Day 28: Adrasan to Çıralı (including the ruins of Olympos)

Sunrise over the sea in Adrasan

Mosquitoes in the night – the downside to the swamps surrounding Adrasan! Warren and Sherry both got up to put on bug spray in the middle of the night. At the next pansiyon we’ll remember to close the bathroom window!

We woke at 5:30 and dressed quietly so as not to wake Sherry. Her route was shorter than ours, so she didn’t have to leave as early.

Kareem and the dog were already up to greet us, and we enjoyed a brief conversation as we drank our Nescafe and ate our breakfast of bread, cheese, and olives.

When we set out we could see the sun rising over the sea and peeking out from the hills surrounding Adrasan – such a nice farewell scene. The path through town was easy on the road. We were surprised at how long the town is and how many pansiyons and restaurants (most closed for the season) were there.

When we found the Lycian Way sign, it pointed right in the middle of 2 roads. Not very helpful. We took the one that looked more like a hotel driveway than a road (the one not advertised for walkers), and soon found a mark. But we then lost it again amongst the greenhouses and orange orchards, though we did snag ourselves a juicy orange for later.

We finally found an old man who told us the way. Apparently you have to cross the stream bed (dry right now) soon after turning off on the road to resume the trail. After that, the trail is very well marked to Çıralı (pronounced: Cheer-ah-lee). There are red arrows to accompany the Lycian Way marks; this is apparently a popular day hike and many tour companies send people this way (and we met several as we walked).

Walking through the rocks

The uphill was steep – 690 meters – but we surprised ourselves at how quickly we made it to the top. The path is almost all shaded, at least it was walking in the morning. The flat yayla at the top had a breathtaking view of Mt. Olympos and the surrounding hills with a perfect blue-sky backdrop. We both agreed it made the climb up well worth it! If you wanted to camp, this would be a terrific location, and we could see evidence of previous campfires and sites there.

Rewarding view from the top

On the way down toward Çıralı we met a Welsh couple who were fact-checking the day hike directions and time estimates for a tour company. That’s why this trail is so well marked and maintained!

We did pass through one area of felled trees that was not easily explained. Was this the result of a lightning/strike or fire in years past, an infection of the trees that caused them to die and break off, or high winds? The way they were broken off and scattered around looked otherworldly, and we had to dodge and climb these fallen giants in the path. None of it was difficult, but it was a strange sight to see.

Today’s hike was challenging only because of the ascent, but it was shady and cool throughout. The birds were singing, and it was one of our most enjoyable days of walking. Soft pine needs on the ground to cushion our steps and plenty of nature to observe as the birds serenaded us to our destination.

We arrived at the ruins of Olympos in just 6 hours…2:15 ahead of schedule! These are incredible ruins, with a city wall, necropolis, baths, and a theater. The walk actually enters the ruins midway, so we bypassed the ticket booth entirely. They must think if you walk that far to see Olympos you should get in free!

Exploring the ruins of Olympos

To leave the ruins, we crossed the stream at the stones to the other side (there are several options to do this) and walked toward the beach and the ticket booth. We left the booth and turned right on the beach, walking just 15 minutes to reach Çıralı.

Arriving at the beach in Çıralı

Our boat captain Osman had recommended a pansiyon here, so we asked around to find it. It was about a 15-minute walk through town to get there (Çıralı is surprisingly long and windy with tons of pansiyons), and as we got close to the address we saw Sherry coming from the other direction. What great timing! She found the pansiyon and it was closed…actually, it was demolished. As we stood there wondering where to go, a man rode by on a bicycle and asked if we needed help. We asked about the pansiyon and he told us there was some kind of dispute with the government over land ownership and that’s why it was demolished.

He then offered to have us stay in his pansiyon next door, and when we heard the name we quickly agreed. Emin Pansiyon is where the Welsh couple on the trail told us they stayed. Funny to think out of the dozens of pansiyons we passed that we would end up there! Always on the lookout for camping spots, we realized we could also stay on the beach if we wanted. But it’s nice to have a door you can lock and leave your belongings if you want to do some sightseeing, and you can’t really do that with camping.

We decided to stay a couple of days so we could do laundry and explore the ruins and the eternal flames of the Chimaera nearby, and we got an excellent deal with room + breakfast and dinner and all the oranges and persimmons we could eat from the trees in the yard.

Tonight’s dinner courtesy of our chef Yilmaz was partially cooked over the open fireplace in the center of the dining room. It was a relaxing and fun night to eat good food, get to know our Turkish hosts, and plan the rest of our hike.

Tomorrow, we see the Chimaera!

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Emin Pansiyon, just across from the beach

Hours Walked

6:15 (not including time spent exploring the ruins of Olympos)

Perks

Gorgeous, cool walk, fantastic view from the summit, friendly interactions with other walkers, the magnificent ruins of Olympos, a great beach, a serendipitous find for our accommodation, and a great meal cooked in an open flame by a chef with flair.

Problems

A bit of trouble getting out of Adrasan on the trail, but like most of the time this has happened, we found someone to give us directions back to the trail pretty quickly. Our initial pansiyon choice in Çıralı fell through, but it barely took 60 seconds to find our next option. All in all, a pretty terrific day.