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Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • An English-speaking local guide
  • 7 nights hotel and pension accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • Group airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All road transport described in the itinerary
  • All excursions and applicable entry fees as described in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water to Go bottle or a free Mountain Kingdoms fleece

Cappadocia & the St Paul Trail

Walking & Trekking

Turkey | Walking & Trekking

New for 2020
Cappadocia & the St Paul Trail
Moderate

Suitable for anyone who enjoys hill walking.

Find out more...

Grade: Moderate ? Moderate
Duration:  8 days from the UK  
Walks on: 6 days

Flight inclusive from £995,
Land only from £645

Book now or call 01453 844400

Explore the fairytale valleys of Cappadocia and walk the most scenic sections of the St Paul Trail leading to mountain passes, pretty villages and Roman ruins.

Highlights

  • Walk through valleys lined with fairytale ‘chimney’s and fantastical rock formations in Cappadocia
  • Discover the hidden rock-hewn churches and cliff dwellings of the beautiful Ihlara Valley
  • Explore the incredible underground city of Kaymakli
  • Cross the Davraz Pass and enjoy rewarding walks along the St Paul’s Trail near scenic Lake Eğirdir
  • Follow in the footsteps of the Romans to the ancient city of Adada

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This holiday combines two of Turkey’s most captivating yet contrasting regions: the fairytale, multi-coloured rock landscapes of Cappadocia and the beautiful Mediterranean region around Lake Eğirdir with its stunning mountain backdrop and enticing walking trails. From start to finish the scenery is delightful, and the walking wonderfully varied and rewarding.

You begin in Cappdocia, in central Anatolia, where the extraordinary landscape of peculiar rock pinnacles, canyons, gorges and valleys was formed by the processes of volcanic activity and natural erosion over millions of years. More recently, in the Roman and Byzantine times, early Christians took refuge here by carving hidden dwellings and places of worship into the rock and cliffs as well as below ground, resulting in an even more intriguing landscape.

Exploring on foot, you will discover countless troglodytes’ dwellings, hidden cities and monasteries as you follow trails through valleys and over peaks. You will often see what appear to be inconspicuous caves and pigeon nests in the rocks above, but upon entering you’ll find exquisite churches still with their original high columns, domed ceilings, and colourful frescoes. Whilst in Kaymalki, an entire multi-layered city of rooms and tunnels is concealed beneath the surface. As well as these remarkable places, there are of course the striking conical rock formations and fairy ‘chimneys’ which scatter the countryside in various shapes and sizes, some standing up to 30 metres tall, and topped with their strange rock ‘hats’. There really is nowhere quite like it.

Leaving Cappadocia you travel west to the picturesque lakeside town of Eğirdir, your base for several days of excellent walks along some of the most picturesque sections of the St Paul Trail - Turkey’s most recently established long-distance path and companion to the more well-known Lycian Way on the country’s Mediterranean south coast. The 500km long St Paul Trail begins in Perge on the coast, crosses the Taurus Mountains and ends in Yalvac, near Lake Eğirdir; loosely tracing the path of St Paul on his first evangelising journey through Asia Minor. Not only does the trail take you into the wilder rural interior of Turkey but also periods of Turkey’s history with Roman roads, ancient ruins, and traditional villages. Your high point will be the crossing of the Davraz Pass, a slight detour off the St Paul Trail, but well worth making for the fabulous scenery and views.

Accommodation in Cappadocia and Eğirdir is in a small family-run hotel and an attractive pension, giving you a taste of the great hospitality of the local people. And your holiday ends in the lively resort of Antalya on the ‘Turquoise Coast’ where you have the option to extend if you’re just not ready to go home!

You also have the option of joining our Western Taurus & the Lycian Way walking holiday if you would like to explore Turkey’s other celebrated, long-distance walking trail.


At a glance

Grade: Moderate
Moderate

Duration:  8 days from the UK  
Walks on: 6 days

Max. Altitude: 2,012m/6,896ft, Davraz Pass, Day 6

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Kayseri

Accommodation types: Hotels, Pension

Meal arrangements: 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 6 Dinners are included. Lunches on days 2, 5, 6, and 7 will be provided as picnic boxes whilst out walking. On days 3 and 4 lunch will be at a local restaurant. Evening meals will be taken in your hotel.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1
Fly to Kayseri in Cappadocia. Group transfer to hotel at Mustafapasa (Sinasos). Local walk.
2
Circular walk to Golgoli Hill and church ruins.
3
Drive to the Ihlara Valley via the underground city of Kaymali. Walk along the Melendiz River.
4
Drive to Eğirdir. Visit Sultanhan Ceravanserai en route.
5
Village walk on the St Paul Trail.
6
Walk from Oak Forest Nature Park to Kulova across the Davraz Pass.
7-8
Walk to the ancient Roman city of Adada. Drive to Antalya. Fly to London.

Cappadocia & the St Paul Trail Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Fly London To Kayseri

    Today you fly to Kayseri in Central Anatolia, only about an hour’s drive from the heart of Cappadocia. On arrival at Kayseri Airport there will be a group transfer to your hotel in the picturesque village of Mustafapasa, previously called Sinasos – the ‘city of the sun’. The village was traditionally populated by the Greek Orthodox community whose wealth was mainly based on the caviar trade. You will see several examples of typical Greek stone-carved architecture revealing the earlier prosperity of the village.

    Depending on your arrival time you will either take a short walk to explore the village or a longer walk between the Beydere and Gomeda valleys (8km). This walk finishes at Sarica Church, an award-winning example of a restored rock-carved Byzantine church complete with columns and colourful frescoes. Here you can sip a glass of wine whilst watching the sun set.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Rose Mansions Sinasos, Mustafapasa
  2. Day 2 - Circular walk over Golgoli Hill – 8 km, 5-6 hours. Visit Göreme Open-Air Museum (optional).

    It's an easy start this morning as you only have to step outside your hotel to begin your walk. Today you will be following a trail that embodies classic Cappadocian scenery of weirdly eroded, ochre-coloured, rock formations into which are hewn churches, dwellings and pigeon houses. The Tolkien-like landscape of caves, 'fairy chimneys' and fantastical conical peaks is caused by the weathering of tufa (porous volcanic rock) over millennia. These naturally hollowed-out formations have proved the perfect site for creating hidden places of worship and homes that were undetectable to hostile outside forces - the ideal protection for the early Christians. As you progress through the valley you will be able to enter some of these incredible spaces and marvel at the ingenuity of the people who created them.

    Leaving Sinasos, walking towards the south, you first arrive at the church of St Nicholas then follow the footpath that goes through the Damsa Valley towards Golgoli Hill in the distance. In the valley you will see many examples of fairy chimneys and have the chance to walk through some primitive dwellings carved inside the rock; some with chapels that bear the remnants of their original frescoes and paintings.

    Reaching the end of the valley you make the steep 300m climb to the summit of Golgoli Hill where you will discover the ruins of an old church. The church was once used by the Greek Orthodox community from Sinasos who would spend 10 days before Easter worshipping here. During this time they used the cave dwellings around Golgoli Hill for shelter. After time to rest and enjoy the views, you will make an equally steep descent of the hill, now overlooking the Gomeda Valley, and return to your hotel.

    Later, there is the opportunity to visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum on a guided tour (payable locally). This UNESCO World Heritage Site is only a short drive from your hotel and is one of the most visited sites in Cappadocia. A Byzantine monastic settlement and then a pilgrimage site, it encompasses numerous rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries, many adorned with their original, hand-painted frescoes. The Karanlik Kilise (Dark Church) is considered to be one of the museum's most beautiful with restored frescoes covering the entire surface of the sanctuary. There is a separate fee to enter this part of the complex.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Rose Mansions Sinasos, Mustafapasa
  3. Day 3 - Drive to visit Kaymakli underground city. Continue to the Ihlara Valley. Walk following the Melendiz River Valley – 7km, 3-4 hours.
    cappadocia and the st paul way ihlara valley grennery.

    Your destination today is the Ihlara Valley but there will be a couple of brief photo stops en route: firstly at the photogenic town of Guzelyurt, renowned for its multitude of churches carved into the cliff walls, and then at the nearby crater lake of Nar Golu.

    Your next stop is the underground city of Kaymakli. This incredible hidden city has ten levels, dug to a depth of 45m from the soft rock below the surface. You will find stables, chapels, warehouses and living spaces linked by tunnels. The city was believed to date back as far as the 8th century BC but was greatly expanded by Christians during the Byzantine era as protection against Muslim-Arab raids. As recently as the 20th century Kaymakli offered an escape to Cappadocian Greeks from periods of Ottoman persecution. It is a fascinating place.

    Having explored Kaymakli, you continue on to Belisirma in the Ihlara Valley. This beautiful river canyon is one of the scenic jewels of Cappadocia. Carved by the Melendiz River, the canyon walls rise to over 100m high, twisting and turning for over 14km to provide a natural walking trail along the canyon floor. You enter the canyon half way along at the village of Belisirma and stop for lunch at a riverside restaurant before you begin your walk to the end of the canyon at Selime.

    Flanked by olive trees, pistachio trees and poplars, and attracting a wealth of birds of wildlife, the banks of the Melendiz River offer a wonderfully picturesque and shady walking trail. As you progress, first along the eastern bank and then crossing to the opposite side, the river broadens and the valley widens out with the steep canyon walls becoming immense rock cones and weirdly eroded fairy chimneys - you are definitely back in Cappadocia now!

    Along with its natural beauty there is much cultural interest as the canyon provided a sanctuary for Christians expelled from Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia from the 7th century. Subsequently it hides more than 100 churches, caves, dovecots, granaries and houses in its sheer walls. At the end of the valley sits the Selime Monastery, hidden among a row of volcanic rock cones it resembles a fairy-tale castle. The monastery was hewn out of the rock face by monks in the 13th century and comprises numerous rooms and passageways. You may be able to visit if there's time after your walk, before you return to your accommodation.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Rose Mansions Sinasos, Mustafapasa
  4. Day 4 - Transfer to Lake Eğirdir with cultural stops en route - 5½-6 hours driving.

    Today you leave Cappadocia behind and make the long but scenic drive west to E?irdir. To break the journey there will be cultural visits en route such as to the Sufi Centre at Konya or the 13th century Sultanhan Caravanserai. This is a fine example of a fortified 'hostel' that once gave overnight shelter for large caravans of merchants and their camels along ancient trading routes. The Sultanhan Cararvanserai was the largest in Turkey and has an elaborately decorated main entrance portal and a kiosk-mosque in the centre of the courtyard.

    Stopping for lunch at a restaurant along the way, your journey continues until you arrive at your accommodation for the next three nights; a charming, cosy pension situated by the shores of beautiful Lake Egirdir. Framed by the peaks of the Taurus Mountains, the lake is the fourth largest inland lake in Turkey and is fed not by rivers but by water running off the surrounding land. The waters vary in colour according to the weather conditions, changing from light green, through turquoise blue to a stormy grey.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Fulya Pension Or Similar, Eğirdir
  5. Day 5 - Walk on the St Paul Trail from the village of Bedre to Barla – 10km, 6 hours.
    cappadocia and the st paul way walkers on st paul way.

    Today you leave Cappadocia behind and make the long but scenic drive west to Egirdir. To break the journey there will be cultural visits en route such as to the Sufi Centre at Konya or the 13th century Sultanhan Caravanserai. This is a fine example of a fortified 'hostel' that once gave overnight shelter for large caravans of merchants and their camels along ancient trading routes. The Sultanhan Cararvanserai was the largest in Turkey and has an elaborately decorated main entrance portal and a kiosk-mosque in the centre of the courtyard.

    Stopping for lunch at a restaurant along the way, your journey continues until you arrive at your accommodation for the next three nights; a charming, cosy pension situated by the shores of beautiful Lake Egirdir. Framed by the peaks of the Taurus Mountains, the lake is the fourth largest inland lake in Turkey and is fed not by rivers but by water running off the surrounding land. The waters vary in colour according to the weather conditions, changing from light green, through turquoise blue to a stormy grey.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Fulya Pension Or Similar, Eğirdir
  6. Day 6 - Drive to Kasnak Oak Forest Nature Park – 1 hour. Walk to Kulova across the Davraz Pass, 2,012m – 15km, 7 hours. Return to Eğirdir.

    Today is the most challenging day of your holiday but also one of the real highlights as you walk in the Taurus Mountains and cross the Davraz Pass at 2,012m.

    You begin the day by driving to the Oak Forest Nature Park, about an hour's drive southeast of Egirdir. This large nature conservation area is rich in flora and fauna and takes its name from a variety of oak - the Kasnak or Pulley oak - which is widely dispersed in the park. The park is also home to many birds and mammals including eagles, falcons, wild boar and even wolves and jackals - although it is highly unlikely you will see these on the trail!

    Your walk begins at the village of Yukari Gokdere situated at at 1,183m. Early on you will cross grasslands where the local nomads or 'Yöruks' feed their flocks. The trail gradually ascends and, at around 1,300m, you will enter a forest of Pulley oak trees which the area protects. Pausing under the shady trees for lunch, you then have a long climb ahead to reach the pass. You leave the forest behind at around 1,900m and from then on the landscape is mountainous, dominated by the peaks of the Taurus. Your objective is the Davraz Pass, not too far ahead now, which will reward your efforts with superb, far reaching views. Having taken your photos and admired the vistas, you descend, past winter ski resorts, to the Kulova Plateau where your transport awaits to take you back to Egirdir.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Fulya Pension Or Similar, Eğirdir
  7. Day 7 - Transfer to the town of Sütçüler – 1 hour. Walk to the Roman city of Adada and explore the ruins – 12km, 5 hours. Drive back to Antalya.
    cappadocia and the st paul way walking view of antalya old town turkey.

    The drive from Egirdir this morning takes about an hour and leads you deeper and deeper into a dramatic landscape of mountains and gorges. Reaching the small town of Sütçüler you set off on foot, climbing steadily along a minor road for a couple of kilometres, before heading into the lush countryside of the foothills of the Karaburun Mountains. The trail is one of scenic delights that takes you over passes, across flower-filled meadows, and through broad, verdant valleys.

    Eventually, you pick up the course of the old Roman road, stepping on large, original paving stones that guide you upwards towards Adada situated at 1,230m.

    The ancient city of Adada was founded in the second century BC before it was eventually abandoned somewhere between the 9th and 13th centuries. The city ruins weren't discovered until the middle of the 19th century but little was done to excavate or study them and its history remains relatively obscure. It is very likely that St Paul would have passed through the city on his journey as it would have been a major centre between the important Roman cities of Perga and Antioch.

    As you approach, the ruins are initially hidden from view behind a hilltop, but as you follow the surviving stretch of ancient paving that leads to the site, the atmospheric Roman remains are gradually revealed. You enter through the remnants of an archway in the old city wall and make your way to the agora - the paved central square which would undoubtedly been a very impressive spot centuries ago. Adada has never been excavated so little is known about its history apart from the ruins that are left behind: three temples, a forum, a theatre and a basilicia are all that now remain in their evocative, tumble-down state.

    After time to explore your transport will be waiting to take you to the coastal city of Antalya for the final night of your holiday.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Kosa Boutique Hotel Or Puding Marina Residence Or Similar, Antalya
  8. Day 8 - Group transfer to Antalya Airport. Fly to London.

    After breakfast this morning there will be a group transfer to Antalya Airport for your flight back to London.


2020

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Sat 23 May - Sat 30 May 2020 Available£645 Book£1075 Book
Sat 19 Sep - Sat 26 Sep 2020 Available£645 Book£995 Book

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Optional supplements
  • Single Room Supplement
    From £135
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £64
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No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • An English-speaking local guide
  • 7 nights hotel and pension accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • Group airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All road transport described in the itinerary
  • All excursions and applicable entry fees as described in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water to Go bottle or a free Mountain Kingdoms fleece

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Entrance to Göreme Open-Air Museum (Day 2)


Extend your holiday

There are many ways you can extend your holiday with Mountain Kingdoms: book extra hotel nights, relax at a beautiful beach resort, take a warm-up trek, arrange a personal sightseeing tour or enjoy specialist activities such as rafting, birdwatching or a safari.

We're happy to suggest ideas, provide quotes and make all the arrangements. We can also assist with flight and hotel upgrades. Just call us on +44 (0)1453 844400 or email info@mountainkingdoms.com and we will be pleased to help.

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