Over the years, many guests travelling on our “Cruising the Lycian Shore” trip found themselves fascinated and enchanted by the occasional strolls we took on the Lycian Way, Turkey’s very first long-distance walking and hiking trail. Their frequent inquiries inspired us to create a tour that combines more hiking with archaeological adventures and the pleasure of a gulet cruise. Thanks to your inspiration, back in 2006, Walking and Cruising the Lycian Shore became the first of our walking holidays.
Rated by The Sunday Times (UK) as one of the ten best walks in the world, the Lycian Way follows over 540km (335 miles) of ancient roadways, mule tracks and shepherds’ paths along one of Turkey’s most remote and untouched coastlines. On this cruise, we follow some of its very best stretches, chosen for their beauty and interest, averaging about 9km (5-6 miles) of walking per day. Our travelling offshore base is a beautiful traditional Turkish gulet, offering us elegant transport, delicious dining, comfortable accommodation and welcome leisure throughout the voyage.
An ideal tour for hikers and for lovers of the sea alike, the cruise also provides the cultural and archaeological experience that is the trademark of Peter Sommer Travels. Escorted by Peter Sommer himself, you will visit a whole series of ancient sites, stroll along Roman roads, trace the routes of 2,000 year-old aqueducts and follow in the footsteps of characters from the mysterious Lycians of antiquity via Alexander the Great to the nomadic herders of recent centuries.
Exploring on foot offers a uniquely profound and enjoyable engagement with the landscape and its history, including the opportunity to discover truly remote archaeological sites that cannot be easily reached otherwise. You will be able to admire Phellos, the “stony place”, an ancient citadel perched precariously on a pinnacle high above the Mediterranean Sea, wild and ancient Apollonia, with its grand necropolis and romantic theatre, or the extensive ruins of mountain-top Kyaneai, one of the most important cities of ancient Lycia.
Of course, we also visit Lycia’s famous archaeological highlights, such as the regional Lycian capital at Pinara with its “royal” tombs, the monumental Roman port city of Patara and the Ottoman castle of Kale, ancient Simena, surrounded by age-old Lycian sarcophagus graves.
The combination of walks through a succession of beautiful landscapes, expert-led visits to fascinating archaeological sites, cruising in pristine waters and delicious meals on board or in selected local restaurants, in addition to plenty of time to swim and relax, make this tour a perfect choice for the active and curious traveller. From footpaths by the coast to goat tracks high up in the hills, from age-old cemeteries to monumental ruined cities, this tour offers you stimulation and relaxation for mind, body and soul.
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Day 1: Our gulet is about 30 minutes from Dalaman airport at Göcek, a pretty harbour beneath mountains at the head of the Bay of Fethiye, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Welcome dinner aboard.
Day 2: An easy first day spent in the Bay of Fethiye, with plenty of time for swimming, relaxing and admiring the scenery of sea and mountains.
Day 3: We set out eastwards to explore the atmospheric ghost town of Kaya/Levissi, abandoned by its Greek inhabitants in 1923. Later we hike back downhill to meet the gulet near Gemiler Island, an area perfect for swimming.
Day 4: We drive inland to Sidyma, hidden away on a mountain plateau, where a traditional farming village is surrounded by the extensive 2,500 year-old cemeteries of an ancient city. After admiring its elaborate tombs and sarcophagi we walk down a hillside to the neighbouring village of Boğaziçi before returning to the boat for a well-deserved swim.
Day 5: We drive the fertile Xanthus valley to ancient Pinara, where a mighty cliff riddled with tombs stands guard over one of the most striking and spectacularly situated archaeological sites in Turkey. Highlights include the great theatre and the “royal tomb”, its fine reliefs depicting Lycian cities.
Day 6: East to investigate remote Apollonia, where an ancient Greek theatre stands amid the remains of a Byzantine fortress and basilica church, in turn surrounded by a vast and elaborate necropolis. We hike back through a wild landscape of karstic limestone and stubborn maquis to return back to the sea at ancient Aperlai, Apollonia’s harbour.
Day 7: We cruise by Kekova Island to gaze at the Late Roman/Early Byzantine “sunken city” of Dolichiste. Later, we disembark at Üçağız, ancient Teimioussa, to explore its ancient cemetery, looking like so many sarcophagi scattered along the seashore by a passing giant. From here, we walk to Kale, ancient Simena, where another row of sarcophagi crowns the ridge leading up to an Ottoman castle built upon Byzantine and Hellenistic predecessors. One of the most romantic stops of the holiday.
Day 8: We visit Sura, site of a famous fish oracle dedicated to Apollo in a lush coastal valley, its main temple substantially preserved, then trek along a beautiful stretch of coast to the ancient city of Istlada, with various public buildings and more Lycian tombs, to reach our waiting boat.
Day 9: Inland to one of the most remarkable and significant city-states of ancient Lycia, mountain-top Kyaenai. Its theatre, market, baths and vast cemeteries (with over 300 sarcophagi!) stand witness to great affluence that has given way to a wild and inspiring nature. We overnight near Kaş, ancient Antiphellos, where a picturesque seaside town incorporates many ancient remains.
Day 10: The longest and most challenging hike of the tour, but well worth the effort, leads us up to the lost citadel city of Phellos, teetering on a tall pinnacle overlooking the Mediterranean from a great height. Its theatre is one of the most stunningly located in Turkey. We continue along a series of high ridges offering unforgettable views all around and then make a long descent on an old rocky path to a beautiful pine forest and gorgeous glade.
Day 11: We cruise west to the pretty harbour of Kalkan and then head inland. Starting at Delikkemer, the ingenious inverted-syphon bridge of a Roman aqueduct, we enjoy a medium length hike to the city it served, ancient Patara, where archaeologists are revealing the remains of a vast and monumental Roman city, one-time capital of the Lycian Confederation.
Day 12: After cruising north, we hike from Faralya, overlooking the stupendous “Butterfly Valley”, to Kabak through a peaceful and remote landscape of cyclamen-filled woods and busy beehives.
Day 13: The second longest hike of the trip is the glorious final trek across the shoulder of Babadaĝ (Father Mountain) to Ovacık, taking us from the coastal slopes high into the foothills of a wild mountainous landscape and back to the shore through extraordinarily idyllic terrain. Breathtaking views all day long.
Day 14: A day of total leisure aboard our elegant gulet, sailing and swimming. We moor in Fethiye, ancient Telmessos, for a final chance to shop.
Day 15: Transfer back to Dalaman airport, on Turkey’s south coast.
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Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport – Dalaman
Departure Airport – Dalaman
We recommend you arrive at the gulet in Göcek (approx 30 minutes from Dalaman airport) in the late afternoon/evening. Embarkation is from 17:00 onwards. You are more than welcome to arrive earlier to drop off your bags, but please be aware that the crew will be busy cleaning and tidying making everything ready for your group so you may not be able to settle in to your cabin. Departure time can be subject to change depending on weather, harbour or other conditions.
Disembarkation in Fethiye (approx 60 minutes from Dalaman airport) is around 09:00. We will arrange local transfers from Dalaman airport and to Dalaman airport on the first and last day of the tour.
If you are staying in or connecting via Istanbul then the easiest way to get to and from the gulet is to fly. There are a number of airlines that offer domestic flights in Turkey such as Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines has a wide selection of flights on these days and there are alternative flights to and from Istanbul with some of Turkey’s low cost airlines such as Atlas Jet, and Onur Air. The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
Please note: Flights are subject to change. Please contact the airline for exact details.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits.
Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.
Further information about the Walking
Unlike our standard gulet cruises, there is a significant amount of hiking on our Walking and Cruising the Lycian Shore tour in Turkey. We believe that’s a key part of its appeal. The walks we do are for the most part sections of The Lycian Way, Turkey’s first national footpath, and widely regarded as one of the best hiking trails in the world for its combination of stunning vistas, scenery, and the archaeological sites that litter the way.
Please be aware that the terrain is often uneven, rocky, and rugged, and a number of the paths are carpeted with loose stones underfoot and there are occasions when the landscape we are passing through can have some prickly vegetation. You do need to be fit with a good sense of balance. There are some long stretches of uphill and downhill walking. It’s certainly not a walk in the park, but ropes and crampons aren’t required! You do need to be used to hiking off the beaten track.
The trip is designed to ease you in gently, with a day of pure relaxation to begin with, and then a few short walks and site visits, with some longer walks later in the tour. Across the two weeks, the average distance is about 5-6 miles a day (approx 3 hours), but it’s not really the distance that you need to bear in mind, but the terrain. We take all the hikes at a leisurely pace, with some wonderful sites and great swims thrown in for good measure. In the second week, once people have found their feet, there’s a walk of about 6 hours, and one full day of hiking (about 7 hours), with super picnics along the way. Of course the beauty of being on the gulet, means that it’s perfectly possible for guests to skip a day’s walk if they so wish, and simply relax on the boat. If you fancy putting your feet up and resting for a day, that is perfectly possible. So if you wish to lie back and read a book or have an extra swim, you can.
If you are planning to stay in Istanbul before or after your gulet tour we have included below links to more information and things to see and do.
If you are thinking of extending your trip to Turkey to include visits to Cappadocia, Ephesus, Istanbul or further afield, please contact our office for further information.