The journey from Antalya on the south coast of Turkey to Izmir, the Aegean port on the west coast, provides the traveller with a thrilling insight into the many civilisations which have taken root in the eastern Mediterranean in the past 3,000 years, while following and intersecting with the meanderings of Alexander the Great and St Paul. The early Pisidian and Lycianstates of the first millenium BC have left their mark at the beautiful sites of Selge, Termessos and Xanthos in the stark limestone mountains, and at Olympos and Phaselis whose remains lie on, and at times in, the sea; further west are the great Greek cities of Miletus, mother city to many a colony and home to a disproportionate number of early philosophers, and Didyma, famous throughout the ancient world for the oracle of Apollo housed in its massive temple. The Roman culture which overlaid all for centuries finds its expression in the mighty theatre at Aspendos and on the broad streets of Ephesos. The landscape throughout is exhilarating: in the south are high mountains rising straight from the sea, criss-crossed by excellent long-distance paths, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, while to the west the coastal plain gives way to wooded, indented peninsulars suurounded by the waters of the Aegean.
Day 1 Fly to Antalya and stay in the old town above the port.
Day 2 Drive inland to the magnificent site of Selge with the option of some river-rafting on the way.
Look into the theatre of Aspendos on the way back. Stay in Antalya.
Day 3 In the morning visit the Archaeological Museum in Anyalya and the site of Perge, then head up to Termessos, perched vertiginously in the mountains, before ending up back on the coast for the night. Climb up to the flaming hillside at Chimaira after dark. Stay in cabins behind the beach at Cirali.
Day 4 Explore the seas-side sites of Olympos and Phaselis and enjoy the rest of the day on the beach. Stay in Cirali.
Day 5 Head west to Kekova and stay in the tiny coastal village of Simena.
Take a boat trip or kayak to the submerged tombs.
Day 6 Spend the day visiting the cities of ancient Lycia: Patara, which emerges from the dunes behind a spectacular beach, Xanthos, perched above the river of the same name, and Tlos, a lofty citadel near the thermal baths of Alexander the Great. Stay in Gey, a small village looking down over the Mediterranean.
Day7 Drive north. Take in the temple at Didyma, the vestiges of mighty Miletos and Priene, a Greek city built on a steep hillside above the cotton fields. Stay in the old hill-village of Sirince.
Day 8 Spend the morning in Ephesos before flying out from Izmir