The Xanthos valley makes a great day trip out of Fethiye,
Oludeniz or Hisaronu. Travelling with an organised tour, or
independently, you'll see some sites of archaeological interest
set in some stunning scenery. It really doesn't matter much
whether you're familiar with the Lycian Federation (sounds
a bit Trekky) or not, most people can have a good time clambering
around to an extent that just isn't allowed at the more controlled
sites such as Ephesus. The usual tour comprises Tlos, Xanthos
and Patara with the possibility of Saklikent gorge thrown
in. If you're lucky, determined or hire a car then you'll
get to Pinara and the Letoon as well.
Kaya Koyu is a fairly unusual place. A skeleton population
now inhabit what must have been a bustling market town. Its
population of Orthodox Greeks were deported during the exchange
of populations that took place after the establishment of
the Turkish Republic.
The place is slowly decaying and carries an air of poignancy
that is marked. Although this doesn't necessarily sound like
a good time holiday destination you might consider using it
as a base for a few days or a even a week. Its location is
very handy for the less visited beaches of the area and the
valley in which it nestles is particularly attractive, especially
if you approach on the old road from the middle of Fethiye.
I like the walk through the old town, with its glimpses of
colour remaining on the walls of the ruined houses, on either
to the beach or down to Oludeniz with its photogenic lagoon.
If you do visit make sure you have a look at the pebble mosaics
of the Panayia Pirgiotissa Church which speak eloquently of
a community that took pride in it's culture.
One of the prettiest and most remote sites in this part of
Turkey, Olympos combines an Indiana Jones site with a good
beach and great scenery. Located in the middle of a national
park area the site is set on both sides of a stream which
is fed from the surrounding hills. Never really excavated,
much of the area is covered in fairly dense woodland which
gives it the air of an unexplored, secret place. It's nice
to be able to combine exploring with swimming and sunbathing
and the nearby village of Cirali makes a good base, 10 minutes
walk along the beach and with a much wider range of accommodation
than that offered by Olympos itself.
Olympos was one of the most easterly of the Lycian cities
(see Xanthos) and takes it's name from Mount Olympos of Lycia,
now known as Tahtali Dag. The city was dedicated to Hephaestus,
god of the forge, to whose presence was attributed the ever
burning flames of the Chimaera, located the other side of
Caunos lies on the west bank of the river and is therefore,
technically at least, Carian - part of ancient Caria. If,
however, you've visited any of the Lycian sites further to
the East you'll recognise the prominent rock tombs of Caunos
as typically Lycian. If you don't fancy a swim you'll need
to take a boat from Dalyan to get to the site. Not much of
a hardship really as there's plenty to look at during the
45 minute trip (if nothing else you can use the time to apply
your mosquito repellent of choice).
Excavations here have been going on for 30 years but much
of the city is yet to be revealed, but you will find a good
theatre, baths and a Byzantine Basilica in reasonable condition.
The rock tombs here fall into 2 categories - simple, rock
cut chambers in the lower row on the cliff face and the more
ornate temple tombs above. They may or may not be included
in a tour of the site so it makes sense to check if you're
keen to explore them close up.
If you've ever been into a travel agents offering holidays
to Turkey then you've probably seen pictures of Oludeniz.
Second only to the Istanbul skyline, the lagoon features on
a multitude of posters, postcards and brochure pages. It's
not surprising as the characteristic shape of the coastline
here has resulted in a unique bit of beach. It actually is
gorgeous and the inevitable development of the little village
(I think there was one here once) has been fairly restrained.
A couple of years ago there were more building sites than
sun loungers within 10km of the lagoon but everything seems
to be settling down now and it's still a very nice place to
To get to Oludeniz you'll need to get to Fethiye, that's fairly
easy from most cities and towns in Turkey. If your travelling
the south coast then you'll find services west from Kas and
east from Marmaris and Dalyan. The bus station in Fethiye
is served by Pamukkale, Metro and Kamil Koc, all reputable
companies who'll probably get you there in one piece.