Taurus and Cappadocia trekking.

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Cappadocia and Taurus Trek

Sample Trip Information

Trek in Turkey

The Ala Dag constitutes the highest and most compact group of peaks in the Eastern Taurus mountains. Although small in area, less than 750 square kilometres, it packs in a great variety of scenery and terrain in a complex system of mountains and valleys. The bare limestone crags, often moulded into savage outlines typical of this rock, are softened by the forests to the south and east, and lakes in the centre. The Ala Dag supports a very rich flora and fauna, attracting numerous botanists and ornithologists every year. The July departure is the best from the point of view of flora - fruit lovers should come later!

Ancient Cappadocia, situated just an hour's drive away from the Taurus, offers some of the most fascinating day-walks to be enjoyed anywhere in the world. The famous troglodyte (underground) villages and the amazing scenery are best enjoyed on foot. The lunar landscape of Cappadocia is formed from tufa, a compacted volcanic ash which erodes easily and is very suitable for carving caves. Since the earliest times men have burrowed into this rock, making underground houses, churches and even large cities. There are dramatic cave houses at Zelve and Uchisar, and a complete underground monastery at Göreme. The insides of the caves are decorated with religious frescoes in the Greek Orthodox style, almost a complete record of Christian art over almost 1,000 years. One of the oldest and largest settlements in Cappadocia is Derinkuyu, a complete underground city, with tunnels said to extend for 14 kms.

15 day itinerary Grade C 

Day 1: Istanbul
On arrival at the airport we have a city tour including a visit to the famous Blue Mosque. In the evening we take the ferry across Bosphorus then the night sleeper train to Konya. Dinner and breakfast included on the train.

Day 2: Konya – Ilhara – Mustafapasha (Sinasos)
After an early breakfast on the train we arrive in Konya and drive to the Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia, about 2 -3 hours. We will walk up trails from Belisirma where we have lunch in a restaurant beside the Melendiz river to Ilhara following the canyon beside the river visiting several ancient churches, (4 to 5 hours walking). Drive 1 hour to the atmospheric Greek House in Mustafapasha for dinner and night.

Day 3: Mustafapasha - Kizilçukur (Red valley)
We now continue our trek into the spectacular Pancarlik valley. The interesting sweeping curves on the sides of the valley are peculiar to the region. We stop at Ortahisar village for lunch in a typical restaurant not far from the outstanding carved fortress rock. Our walk in the afternoon takes us through the Kizilçukur valley with its magnificently sculptured, red-tuff rock formations. We will see churches dating back to the early Christian period. Overnight at our pension on Goreme. (6 hours walking).

Day 4: White Valley - Pidgeon valley
We trek through the Akvadi (White valley) eroded so perfectly by time, rain and wind during centuries. Lunch-break in a restaurant in Uçhisar village and visit of the densely settled citadel. A great panoramic view of the surrealist area is available from the top. Walking in the pigeon valley, we descend to Göreme village, where the fairy chimneys go hand in hand with houses. Back to our hotel. (5 hours walking).

Day 5: Zelve - Alvanos
Walk to Zelve passing through the ancient rock carved town of Chavushin 3 hours. Visit the open air museum of Zelve (entrance fee included). Drive a few minutes to Avanos for lunch and free time to visit Avanos and its world-famous potteries. Return to Goreme.

Day 6: Cappadocia – Taurus Mountains
This morning we leave the surrealistic Cappadocian area and drive to Taurus range. En route visit of the fascinating underground city of Derinkuyu. (8 floors on 57m under the ground). On arrival in Pınarbası village, the trailhead, we have a lunch-break in a guesthouse and we begin our Trans-Taurus trek with 3 hours hike to Pınar valley. Camp.

Day 7: Çömce Göl
We continue our trek through the Ala Dag mountains by walking up the Maden gorge, possibly seeing nomads at the yayla or mountain pasture where we stop for lunch by a river. After lunch we climb up to our camp at Karagöl lake (2750m, 4-5 hours trekking) where the hardy can enjoy a well-earned swim. Fritillaries and grape hyacinths abound here in July. The energetic may like to continue up past the lake towards Sigirasan pass, for superb views of Dipsizgol and the north face of Demirkazik peak. Camp.

Day 8: Çömce Göl - Yedi Göller
We have a beautiful walk to Yildiz Golu (lake) and then head south to our campsite at Yedi Göller, or the seven lakes, so called because of the many lakes forming here in the early summer from melt water flowing down from the surrounding mountains. Direktas at 3,510m. towers above the campsite and to our right we see the massive ridge of Kizilkaya at 3,725 m. Our camp is at approximately 3,000m. On July departures there will be some snow on the mountains and near the lakes. Camp.

Day 9: Yedi Göller - Mt. Embler 3723 m.
The ascent of Mount Embler, (or Mt. Engin Tepe) is a non-technical 2-3 hours walk from the camp via the East Face. The summit offers a magnificent view towards the southern face of Mount Demirkazik (the highest summit in the range), the Bolkar range, Mt. Hasan and Mt. Erciyes. Return to the Yedi Göller campsite. There is time to relax in the afternoon.

Day 10: Yedi Göller - Tülü
A 1 hour climb takes us from the lakes to the Celikbuyran pass at 3,450 m. Descending to our campsite at Tülü, 1,900 m. we pass some bizarre sandy-coloured rock formations on the way. Its beautiful grassy setting provides a dramatic contrast to the barren, high mountain setting of Yedi Göller.

Day 11: Tülü - Emli valley ( 1900m).
İn the morning we gradually ascend up to the high pastures of Eznevit Yayla (2450m). Depending on the time of year, we may encounter the semi nomads of this area grazing their flocks. After lunch we gradually descend to the Sıyırmalık valley and then through a fragant pine forest reach our camp near the Emli valley at 1900m. (5 – 6 hours walking).

Day 12: Emli ( 1900m) - Alaca Plateau (2400m.) - Emli
After breakfast, we trek up to the Alaca Yayla (2400m) passing trough the Mangırcı valley. After 3 hours trekking we arrive to Alca Plateau. We may meet some semi-nomads coming from different villages of the area then picnic will be here. After the lunch we continue to descent to our camp from the Olukseki valley. 5 / 6 hours trekking time. Ascent / Descent : 500m. ith all meals. Ascent : 450m. Descent :550m.

Day 13 Emlı -Elekgölü-Alagöz
Trekking in the range into direction of Elekgölü village. We go over a pass and walk along a stream. We arrive to the village where take a lunch in the tea house and we will have opportunity to discover their life and the hospitablty. After lunch we go down to Ecemiş river to have svimming opportunity. We will arrive to our camp site to pass through fruit gardens. This camp will be also our last camp site in Taurus mountain. Overnight at camp.

DAY 14 - Kayseri - Istanbul
Wew get up at 6 am in the morning drive to Kayseri airport and fly to Istanbul. Transfer to Hotel and afternoon free. Overnight hotel BB

DAY 15 - Istanbul - Home
Transfer to Airport, fly home.

Land cost generally include:

  • All transport within Turkey (including domestic flight)
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • All accommodation
  • All camping equipment (1 tent for 2 people), mattresses, cooking equipment and eating utensils
  • Cook, mule-drivers and mules, jeep for carrying luggage
  • All meals except lunch in Istanbul
  • Permits
Not included:
  • Insurance. All expenses of a personal nature eg drinks
  • Lunches in Istanbul
  • Entrance fees to historical sites

Map of Turkey

Avanos Pottery
Avanos Pottery


Cappadocia in Winter
Cappadocia in Winter



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ALW 2/11/06