Difference between revisions of "Lycia"
Revision as of 21:29, 27 October 2010
Lycia (Turkish: Likya) is the westernmost section of Mediterranean Turkey. Lycia is also popularly known as Turquoise Coast, and forms a substantial part of Turkish Riviera. With clear waters and beautiful Mediterranean coastline, the region is great for divers, swimmers and yachting.
Rugged and forested, pine-clad mountains in Lycia descent right to the coastline heavily indentated with gulfs and coves, making the region top yachting area in the country.
Most towns in the region have some remnants from the ancient Lycian civilization, whether they be sacrophagii, rock tombs, or city ruins.
Geographically, Lycia occupies Teke Peninsula, a large U-shaped expanse of land between Gulf of Fethiye in the west and Gulf of Antalya in the east. In modern political terms, Lycia forms southern half of Muğla Province and western third of Antalya Province, which divide Lycia into roughly equal halves along north-south flowing Eşen Çayı, or Xanthos River as it was known in ancient times.
Unlike its neighbour to east, Pamphylia which welcomes its visitors in large all-inclusive resorts, Lycia is more of an independent traveller destination and tourism in the region evolves around small guesthouses and fairly pleasant coastal towns, some of which such as Olympos still preserve their hippy-ish atmosphere. However, some large resorts—not up to scale that is found in Pamphylia, though—are present here too, in the western (around Marmaris, and Fethiye) and eastern (around Kemer) ends of the region, as long as geography permits.
Local dialect of Turkish is highly different from the official standard (which is based on Istanbul dialect), and with much of its vocabulary being totally incomprehensible to even non-local Turks, it can even be objectively regarded as a language on its own (some half-jokingly prefer to call it Muğlaca, i.e. "Muğla language", instead of the usual term of Muğla şivesi, i.e. "Muğla dialect"). However, all people in the region, except perhaps older ones living in remote villages, can speak standard Turkish (albeit with a slight accent usually), and, thanks to heavy tourism in the region, if you don't intend to hike between mountain hamlets, English will likely be sufficient to communicate anyway.
Dalaman Airport (IATA: DLM), with its international connections, is the sole airport of the region, and makes a convenient hub into the region. The internatinal airport in Antalya is closer to the towns at the easternmost reaches of the region (such as Kemer, and Olympos), though. Kaş lies somewhere around the midway, being equally (and considerably) distant to both, with 180 km to Dalaman and 192 km to Antalya, so a good rule of thumb is, if your destination is west of Kaş, pick Dalaman, and for destinations east of Kaş, fly into Antalya.
There are ferries between some towns in Lycia and nearest Greek islands.
Towns in the region are connected to each other with frequent minibus (dolmuş) services.
Hitchhiking, while possible if you don't mind waiting for a lift up to two hours, is not really an easy way to travel around the region. Hitching from around Olympos in the east is definitely better, though.
Lycian Way (Turkish: Likya Yolu), a marked hiking trail which is a collection of ancient paths and forest trails, starts from south of Fethiye and connects most of coastal towns and villages in the region, and extends beyond regional boundary to Pamphylia in the east, towards Antalya.
Free cold water dispensers, or sebils as they are locally known, are abundant in the region, more so than the rest of Mediterranean Turkey.