Zeytin – Dinektepe – Alakilise – Dereköy –Belören – Asarbelen – Kutluca – Demre valley. (6hrs 30 mins, medium) (11km).
This walk follows Roman roads used by pilgrims to descend from the churches to the city of Myra. The first half is on stony paths through woodland; the GavurYolu (Strangers’ road) is spectacular. From pretty Zeytin village, it visits Dinektepe and the impressive church ruins of Alakilise. It descends a narrow wooded valley to a shepherd camp at Dereköy and rises through giant oaks to Belören village. From hilltop ruins above the village, the ancient GavurYolu descends hairpins to the bottom of the Demre valley.
From the well at the pass before Zeytin, follow a path northeast then right / down into the valley below Zeytin. Cross the gorge below a small house and climb a path to join the dirt road as it approaches the pass to Alakilise. Just ahead is a path rising right / south for 300m to the overgrown ruins of Dinektepe. After visiting the church, continue across the pass and find a second right turn onto old road. Walk down to the ruins of Alakilise church in the wide valley below. (1hr 40mins)
From Alakilise church, descend south-east to the river-bed below and cross it to an old road on the east side. Turn right/south and continue descending along the bank – the path passes old buildings and tombs. It crosses the river-bed again to a clearing and continues on goatpath south-east to Dereköy, an open area with several shepherds’ tents, goat pens and a scattering of ruins. Cross the valley to the southwest and climb a path to a wide pass with large oak trees. (1hr 25mins)
Continue west/down on an old road through scrub and cross a stream-bed; the path turns sharp right then left. Continue northwest/down zigzags to cross a wider stream-bed under trees, turning left / southwest to a clearing. On the far side, the clear path zigzags steeply up through woodland, meeting another path at the top. Turn right / west towards Belören, following a level, clear walled path through scrub then along terraces. Pass a well and some cottages to meet the village road. Turn L for 100m to the junction with the asphalt road. (1hr 15mins)
Cross straight over onto a narrow, rising bulldozed track and follow it to a low pass where there are several tombs and a well. The hilltop ruins of Asarbelen are on the hill to the right, reached by the dirt road. To continue, turn left/south, passing below sarcophagi towards an open area. Continue southeast and find a steep path descending to the road below. (20mins)
Crossing over, look left for a telegraph post – here, the Lycian Way descends a short, steep slope to the GavurYolu. This wide, built-up, paved path descends to the valley bottom. To the right is a later road and, above that, the asphalt; left is a stream valley. Approaching Kutluca village, it zigzags, drops down a bank to join the wider track and follows this west down two bends. It narrows again, turns right and descends around an orchard and greenhouse to meet the asphalt in Kutluca. (1hr 10 mins)
Turn left and after 50m turn right, passing right of a greenhouse to find the continuation of the GavurYolu. Walk down some terraces and a scrubby slope then follow wide, zigzagging old road down to the valley bottom. Cross between greenhouses to the asphalt and turn left past a mosque. (40 mins) (Demre is 3km left along the river.)