The 700-square-kilometer Olimpos Beydaglari Milli Parki (Olympos National Park) runs from the shore into the rough pine-clad highlands just west of the Gulf of Antalya. In the park’s southern side, the picturesque ruins of ancient Olympos and the spectacular perpetual flame of the Chimaera are both close to the tourist villages of Olympos and irali. This is a great area to relax and unwind after a day of sightseeing, and the long beach is a big draw for visitors. Let’s spotlight the best things to see in Olympos and the Chimera.
The eternal flame of the Chimaera (the Greek mythology’s fire-breathing monster) is a natural phenomena first recorded in AD 300 by the Byzantine Bishop Methodius. Since ancient times, natural gas has been leaking from eighteen or so pores and cracks in the rock. The flames are supposed to be seen far out to sea at night, despite being scarcely visible during the day. The gases have yet to be adequately studied, however methane is known to be there.
Olympos was once one of the Lycian League’s most illustrious cities. Olympos was well-known as a worship place dedicated to the fire god Hephaistos during the Roman period (with a grand temple built in his honour at the site of the Chimaera). Plutarch also mentions ritual feasts in honour of Mithras, the Persian god of light, taking place here. The city began to decay as a result of incessant pirate raids, which continued even after the Romans’ successful battle against them in 78 BC. These are the best things to see in Olympos and the Chimera.
As it travels south from Olympos to irali, the name of this lengthy stretch of beach changes. It’s backed by a swoop of cliff and the Olympos ruins at the Olympos end, although the sand here is fairly pebbly. The southern irali area is particularly lovely, with a row of outdoor restaurants and cafes running parallel to the shore. Both are relaxing spots to lay your beach towel, and neither is overly busy. Both have a different vibe, though, as do the towns that line the sand, with irali being the more laid-back and family-friendly alternative. Olympos beach is among the best things to see in Olympos and the Chimera.