Uncovering mosaics at Arykanda

It’s time to admit it; we have a terrible weak spot for mosaic floors. And during our visit to Arykanda, we were happy to see they weren’t covered with a protective shield, as is the case in most places. In fact, despite the ongoing excavations since 1971, large parts of this stretched-out site, are still relatively untouched. This means you get to uncover mosaics yourself if you look carefully enough. We are quite confident plenty is still hidden under the grass field and those mountain slopes! Still, even with that knowledge in mind, it is fair to say that Arykanda (or Arycanda) is a spectacular place to visit.

Distinct Lines Of The Bath Complex

Distinct Lines Of The Bath Complex

The Bath Complex And Eastern Necropolis

The Bath Complex And Eastern Necropolis

What is Arykanda?

Arykanda’s name indicates this site has Anatolian roots because of the ‘-anda’ ending. (which makes us wonder about Cadianda or Kadyanda) Arykanda, which appropriately means the place next to the big rock, dates back to 2BC, making it one of the oldest Lycian sites. It was built on a mountain slope overlooking a beautiful valley. Visiting the site means you’ll have some steep paths to climb if you want to see all that Arykanda has to offer, as the ruins are spread over five terraces. It is worth the climb though, and with a little help from the map at the end of this post, it will be easy peasy to find your way around the site. Visiting Arykanda in November meant we had the place entirely to ourselves, one of the perks of Turkey off-season. That being said, we believe it is fair to assume that the site isn’t overrun by tourists during busier times of the year either, at least if the size of the car park is an indication.

Gymnasium And Eastern Necropolis

Gymnasium And Eastern Necropolis

Barrel Vaulted Building

Barrel Vaulted Building

Bath complex

Our tour of Arykanda starts with its most distinct building: the Bath complex situated on the lower terrace and one of the first buildings that strike the eye upon arrival. It is the largest one in Lycia, and still relatively intact. Its beautiful arches are an impressive sight, and the inside of the baths is undeniably fascinating.

Front Of The Bath Complex

Front Of The Bath Complex

The Stunning Bath Complex

The Stunning Bath Complex

Adjacent to the baths, you’ll find the Gymnasium which nowadays is not much more than a grass field hiding what must be an impressive mosaic floor and the remains of a massive entrance door.

Overview Of The Gymnasium

Overview Of The Gymnasium

Necropolis

There are two Necropolises in Arykanda. The western Necropolis features some typical Lycian rock tombs and can be seen along the main road from Finike to Elmalı before you drive up to the site. The eastern Necropolis just behind the bath complex is an extraordinary collection of monumental tombs. You’ll see temple tombs next to sarcophagi, but also majestic barrel-vaulted tombs. The scenery is mindblowing, especially because you’re overlooking the baths and Gymnasium below, as well as the valley underneath.

Detail Of A Monumental Tomb On The Eastern Necropolis

Detail Of A Monumental Tomb On The Eastern Necropolis

Gate In The Eastern Necropolis

Gate In The Eastern Necropolis

4th-century villa

The ruins of this impressive villa haven’t been excavated until recent years. The villa with eight rooms and two floors belonged to an aristocrat, according to the head of the Turkish archaeology team in charge of the excavations at Arykanda. The richly decorated villa with mosaic floors, pillars, and a pool has an impressive view.

Villa Floor And Pillars

Villa Floor And Pillars

State Agora

The State Agora must have been a buzzing place back in the days. Nowadays, it is a place of serenity with a gorgeous tree at the center. It is just above the Agora, on the path leading to the Odeon, that we suddenly noticed we were actually walking on a mosaic floor. While it was hardly noticeable at first, once you start paying attention to it, you realize the whole area must be a mosaic floor. Fascinating!

Serenity At The State Agora

Serenity At The State Agora

State Agora Seen From Inside The Odeon

State Agora Seen From Inside The Odeon

Odeon

You access the Odeon through one of the three portals just above the State Agora. It is said to have been a very stylish construction. Part of the seats underwent a sad attempt to restore them with travertine. Still, while the orchestra has gone, nature runs the show now, and a spectacular one, if you ask us!

The Odeon With The Partially Restored Seats

The Odeon With The Partially Restored Seats

Uncovering Mosaics!

Uncovering Mosaics!

Theatre

The Theatre lies just above the Odeon and is in an amazing state of preservation. The views from any of the 20 rows of seats are breathtaking. Interestingly, you can’t see the theatre from below.

Theatre With A View

Theatre With A View

The Sun Is Playing With A Gate At The Theatre

The Sun Is Playing With A Gate At The Theatre

Stadium

The Stadium is located above the Theatre, and like the Theatre can’t be seen from below. Like its smaller counterpart in Cadianda, it is a longish running track with seats on one side.

The Stadium Just Above The Theatre

The Stadium Just Above The Theatre

Commercial Agora

You reach the Commercial Agora from the Theatre or the Stadium. This part of the site was largely inaccessible at the time of our visit, as was the Bouleuterion further to the northwest.

Commercial Agora

Commercial Agora

Practical information for your visit and Arykanda map

You’ll find Arykanda along the Finike – Elmalı road. The site is easily accessible by car, though parking space is limited. Sources mention an entrance fee, but there was nobody at the booth during our visit in November. Should you want to visit Arykanda using public transport, check out your options here.

There are no other facilities at Arykanda, so make sure to bring along food and plenty of water. To easily find your way around the site, use the map below.

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Important!

  • Parking space is limited
  • No facilities: bring food and plenty of water

We feel this really is a hidden gem, and the reviews on TripAdvisor confirm it. More questions before you visit? Send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

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! 😉

Check out our interactive map of Turkey for more Turkey travel inspiration!

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

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 still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. 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! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

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! 😉

Important!

  • Parking space is limited
  • No facilities: bring food and plenty of water

We feel this really is a hidden gem, and the reviews on TripAdvisor confirm it. More questions before you visit? Send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

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! 😉

Check out our interactive map of Turkey for more Turkey travel inspiration!

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

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 still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. 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! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

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!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

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Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

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