Turkey walking holidays
map & highlights
Beginning with the launch of the Lycian Way in the early 2000s, Turkey has begun to develop a reputation for long distance walking. The Carian Trail is another magnificent route on the southern Mediterranean coast, while the St Paul Trail through the Taurus Mountains presents deep green forests and stunning lakes. Cappadocia, in Central Anatolia, has of course long been a favourite destination for walkers, especially with the enticing prospect of a spectacular hot air balloon flight, too. For those interested in stretching their sea legs as well there is the option of cruising along the Lycian Way aboard a traditional Turkish gulet, with daily hikes to outstanding viewpoints and ancient ruins.
Our Turkey walking Holidays
Deservedly one of the most popular destinations for hiking holidays in Turkey, Cappadocia is famed for its distinctive rock formations known as ‘fairy chimneys’. Houses and churches are hewn from the rock, too. Centre-based walking trips in Cappadocia take you on popular trails such as through Pigeon Valley, where locals collect the droppings of roosting birds for fertiliser.
2. Carian Trail
Turkey’s longest hiking trail runs for 850km along a stunning coastal route that takes you from the Med to the Aegean. It links ancient ruins with remote villages, reforming long forgotten roads and paths where mountain goats graze. Gaps in the trees as you walk through aromatic pine forests reveal dramatic views of islands, deserted beaches and steep rock cliffs.
A popular stop-off point on the Lycian Way, Cirali is an old fishing community that is rapidly becoming Turkey’s worst-kept secret hideaway. A gorgeous beach, where loggerhead turtles nest between May and August, is complimented by the picturesque ruins of Olympos and the famous burning hillside of Chimaera, an easy hike away from your wooden cabin.
4. Göcek Islands
According to Greek legend, when Icarus fell from the sky he landed in the sea not far from Göcek. This high-end but relaxed seaside town has a sterling reputation among the yachty set, but it’s the 12 islands off the coast that are most of interest, a bit of a hidden paradise. Near Marmaris, they’ve easily explored on a walking and gulet cruising holiday along the Lycian Way.
5. Lycian Way
The first long distance walking trail to be created in Turkey, and still the most popular, the Lycian Way would take a month to walk in total, but shorter holidays of a week break it up into the eastern or western sections. Gorgeous Mediterranean coastal views mix with excursions into the rugged interior, and walks can also be combined with cruises aboard a traditional gulet.
6. Taurus Mountains
The Taurus Mountains separate the Central Anatolia plateau from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, and boast some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country. Take the popular St Paul Trail and you can see the ruins of the immense Aspendos Theatre, built in 155 to seat 12,000 people and still remarkably well-preserved despite its great age.
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Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
Some landscapes might have been made for hot air ballooning, and the Cappadocia region of Central Anatolia is one such. Sunrise and sunset balloon flights are a frequent optional addition to a walking tour here, and your tour operator will be able to advise on how to make a booking, or perhaps even make it on your behalf.
You’ll sail gently over valleys lined with fruit orchards and vineyards, the iconic rock formations known as fairy chimneys and peaceful rural communities. Cappadocia is one of the world’s most popular ballooning destinations, and close to half of all balloon flights take place here, so the skies can be crowded with dozens of other balloons in the peak spring and autumn months. But that in itself is quite the spectacle.
More about Turkey walking
Recent growth in long distance walking in Turkey is opening up more than ever the resplendent Anatolian countryside and the Turquoise Coast, and linking countless well-preserved ancient ruins.
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.