The Carian Trail is the most recent achievement in long-distance walking trails in Turkey. Its 800 kilometers of professionally waymarked trail sections follow the Turkish Riviera along both the Aegean and Mediterranean seas and head inland into the rugged Carian hinterland. Named after the ancient Carian civilization that inhabited the area, the trail will allow you to discover a region rich in natural beauty and abundant in archeological points of interest. The trail accesses a lesser known and unspoiled region full of colour and tradition for young and old to enjoy. Follow stone paved caravan roads and mule paths connecting villages through lush forests, olive groves and almond plantations. Come and enjoy this fascinating area’s mix of fact and myth – playground of the gods!
Ancient Caria was a region of western Anatolia and modern southwestern Turkey extending along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and their hinterland. When the Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west, there was intermingling with the Carian population, an originally seafaring peoples, to form states with Hellenic influence. The Carians are also named by several sources to have been known as mercenaries as far away as Egypt. Today, the ancient region encompasses the Turkish provinces of Muğla, Aydın and Denizli. Caria is scattered with remains of cities large and small, sacred shrines and places of worship, even an extensive ceremonial gathering place at Labranda. Some ruins are amazingly well-preserved and often found in dramatic, mythical settings. The icon worshiped here was Zeus Labrandeus, an upright Zeus with a double-edged, golden axe over his right shoulder. The icon can be seen reflected in the logo of the Carian Trail.
The predictably good weather continues to be one of the main draws of this area in Turkey for most visitors. The Carian Trail is best hiked in the spring and autumn months. As early as March the hillsides are bathed in wild flowers, and day temperatures are already in their teens, with warmth growing steadily until it reaches a peak in the summer, cooling off again in September to welcome hikers back after the hot summer.
Culture Routes Society, Carian Trail site
Carian Trail Guidebook, by Yunus Özdemir, Altay Özcan, Dean Livesley
Freya Stark, Alexander's Path: From Caria to Cilicia (1958)