikers can visit the original church of Nikalaos of Myra — aka Saint Nicholas, aka Santa Claus — in Demre. CITY OF THE DEAD Anadolu Agency/Getty Images CITY OF THE DEAD A spectacularly spooky necropolis overlooks the city of Demre. The first of these tombs were hollowed out of the rocky hills more than 2,000 years ago. THE BURNING ROCK Melanie Stetson Freeman/Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images THE BURNING ROCK Natural gas emissions fuel the "flaming stone" of Yanartas, near Cirali. The mythical Chimera — a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake — may have been inspired by this site. END OF THE ROAD Anadolu Agency/Getty Images END OF THE ROAD For Eastern-bound hikers, the Lycian Way ends just outside of Antalya, a thriving tourist hub on the Mediterranean. The city boasts beaches and museums, food and drink, and, presumably, plenty of comfortable chairs and fresh socks.