Turkey Coast & Cave Adventure Trek

Hike the Turquoise Coast and explore the caves of Cappadocia
Overview

overview

Indulge your senses while exploring diverse areas of Turkey on foot, exploring the historic yet cosmopolitan city of Istanbul; walking among cliffside villages, lush valleys, and seaside coves of the Western Mediterranean coast; rafting on swift rivers; paragliding above turquoise waters; and marveling at historic ruins of ancient cities, both on land and under the sea.  Visit Fethiye, historic Kayakoy, lush Butterfly Valley, Alinca, Patara, Kalkan, and other coastal villages.  Walk in dramatic Saklikent Gorge, the ancient town of Tlos, and the sunken city of Kalekoy, also known as Simena.  Gaze at the majestic ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus and visit the central Turkish area of Cappadocia to see its fairy chimneys, rock churches, and frescoes,  impressive Derinkuyu Underground City, and the many small hill-cave villages of this ancient and fascinating region.

This trip is best undertaken in March, April, October and November.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Istanbul
    Enjoy Istanbul, a fascinating and cosmopolitan city straddling two continents

    Merhaba, and welcome to Turkey! Arrive in Istanbul, where you will be met at the airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel for the night.

    If you arrive early enough in the day and have the energy, you might want to do a bit of independent exploring.  Istanbul, for many centuries the capital of the civilized world, is still an impressive, fascinating, cultural, and vibrant city where East meets West in many delightful ways.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Amiral Palace or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Istanbul / Bosphorus
    Cruise the Bosphorus

    After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel.  Your journey begins here in Istanbul, the only city in the world that spans two continents.  Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul -- its three names cover more than 2,600 years, nearly 1,600 of them as the capital of two of the greatest empires the world has known, the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Visit the 550-year-old Topkapi Palace, the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, the 400-year-old Blue Mosque, and the 2,000-year-old Hippodrome, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place. Visit the Grand Bazaar for its sights, scents, sounds, and amazing shopping in an extensive warren of small shops.

    Later, take a traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia, the Bosphorus. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, marble palaces, ruined fortresses, and small fishing villages. Pass the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace and, further along, the parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of the palace's gardens is beautiful Ciragan Palace, with about 1,000 feet of its marble facade facing the shore.

    At Ortakoy, another village along the way, a great variety of artists gathers every Sunday to display their work along the street. Ortakoy has an interesting ethnic history in which church, mosque, and synagogue have coexisted peacefully in its narrow streets for centuries.

    From the boat, you'll also see Rumeli Fortress, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to control and protect the Bosphorus prior to the conquest of Istanbul.  Completed in only four months, it is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world. After the boat ride, return to your Istanbul hotel, where the remainder of the day and evening are yours at leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Amiral Palace or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Istanbul / Dalaman / Fethiye / Ovacik
    Explore the turquiose lagoon at Oludeniz beach

    Transfer to Istanbul Airport, then fly to Dalaman, where your representative will meet and transfer you to your small hotel in Ovacik to check in. After a picnic break, transfer to the beautiful town of Oludeniz on a sheltered seaside lagoon.  Trek from here to Kayakoy, an abandoned village of some 2,000 houses, cottages, and churches emptied of its Greek population in 1923, when inhabitants were relocated under agreement by the Greek and Turkish governments after World War I. After exploring Kayakoy, transfer back to your hotel, where the remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours at leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Monte Verde Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Ovacik / Faralya / Butterfly Valley
    Hike in lush Butterfly Valley

    Today after breakfast, your guide will take you to the starting point of your trek to Faralya, along the heavenly coast above Oludeniz, where the views from the mountain slopes (up to 6,500 feet or so) are fantastic.

    While out on today's trek, you have the option of visiting Butterfly Valley (1,000 feet down in the valley), a unique and extraordinary destination, where countless natural wonders are hidden. Butterfly Valley, home to the unique Jersey Tiger butterfly, attracts and amazes travelers, artists, and nature lovers from all over the world with its unusual geography, fauna, flora, natural treasures, and organic farming.  At the end of the day, return to your hotel to relax for the evening.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Monte Verde Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Faralya / Kabak / Alinca
    Admire Oludeniz from high above while paragliding

    Today, you might want to try paragliding (with a highly-qualified tandem pilot) or, if not, you can return to Butterfly Valley, descending down dry waterfalls to get there and swimming at Butterfly Valley beach, before climbing back up to Faralya (a four-hour walk).

    In the afternoon, trek about from Faralya to Kabak along a lovely wooded path.  Later, trek into the forested Kabak valley, splash in the waterfalls, and climb up a beautiful old mule trail to Alinca, with spectacular views over the seven coves at Yedi Burun.  We'll have dinner and stay overnight at a local pension in Alinca village.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Alinca Pension or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Alinca / Gey / Bel / Patara
    Marvel at Patara's long-lost ruins

    Following breakfast, you have the option of a trek from Alinca village down to a secret ocean beach cove, where you can explore and swim in crystal-clear waters. Return to the main trail and walk along cliff tops to Gey village.

    After a picnic lunch break, trek a tiny goat path around a spectacular bay to Bel, then on to Belcegiz and a descent on a steep rocky Roman road to Gavuragili.  Here, you'll meet your vehicle and drive to Patara, famous for its temple and oracle of Apollo ruins and its splendid long beach where giant loggerhead sea turtles come ashore in the summer to lay their eggs.  Your dinner and lodging tonight is in Kalkan, a delightful, small village on the coast just a few miles outside Patara.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Villa Kuluhana or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: White Water Rafting
    Admire Fethiye on your way to Dalaman River white water rafting

    A day of pure white water excitement on the Dalaman River awaits the adventurer in you!  After a short drive from Kalkan to Fethiye, head inland about 90 minutes to the river, where you'll meet professional river guides for lunch and a three-hour run through remote and spectacular canyons and down exhilarating rapids. Afterward, return to your hotel in Kalkan, where the remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours at leisure.

    Note:  Although no previous rafting experience is required, guests must be able to swim, may not be pregnant, and should be free of asthma, back, and heart problems.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Villa Kuluhana or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Tlos / Yakapark / Saklikent Gorge
    Explore the rock-cut tombs of Tlos

    Today's excursion offers the perfect combination of history and nature.  After breakfast, take a magical trip to the Lycian civilization of ages ago, Tlos, an ancient hillside settlement that includes an amphitheater and rock tombs.

    Tlos is one of the oldest and most important cities in ancient Lycia, with interesting mythology and a mystical history.  It sits dramatically on a high promontory on a rocky outcrop with spectacular cliffs, is dominated by its fortress-topped acropolis, and is known as the city where the mythological hero, Bellerophon, and his winged flying horse, Pegasus, lived.  Tlos is the oldest city of the Lycian region, dating back to before 2000 B.C. The graveyard on the natural rocks of the city acropolis is filled with elaborate tombs, including one dedicated to Bellerophon.

    After visiting Tlos, drive to Yakapark trout farm for a delicious lunch of grilled trout, mezes, and salads in a leafy open air park with waterfalls and lovely mountain views.  After lunch, embark on a short canyon hike through spectacular Saklikent Gorge.  The gorge, some 11 miles long, is so steep and narrow that the sun doesn't penetrate to the bottom; thus, the water is icy cold, even in the summer.

    At the end of the day, return to your hotel in Kalkan for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Villa Kuluhana or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Kekova / Sunken City of Simena
    Puzzle over the sunken ruins of Simena

    After breakfast, take a short drive to Kekova through Kas and the famous Kaputas gorge and beach.  Relax on a four-hour private boat trip to the sunken city of Simena.  The city is a charming mix of ancient, medieval, and modern history, making it interesting as well as beautiful.  Enjoy a swim in the city's world famous bay, picnic afterward in Simena, and then boat back to shore and return to your hotel in Kalkan for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Villa Kuluhana or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Ephesus / Kusadasi
    Thrill at the sight of the great Library of Celsus at Ephesus

    Early in the morning, set off on your drive to Ephesus, where you will spend several hours exploring one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  One of the most splendid cities of its time, Ephesus had a commanding location at the mouth of the Cayster River, making it the foremost commercial city of the region.  As the river gradually changed course and the harbor silted up, Ephesus eventually lost its importance and was abandoned.  The best-preserved classical city on the eastern Mediterranean and among the best places in the world to get a feel for what what life was like in Roman times, Ephesus has been under excavation for more than 100 years.  You'll explore around, learn about, and marvel at the stunning ruins, including the Temple of Hadrian, Library of Celsus, the Sacred Way, the Great Theater, and more.

    After visiting Ephesus,  stop at nearby Meryemana, by legend -- and later confirmed by Pope Paul VI -- the house of the Virgin Mary near the end of her life.  The house and its small shrine are visited by religious pilgrims, and the views of Ephesus and the surrounding countryside along the way are wonderful.

    After a full day of exploring, you will be driven to your hotel in Kusadasi, where the evening is yours to explore.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Grand Onder Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Izmir / Cappadocia and Goreme Valley
    Marvel at Cappadocia's unusual rock formations

    Transfer to the airport for an early flight to Kayseri in the heart of the Cappadocia region between the Black Sea and the Taurus Mountains, where you'll be taken on a short one-hour drive from the airport to your hotel to check in and have a picnic lunch break. Afterward, travel to the Gomeda Valley, where there is an atmospheric ruined 11th century Greek town, lovely walks, and spectacular views.  Spend much of the day walking the paths, climbing stairways, and passing through tunnels to reach monastery churches and their wonderful, primitive frescoes.  Between church visits, admire the landscape -- the soft rock textures, the fairy-like cave dwellings, and the spare vegetation growing from mineral-rich soil.  After a tea break in Ortahisar, head to your hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Akdag / Cavusin / Pasabagi
    Explore Pasabag and its nearby hermitages

    After breakfast, drive to the Akdag area, where you'll trek around Akdag village and down the valley to Cavusin, a fine old village and the starting point for scenic hiking in the volcanic valleys and vineyards of the area. After a picnic break,  trek onward to Pasabag, where you'll explore great examples of hermitages hollowed out from the volcanic rocks.  At the end of the day, return to your hotel, where the evening is yours at leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Uchisar Castle / Goreme
    Investigate frescoes and paintings in ancient churches

    After breakfast, visit Derinkuyu, a large underground city dating back to about 1,000-800 B.C. and later used by Christians fleeing Roman persecution. The vast underground community contains stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, and even a missionary school and winery.   Afterward, transfer to Uchisar and trek to Uchisar Castle, the highest point in the region and the most prominent land formation.  In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Byzantine army used the elevation of the rock formations as natural fortresses.  Today, erosion reveals a honeycombed structure of tunnels and cavities rising above the village facade.

    After a picnic lunch, trek to the nearby Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984 which contains fine 10th to 13th century churches, chapels, and monestaries cut into fairy chimneys, beautiful frescoes, and unique examples of rock-hewn architecture.

    At the end of the day, return to your hotel for your last night in Cappadocia.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Gamirasu Cave Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Istanbul / Onward
    Enjoy a last look of the ancient and the modern in Istanbul

    Transfer to Cappadocia Airport for your flight to Istanbul and onward, with fond memories of Turkey trekking to cherish for years to come.

    Meals
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,595
- $4,495
based on double occupancy, 2-3 Travelers: $6,495 4-5 Travelers: $4,495 6-9 Travelers: $3,995 10+ Travelers: $3,595
Single Supplement:
$550
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
14 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
comfortable & delightful hotels
Group Size:
4-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
3
comfortable & delightful hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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