Under an hour’s drive north of Fethiye, the ruined mountain-top city of Kadyanda dates back at least 2500 years, but has only seen tourists since the mid-1990s. It’s accessible on a broad, well-marked road from a roundabout on the bypass highway, northeast of Fethiye, and the initial, paved 16km to ÜZÜMLÜ (served by frequent public transport) are quickly covered. This attractive village has made little of its proximity to the ruins, other than a basic restaurant opposite the mosque and a low-key trade in its fine dastar cloth. At the crossroads here, turn left at the usual black-on-yellow sign, then proceed 3.5km more on a narrow paved road to just beyond the summit of a pass with a view of Akdağ. Now bear right, following another “Kadyanda” sign, to negotiate over 5km of improved dirt track to a small car park in the pines below the site. The old direct path from Üzümlü (90min up, 1hr down), short-cutting all but the last 2km of the road, is waymarked in red and white.
At the site, an arrow points you towards a self-guided tour along a loop path. First bear south, past numerous vaulted tombs of the necropolis, then keep close to bits of the city wall on the left, followed by a climb to a false summit with a long, partly preserved agora, and views of Fethiye. At the true top of things awaits the site’s highlight: a long, narrow stadium, with seven rows of seats surviving. Steps in the seats lead up to a huge jumble of masonry, all that’s left of a temple to an unknown deity. On the opposite side of the stadium stand substantial Roman baths, with their polygonal masonry and entry archway. At the northeast edge of the stadium, a flat expanse is pierced by the mouth of a deep cistern that supplied the city with water – one of many, so beware holes in the ground.
Finally the path angles south to the best-preserved stretch of city wall, punctuated by windows and affording fine views of distant ridges and forested valleys in between. Crossing the top of a square bastion, you look down into the theatre, which retains its rear-facing and stage wall, plus many of its seats – though like most of Kadyanda it’s only partly excavated. The descent to the road completes a leisurely 45-minute walk through superb mountain scenery – good reason enough for a visit.