Walking in Turkey travel guide
Long distance walking in Turkey may be still in its infancy, but thanks to the efforts of the likes of Kate Chow, a writer and champion of sustainable tourism in Turkey, many historic roads, village paths and caravan tracks have been knitted together. Walking these routes allows for an original take on Turkey to take shape, and for vital tourism income and jobs to reach communities that are often being hollowed out by lack of opportunities.
Routes such as the Carian Trail, St Paul Trail and Lycian Way are modern classics in long distance walking, labours of love created by dedicated hikers and historians.
For the avid walker, there is the inviting challenge of unspoilt terrain that undulates with the coast and mountain foothills, and scenery that seems to literally dazzle, especially along the magnificent Turkish Riviera. Then there are the fascinating traces of ancient civilisations and remote rural communities that have been stitched into these routes, sure to put a spring in your step, too.
Find out more in our walking in Turkey travel guide.
Our Turkey walking Holidays
What does a walking in Turkey holiday entail?
Coast or inland?
Two of Turkey’s most celebrated long distance routes, the Lycian Way and the Carian Trail, follow the country’s Mediterranean coast. If you want ancient sites mixed with golden beaches and plenty of opportunities to swim, then these are good options. Inland you can see a much more remote, uninhabited part of Turkey and lots of very traditional communities, with the St. Paul Trail leading you through the Taurus Mountains and Turkish Lake District. And then of course there is Cappadocia in Central Anatolia, one of the world’s great hot air ballooning destinations and a hiker’s paradise.
Small group or self-guided walking?Turkey walking holidays are predominantly small group trips, which take place on selected dates across the milder spring and autumn months and are accompanied by local guides. This take all the logistics off your hands, so that you can just enjoy the walks, and they are very sociable experiences and offer a greater level of insight into the region you’re hiking through.
There is also a handful self-guided, tailormade walking trips available, during which your accommodations are pre-booked and your luggage transferred between them, but you are free to make your way in your own time. Popular routes are very well marked, with rocks painted red and white indicating the way roughly every 30m, so you won’t get lost.
The majority of walking trips are point-to-point, taking place over a week and spanning a section of a long distance route, but you can also tackle a two-centre holiday on the Carian Trail, or dip in and out of the Lycian Way by sailing and sleeping aboard a traditional Turkish gulet. Self-catering cottages in a charming village on the Lycian Way are also available.
How fit do I need to be?Given that most long distance Turkey walking tours involve some steep ascents and descents, and uneven terrain in places, you will want to be reasonably fit, and a bit of experience won’t hurt either. Daily distances vary by trip, but you can expect to be covering between 12 and 15km every day, and to be walking for six to eight hours. These are relaxed itineraries however, that assume people will be taking their time, so if you walk regularly at home you won’t be exhausted. Bring a set of walking poles and suitable footwear; a hat to keep the sun off is also highly recommended.
Our top Turkey walking Holiday
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“From day 1 the holiday had so many different memorable experiences but not many can compare with the early morning Balloon trip. Good shoes with good grip, poles and a water bladder are a must. This is a fantastic destination and so much to see and do. I would rate this holiday as excellent and an 11 out of 10. From the routes to the food and the care of the staff and guide were brilliant.” – Martin Cox on a Cappadocia walking holiday in Turkey
Best time to go on a Turkey walking holiday
Given that temperatures on the coast frequently top 35°C in July and August, the best time to go on a Turkey walking holiday is simply – not summer. Coastal routes such as the Carian Trail and the Lycian Way do offer shaded sections as they pass through forest, and of course many opportunities for a refreshing swim, but in general the heat will be pretty unpleasant even for just a week. Winter, from November to February, tends to be fairly mild, but rain and thunderstorms are common which is not conducive to enjoyable walking. Instead, look to spring and autumn – April, May, September and October – when temperatures are pleasingly warm and the scenery at its most attractive.
More about Turkey walking
Turkey has a growing network of long distance routes, most notably the 540km Lycian Way and the 850km Carian Trail.
Walking the Lycian Way in Turkey takes you along what many consider one of the most beautiful long distance routes in the world.
The Carian Trail was only completed in 2013, but its roots go back many centuries, with some stone paths still in use laid by Alexander the Great.
Our Cappadocia walking holidays see you following trails that weave between iconic ‘fairy chimneys’, climbing up ladders to cliffs pockmarked with hermit caves & through vineyards.