8-day tour with Başak Gardner & Kerem Karaerkek
Azure seas bathe the rugged, indented coastline of Olimpos-Bey Daglari National Park, a rich assortment of scented pine forests, rocky headlands and historical sites, overlooked by the imposing, cedar-clad 2235m Tahtali Dag. Plant-life is diverse and enchanting with many endemic species only found here and a multitude of pleasant walks to explore the area.
We will depart from Antalya (28 March) towards Üçağız making several stops along the way, including the ruins of Phaselis, an ancient Greco-Roman city on the coast of Lycia. Here there are flowers such as Ophrys lyciensis, Orchis morio ssp syriaca, Silene colorata and Lupinus pilosus. Üçağız is a picturesque fishing village near Demre, and to the east of Kaş. Historial sites abound, such as Simena and Aperlai, though perhaps the most famous are the partially submerged seaside ruins of Kekova, which can only be reached by boat and are clearly visible in the crystal clear water.
(8.5 km approx 3.5 hours.) Altitude change: 100 m.
The hike crosses an uninhabited plateau along the coast where we can enjoy the flowering Mediterranean garrigue (native scrub) with cistus, myrtle and Jerusalem sage bushes, Orchis italica, Arum dioscoridis, Coronilla parviflora and many others. The only people in this area are shepherds who pitch their tents here in springtime. Aperlai was a small Lycian Coast city, which minted silver coins. Along with the Roman Iron Age city wall, are two churches from the early Byzantine period and a necropolis east of the city. Some of Sarko Page are now partially submerged in the water and give the place to a still lake picturesque character. From here we board our boat to the sunken ruins of Kekova where we can enjoy a swim in the clear waters. The ride boat continues on to Simena, where again we disembark, this time to visit the medieval castle with stunning views over the surrounding area. Afterwards we complete the cruise back to the port of Üçağız.
(13 km, apprx 5 hours.) Altitude change: 350 m.
Andriake is an ancient port city of Myra. Until well into the 4th Century BCE Andriake was able to maintain its position as a major trading center for grain. Witness of this era is the huge granary, a structure consisting of enormous stone blocks. The tour of Simena by the sea and partly along the hinterland, through a varied landscape with many olive trees, with flora such as Ophrys heterochila, Ajuga orientalis and various interesting fabaceae. At small beach coves it is possible to take a refreshing swim. We will drive back to Üçağız for the night.
(7 km approx 5 hrs.) Altitude change: 230 m.
We start from the small village of Karaöz, from where the scenic trail follows a beautiful section of the coast to the famous lighthouse of Gelidonia. This, together with its nearby islands, is one of the most photogenic sights along the Lycian Way. On the way back we visit the former ancient settlement Melanippe with its scenic, circular bay in the rock that was once a pirate harbor and where we can swim. We will continue our journey to Adrasan by bus and will have several plant stops on the way. On these stops we will see Romulea tempskeyana, Ophrys reinholdii, Orchis anatolica, Bellevalia trifoliata, Ophrys umbilicata and Tulipa orphanidea.
(14 km approx 5.5 hours.) Altitude change: 700 m.
From the small seaside village of Adrasan the trail leads through orange groves and pine forests high above the village to nearby pastures. On the way are many typical Mediterranean aromatic plants, such as sage, oregano, thyme and wormwood, and many wildflowers grow among them, such as Anemone coronaria, Ophrys fusca, Ophris sicula, Ophrys ferum-equinum, Limodorum abortivum, Fritillaria acmopetala and Lathyrus stenophylla. We cross a high plateau with a conspicuously flat area where the farmers take advantage of the favorable winds for threshing the grain. Then down on shady paths through laurel forests we arrive at a romantic river valley and the ruins of Olympos, one of the most important cities of Lycia, due to its strategic coastal location. The last part of the tour leads along the beach to Çıralı.
(6 km, 2 hrs.) Altitude change: 250 m.
From Cirali there are two interesting shorter routes that cross areas of serpentine with interesting plants. The first is a very scenic section to a small beach and along the way we may see the localised endemic Fritillaria asumaniae amongst masses of honey-scented Euphorbia hieroscolymitana. Returning to Cirali our second route it goes first through lush gardens with citrus trees and orchards of apples, plums, pomegranate and peach before steeply ascending to the "Yanartaş", the burning stones. Here, according to Homer's legend, the chimera, a multi-headed fearsome creature, is said to have lived. Beside he trail is pretty Orchis anatolica and Anthemis rosea. After crossing a ridge the trail enters a heavily wooded valley and a creek, which leads to our destination; Ulupınar. From here we drive back to the hotel in Cirali.
From Cirali drive to a restaurant in the small mountain village called Beycik and on the way we will stop to encounter Iris unguicularis subsp. carica and Asphodelus aestivus. Hilal has been offering cooking classes to small groups for many years. We’ll begin with the preparation of a walnut dessert, and then go on to make starters like "Hibeş" - a spicy mixture with sesame paste, garlic, olive oil, lemon or vegetable stir-fry served with garlic yogurt over. The "Imam Bayildi" - The Imam Fainted is the most popular main dish in the cooking class. After about 2.5 hours of preparation and cooking our menu will be ready to eat – for lunch. Afterwards we will drive a short distance to the much higher Beycik Yayla where we see fantastic plants such as Fritillaria carica, Ajuga bombycina and by late snow patches the snowdrop Galanthus elwesii and the dainty Crocus danfordiae. We return to Cirali for the night.
We will transfer to Antalya airport for morning flights.
28 March - 4 April 2024
Per person (twin share): 1995 Euros
Deposit 400 Euros
Single supplement: 400 Euros
Minimum number of participants 6; maximum 14.
For more information on our tours
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