Olympos: A time shift from Lycian League to Antalya

Olympos Beach, Mount Olympos on background
Olympos Beach, Mount Olympos on background

Olympos is a great destination for travelers who expect a holiday filled with Mediterranean’s blue sea, beautiful sun and all the history from ancient times.

Olympos differs from classical sea&sun holidays in many ways.The major difference is that Olympos is a protected site and for this reason you may not accommodate in proper five-star hotels, you will be staying in bungalows and camping zones in Olympos village.

Olympos Beach, Mount Olympos on background
Olympos Beach, Mount Olympos on background.

Olympos Valley is a little tourism town formed by pensions, camping zones and clubs, you don’t need much there. The visitors select Olympos to rest and cut their connections with modern cities and lifestyle. Everything in Olympos Valley is built with natural materials and with respect to nature itself.

There are two major attractions in Olympos, first the beautiful Olympos Beach, second its great history coming from Lycian League.

History of Olympos

Olympos founded in Hellenistic Period and its name comes from the mountains where Poseidon looks through the sea and saw Odysseus sailing to Calypso’s island. Olympos said to be a rich city with lots of artworks and it became one of the six powerful cities of the Lycian League. While leaving in wealth, Olympos’s main threat was the pirates, for this reason the city is built just inside the river valley behind the mountains where they can hide their cities and richness. Also having a river gave them an advantage to block the entrance of the valley.  In 1.st centry, Olympos was conquered by  Publius Servilius Isauricus a commander of Julius Caesar and after that the city was burned by pirates then take the name Hadranapolis for a period of time.

Eternal Flames of the Chimera

Olympos is not just a Hellenistic city, it was also subject of Mythological legends. The most popular one is that, The mythical Chimaera – or Chimera – was a monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent, who roamed these woods and sprouted fire from her mouth. Olympos’s chief deity was Hephaestus, the forgery God of Fire(by Helens) and God of Volcanos(by Romans) there are ruins of Hephaestus’ temple on Mount Chimaera where the legend happened.

Burning rocks of Chimera(Yanartaş)
Burning rocks of Chimera(Yanartaş)

The exile Bellerophon captures Pegasus the flying horse with the help of Goddess Athena and killed Chimera. It is said that Chimera was buried under seven layers of the ground but its breath still reaches to the surface. In Yanartaş(Chimera) you can see the burning rocks today. This is actually natural gas jets which reacts with fire while meeting with the oxygen in the air.

The Olympos Beach and attractions

The sea and beach are another attraction of Olympos. The beach is not a sandy one but the sea is great. There is a river with freshwater reaches the beach and you may enjoy freshwater there. Many bays around Olympos most of them are famous diving places like Adrasan Bay.

Olympos Beach
Olympos Beach

The Olympos City and its ruins are very interesting, you need 1-2 days for trekking through this ruins. Many temples, houses, water channels, baths huge Roman gates and roads.. All are hidden and waiting to be discovered by visitors.

Another hidden part of the ancient city, you may see water channels
Another hidden part of the ancient city, you may see water channels
Ancient tombs in Olympus
Ancient tombs in Olympus

You may also enjoy yachting and it is very close to Kekova(35 mins) which is famous yacht trip Kekova – Sunken  City and Simena. It’s a must do thing to getting in this yacht tour. You will see the most blue sea every, the bays, the Sunken City where you will see an open air museum and the city underwater, you will love to see the Lycian Bay from the top of Simena Island. Canyoning, rafting and trekking are other popular actions.

Also Olympos is very close to Demre, where Saint Nicholas a.k.a. Santa Claus lived. Demre’s ancient theatre and Saint Nicholas church are must see places of  Demre.

Çıralı, Adrasan and Tekirova are other touristic places nearby.

Nightlife in Olympos

Olympos formed to be an entertaining place, and you don’t need to go another place for nightlife. Mostly all pensions have their club like Kadir’s Öküz Bar(Bull Bar) and Orange. There are also cafees and bars like Kaktüs with fun music, rock bars and live performances in bars around like Eski Yeni.

Drinking outside is another great alternative in Olympos, the bufe’s sell beverages and its much cheaper to drink outside and watch the Milky way with a clear view as there is no light pollution blocking the sky’s light.

Mostly bars are open to 2-3 after midnight, disco and clubs are open till 4-5. In short, you will enjoy the nightlife and relax on the beach.

To Eat

Local pensions and cafes serve great and fresh food. Menu’s are rich, traditional food and western food are available. Also there are Gözleme(turkish pancake) houses and corn sellers for snack. The ice-cream in melon its original and you can collect fruit from Opuntia ficus-indica cactus which grows around mostly in Roman ruins but be careful not to touch them with naked hand.

Tree Houses and Bungalows of Olympos

Accommodation in Olympos is actually cheap. As said before you cannot find a five-star hotel or any concrete building. All accommodation is served by pensions which run by local entrepreneurs. There are two types of rooms; bungalows and tree houses.

Bungalows in Olympos
Bungalows in Olympos
Tree houses of Olympos (from Kadir's Tree Houses)
Tree houses of Olympos (from Kadir’s Tree Houses)

Some of the pensions are:

  • Bayrams Tree HousesOlympos +90 242 892-13-99Tree houses. 
  • Kadir’s Tree HousesOlympos +90 242 892-12-50 ([email protected]fax+90 242 892-11-10), [2]Synonymous with Olympos in the minds of many young travellers. Recommended for rock climbing (45 TL for 2 climbs). The price includes simple breakfast and vegetarian dinner. There is a popular disco featuring dancing around fire. It’s free for Kadir’s residents except weekend when it costs 10 TL. Dorms 20/25 TL low/high season; tree houses 25/35 TL low/high season; bungalows 45/60 TL low/high season
  • Orange PensionOlympos  Tel : 00 90 554 484 12 65 ~ 00 90 242 892 13 17
    Fax : 00 90 242 892 12 07 Email : [email protected] 
     Offers lodging, a restaurant, nightlife, activities, and a shop. Great food also offers discount on its night club. Great price&comfort. 
  • Turkmen Tree Houses07359 Olympos, Kumluca, Antalya +90 242 892-12-49[3]Also known as ‘Turkmen Pension Olympos’. Offers lodging, a restaurant, nightlife, activities, and a shop. Claims to be the only pansiyon with wastewater (sewage) treatment.  
  • Deep Green Bungalows (also known as Olympos Deep Green), Olympos +90 242 892-10-90 (), .Facilities: Deep Bar, hammocks, library. They can arrange boat tours, and trekking tours to Yanartaş/Burning Stones. The rates include breakfast and dinner. Dorms 25/35 TL low/high season; bungalows 35/50 TL low/high season per person
  • Zeus PensionOlympos, (). A family business, this place offering bungalows is run by Ferah and Ferruh brothers and their sister, Hatice. Ferah and Ferruh can arrange tours, trekking, and airport transfer, while Hatice is at the kitchen, preparing the meals.Bungalows 35/45 TL low/high season per person including breakfast and dinner.  
  • Route 66 PensionOlympos +902428921124 (), facilities: accomodation in bungalows, breakfast and dinner, bar, camp fire, cultural tours, boat tours, trekking tours, transportation service

Getting in/out to Olympos

Olympos has a 1 hour distance to Antalya. If you get to Antalya by plane, there ares buses to the Antalya Bus Terminal where Olympos Dolmuş(minibus) goes to Olimpos.

Also you may have different alternatives like Kumluca buses or Kaş buses and other buses go to Fethiye direction. You may get one of these and tell that you want to get to Olimpos, they will drop you on Olympos İntersection and you will get Olimpos dolmuş(approx 15 mins trip) to the village where your Tree Houses, Pensions or camping zone is.

Getting out is similar to, you may have dolmuş from the village and get to Antalya the trip takes about one hour.


See this on a bigger map: Olimpos & Çirali, Turkey

Summary

Last words, Olympos should be a very relaxing holiday for you. It’s a kind of regenerating place and you will leave all you stress and problems behind.

Olympos mostly prefered by tourist from all countries, however in recent years there is an increasing interest from tourists coming from far east Asia. Also Olympos is preferred by young tourists inland which gave a special soul and energy boost to Olympos. You wont forget Olympos nights.

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