The Ruins of Olympos
Ruined City of Olimpos
/ By Josh
Cost: 24 TL
Müze Kart accepted
Great for: Architecture, Greek, Roman, Nature, Ruins, Beaches
Set among the stunning forested hills of Kemer, Olympos is one of the most picturesque ruined cites in the Mediterranean region. The ruins are vast and seem to peek out from the forest that has been peeled back to reveal a remarkable coastal city set in the stunning Lycian landscape.
A small river bisects the city of Olympos and flows through a narrow gap between two medieval fortress-covered hills into the sea beyond. While these fortresses were built by the Genoese, Rhodeans, and Venetians, the city that lays behind them is far older, and was founded in the 4th century BC at the latest.
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There are numerous Hellenistic and Roman era buildings such as an overgrown theatre, bathhouses, temples, and of course many other lesser structures.
There are numerous sarcophagi scattered around the ruins, some of which are quite magnificent. The necropolis on the southern bank is massive and well worth a bit of climbing and exploring to see the narrow stone openings set into the rock covering a very large area.
Byzantine ruins, particularly a large church on the Northern bank near the Roman temple, can also be found scattered among the ruins of various ages. As the city reached its zenith in the 4th and 5th centuries AD it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ruins from this period.
While the ruins themselves are magnificent, it’s their setting that makes Olympos truly special. There are large sections of the site that are simply overgrown allowing you to step away from the reconstruction and into ruins where their form and purpose are still a mystery waiting to be discovered.
How To Get There
Public transit from Antalya will get you within a few kilometers of the site. If you get out at the Olimpos Dinlenme Tesisi you will be able to catch a taxi from there.
If you drive you can choose between Yazır, where the main museum entrance is, or Çıralı, where there are a number of overpriced restaurants on the beach.
Simply take the D400 South from Antalya for about 70 kms before turning off. Keep an eye out for the big brown sign that will point you to Olympos.
For more about car rental and driving in Turkey make sure to read our full drivers guide.
Where To Stay
Antalya is Turkey’s hotel capitol so there isn’t a shortage of options ranging from the massive all-inclusives to camping along the Lycian trail. The closest option, other than climbing into a sarcophagi, would be some of the small pansiyons in the town of Yazır.
If you’re planning on visiting after lots of heavy rain it may be a better option to visit from Yazır rather than Çıralı as there is a creek that can swell and cut off access.
If you’re in the area already make sure to visit the fires of Chimera! Known as Yanartaş in Turkish it’s a hillside where fire has been seeping out of the rock for millennia!
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.