Hidden behind a small enchanted forest: Pınara!

It’s strange how one of the six principal cities from Lycia can be almost invisible while in plain sight. Still, that is the case with Pınara. Perched high up on a mountain, you won’t easily spot the city from a distance. And despite its size, the entrance is hidden behind the most enchanting little forest, making it all the more magical to explore this beautiful Lycian site. Words that come to mind when visiting Pınara are untouched, undiscovered, mystical, and tranquil. Another off the beaten path destination often overlooked by people when visiting nearby Xanthos.

Granted, this isn’t an easily accessible site to visit. The road up the mountain is bumpy and even muddy during the wet season. And once you have reached your destination, several areas of Pınara require hiking some more difficult terrain. In short, this isn’t a place for people with mobility issues, unless you’re happy with a peek at the mindblowing necropolis rock and a relatively easy and flat walk to the theater.

Pınara View From The Theater Area

Pınara View From The Theater Area

Looking down over Xanthos Valley

After driving up the twisting road to Pınara, the discrete signs opposite the parking lot are the only indication that something might be worth seeing. A narrow path – almost a goat track – takes you to the cities’ necropolis entrance, hidden behind a forest that could easily compete with an Alice in Wonderland set.

More Rock Tombs Just Around The Corner

More Rock Tombs Just Around The Corner

There's A Whole Scene Depicted On The Side Walls

There’s A Whole Scene Depicted On The Side Walls

What follows is a sequence of magnificent views, profound impressions, and continuous surprises as you work your way up the mountain. Pınara combines breathtaking panoramas over Xanthos valley with the remains of temples, a theater, and hundreds of tombs. The setting is stunning, with wildflowers, aged olive and fig trees, and pines filling the air with their fragrance.

What A Hike!

What A Hike!

Beautiful Hike, Anyone?

Beautiful Hike, Anyone?

Discovering Pınara: a cultural hike!

Visiting Pınara is the perfect combination of a pleasant walk (some might call it a mildly challenging hike) and immersion into ancient times. It makes it a satisfying and digestible experience, even if you are on the verge of an ‘old stones’ overload after visiting too many sites in Turkey. As most tourists overlook Pınara, you’ll have a fair chance of having the entire city to yourself. Its whole atmosphere is humbling and leaves you completely relaxed by the end of your visit.

Pınara's Tomb Collection In A Nutshell

Pınara’s Tomb Collection In A Nutshell

It Pays Off To Look Around!

It Pays Off To Look Around!

Pınara is an unexcavated site that requires more imagination, more crawling over bits and pieces of ruins, but adds to the magic with a genuine sense of tranquility. Walking around the city, you’ll notice that there isn’t much information to guide you, apart from the odd sign at the entrance and another one along the main path between the theater and the acropolis.

Quite The Enchanted Forest!

Quite The Enchanted Forest!

Exploring The Skene At The Theater

Exploring The Skene At The Theater

The information board at the entrance claims that when Xanthos was getting overpopulated, a group of elders founded a new city atop Mount Cragus, now Akdağ, and called it Pınara. Pınara means ’round’, and it only takes one look at the upper acropolis to see where they got their inspiration from.

The Upper Acropolis And Its Rock Tombs Seen From Afar

The Upper Acropolis And Its Rock Tombs Seen From Afar

As one of the 6 major Lycian League cities, Pınara weighted three votes. Today, most of this once substantial city lies in ruins, and the most remarkable landmarks are, without a doubt, the hundreds of tombs that were carved into the dominating upper acropolis. Below that, you’ll find what remains of an agora, an odeon, a temple, and a bath building, all dating back to the Roman Period.

You Gotta Love Pınara!

You Gotta Love Pınara!

More Spectacular Rock Tombs At The Other Side Of The Valley

More Spectacular Rock Tombs At The Other Side Of The Valley

Pınara also features some spectacular ‘house-type’ rock tombs, which are typically mimicking the Lycian architecture. You’ll spot some on the rocky walls surrounding the valley and also a few remarkable specimens following the signs right at the entrance. The level of detail and preservation of some of the decorations is magnificent.

Spend Some More Time To Take In The Details

Spend Some More Time To Take In The Details

This Is Storytelling!

This Is Storytelling!

Pınara’s theater is extremely well-preserved. Located opposite the acropolis, it offers striking views of the entire city. A perfect spot for a well-deserved break!

Admit It, What A View!

Admit It, What A View!

Theater Seen From The Lower Acropolis

Theater Seen From The Lower Acropolis

Practical information for your Pınara visit

Pınara deserves at least half a day of your time. It is a site well worth visiting when you are in the FethiyeKaş area. It may be less known, but this should be all the more reason to give it the credit it deserves. Pınara is easily reached from the D400 road between Fethiye and Kalkan.

If you have some more time to spare, why not take the scenic route to Sidyma as well? Or, if you’re driving from Fethiye, skip the main road entirely and enjoy a lovely drive in a stunning setting taking the Esenköy route. Use a GPS, as the site isn’t signposted until you’ve almost reached your destination.

Click to see places to stay near Pınara on a map

Bull Headed Rock Tomb

Bull Headed Rock Tomb

✔️ Have you been to Pınara? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the site to your bucket list.

Pınara is not gated, and entrance is free of charge. Therefore you have access at all times, despite the ‘official’ opening hours. We wouldn’t recommend visiting after dark for security reasons. There are toilets at the entrance.

Admiring Some Rock Tombs From Afar

Admiring Some Rock Tombs From Afar

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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!

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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.

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Hidden behind a small enchanted forest: Pınara!