Turkey's top 5 trekking routes

Anatolia hosts a growing array of walking routes and hiking hotspots, ranging from a few hours to epic treks spanning over 1,000km

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1. Lycian Way

Distance: 509km

Difficulty rating: 3/5

Route: Fethiye to Antalya around the coast of Lycia, southern Turkey

What is it? Turkey’s favourite long-distance trail, combining coastal walking with ancient sites.

Highlights: Hugging the coastline around secluded bays; the 12km beach at Patara; spectacular views over the coast from above Kas and Kalkan; climbing Mount Olympos; the ruins of hidden Lycian cities set against the Mediterranean.


2. St Paul Trail

Distance: 500km

Difficulty rating: 4/5

Route: From Aspendos or Perge, east of Antalya on the south coast, to Yalvaç, north-east of Lake Eğirdir; the two branches fork at the Roman site of Adada

What is it? A new long-distance trail exploring the more remote mountains and lakes of southern and central Turkey.

Highlights: Views in Yazili Canyon Nature Park; Roman road from Adada; crossing Lake Eğirdir by fishing boat; village homestays en route.



3. Kaçkar Trails

Distance: 32 trekking routes, ranging from a few hours to several days, totalling some 30 days trekking

Difficulty rating: 5/5

Route: Between Çamlihemsin and Yusufeli in north-eastern Turkey

What is it? A network of mountain paths, some reaching almost 4,000m, others climbing from villages to summer pasture.

Highlights: Climbing Mt Kaçkar, Turkey’s fourth-highest; spotting bear, ibex and wolf; exploring tenth-century Georgian churches.


4. Yenice Forest Trail

Distance: 396km, with 21 alternative routes – some day walks, some two- or three-day hikes

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Route: Dissecting Yenice, a mature woodland area in northern Turkey

What is it? A series of trails, easily accessible from Istanbul and Ankara, suitable for biking and horseriding as well as walking.

Highlights: Yenice is close to the historic town of Safranbolu, the centre of the saffron crocus harvest.


5. Evliya Çelebi Way

Distance: 1,200km

Difficulty rating: 5/5

Route: Istanbul to Kütahya

What is it? Tracing the route taken by the Ottoman writer Evliya Çelebi, in 2011 the trail celebrates the 400th anniversary of his birth. It is Turkey’s first long-distance route suitable for both walkers and horseriders.

Highlights: Ancient provinces of Bithynia and Phrygia; Evliya’s ancestral home, the historic city of Kütahya.


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