If you are arriving on Day 1 you will be met at the airport in Istanbul and transferred to the group hotel for overnight accommodation. Please check at hotel reception for details of when to meet your guide. Remainder of day at leisure.
Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was the hub of the Ottoman Empire, and many of the grand buildings of this period are present today. You could easily spend a week in this city and still not have seen all the sites. Today we will explore the old Sultanahmet Area. We will visit the Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome square (obelisks), the Basilica Cistern, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. In the late afternoon or early evening we will drive to the airport and fly to Kayseri. From Kayseri, we will drive to our group hotel in Cappadocia.
We will start our walking today in the serene Meskendir Valley. We follow a path honeycombed with cave houses and complexes from ancient Christian civilisations before crossing to the Red Valley. This is the most beautiful and scenic valley in Cappadocia and is known for its fascinating formations and colours. There are many interesting structures including the Church of the Three Crosses which was carved out of the cliff face during the 7th century. Its decorative reliefs and frescs were added later, in the 10th and 11th centuries. The existence of these ancient reliefs in the present day is remarkable. From the Red Valley we continue our walk to Cavusin, one of the earliest Christian villages in Cappadocia. After lunch we enjoy walking along the Pasabaglari terrace with its amazing rock-formed fairy chimneys.
We begin our day walk at the trail head of the scenic Akvadi (White Valley). Take in the beauty and serenity of the region, as we follow an ancient river bed winding through rustic vineyards. By noon we aim to arrive in the small village of Uchisar where a superb panoramic view of the region can be seen from "The Fortress". We spend the afternoon exploring the Pigeon Valley which leads to Goreme and is home to a myriad of fascinating stone carvings.
Today we visit the renowned Goreme Open Air Museum, where we discover how the early Christian people living in the heart of Cappadocia carved houses, churches and monasteries into the soft rocks. These ancient sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art. The frescs on display in the museum represent a unique collection from this period. Our walk then leads us through the gentle Zemi Valley which features the El Nazar Church, containing more impressive frescs from the 10th century.
Enroute to Ihlara we will visit the incredible underground city of Derinkuyu, which lies beneath the plains of Central Anatolia. "Swiss Cheese" is how many people describe the intricate structure of the underground city, honeycombed with holes and passages up to 8 stories deep and used as a refuge during times of siege. From here we continue to Ihlara Valley by car where we then walk into this enchanting valley and marvel at still more magnificent rock cut rooms and churches. An afternoon visit to the Selime Monastery set into a steep mountain face is a must. Tonight we will stay in Ihlara.
On today's drive to Antalya (500km, approx 8 - 9 hrs) we will explore the city of Konya en route which is home to some of Turkey's most elegant mosques. In particular, we visit the Mevlana Museum which is the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi who was a Sufi Mystic. This site also served as the dervish lodge of the Mevlevi order, better known as the 'whirling dervishes'. The members of the Mevlevi order had a prolific impact throughout the Ottoman Empire in classical ptry, calligraphy, visual arts and music.
From Konya we continue to the picturesque city of Antalya bordered by the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The city of Antalya became part of the Roman Empire in 133 BC growing and prospering during that period. The city now reflects a colourful blend of architecture and artwork from a number of influences, both old and new. We stay near the beautiful harbour in the old part of the city.
After breakfast there is a short transfer to the village of Ulupinar, where we will start walking on a section of the Lycian Way. We follow the trail south to the Flames of Chimaira, or "yanartas" (flaming rock), a place with some two dozen in-ground vents located on the hillside. The vents emit methane, thought to be of metamorphic origin. In ancient times sailors could navigate by the flames. From here there is a gradual descent to the beach at Cirali. There is opportunity for those who wish to visit the ruins of Olympos, which extend right to the southern end of the beach. We transfer from Cirali to our hotel in Adrasan for overnight.
A simply superb day of coastal walking, again on a section of the Lycian Way, we begin today from our hotel. Climbing steadily to a pass at 470m, we then drop down closer to the water's edge, the route twisting and turning along the cliff edge amongst limestone crags and pine trees. We will be rewarded with stunning views of hidden coves and deserted islands. This is a beautiful walk contouring the hills of the Gelidonia peninsula, eventually climbing to a rocky crest overlooking the Cape Gelidonia and its two lighthouses. We will then descend through the pine forest to our waiting vehicle and transfer back to our hotel in Adrasan.
After breakfast we will drive to Kekova, with a visit to the ancient city of Myra enroute. Very little has been recorded about the origins of this site and the ruins of the Lycian and Roman town are mostly covered by alluvial silts. The Acropolis on the Demre-plateau, the Roman theatre and the Roman baths have been partly excavated. The semi-circular theatre was destroyed in an earthquake but rebuilt afterwards. The Kekova area is renowned for its striking coastal scenery and well preserved archaeological sites. A pleasant excursion by boat is the best way to see the ruins on the northern coast of Kekova island, where some of the old houses were completely submerged due to earthquakes many hundreds of years ago. We will cruise around the island, where you can usually see ruins 2m below on the seabed. We will walk up to the Simena Castle for lovely panoramic views and to find numerous rock tombs before taking a stroll on Tersane Island. After the cruise we drive to our hotel in Kas for overnight.
This morning we will drive to the western section of the Lycian Way. We commence walking in Esen village and follow a pathway up to the hills, where local farming families inhabit isolated houses. Their main sources of income are tending goats or working the arable fields. We visit the remains of the ancient city of Pinara, with its extraordinary array of rupestral tombs and structures. In the afternoon we visit the Saklikent Canyon (Hidden City), which is the second largest canyon in Europe at 300 m deep and 18 km long; the result of thousands of years of erosion by flowing waters. As the level of the water rises during the winter months, the canyon is only accessible in summer. We will transfer to our overnight hotel in Fethiye.
A short transfer will take us to the trailhead near Ovacik village. We will commence our walk from the southern foot of Babadag Mountain (1969m) then follow the coast, enjoying sweeping views over the deep blue bay of the Oludeniz Lagoon. Our walk takes us through small traditional villages and local fields to finish in Kirme village, where we will be picked up by our transport and transferred back to Fethiye.
We will commence our walk today near the village of Faralya and again explore the meandering trails of the Lycian Way. After a small climb, we will be treated to a magnificent view over the Butterfly Valley. We follow the coastline to Yuva Beach enjoying spectacular vistas along the way. Here we will stop for lunch and a well deserved swim. Transfer back to Fethiye for overnight.
Oludeniz is one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean. It is famous for its shades of turquoise and aquamarine and is rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travellers and travel publications. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of the lagoon, which is a national nature reserve. Today is for relaxing after our days of walking and we will spend the day at leisure swimming or taking time out to read and enjoy the seaside atmosphere. In the late afternoon we transfer back to our hotel in Fethiye.
This morning you will be transferred to the Dalaman airport where the trip concludes.