Af Kule Monastery: spectacular views after walking a long distance footpath

It needs to be acknowledged; monks seemed to have a particular flair for finding locations with a spectacular view. Think about Yediler Monastery, near Lake Bafa, or also Af Kule Monastery, near Kayaköy and Fethiye. If you’re in the area, and you like a beautiful and short walk along a long-distance footpath (yes, you’ve read that correctly), then head up to Af Kule and take in the views. We’ll tell you a little more about the history of Af Kule Monastery in this post, and also how to get there.

We Promised A Spectacular View!

We Promised A Spectacular View!

Af Kule Monastery Hanging On To The Cliff

Af Kule Monastery Hanging On To The Cliff

The Work Of One Man

The Work Of One Man

History of Af Kule Monastery

Af Kule translates to Tower of forgiveness, Tower of mercy, or even Tower of the act of grace. Kule is the Turkish word for tower; the Turkish word ‘af’ translates to several terms, of which the previously mentioned translations seem to be the most generally accepted as a name for the monastery. Why? Because of the story of the monastery and the monk who decided to build it in the 11th century. When Ayios Eleftherios first saw this lovely and secluded location, he started building a monastery here, offering penance before God in doing so.

And while Af Kule may be small and built with modest tools, it is impressive, if only because of its spectacular setting perched against a steep cliff, and carved into the rocks. It was his life’s work, and he continued the building works up until his death, after which monks who had since joined him built another building just below it.

The Steps Up To The Hermitage

The Steps Up To The Hermitage

Great Picnic Spot, Right?

Great Picnic Spot, Right?

How to get to Af Kule?

The walk up to Af Kule Monastery is all part of the fun. The well-waymarked hike is a local walking route that is complementary to the long-distance footpath called Lycian Way. These local walks are marked with easily recognizable red and yellow markings. You’ll find the start of the walk at the end of a small forest dirt road departing from the Kayaköy to Gemiler road. There’s a brown road sign pointing to Af Kule where you need to enter the forest.

You can drive along the forest road until the start of the walk, where there’s ample space to park your car. After that, just follow the yellow and red signs, and these directions. From the parking space, take the forest path to the right. Keep following this path until you reach a junction where you need to keep right. Mind the stones that have been used to indicate which path to follow.

The Easy To Follow Yellow And Red Marks

The Easy To Follow Yellow And Red Marks

Keep climbing while enjoying the shade of the pine trees until you reach the next junction. Here, you need to go straight ahead. The monastery will be waiting for you below after you’ve passed the top of that hill. It’s still a bit hidden behind the trees, but if you look carefully, you’ll be able to see it. After that, work your way down the hill until you reach the entrance. Don’t forget to take in the views as you’re walking!

Don't Go Right, But Straight Ahead. You're Almost There!

Don’t Go Right, But Straight Ahead. You’re Almost There!

A First Glimpse Of Af Kule

A First Glimpse Of Af Kule

What to expect from Af Kule?

Apart from an enjoyable and beautiful walk, expect to find a peaceful place, especially on a weekday, and jaw-dropping scenery. Despite its remoteness, you might run into Turkish families who love to use this spot as a picnic place during weekends. Af Kule Monastery is spread over two floors, with an inner staircase, and a chapel next to it. A bit further to the south, the remains of a cistern are still visible.

Trust us when we say that climbing the rough steps up to the hermitage is worth it. The view is breathtaking, just as much as the climb up is. Whether you’re into ruins or not, as we stated in the title of this post, the views are spectacular. So, the vistas are your main reward after the walk; those alone are worth coming here.

On A Clear Day, One Can See Rhodes On The Other Side

On A Clear Day, One Can See Rhodes On The Other Side

Remains Of The Chapel Next To The Monastery

Remains Of The Chapel Next To The Monastery

Nature Is Slowly Taking Over

Nature Is Slowly Taking Over

Practical tips

Af Kule is a remote place. There are no facilities. Bear in mind to take enough water, especially during the hotter months, and some food. Make sure to wear decent hiking shoes. This is not a flipflop kind of expedition. We’ve been warned by a reader who lives in the area to be extremely careful if you’re doing this walk with dogs. It seems the shepherds in this area use poison indiscriminately, so be sure to keep your dogs on a leash at all times. Other than that, just enjoy it, and maybe take your camera along for a few snapshots.

✔️ Have you been to Af Kule? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the walk to your bucket list.
Looking Down From The Monasteries' Entrance

Looking Down From The Monasteries’ Entrance

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We’re all different people, so checking what others have to say about Af Kule on TripAdvisor is the smart thing to do! We’ do visit each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Remember what we said about Af Kule in our post:

  • This is a remote place without any facilities.
  • Bring enough water, especially during the hotter months, and some food.
  • Decent hiking shoes are a must! This is no flipflop country!

We’ve been warned by a reader who lives in the area to be extremely careful if you’re doing this walk with dogs. It seems the shepherds in this area use poison indiscriminately, so be sure to keep your dogs on a leash at all times. 

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

While you are here, take the time to explore more of the area. Check out Kalabantia, Kayaköy, Saint-Nicholas Island and Fethiye. Or use our interactive map of Turkey to venture further afield.

Would you rather prefer the presence of an experienced guide? Nihat Tokdil is your man! He lives in the area and he is a member of the Culture Routes Society in Turkey, where he assists in maintaining the footpaths along the Lycian Way in this area. You can find him on his Facebook page.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

You will find a great selection of places to stay in Kayaköy on Booking.com. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Skyscanner is easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey or Dalaman, which is the nearest airport.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We’re all different people, so checking what others have to say about Af Kule on TripAdvisor is the smart thing to do! We’ do visit each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Remember what we said about Af Kule in our post:

  • This is a remote place without any facilities.
  • Bring enough water, especially during the hotter months, and some food.
  • Decent hiking shoes are a must! This is no flipflop country!

We’ve been warned by a reader who lives in the area to be extremely careful if you’re doing this walk with dogs. It seems the shepherds in this area use poison indiscriminately, so be sure to keep your dogs on a leash at all times. 

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

While you are here, take the time to explore more of the area. Check out Kalabantia, Kayaköy, Saint-Nicholas Island and Fethiye. Or use our interactive map of Turkey to venture further afield.

Would you rather prefer the presence of an experienced guide? Nihat Tokdil is your man! He lives in the area and he is a member of the Culture Routes Society in Turkey, where he assists in maintaining the footpaths along the Lycian Way in this area. You can find him on his Facebook page.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

You will find a great selection of places to stay in Kayaköy on Booking.com. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Skyscanner is easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey or Dalaman, which is the nearest airport.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

LISTS & REVIEWS

Bookmark your favorite places, find other destinations nearby, get directions from your location, and read or leave reviews.

Our Turkey Trip Planner wad designed to do just that. You'll find all our favorite spots in one place, including scenic road stops.

Map of Turkey

Do you like to see things on a map? On our interactive tourist map of Turkey, you'll spot nearby points of interest right away. We've done the heavy lifting for you. Just click on the icons to go to each post.

Enjoy our practical and inspirational map of Turkey!

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Af Kule Monastery: spectacular views after walking a long distance footpath