Our Explore Leader, Paul is a keen cyclist and loves Turkey so much he is now known as Polat to the locals. He has lived in Turkey for many years and has built this moderate grade cycling trip as the perfect introduction to country; experiencing its history, the delicious cuisine and the spectacular scenery.
Part of Turkey’s appeal is the variety of landscapes on offer, from mountains to olive groves and orchards to sea. Created to be a true journey through the beautiful Lycian region, this trip gives riders the satisfaction of having travelled across this ancient land under their own steam. You can expect to experience Turkey from ancient times to the modern day - with time for tasting the sun-kissed produce of the Lycian region.
The trip starts following a hearty Turkish breakfast in Dalyan, when we begin the ride along relatively flat, quiet roads. Cycling past citrus and pomegranate plantations, we make use of these for refuelling stops along the way, before continuing towards natural sulphur baths - ideal for soothing tired muscles after the first day’s ride!
The next day sees us enjoy a fun descent down towards Gocek bay to the yacht that takes us across Fethiye Bay. En route we stop off at isolated bays to enjoy a refreshing swim before continuing to Fethiye. This port city, with its crusader castle, is nestled under cliffs housing ancient rock tombs, characteristic of the region and dating back as far as the Bronze Age. The evening is spent relaxing in Turkish baths, perfect for feeling refreshed after a day in the sun.
After a rooftop breakfast overlooking the dramatic setting of Fethiye, the morning is spent exploring on foot before heading out on the next leg of the ride. One of the favourite parts of this trip is getting to enjoy home cooked local food – an essential part of exploring any country. At Jemil’s, we enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine, complete with fresh home-grown vegetables - it’s wholesome and delicious! After letting the midday sun pass, the ride continues towards Salikent, where we spend the evening beside the river beneath limestone cliffs and a star-filled sky.
Today we explore the ancient, cliff-top ruins of Tlos; once the home of Pegasus’ rider Bellerophon apparently. This fortified city was once a bustling hub of the Lycian civilisation and its remains still indicate a position of power and importance, with an ancient gladiatorial arena still overlooking the lush valleys below.
After this cultural interlude, the most rewarding ride of the trip starts: through steep, winding passes, that take you past waterfalls and orchards, we enjoy more local cuisine to keep us refuelled and energised before continuing onto our guesthouse for the night. Our host, Fatma, ensures that after a long day in the saddle, we are rewarded with Raki, the local aniseed based spirit.
After spending time in the Turkish mountains, the sight of a 12km stretch of golden sand in Patara indicates a flatter ride to follow. On our way towards the coastline we pass through the former Lycian capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Xanthos - an ancient city full of rich history and stunning Roman architecture - before heading to the beach. The sea views stay with us throughout the last day’s riding providing spectacular scenery and a cooling breeze, perfect for a last ride before we arrive in Kas. The pretty harbour town of Kas is a great place to finish the trip as we can relax taking in the town or have one last massage in the local Hammam.
Exploring Turkey on two wheels is the perfect way to uncover this beautiful country. Expect friendly locals, delicious food and drink and the experience of sharing each day of cycling with others as you uncover the beautiful Lycian region.
Feeling inspired? Find out more about our Cycle Turkey trip here