Get a taste of incredible Istanbul and its bustling backstreets. Hike and Cycle the Valleys of Cappadocia and picnic amongst a forest of Fairy Chimneys. Visit Ephesus’s astounding Roman ruins, where the Greco-Roman world still feels very much alive. A kayak trip over a sunken city is the perfect way to experience the lush blue waters of the Mediterranean
Experience Turkey from a different perspective. Abandon well-worn routes to forge a path through unexplored terrain, deep into the historical heart of Turkey. Travel from the minarets of Istanbul city, visiting Turkey’s holiest sites, cycling through valleys for fairy chimneys, hiking the Lycian Way with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean; and kayaking over sunken cities. Take up the challenge and be amazed by all that this active travel adventure has to offer.
Breakfast Included: 10 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 1
Merhaba! Welcome to Istanbul. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1 pm. Check-in time at our joining-point hotel is after 2 pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, but if you arrive early, luggage storage is available. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival. Today you'll become acquainted with eclectic character of the city on an orientation walk.
After breakfast, jump on the local metro and head to the airport for your flight to Cappadocia. Flight schedules depending, we should arrive in the lunar-esque landscapes of the Cappadocia region by mid-afternoon. Begin exploring with a short walk, through either the phallic pillars of Love Valley or the pink-hued rocks of Red Valley. Enjoy a quiet night in the town of Goreme as we prepare for our bike ride in the morning.
With its towering chimneys and beehive-esque mountain caves, Cappadocia really does feel like a dreamscape. After breakfast, jump on your bike and begin exploring the area where volcanic rock was eroded by both wind and ancient humans. You’ll take a circular route around the valleys and towns, stopping at many points of interest to wonder (and snap photographs). Peddle through the bulging, twisted rock formations that give Devrent Valley a dreamlike feel. Then check out Urgup, a town built from the rock ago hundreds of years ago that is still operational. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the lesser-known Cappadocia town of Cavusin and enjoy a refreshment with the locals. Ascend the narrow path that leads to the 5th-century church of St John the Baptist. Here you can see patches of faded frescos, columns and arches in a hollowed out cave. All up, you’ll ride about 30 km over hilly and sometimes uneven terrain, reaching heights of about 550 metres. Cycling is a great way to cover more ground quickly, freeing up your afternoon for you to do as you please. You’ve definitely earned a rest, so maybe put your feet up on an Ottoman, tea in hand.
Cappadocia - Konya (Hiking)
One of the most iconic images associated with Cappadocia is that of colourful hot air balloons drifting high above the semi-arid rock formations and valleys below. If you can handle the early start, you have the option of rising high with the sun on one of these balloons, experiencing this truly stunning wonderland from above. If you would prefer to stay grounded, your leader will organise a short walk in the morning so you can stretch out your tired legs before a free afternoon. Maybe you’d like to see some of the earliest Christian churches in history at the Goreme Open Air Museum? Depart for Konya in the afternoon, a Central Anatolian Plains city that is as dense and urbane as Cappadocia is ancient and expansive. Konya has its own unique religious history as the home of the Mevlevi Order, a spiritual sect better known as the whirling dervishes. You can ponder the influence of this Islamic mysticism on the city around you at the Mevlana Museum, before grabbing a bite and jumping on the overnight train to Izmir.
Good morning and welcome to Izmir! From here you’ll take a one hour transfer to Selcuk. This town is steeped in Turkish traditions and packed with remnants of the past. First up are the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill, where you will find a castle fortress and 14th-century Isa Bey Mosque amoung other gems. The famed Temple of Artemis is also worth a look, though all that remains of this ancient wonder is a single pylon. In the afternoon it's time for what may well be the highlight of your trip – the ruins of Ephesus. There will be plenty of time to marvel at the beautifully preserved remains of this ancient metropolis, including the staggering stadium and delicately carved facades. Learn about its 1,500-year history in a guided tour. Then, return to Selcuk on foot and enjoy a balmy evening in the local square, and enjoy a very Turkish evening watching locals play cards and backgammon.
A port city with a stunning coast, an archaeological hotspot and the site of precipitous green cliffs – Fethiye has an abundance of natural and manmade beauty. You’ll arrive here after a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride and begin exploring with a hike along part of the historical Lycian Way trail. This two-hour, six-kilometre trek along the rugged coast will take you up a steep rocky path and through forest before you emerge with stunning views of the Mediterranean. Descend into Oludeniz and witness the stunning vista of the Blue Lagoon hemmed by an arching peninsula. This evening you may want to rest up and sort out your pack for tomorrow, as you prepare to tackle another section of the Lycian Way.
Take a short bus ride to Ovacik which marks the official start of the Lycian Way. Begin a 14-kilometre walk toward Faralya. As you pass through areas of pine forests, rocky terrain, and Mediterranean shrub on this day-long hike, you'll catch stunning vistas of clear blue water and Mount Babadağ looming above. Your route takes you through the villages of Kozağaç and Kirme, where you'll meet a few local farmers and maybe even stop for a cup of tea. Lunch is simple picnic en route. Arrive in Faralya late in the afternoon, and retire for the night at George and his son Hassan's house where you'll enjoy some fine Turkish hospitality.
Faralya - Kabak - Kas (Hiking)
Rise and shine for the three-hour hike from Faralya to Kabak, a rather strenuous uphill journey. You’ll be rewarded with the incredible views of lush forest against glittering blue waters. Descend and enjoy lunch at the bay below, and if you’d like, a dip in the clear water. Return to Fethiye and jump on a local bus to Kas. It’s a three-hour ride, so make sure you’ve got a book, a podcast or the desire to strike up a conversation with a local. Kas is a charming city, with cobblestone streets and whitewashed walls galore. You might want to rest your aching limbs at one of the waterfront restaurants, where the price of a drink will get you a deck chair, and umbrella and gorgeous views of the sea. Another early night in order. The local handicraft markets make for a great evening activity, and the small ancient theatre offers the best sunset, but don’t forget you’ll be up early tomorrow.
Today you will kayak over the sunken city near Kekova, where ruins jut from the crystal clear water. Off the coast of Ucagiz, lies the island of Kekova. On the northern side of the island, you’ll find the stone archways, worn down steps and crumbling walls of a an ancient Lycian settlement, rebuilt during the Byzantine era but has long been abandoned. It will be a 12 kilometre paddle, taking about two hours to complete. The sunken city isn’t the only sight in the area – explore myriad of coves and tiny islands. Then you will return to beautiful Kas, where you may wish to catch the local handicraft market.
You've earned a day to relax, and today you’ve got it! What better place to relax than sundrenched Kaz. You may want to head out on the water again, this time on a gullet (a traditional sailing vessel) and enjoy cruising around the calm waters. Or maybe hit one of the local beaches with a good book. If you’ve somehow still got energy to burn, the night life of Kaz is the perfect place to burn it. There are bars and restaurants aplenty for you to while away the evening.
Istanbul awaits after a morning of travel. Take a four-hour public bus ride to Antalya, then transfer to the airport for a one-hour flight to Istanbul. Settle into your hotel, then head out on a scenic walk across the Galata Bridge in the early evening. A dinner of local indulgent delights caps off your trip. Munch on a local fish sandwich, tuck into some famous baklava and sip some cay (Turkish tea) while reminiscing and saying goodbye to your fellow travellers.
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast today, and you can depart the accommodation at any time.