Discover Turkey: hiking on paths and trails
Turkey is a mountainous country with beautiful landscapes and vast areas of unspoiled countryside, which are wonderful nature reserves for the extraordinary variety of fauna, flora and fauna.
The mountainous nature of the country has had a strong influence on its cultural evolution. For centuries nomads and semi-nomadic peoples have lived here and migrated each year with their livestock to the cool pastures of the surrounding mountains and hills. These alpine meadows, or yayla, still represent a strong link to traditional culture.
The trek allows you to get away from the crowds and experience more of the real Turkey we are talking about, with stunning landscapes, remote historical sites, traditional villages and of course friendly villagers waiting for you.
Serious hikers will probably want to explore Turkey’s rich interior and mountainous east, but even walking a short distance inland from some of the busier resort towns, you can feel like you’re in a different world.
Turkey has three official long-distance trails, the Lycian Way, listed by the Sunday Times as one of the ten best hiking trails in the world, the St Paul Trail and the Carian Trail.
The Lycian Way is a 540 km marked trail around the coast from Fethiye to Antalya. It takes its name from the ancient civilization that once ruled the area, the most visible reminders of which are the carved rock tombs that can be seen throughout the area. This stretch of coastline is breathtaking, with forested mountains rising steeply from the shore providing fantastic views and providing varied walking conditions. The route also passes many more remote historical sites. The route is rated medium to difficult; it’s not a level walk but there are many ups and downs as it approaches and away from the sea. It’s easier at the start near Fethiye and gets more difficult as you go. and as you progress. It is recommended to travel the route in spring or autumn; February-May or September-November. Summer in Lycia is hot, although you can hike short shaded sections. The route is mainly on footpaths and mule tracks; it is mostly limestone and is often hard and rocky underfoot.
Lycian Way Highlights
You can read more about the beaches along the Lycian Way in this article by Lisa Morrow.
Turkey’s Lycian Way: An Epic Hike With Beautiful Beaches Around Every Turn
St. Paul Trail
St Paul’s Trail is a new marked trail leading from Perge, 10 km east of Antalya, to Yalvaç, NE of Lake Eğirdir. There is a second branch starting at Aspendos, 40 km east of Antalya and joining the first route at the Roman site of Adada. The route totals approximately 500 km. This route partly follows that taken by Saint Paul during his first missionary journey to Asia Minor. It starts at sea level and goes up to 2200m, with two optional peaks at around 2800m. Although the St Paul Trail is slightly wilder than the Lycian Way, it is also higher and cooler in summer. The trip features varied and enjoyable days of walking, some of which take you over ridges and peaks, while others pass through forests, fields and ancient villages.
The town of Sütcüler, in the first part of the promenade, was an important administrative center during the Ottoman era.
There is an old mosque from this period in the town center and Roman-era ruins on a nearby hill. Ancient pilgrimage routes ran through the adjacent gorges and the area was known as Bavul, after St Paul. The second part of the walk takes you over the shoulder of Mount Davras (2635m) and across the plain of İsparta for two days of trekking in the Barla Mountains. You have the option to climb Gelincik Dağı (2799m) and Mount Kaymaz (2250m). Stay in Barla before heading to the lakeside town of Eğirdir for an ascent of Sivri Dağı, with time for a Turkish bath (hammam) or swim in the lake.
St. Paul Trail Highlights
The Carian Trail – Turkey’s longest coastal hiking trail
The Carian Trail is an 800 km hiking trail in southwestern Turkey stretching from Bodrum and Karpuzlu on the Aegean coast in the west around the Gulf of Gokova to Içmeler, bordering the Mediterranean to the south-east.
The trail was officially opened in 2013 and soon followed the Lycian Way, Turkey’s most popular long-distance walk.
Named after the Carian civilization, the trail follows a route through an area rich in ancient ruins and history. Stone-paved caravan routes and mule tracks connect the villages on the coast to a mountainous hinterland, accessing a lesser-known and unspoilt region full of color and tradition for all to enjoy.
The trail is signed and marked to international standards allowing independent and group travelers to hike and enjoy the scenic beauty and cultural treasures of Caria.
Swim in the turquoise waters of deserted beaches, climb through pine-scented forests to discover ancient ruins and admire a dramatic coastline to the Greek islands of the South Aegean. Rare mountain goats still roaming the remote forests of the Datca Peninsula, boat building in Bozburun, Neolithic cave paintings in the Bafa region, traditional village carpets woven by village women; all this and much more awaits the hiker in search of new adventures…
Carian Trail consists of four main sections:
Gulf of Gokova
An alternative section:
Surroundings of Mugla
For more information on these routes, visit:
Culture Routes Society: St. Paul’s Trail
Sources: Discover Turkey/Cultural Routes Society