LYCIAN TOMBS - LYCIAN COAST - TURKEY

May 28

After a day relaxing in Marmaris it was time to  visit the ancient Lycian Tombs.

We drove east through flat farmland, the distance rugged blue mountains looming in the background, looking snow capped where the treeline ended and the stark barren rock prevailed. Numerous plastic covered greenhouses growing hot house tomatoes, lined the highway.

Traditional sightings of donkey driven carts laden with sugar cane and horse drawn wagons attested to the fact that rural life in Turkey hasn't changed a lot over the centuries.


We had barely arrived in the town of Dalyan when a fellow on a motor bike waved us over and insisted that we make a detour and follow him to get the "best price" on a tour to see the tombs.

We played along and came to the river where a large number of river boats were moored ready to take their loads of tourists to see the various venues around Dalyan.

After we were told the price, which was more than we were willing to pay, we decided to have lunch and then shop around. We headed to the bustling resort center of the small town in search of our "daily durum."

We found the main dock, where there were more sightseeing boats but we discovered that a ferry ran every hour that would take us right past the tombs on the way to Turtle Beach for a fraction of the cost of going on a tour.

Boat Trip

We boarded the boat and got as comfy as we could on the narrow wooden benches for our hour trip  down the narrow river.

Through the high reed beds fringing the murky water, we could see pastoral scenes- farms, livestock and fishing boats.

Lycian Tombs

Soon we came to the area of the Lycian Tombs, funerary monuments carved into the soft limestone rock high above the riverbank.

The rock cut tombs were visually striking, the facades of ancient burial grounds dating from the 4th century BC.

Associated with some form of ancestor worship, Bas reliefs and engraved drawings, mythological scenes, funerary feasts, battles and animal motifs decorate the elaborate funeral chambers.


The tombs were carved like the facade of timber Lycian houses with protruding beams resembling the frontage of houses, probably copies of domestic architecture intended for houses for the dead.

Our boat continued onward through a twisting maze of reedy tributaries, finally reaching the mouth of the Dalyan River. The boat docked and we disembarked onto a boardwalk that took us to a long picturesque sandy stretch of beach surrounded by mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach is a prime nesting ground for the endangered and protected Loggerhead Turtle. It is closed at night but during the day is packed with lawnchairs sun bathers

The boys found a beer and we relaxed in the sun for about an hour, then headed back to continue our drive towards Fethiye.



We continued our drive along the coastline and reached the town of Fethiye, a very old town but rebuilt in 1958 when an earthquake levelled the original town.

We drove through narrow streets barely wide enough for the car to fit, up steep laneways to a vantage point high above the town. It is there that we found the Tombs carved into the cliffside.


Fethiye stands on the ruined city of Telmessos and the elaborate rock-cut Lycian Tombs still overlook the modern day town.

Tomb of Amyntas

This temple tomb at Fethiye is the largest and most famous. It was possible to climb up to the entrance of the tomb but there was a cost involved and it was a really hot day!

After a little searching around, we found a room in a terrific resort called Almeda, with gardens, a pool and restaurant, a few miles from Fethiye in the mountains. The nearby resort town was obviously built entirely for the Brit tourists (English Town) with GREAT B prices, but we got the best deal on a room, 20 Euros for the 3 of us including breakfast!

We spent the evening in town and had dinner at a restaurant with a very friendly waiter that chatted with us for several hours

May 29

After our great breakfast we were on the road again. A tortoise beside the parking lot was a source of entertainment before we drove away.



Just over the hill from Fethiye is the ghost town of 2000 stone houses. Abandoned now, it was once a thriving Greek town. Today cows and goats meander through the roofless hillside buildings.

Kayakoy overlooks a large fertile valley. The city has been designated as a World Heritage Site and its ruins will be preserved as a historic settlement. Tour busses regularly stop much to the dismay of the grumpy camels, saddled and ready to pack visitors through the village.