Visiting Lycian Sites

Visiting the sites of ancient Lycia is a great way to add a little variety to your holiday.  You'll not only see the sites, but also the beautiful countryside and the local way of life.  For the more important Lycian cities of the Xanthos valley such as Xanthos, Letoon, Patara and Tlos, the nearby coastal towns of Kalkan and Kaş are great bases from which to explore.  You can either join a tour with your holiday company or a local tour agency, or hire a car and poke about at your leisure.  You can find maps for sale in tourist resorts. Tours to Tlos and Xanthos often combine a trip to nearby Saklikent Gorge (a stunning place).

Most of the major sites can be visited by those of average to below-average fitness.  Some sites, such as Pinara, do require decent fitness to see all the remains (such as the top acropolis).  For those with some walking difficulties, Letoon is an ideal choice as the whole area is very flat and compact.  Xanthos is also an easy place to visit as it is relatively flat (except for the the acropoli) and also compact.  Kekova-Simena is also an easy place to visit since you can spend the whole time on the boat quite enjoyably if you don't wish to swim, since the ruins can be easily seen from the boat.  Other sites, like Arycanda, are still enjoyable for the beauty of the place, even if your health prevents you from making it to the top terrace levels.  Be sure to bring along a bottle of water and wear some comfortable walking shoes.  If you are going on a tour that combines a trip to Saklikent Gorge, bring some shoes that can be submerged as there is some water to walk through (it feels good in the heat of the summer as does the shady interior of the gorge!).  You can rent rubber shoes there, but they are not very comfortable.

When visiting Lycian sites by car, keep your eye out for the brown road signs (for sites of interest/of a historic nature) as opposed to the regular blue road signs.  If not located right next to the site, they will also tell you how many kilometres there will be before you reach the site.  Sites are always well-posted and the signs are pretty hard to miss.

Many of the larger sites have ammenities such as bathrooms, cafés and souveniers.  Even Pinara has some brand-new bathrooms.

Good Restaurants in the Lycia Region

If you aren't with a tour group (ususally includes lunch) you may be looking for a good place to eat.  I can recommend a few places that I know.  Don't be afraid to eat at a place that looks non-touristy - these places may not be fancy, but they often have the best food since good food is very important in Turkish culture!  They are usually much cheaper than touristic places too.

1. Seçkin Restaurant in Fethiye.  This place is located across the street from the bus station's entrance/exit.  It is a lokanta (Turkish-style fast food) and is always full of locals (who of course know the best place to eat!).  Lots and lots of choices here and the prices are very good.  They serve Turkish "puffy bread."  Mmmm.

2. Öz Adana ("Real Adana") in Yeşilköy.  Not a swanky place, but they do excellent kebabs and pide (Turkish pizza).  If you are staying in Kalkan, this is a good place to visit in conjunction with the nearby sites of Letoon, Patara and Xanthos as it isn't far from Kalkan and you pass through Yeşilköy on the way to the sites.  The restaurant is located just across the street from the town's mosque with the Atatürk statue in the leafy courtyard.  We eat here frequently since it is nearby and the food tastes great and is cheap.

3. Kekova Restaurant in Üçağiz.  My husband and I had a great seafood lunch here on my birthday with a delicious salad, sea bream and kalamari.  It is located at the western part of the harbour next to a parking lot, right next to the water.

4. Trout Farm Restuarants

Lycia has several trout farm restaurants in the mountains where water is plentiful.  The trout are raised on the premises, so they are always fresh (though they do serve non-tout meals also) and prices are lower than at the tourist resorts.  The village of Islamlar, situated above the coastal town of Kalkan has many of them with gorgeous views over the valley to the sea.  You can eat outside most of the year on raised terraces and indoors in the winter. There are also trout farms near Saklikent Gorge and the Lycian site of Tlos, set in beautiful relaxing gardens with waterfalls and hammocks, such as Yakapark Restaurant.

Example of a view from Islamlar

Trout farm restaurant in Islamlar


Yakapark Restaurant

5. Seafood Restaurants in Fethiye

If you go to the main market in the centre of Fethiye, there is a separate seafood market section where the daily catch is brought - lots of choices here.  You can buy whatever you'd like to eat and take it to one of the many restaurants encircling the seafood market.  They'll cook it up for you and have other things on the menu, such as mezes and salads and delicious "puffy bread."  If you don't want seafood, the restaurants may have chicken or meat or you can buy it yourself from a nearby butcher.  Next to the seafood market is a large fruit/vegetables/spice market.

6. Sisci Ramazon'in Yeri ("Ramazon the Kebab-maker's Place") in Elmali, in the centre of town next to the Petrol Ofisi gas (petrol) station.  They serve kababs, soup, salad. Again, not a fancy place, most foreigners would just pass it by, but the lamb kebabs are some of the best I have had in years.