Olympos was, in my opinion, the ultimate place-to-chillax-and-catch-up-on-the-blog that we’ve seen. There are two qualifications to be made here however.
1) It was low season. And low season in Turkey means low season. There’s next to no one there. To give you an idea, our hostel alone had somewhere over 300 beds, but the whole time we were there, less than a dozen of them were occupied on any one night. That’s even more impressive when you consider that our hostel was the only one of about 20 hostels that was still open. During the summer, this would not be a chillax place, it would be a wild crowded party town. I’m sure of it.
2) Even though it ranks supreme on our list of places to catch up on the blog, I actually did very little work on the blog. Instead I wasted away my time learning a new software program called blender that is used for 3D rendering. It was kind of fun, but a huge time sink. Now (a month and a half later) I’m still writing about Turkey, and kind of wish I hadn’t wasted all that time.
Why It Was So Awesome
I don’t normally name drop, but the hostel we stayed at was a big part of what made Olympos what it was for us. So I’ll tell you. We stayed at Bayrams Tree Hostel. Now the treehouses were not what you are thinking. They are just simple buildings without foundations. Not really anything to do with trees at all. But they had perks!
- All you can eat oranges. They are just growing all around you. Pick what you can eat, and few more for the beach.
- Free Tea and Coffee. All day long.
- Comfortable tables with access to wi-fi and electricity.
- Wood space heater, to keep you cozy
- Buffet Style breakfast and supper. Both of which are delicious, and suitable for both vegetarians (like us) and meat eaters too.
It all adds up to a workstation that you never have to leave. You don’t have to shop for groceries, you don’t need to cook, you don’t need to do anything but drink your free coffee, eat two meals a day, and work in the cozy warm silence.
Although we did spend our fair share of time just chilling and working playing on the computer, we didn’t spend all of our time inside. There are three main attractions within walking distance.
Olympos was a prominent Lycian city. Around 100 BC it was invaded and occupied by Cilician Pirates until 78 AD where it was captured by Rome. Today it’s pretty much in ruins. Still remaining are several burial tombs, some stone sarcophagi, a theatre, and a lot of stone walls.
There is an entry fee to get into the ruins, but it’s fairly minimal. You can buy a 10 pack of entries for 7.50 Lira ($4 CAD). The posted price is 5 lira for a single entry (which is also required to access the beach), so make sure you buy the unadvertised 10 pack.
On your first walk through the site can seem small. Especially if you are just following the path towards the beach. But, there is a lot more there. Walk a little ways into the wooded areas (along paths) on either side to get a feel for how big the site truly is. A lot of it has been cleared, and many buildings are undergoing active digging and preservation. When we were there, the biggest area of cleared and restored buildings was roped off to the public from the main path, but following a side path, we ended up walking through it anyways. None of the workers seemed to mind much.
To get to the beach, you need to walk through the ruins and pay the minimal entry fee.
Clear waters, sandy beach, impressive towering cliffs crested with castle ruins, and a view of Mount Olympos (one of only 20 mountains to go by that name in Classic World). Do I need to say much more?
The Eternal Flames (Chimaera):
The Chimaera Flames are the birthplace of the legends of the Chimaera. The flames are naturally occurring and have been burning for at least thousands of years. If the name is accurate, I suspect they will continue to burn for eternity.
You can get there by following the Lycian Way, or the road. Taking the road took us an hour and a half to get to the entrance. After paying the fee of 4 lira ($2 CAD) each we were free to walk up the hill following the not-so-groomed path to the ruins and lower flames.
Don’t expect huge, knock-your-socks-off flames, because you’ll be disappointed. Do think about their history and how long they’ve been there and you’ll be impressed. We thought they were pretty damn cool. You can even roast marshmallows on them if you want (you’ll have to plan ahead and bring some, but they have some cheap German-style marshmallow-like things for sale in most of the convenience stores around the hostels).
We carried on the path up a little higher and found the upper flames. We didn’t finish there though, we carried on climbing until we had summitted a couple of nearby peaks to check out the views.