Climbing in Olimpos, Turkey
Turkey’s Mediterranean coast offers two main climbing areas, Olimpos and Geyikbayiri (which we covered previously). Geyikbayiri provides a great climbers-only destination near a picturesque Turkish village providing more extensive climbing. Olimpos, on the other hand, is in a well-developed tourist area right next to the beach and surrounded by historical and cultural sites. Like our time in Geyikbayiri, we got rained out in Olimpos and only were able to climb one day. From what we saw the climbing in Olimpos is still good, but there is only enough to warrant a few days.
How to Get There
From Antalya’s bus station you can hop on a mini bus to Olimpos about 80 km away. The trip takes about an hour and a half and costs 10 TL. The bus will drop you off on the highway turnoff to Olimpos. From here you catch another bus (3 TL) that will take you the final 10 km into town. At the bus stop there is a nice little restaurant where you can get a cup of tea or a snack or just wait inside on their comfortable couches.
For info on car rental and getting to Antalya from Kalymnos see the Geyikbayiri post.
It is also good to know that after a few days of heavy rain the road to the highway from Olimpos can be flooded. We found this out the hard way when we went to leave and the bus wasn’t running. An adventurous and expensive cab ride up the mountainside on mostly dirt roads brought us to the highway instead.
There are several budget options in Olimpos, the most notorious of which is Kadir’s Tree Houses. In the winter the place was such a great deal that we stayed there for several nights while it rained like crazy, playing backgammon and huddling next to the woodstove. The rate for a double room is 25 TL per person but with minimal negotiation we only paid 20 TL. The room rate includes breakfast and dinner which makes it very easy to stay on budget.
Kadir’s is a little bit of a backpacker’s Disneyland. I imagine that in the high season it would be packed with drunk 20-year-olds and the techno music would be bouncing every night. In the winter, however, it is has a nice family atmosphere with only a few guests. In fact their activities office is closed for the winter. While they normally offer rock climbing, deep water soloing, kayaking, etc. none of that was available in December.
There are a lot of other options in town and I think that in the high season we probably would have stayed somewhere else. All of the places to stay in Olimpos are easy walking distance to the crag.
Climbing and Partners
Again we only got one half day of climbing in between rain storms, but from what we could tell the climbing and protection was generally of good quality. The routes at Olimpos are less overhanging than Geyikbayiri and there are a few great looking technical lines. The whole area is just as gorgeous as Geyikbayiri with the added benefit of a pretty beach with a few bouldering problems right over the sand. There is also deep water soloing accessible by boat.
When we were in Olimpos it was a ghost town, but I imagine that at times other than a rainy week in December one might be able to find partners at Kadir’s. If you are looking for a partner I would recommend landing in Geyikbayiri where it is easy to meet people and then heading to Olimpos for a few days with a group.
Rest Day Activities
The off day activities in Olimpos can’t be beat. Even in the winter when swimming, kayaking, taking a boat cruise or other summer activities were out of the question, we were quite entertained by the Roman ruins littering the town and the nearby Chimera.
The Chimera is a little bit of a walk from Kadir’s but well worth it. This is the stuff that myths are made of. Some sort of gas seeps directly from the rock and ignites when it touches the air. The result is an entire hillside with flames coming straight out of the rock. We were unable to see any of the flames actually reignite on their own, but we had a little fun blowing them out and reigniting them ourselves.