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Bike & Hike Turkey

The land of Empires

Explore The Aegean Coast from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Duration

14 Days

From

USD TBC

Ride Rating

Moderate

Group Size

6 - 14

Trip Description

  • Türkiye is a land steeped in History and blessed with natural wonders.  With influences from the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean this fascinating region truly is the centre of the world.
     

  • This 14 day/ 13 night exploration takes in some of the best highlights. Starting in Istanbul (IST), formerly Constantinople, and before that Byzantium.
     

  • Our ride begins on the Aegean Coast, close to the ancient city of Ephesus, exploring by bike and 2 hikes on sections of the Carian Trail and Lycian Way, travelling south along the coast, visiting many sites along the way.
     

  • Our final leg of this bike & hike journey takes place in Cappadocia, one of the world's most incredible landscapes, formed by a unique combination of geological features shaped by ancient wisdom.

Ride Overview

Average Daily Distance: xxx mil/ xxx km​

Average Daily Climb: xxx ft / xxx m​

  • This ride is rated moderate.  In total, the ride covers approximately 220 mi / 350 km, and climbs +6,400m/ +21,000ft, over 6 riding days and 6 hiking days.

  • The terrain for the first section of the ride is mostly on asphalt, and the section in Cappadocia is a mix of asphalt and gravel roads.
     

  • Throughout the ride we will have vehicle support and riding guides on hand, so distances are very achievable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. 
     

  • This ride requires 2 internal flights, which must be booked directly. WeAdventure can help with the required details for flight options and timings to arrange these. The ride begins in Istanbul (IST), and ends in Cappadocia (NAV), with plenty of inbound/ outbound international or domestic options available.

Itinerary

Day 1:  – Welcome to Istanbul

Once the Ancient Greek city of Byzantium, renamed Constantinople when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved his capital to the Bosporus strait. Our crew will meet us at the airport today and transfer us to our first hotel. This evening, we will meet for a welcome happy hour and introductions in the lobby at 6pm.  Afterwards, we can enjoy some free time relaxing and explore the historical Sultanahmet area surrounding our hotel. Dinner tonight is at leisure, but we will have plenty of options within a short walk.

Ride: -

Meals: -, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Tria Hotel Istanbul

Day 2: Istanbul Highlights

Istanbul is the only city to straddle Europe and the Middle East.  Today we take a guided full day walking tour of this historied and fascinating city, including the must see sites  

such as The Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, The Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern and Topkapi Palace. Over dinner tonight we will hear about our adventure to come.

Walk: 4-5hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Tria Hotel Istanbul

Day 3: Bosphorus Exploration

Today we will explore  further afield and some interesting areas that are less well known to  tourists. The Galata Tower, Taksim, Istiklal Avenue and Kadikoy.  Later we take to the Bosphorus by boat, to explore the riverside industries and sights. In the evening, we head to the airport and take a short 1 hour flight to Izmir, where we meet our support drivers and transfer for 1 hour to the beautiful rural village of Sirince, just inland from the ruins of Ephesus.  

Walk: 2-3hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, -

Accommodation: Kirkinca Houses Boutique Hotel, Sirince

Day 4: Sirince - Ephesus - Dilek National Park

Today offers a relatively challenging start to our ride, allowing for around 2 hours exploring the ruins at  Ephesus, we should have a good amount of the day in the saddle! From Sirince we take a new road through vineyards and forested countryside, enjoying great views en route to Selcuk, to visit the wonderful ruins at Ephesus, perhaps Turkey’s number one must-see site! Along the way to Camlik, we experience an authentic Turkish tea shop. Our route winds through fruit orchards and vineyards over rolling hills to Kirazli with a final climb to the small village of Yayla Koy for lunch. From here we descend to the coast via Sogucak village to enjoy a wonderful traffic-free cycle lane right on the seafront to the Dilek Peninsula National Park riding to the end of the peninsula road (Karasu Beach). We may have time for a quick swim before the 1.5 hour drive to Lake Bafa and our overnight lodgings.  

Ride: 68km/ 42miles, +950m climb/ +3,120ft

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, -

Day 5: Latmos Mountains to Milas & Bodrum

Today we explore inland. After meandering the lake for 8km we descend to Selimiye before a big climb into the Latmos Mountains (for those who prefer, a shuttle up the climb is available). From the peak we continue through pristine mountain scenery amongst a landscape of huge granite boulders, mature pine trees and small villages where time has stood still. There are no shops, restaurants or hotels here so we eat a picnic lunch outside a local tea room in Goldere village before tackling today’s second big climb to the hilltop village of Narhisar, (from where the views are breathtaking!) From Ikiztas we enjoy a sweeping 10km downhill, past Comakdag to the town of Milas. Arriving at the town, we take a short transfer past inland salt-flats inhabited by Flamingoes to nearby Bodrum. Tonight we stay in a fantastic little boutique hotel right on the water’s edge. 

Ride: 62km / 39miles, +1350m  / +4,400ft

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Zena Hotel, Bodrum

Day 6: Yukari Mazikoy - Oren - Akyaka  

A short drive today, takes us high on the rugged Bodrum rural hinterland, set amongst rolling, pastoral hills and Mediterranean garrigue. We begin riding with a descent to the coast on a deserted asphalt road that runs right along the seafront at Cokertme, the perfect place for a morning tea. We trace the coast eastwards to Oren, to enjoy a restaurant lunch in the shade of palm trees on the beach. Here we will taste the wonderful food of the Aegean region - fresh salads, mezze and seafood. Exploring Oren, we climb to an elevated position called Alatepe village where the panorama is breathtaking.  We then descend again to the coast at Akbuk, a protected area with some camping and one or two small markets supplying a handful of yachts with essential  supplies. The shingle beach and jetty make a perfect diving board for a cooling dip! The last section of the ride today is pure magic, it is often called ‘the best cycling road in Turkey!’

Ride: 83km / 52miles, +1500m / 4,900ft.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, -

Day 7: Koycegiz  - Dalyan - Iztuzu Beach

After a 1 hour transfer today, we take an easy pedal along backroads to the lakeside town of  Koycegiz and enjoy a morning tea at the lakeside. We then embark on a fantastic tour around Koycegiz Lake. Riding through Sultaniye and Candir before stopping to explore the ancient city and the massive Lycian rock tombs at Kaunos. Arriving at the riverside, we take a taxi boat across the water to Dalyan, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon, we ride the 26km round trip to and from Iztuzu Beach, one of Turkey’s wildest and most beautiful protected sandy beaches, home to nesting Caretta Caretta (Loggerhead) turtles in the summer season. 

Ride: 64km / 40miles, +1400m climb / +4,600ft.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, -, -

Day 8: Lycian Way Hike Pt 1: Kayaköy-Ölüdeniz

Pack today for a hike and maybe a swim.  We transfer (2hrs) from Dalyan to Kayaköy to the start of our walk. Once a thriving Greek village, Kayaköy has over one thousand houses, two churches, fourteen chapels, and two schools. It was completely deserted in 1923 when the Christian inhabitants fled to Greece following the Turkish War of Independence. We cross a  green headland to reach the famous white beaches of Ölüdeniz lagoon, where we can take a dip in the cool waters before heading to our next hotel.  We will stay here for 2 nights, so unpack and get that laundry done! 

Hike: 9km / 5.5miles, 3hrs

Meals: Breakfast, -, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Misafir Evi, Kayaköy

Day 9: Lycian Way Hike Pt 2: (optional) Ancient Olympos & Chimerea

Today’s Hike is optional.  After breakfast for those who decide to join, we will explore the ruins of ancient Olympos (approx. 6km along the beach). Otherwise and after that, there is free time until dinner. Take a swim and lie on  the beach or other activities are available (eg. sea kayak). After dinner we can take a short night walk to admire the eternal burning flames of Chimaera (natural gas coming from the the earth in Yanartaş)

Hike: 6-8km /3.5-5miles,  2-3hrs

Meals: Breakfast, -, Dinner, -

Accommodation: Misafir Evi, Kayaköy

Day 10: Lycian Way Hike Pt 3: Ancient Termessos – Fly to Cappadocia

Today we explore on foot the ruins of Termessos at the summit of Güllük mountain just outside of Antalya. Termessos is a unique site with its settlement on the steep slopes of the mountain offering wide views across the Antalya Plain. The ancient city was never occupied by its attackers; even Alexander the Great could not seize it! The site of the necropolis is one of the key sites we will explore in the ancient city.  In the afternoon, we transfer to the airport and take a short flight to Cappadocia. 

We overnight in Goreme, a lively and youthful place, in touch with its roots as a backpacker hub and offering a wide range of cafes, bars and restaurants. It’s also right at the  centre of an indescribable moonscape of needle splined ridges, steep sided canyons and “fairy chimneys”- stacks of rock carved into age old cave houses, churches, and beautifully decorated pigeon lofts.

Hike: 6kms/ 3.5miles, 3hrs 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, -

Accommodation: Old Greek House

Day 11: Göreme Gravel and the Rose Valley

This circular ride from Goreme circumnavigates the table top mountain known locally as Boz Dagi.  Our route begins in the beguiling backstreets of the old village, past rustic caves and rock carved settlements turned into boutique hotels and charming shops. We explore the scenic Gorkundere valley, and the towering “fairy chimneys”. The route here is a circuit, leaving us free to explore as much or as little as we liker - or on foot to explore inside the caves. From there, we head out across the dusty plains to Cavusin, enjoying views of the Rose and Red Valleys. In Cavusin we visit the 5th century Church of St  John the Baptist, then take a flat, sandy track via the “fairy chimneys” of Pasabagi to the barren landscape of Devrent Valley. Returning to asphalt we climb up and descend the valley wall to the vibrant town of Urgup- where we take lunch in the town square. From Urgup we take a gently climbing dirt road up a shady valley awash with butterflies and wildflowers. Arriving at the  Panoramic Viewpoint above Red Valley we will be rewarded with breathtaking landscape views. We descend into the Rose and Kiliclar valleys, the final section of the tour. Even novice gravel riders will enjoy the smooth undulating trail as we wend back to Goreme via the stone stacks, rock-cut pigeon lofts and age-old churches of Swords Valley.

Ride: 33 km / 20miles,  +500m / 1,650ft

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Old Greek House

Day 12: Ihlara Valley & Underground City

***Today we will offer an optional balloon ride across the swords valley*** 

Today is one of wonderful panoramas, through some of Cappadocia’s most awesome and memorable terrain. Towering “fairy chimneys”, giant rock stacks and deeply eroded rock corridors give the landscape a distinctly lunar feel. This is balanced by green, lush valleys brimming with fruit trees, vines and poplars. From Mustafapasa we follow a scenic trail across the Gomeda valley, stopping to explore rock cut cave churches. We easily arrive in the fortified hillside village of Ortahisar for lunch. 

 

Retracing our steps, we turn off to follow  the Balkonderesi valley to Ibrahimpasa, where we take tea in a traditional teahouse there. We then begin a big climb on a beautiful  dirt track that takes us up towards Ibrahimpasa village and unspoiled place with local charm. We admire the views on Karlitepe high above the Goreme valley. Following a farm track downhill to Uchisar an unmissable setting with its imposing rock hewn hill fort. From here we follow an easy dirt road skirting the canyon edge of Love Valley, surrounded by views of the fascinating geology. From the bottom of Love Valley, we take a sandy dirt road back to Goreme. 

Ride: 35km /  22miles,  +700m / 2,300ft

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, -

Day 13: Ihlara Valley & Underground City

After breakfast, we drive 1.5hrs to Ihlara town centre. Stopping along the way to visit  

Aşıklı Höyük to experience ancient life in the region.  The hike through the Ihlara Valley is one of the most popular day treks in the area.  It is generally an easy walk, following the river. After 7 km/ 3 hours, we drive to Güzelyurt. This town is renowned for its quiet nostalgic atmosphere. We then continue in the vehicles to Güzelyurt - with its old name Gelveri- surrounded by interesting natural formations and green valleys dotted with Orthodox churches. One of them, in use as a mosque today, is the earliest masonry-built church of Central Anatolia. After being guests to a Turkish family’s restaurant for lunch we will explore the old city on foot then drive back to Göreme. Our final dinner together tonight is in a popular local restaurant in town. 

Hike: 7km/ 4.5miles, 3hrs + Transfers

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, -, -

Day 14: The Love Valley & Göreme OpenAir Museum

This morning we take in the White Valley, passing through farmsteads, lush vegetation, and strange rock formations. Here we can find the most beautiful fairy chimneys hence the name, Love valley.  We will stop for a break and try some fresh local orange juice. Then we visit the  incredible Göreme Open Air museum.  After Lunch transfers are available to the airport, or to an onwards hotel.

Hike: 4km/ 2.5miles 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, -,-

Accommodation: -

Bikes & Equipment

Bring Your Own

The ideal machine for this ride is a Hybrid Bike with at least 32mm tyres, capable of carrying 2 water bottles.  A lightweight Hardtail MTB or Gravel Bike fitted with 32mm tyres would also be acceptable. If bringing your own bike, please make sure that you bring sufficient parts to maintain the bike in good order throughout the ride.

Trekking Equipment 

Trekkers should have good quality hard soled trekking boots/shoes, light rain gear, swimwear, sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen and a 30-40 litre daysack. Walking sticks are recommended. 

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Inclusions

What's Included
  • Arrival and departure drop off.

  • 13 nights accommodation with 13 breakfasts

  • Lunches (day 1, 8, 14 excluded)

  • Dinners (day 1, 8, 11, 14 excluded)

  • 5 Happy Hours

  • Snacks and drinks while riding

  • Guiding and support services, boat transfers

  • Entry fees when mentioned

What's Not Included
  • National and international airfares

  • Bike rental

  • Single room supplement *

  • Guide team gratuities

  • Travel insurance

* Single rooms are available on request at a surcharge of TBC USD per room.

See our FAQ for more information about our cancellation policy and answers to common questions.

Essential Info

Visa and Entry Conditions

At the time of writing, Turkey has reinstated visa on arrival policy.  US and Canadian citizens can either apply online at http://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/, or can apply for a visa on arrival at the airport, in both cases the fee is around 20-30USD.  As usual, all nationalities require a valid passport, valid for at least 6 months from date of entry.

Health and Vaccines

Prior to the covid19 outbreak, no additional vaccinations were required to visit Turkey.  Post covid, it is always possible that a vaccination certificate or at least negative covid test requirement could be reinstated, but at the time of writing there is no such requirement.  When travelling to Turkey you should consider making sure that Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; Tetanus shots are up to date. Rabies could be considered as a very high level of caution, however it is extremely unlikely.

Weather

While temperatures remain hot throughout Turkey in September, they tend to be less intense than in August, especially as the month progresses. Expect temperatures of around 75°F (24°C) in Istanbul and Cappadocia, and higher along the coast, at around 86°F (30°C)

 

For riding, light layers to start rides in the morning, and peel off in the warmth of the day with sun protective sleeves is the best strategy. Carry a light windproof or showerproof jacket.  Support vehicles are always on hand to carry day bags which can be accessed easily.

Money and Expenses

The best currency to take to Turkey is the local currency, the Turkish lira. US dollars and Euros are also highly exchangeable at local banks and currency exchange offices.  It's a good idea to have some cash on you for incidentals.  ATMs, which are commonplace in Turkey, are the easiest ways to get local currency. Almost all ATMs will accept foreign cards.  Having some US dollars or Euros in cash will enable you to change some money, incase of card issues. Euro notes are accepted for payment in many places also.