Day one – Took about eight hours to walk from Kas to to Kormen Ardasi where I camped. You have to take water. The water at Liman Agzi (the tap on the beach) was very salty so I gave that a miss. Further on I managed to fill up with water at the cistern behind the beach at Ufakdere. It had been raining pretty hard the days before so I am not sure you could rely on this. Lots of good spots to swim on the way.
Day two - Long walk mainly uphill to Bogazik. I skipped the ruins at Apolonia principally because I was too lazy and my pack was too heavy. Managed to lose and then find the path again. This was down to a combination of my incompetence, the super-casual cartography skills of Zsiga Gyorgy and a goatherd who had put a fence in the way of the path. This combo managed to get me a few more times before the walk was over. Then down to the Purple House (where you can stay). The guy at the Purple House is keen to take your money - 4TL for a coke which was ridiculous, although it’s quite an ordeal to get anything there. I’m too embarrassed to say what I paid for him to take me by speedboat to Ucagiz. Ruins at Aperlai are extraordinary - just scattered down the hillside ignored and overgrown. Ucagiz is fab. I stayed at the Kekova Pension which was excellent with a really lovely balcony where you can while away the hours looking over the harbour. Had dinner at Hassan’s restaurant which was delicious. Hassan himself is quite a character bemoaning the “low” quality of recent tourists (mostly bus loads brought in to go out on the boat trips). Hassan harks back to the glory days where apparently movie stars and topless woman would emerge dripping from the harbour and patronise his restaurant – one too many Bond films or Rakkis I think.
Day Three - My plan was to get to Demre by walking. By the Genoese Fort (wrongly placed on the map by Zsiga Gyorgy) at the end of the second flat area, I lost the way markers and decided to try and make my own route. This turned into a 2½ hr nightmare of scaling up and down cliffs of razor sharp limestone and horrendously prickly bushes until I eventually found the path again. At this point I was well behind schedule and out of water. The café referred to in the book didn’t have water, that I could find, and then round the next bay I came across a few moored up deserted boats, again no water. At the head of the inlet there is a deserted house, with a well, which was full. There was a paint pot and a bit of fishing line which I used to try and get water. Sadly the water seeped out of holes in the paint pot faster than I could raise it to the surface. Next plan was to attach the fishing line to a plastic bottle which was lying around. There’s no shortage of plastic bottles lying around in Turkey. Sadly though, the bottle just bobbed winsomely on the surface of the well water. I then filled it with a few stones which still moved me no closer to quenching my now raging thirst. I then half-filled the mother with stones, stood on top of the cistern, tied the fishing line around my left hand and hurled the bottle with as much force as I could muster into the well with my right hand. The aim was obviously to submerge the bottle and thereby fill it. Sadly the result was 10cm of fishing line in my left hand and the bottle lost in the well. At this point panic set in. I couldn’t risk losing my own water bottle which my extreme incompetence would almost certainly have achieved. I had to set off again with my 40lb pack hoping that I would eventually come to another water source. Amazingly, out of nowhere, appeared two Turkish guys. They led me back to the boats where they found some water and then we took a detour off the Lycian Way (following blue markers) to a village called Inisdibi where their car was and they drove me to Demre .
Demre is a hole. I stayed in the Kekova Hotel which was also pretty depressing. I’m not sure where else there is to stay. I tried the Sahin Hotel / Pension but they were out of water! In Kas I met some other walkers who had tried the Kent pension (closer to Myra) but they said that was not great.
Day four - I had never planned to walk the mountain section nor the long coastal stretch from Finike to Mavikent. I had passed that way on the bus from Antalya to Kas and it looks pretty dull. I took a taxi from Demre to Mavikent with an hour long stop at the ruins at Myra. Myra was worth seeing. I was the first there and had the whole place to myself. Sitting in the ruins of the very well preserved theatre on my own was just fantastic. From Mavikent to Karaoz the Lycian Way basically follows an infrequently used road (although this was in November). This was a welcome relief from the very hard walking of the first three days. The section from Kas to Ucagiz is basically across very rough, limestone boulder strewn, scrub with very prickly bushes. You have to keep your eye on the path the whole time and for much of it the bushes obscure the views anyway. Had a swim at the Papek Iskelsi beach just before Karaoz - beautifully clear water and the beach was empty. I imagine in August it would be rammed. Had lunch in the beachside Café in Karaoz. Typically delicious Turkish meal: grilled chicken, fabulous fresh salad, great bread and half a litre of Efes.
From Karoz there is a very clear forest track and then very good path up to the lighthouse. It is a great walk with some fantastic coastal views. It is pretty well up hill the whole way but never too steep and well rewarded at the end when you get to the lighthouse. There was plenty of water in the cistern. In fact using my saucepan I had a shower. There’s been lots of rain (and more to come) so I didn’t feel guilty. It is a fabulous spot for camping, the views are great and there is ample firewood about. The only negative is the rubbish which is scattered all over the place. Turkey is blighted by rubbish.
Day five. Glorious walk from the lighthouse to Adrassan. There is a very steep climb at the start of the day and then up and down along the edge of the escarpment. Walking on very clear flat paths through pine trees. As with every other day, to this point, I saw no other walkers. The ground in the pine forest is carpeted with cyclamen and bird song accompanies you all the way to Adrassan. One of the first houses you come to on entering the village, before the beach, is the (elsewhere recommended) Maviay Hotel. It looked fine but I wanted to be at the other end of the village so decided to walk on. There is a new four-star hotel which looks completely incongruous in this otherwise pretty shabby resort. There is a large pebbly beach but slightly ruined by all the crap everywhere. I met up with an English lady and her daughter who run a hotel in Adrassan (this looks very good, but was sadly full, called the Ottoman Palace Hotel). They directed me to a friend’s place which was excellent. There is a river running through Adrassan to the beach. There are a string of pensions along this river. In the summer they put out pontoons onto the river to expand their restaurants. While I was there it was much quieter other than the constantly quacking ducks. The place I stayed in was the Arikanda River Restaurant. It was excellent, great rooms and really good food.
Day six. It’s a long haul up to the pass between Adrassan and Cirali. On this day I met three couples walking - the first and only walkers I saw in six days. On the way up and at the top there are good views down to the valley below as you cross over the two Yaylas. Sadly it’s all a bit of a mess. There has been a bad fire recently and there’s been a lot of logging. From the pass the descent to Cirali is a truly awful walk. It is a very steep path where you have to watch every step through a thick thick wood. It’s dark, dank, humid and unremitting for hours. Eventually it levels out and you emerge at Olympos. There had been a very serious flood three weeks before I was there at Olympus and the whole place was not looking it’s best as a result. Even at the best of times it would still be very overgrown and, but for a few signs, you’d feel you’d almost discovered the place. There is a ticket office and I presume in the tourist season it is very busy. I walked through the village which is essentially a series of pensions strung out on two roads, one along the beach and the other further inland. All the pensions are nestled in amongst the orchards and trees. I stayed at Dostlav Evi. This is 1 km towards the Chimera (burning gas escaping from rocks) from the bridge. It will make sense when you get there. Dostlav Evi is great, lovely rooms and wonderful food. The guy running it is a serious chef.
In Antalya I stayed in the Atelya pension which was lovely, great room and beautiful courtyard in the middle of the hotel.