The Mediterranean lands are brimming with antiquities, but few places can match the density and richness of Lycia, a compact territory that thrived for a millennia along the beautiful indented coastline of south-west Turkiye. The region is still clothed in pine forests, the sandy bays lapped by clear azure seas. Many of the finest Lycian cities have been unearthed and revealed, though much remains to be discovered even today. Throughout there are impressive theatres and characteristic mighty sarcophaguses, spacious agoras, immense city walls and finely hewn burial niches. Add to this warm late-summer weather, fine cuisine and magnificent scenery for the perfect Turkish experience.
Please note this tour can be made available on any alternative dates for a group of 5 or more.
On arrival in Antalya international airport we will transfer to a comfortable hotel in Kaleci, the old city.
A pair of magnificent Roman sites to begin our tour separated by a fine dining lunch. The expansive site of Perge offers an insight into Roman cities at their grandest, with colonnaded streets, hippodrome and large theatre amongst the many features. The latter is personified at Aspendos, with one of the largest and best preserve theatres. The surrounding site is also fascinating, mainly hewn from coarse, textural conglomerate rocks. Overnight Kaleci.
The city state of Termessos remaing independent until it was abandoned. It is to this day a wilder experience, the ruins largely reclaimed by forests which hide huge sarcophaguses. The main monuments are clear and include arguably the most spectacularly positioned theatre to be seen in the region along with fascinating old cisterns, gymnasium and other feaure. A place to explore. In the afternoon we will visit the highly regarded museum and the evening will be completed with a fine dining experience in the city. Overnight Kaleci.
Moving along the beautiful indented coast we enter the Olimpos-Bey Daglari coastal national park, dominated by the soaring bulk of Tahtali Dagi (or Mount Olimpos) and swathed forests of pine and cedar. Nestled within this are interesting coastal sites, including Phaselis, poised on a low headland and lapped by the Mediterranean on two sides. A promenade links the beaches and passes from a ancient section of aquaduct via the modest theatre and bathhouses to the other shore. Olimpos is larger and follows a river to the coast, where a long beach connects it to the seaside village Cirali. It is at Cirali, that in the late afternoon/evening we climb the steps to witness the eternal flames at Chimera. Overnight Cirali.
A duo of sites to the west, beginning with the excellent Arykanda, a fine complex set on a hillside with large agora, theatre and bathhouse. Spring-fed Limyra is lower down and was a major centre in its heyday. Natural springs have flooded parts of the city, but the scale is still evident today with substantial city walls surrounding the main complex. In the evening we will enjoy a fine dining experience. Overnight Cirali.
The dramatic coastline of region is laid bare as we drive west, ultimately entering the stark limestone country between Simena and Kas. Before then we stop at perhaps the finest example of Lycian rock cut tombs to be seen; Myra. Here the cliff face has been hewn with many exquisite niches and tombs. The accompanying theatre is also impressive. Myra is in Demre, which also contains the 8th Century Church of St Nicholas. At Simena, impressive sarcophaguses overlook the azure waters. Overnight in the pleasant town of Kas.
The former capitals and key cities of Xanthos and Patara are the focus of today, both containing impressive features such as monumental sarcophaguses, triumphal arches, forums and theatres. At Pinara we see cliffs hewn with hundreds of coffin niches beneath the Toros mountains. In the evening there will be fine dining in Kas.
The morning will involve a leisurely and generous traditional Turkish breakfast, enough to sustain anyone for the day. Our route take us back towards Antalya, climbing into the scenic foothills and reaching the slopes of Ak Daglari, where peaks soaring above architectural cedar forests to over 3000 metres. There are vineyards around nearby Elmali, producing some noteworthy wines and we will visit one and enjoy a tasting before arriving back in Antalya for the night.
1-8 October 2024
Minimum number of participants 5; maximum 18.
Please note if the number of participants is less than 5 the cost may rise.
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