Opened in 2004, the rugged St Paul Trail offers over 500km of trekking in the spectacularly beautiful Toros Mountains. Waymarked to international standards, with red and white flashes on rocks and trees, it allows relatively easy exploration of a remote, unspoiled area of Turkey. A detailed guidebook (which includes a map), written by Kate Clow, covers the trail.
The twin starting points of the route are the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos, on the Mediterranean coastal plain. It was from Perge that St Paul set out, in 46 AD, on his first proselytizing journey. His destination was the Roman colonial town of Antioch ad Pisidiam, where he first preached Christ’s message to non-Jews. En route from the Mediterranean to the Anatolian plateau, the trail crosses tumbling mountain rivers, climbs passes between limestone peaks that soar to almost 3000m, dips into deeply scored canyons, and weaves beneath shady pine and cedar forest. It even includes a boat ride across the glimmering expanse of Lake Eğirdir.
Hikers interested in archeology can discover remote, little-known Roman sites and walk along original sections of Roman road. The irrevocably active can raft the Köprülü River, scale 2635m Mount Davraz and 2799m Mount Barla (ascents of both appear in the trail guidebook; for more information check wtrekkinginturkey.com), or even tackle the mighty Dedegül (2992m).