I just wanted to write a top 10 list of the sights on the Lycian coast.
I soon discovered that it is impossible.
I have collected 23 sights, activities and places that you “must” see on the Lycian coast
1. Have you heard of Xanthos? Capital of one of the first democracies in the world?
The ruins of the ancient city of Xanthos, together with the Letoon temple district, are combined as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Xanthos was the capital of the Lycian League – one of the world’s first democracies.
2. Kaputas Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe!
The charms of Kaputas Beach are self-explanatory when you see the pictures. The location below the cliff between Kas and Kalkan is also unique. The turquoise blue water makes the beach even more attractive. There is also a very special sand that does not stick to the skin after bathing. Kaputas Beach always wins as being one of the most beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean.
3. Visit St. Nicholas in Myra!
St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Grandfather Frost! Nikolaus von Myra was given many different names. Few people know, however, that the historical person behind the name lived in Turkey. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra, a Roman city on the Lycian coast. Today you can visit the ruins of Myra with their rock tombs and the Nikolaus Basilica. Inside, you will find the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas.
4. Antalya’s old town Kaleici is a perfect combination of history, culture and food!
Antalya (Kaleiçi) is one of my favourite places in Turkey. The view from the harbor walls to Antalya, the cliffs, the sea, the Ottoman houses and 2,000-year-old sights is indescribably beautiful. The small restaurants are also great little places to eat delicious Turkish specialties. I recommend the Sara’s Fine Dining Restaurant and the small cafes above the harbour walls.
5. Fethiye is one of the party capitals of Turkey!
Fethiye’s old town is a big party district. You can find bars, restaurants, and outdoor clubs everywhere. The old town stretches from the Fethiye marina to the large public beach.
6. Drive your car along the coast between Kemer and Demre!
The landscape between Antalya and Fethiye is one of the most beautiful coastlines in Turkey. A special highlight is the coastal road between Kemer and Demre. Get a rental car and drive along the D-400. Stop along the way at secluded bays to swim in turquoise blue water with fine sandy beaches.
7. Turtles in the Iztuzu Beach Nature Reserve in Dalyan
The entire delta of the Dalyan River, along with Iztuzu Beach, is under ecological protection. This is due to the Caretta Caretta turtles. They come to the beach every summer to lay their eggs. You can watch them and swim in quiet places on the beach. You can also see Caretta Carettas on Olympus Beach in Cirali.
8. 2,300-year-old Lycian rock tombs are one of the highlights of the coast
The rock tombs of Lycia are reminiscent of Petra in Jordan or the cave cities of Cappadocia. Be careful of your surroundings while driving on the Lycian Coast. Again and again you will see ancient rock graves that are up to 2,300 years old. The most beautiful of them are the tombs of Myra, Fethiye and the Carian royal tombs in Kaunos.
9. Take a ship to a city that has sunk in the sea for 1,000 years!
The city of Simena, which has existed since ancient times, sank into the sea after a tremendous earthquake 1,000 years ago. Part of the old city can still be seen along the coast in the small village of Kaleköy on the island of Kekova and. You can explore the ruins of Simena, submerged undersea in the water, by ship.
10. Patara, a beach like the Sahara desert!
Imagine a 20km sandy beach with sand dunes – as far as the eye can see. Are you looking for a beautiful sandy beach without other travellers? Then Patara, although the beach is one of the top attractions on the Lycian coast, is an ideal destination. You’ll have plenty of room to stretch out – the other travellers get lost very quickly on the 20-kilometer-long beach.
11. Discover the coastal town of Kas with its unique fishing port!
Kas is one of the most unique travel destinations in Turkey. There are many hotels in this small coastal town, but they tend to be much quieter than those located on the Turkish Riviera. The small port of Kas with its delicious fish restaurants is particularly beautiful. Another recommendation is the old town of Kas with its bars, restaurants and open-air clubs.
12. Kastelorizo, spend a day in Greece!
A small boat excursion separates the seaside resort of Kas from the Greek island of Katelorizo /Meis. This is a perfect opportunity to visit two countries in one day. All this, with delicious food from Greece and a boat trip on the Lycian coast.
13. Swim in the 2,700-year-old city harbour of Phaselis!
Where else can you find the opportunity to swim among 2,700-year-old ruins than in Phaselis? The three old ports of the ancient city are among the most beautiful bathing bays in all of Turkey. They combine a wonderful day at the beach with a better understanding of history and culture.
14. Feel like Indiana Jones in the ruins of the ancient port city of Olympus!
Olympus is one of the ruins of Turkey where there have been few excavations. That is why the old stones of Olympus is still often hidden under trees and bushes. That gives a real sense of discovery in the ruins. Then, you can lie comfortably in the sun on Olympus Beach!
15. Find out the secret of the Yanartas-Chimera gas field, which has been consistently burning for the past 2,500 years
Yanarta’s “burning stones” appeared in the stories of the ancient Greeks. For example, the first fire of the first Olympic Games in ancient Greece is said to have come from the Yanartas. The mythical creature Chimera and the king’s son Bellerophon also came from the Yanartas – all a part of the famous folk legends of Anatolia.
16. Spend a day on the snow-white limestone terraces of Pamukkale!
“Cotton castle” is the literal translation of Pamukkale. That describes the snow-white limestone terraces perfectly. The terraces with their turquoise-blue thermal water are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are located inside the ruins of Hierapolis – a major Roman city.
17. Get to know the way of life and the food of the Yörük nomads in Kemer!
The Yörük arrived in Anatolia with the first Turkish people. Over the centuries, they maintained their nomadic way of life. There were still many Yörük around until the 1960s. The Yörük Nomad Park in Kemer shows you their way of life and the delicious food concocted by the Yörük.
18. You will stumble over an ancient ruin every 10km
At the time of the Greeks, Persians and Romans, Anatolia was one of the most populous regions in the world. This is still reflected by the number of ancient ruins that have been discovered here. You literally stumble across the ruins of a 2,000-year-old city every 10km. I’ve already mentioned Myra, Xanthos, Olympos, Simena and Phaselis. The “highlights” among the ancient ruins are Tlos, Patara and Pinara.
19. The Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz
The crescent-shaped beach on the Blue Lagoon of Ölüdeniz is an absolute magnet for visitors. Taking a trip with a Turkish motor sailboat – Gulet- to Ölüdeniz beach is particularly enjoyable. This is possible during a blue journey along the Lycian coast. I recommend this as a great alternative to a tour of Lycia by bus or car. During a blue trip, you sail along the coast, observing the highlights of Lycia and visit hidden bays and beaches.
20. Eat delicious fish in Ulupinar’s river restaurants
Fish and cosy benches beside a cool mountain stream. This is what the river restaurants in Ulupinar offer, and deliver! You sit on a platform over the river and eat good fish from Ulupinar. There is also the possibility of finding good fish in the nearby village of Adrasan.
21. Take a cable car to the top of the mountain of the gods! (And back down to the beach with a tandem jump)
The ancient Greeks named the 2,364m high Tathali Dagi mountain in Kemer Olympus. They believed that the gods of Olympus lived there. A cable car takes you to the top of the mountain, which is located directly on the coast. If you dare, you can return to the beach with a tandem paraglider jump. This is a really unique experience!
22. Trek from Fethiye to Antalya
The Lycian long-distance hiking trail leads you500km from Fethiye to Antalya. Don’t be intimidated, you don’t have to go all the way. Small routes along the trail are enough. For example, the path to the Burning Stones Yanartas-Chimera in Cirali is part of the Lycian Long Distance Hiking Trail. Incidentally, the Lycian Way course is modelled from trade routes from antiquity.
23. Blue voyage on the Lycian coast
A blue voyage is a trip by the sea along the Turkish coast in a gulet. These are the motor sailing boats which are common in Turkey. You can either sail for the whole day or book a tour of Lycia. The circular tours take you to the highlights and most beautiful beaches of Lycia. The day trips are a combination of partying and beaches.
Do you want to see Lycia for yourself?
There are four good ways to do this!
Take a trip to Kas, Adrasan or Cirali. These are the most beautiful places on the Lycian coast.
You can book day trips from Antalya to Myra, Phaselis, Tahtali and Olympos.
A blue gulet cruise is one of the best ways to see the Lycian islands.
A round trip through Lycia brings you to the highlights of the beautiful coastal strip. This option allows you to see the most beautiful ruins of Lycia within a short time.