- Meandering between the legendary rock valleys and "fairy chimneys" of Goreme
- Staying in an ottoman "konak" boutique hotel in the ancient village of Guzelyurt
- Discovering the true Cappadocia in off-the-beaten-track Akkoy
- Admiring the canyon and huge rock formations of the Ihlara Valley
- Enjoying the alpine countryside of Cukurbag in the Aladaglar National Park.
- The incredible waterfalls at Karpuzbasi and surrounding Aladaglar peaks.
- Going underground at the subterranean city of Derinkuyu
- The big climb up and over the shoulder of Erciyes volcano
Cappadocia, with its unreal rock formations, cave dwellings and "fairy chinmeys" is undeniably one of Turkey's most captivating, unique and unmissable areas and a perfect destination for a road cycling tour. This tour links Cappadocia with the nearby Aladaglar Mountains – a jagged alpine range of limestone peaks surrounded beautiful forests, canyons and waterfalls. Designed to satisfy keen cyclists without being overly demanding, the tour includes some long days but the effort in is more than rewarded. We get the most from our time by using minibus transfers to cut out any unsuitable areas, leaving an itinerary jam packed with highlights and offering first class riding throughout.
The tour is a true journey of discovery that covers much of this intriguing region. There is much to explore along the way, and beyond the usual scope of stop-learn-take photo you will genuinely be able to explore and discover yourselves. Cappadocia is a land that frees the Indiana Jones inside us all, with history around every corner and an incredible mix of colours and cultures.
We stay at boutique hotels wherever possible, the best places utilising traditional cave rooms combined and authentic furnishings. In most cases you will stay in family owned, small hotels, which reflect the nature, history and culture of the area well. Food is without doubt another highlight of the experience, with evening meals and lunches to be savoured at carefully chosen, high quality restaurants. Expect hearty portions of central Anatolian specialities like pottery kebab, home made ravioli and meat and vegetables stewed in clay casserole dishes, alongside lighter, more national dishes like meze, fresh green salads and fish.
Day 1: Transfer from Kayseri Airport to Akkoy We meet you at Kayseri Airport and transfer to Akkoy, where we'll settle in, have a pre-tour briefing and if time allows, prepare our bikes. Here we stay in a beautiful hotel comprised of a suite of artisan-built traditional cave suites. Akkoy Evleri Boutique Hotel is a wonderful place- off the well trodden tourist track but offering a true luxurious taste of the real Cappadocia- a fine place to spend your first night! If your flights arrive early there is a very nice but reasonably challenging circular loop (60km / 1100m climb / 1100m descent) that makes an excellent introduction to the tour! Overnight Akkoy Eveleri Boutique Hotel, Akkoy
Day 2: Ride Akkoy- Urgup – Sarihidir – Ozkonak (Picnic lunch) – Avanos – Zelve – Cavausin – Goreme Total 78km / 1155m climb / 1385m descent Today we ride downhill through rolling hillsides dotted with small villages, along a virtually traffic free back road to the edge of Urgup- one of central Cappadocia's most endearing small towns. We push on, rounding Boz Dagi table top mountain and Dervent valley to our left, before finally arriving at the great Kizilirmak. Turkey's longest river is clean, fast flowing and a gorgeous emerald green here, where we cross at the little visited village of Sarihidir. From here, our ride takes us up into the hills to the historical town of Ozkonak where we can visit the underground city and have our picnic lunch in a tea cafe there (hot and cold drinks available). After lunch we take a fast and long downhill to arrive in Avanos- a small but thriving town, famous for it's pottery and winemaking- a fantastic place to relax and check out the local handicrafts. From there we continue onwards, visiting the "fairy chimneys" at Zelve and Pasabagi- one of the areas must see geographic sights! We continue to Cavausin, where we have a chance to visit rock cut churches and ancient cave dwellings. Then an easy ride takes us to the base of Love Valley, named after it's particularly phallic stone towers, and on to Goreme- the vibrant backpacker-loved village right in the centre of Cappadocia's heart. Overnight Flintstones Cave Hotel, Goreme
Day 3: Hot Air Ballon Flight (optional) – Goreme – Uchisar – Urgup – Mustafapasa – Keslik Monastery (Picnic lunch) – Sahniefendi – Guzeloz – Soganli Total 67km / 1100m climb / 880m descent This morning you might like to see the dawn in from a Hot Air Balloon flight- respected as a “must do” in Cappadocia, and an awesome way to see the roads that you rode yesterday from a completely different perspective! Though the tour is completely optional, this an unmissable experience, and you’ll be back in time for breakfast- possibly slightly drunk from the champagne reception! From Goreme we climb out of the valley, enjoying tremendous panorama's, to arrive in Uchisar- an iconic Cappadocian village with stunning hilltop rock cut castle from where we can enjoy superb views of the whole area. Passing Ortahisar and the centre of Urgup we head down a beautiful road that crosses the Gomeda valley on it's way to Mustafapasa (Sinassos)- a picturesque formerly Greek village where we stop for refreshments. We continue along a very green and pleasant road, soon arriving at Keslik Monastery, where we enjoy a picnic lunch in the shady gardens of the rock cut churches. After lunch our route leads us south down a route full of interest and wonderful scenery. We stop and visit the historic Taskinpasa Medresse, Selcuk Mosque and Sobessos Roman city. Amidst awesome scenery this ride is a perfect balance of restful freewheeling and memorable historic sites. Finally we climb out of the valley at Sahinefendi, crossing a high plateau with views over all the region's mountain ranges in clear weather. Finally, we drop down into Soganli valley- a lush green flash of life surrounded on all sides by sheer canyon walls. Soganli is an ancient and magical place- and we spend the evening visiting some spectacular rock cut churches- complete with stunningly preserved frescoes. We overnight in a local homestay- with wonderful organic food and true local hospitality. Accommodation is in local style cave rooms and may be shared depending on the size of the group. Overnight Emek Pension, Soganli
Day 4: Transfer – Nar Lake – Gulagac – Selime (Restaurant lunch) – Ihlara – Guzelyurt Total 59km / 685m climb / 580m descent Today's ride is relatively flat, offering a perfect scenic contrast between vast wide open plains and the awesome "Grand" canyon of Ihlara. We begin with a transfer via Derinkuyu (possible visit to the underground city) and continue out into wild, open uplands to our start point of Nar Golu crater lake. Now well out of the usual tourist realm we find ourselves in a place where shepherds guard huge herds of sheep and goats much and people live in much the same way as they have done for generations. Continuing via Gulagac, we soon arrive at the many old houses of Demirci where we stop for drinks. From here our ride is mainly downhill through fantastic arid rocky scenery- arriving at Selime where we enjoy a restaurant lunch on the riverside. Now, our route climbs out of the Ihlara Canyon, and passes by Ihlara town for a super view of the deep upper canyon. After a good climb we arrive at the historic town of Guzelyurt and stay in one of the region's most splendid hotels. Our host in Guzelyurt is a collection of luxuriously restored and beautifully furnished Ottoman "konaks"- collections of wealthy town houses built from cut stone with arched ceilings and plenty of regal charm. All in all a hugely rewarding ride! Overnight Karamanli Konaklari, Guzelyurt.
Day 5: Guzelyurt – Sivrihisar – Ciftlik – Altunhisar (Restaurant Lunch) – Nigde Total 81km / 970m climb / 1235m descent From Guzelyurt (1430m) our route climbs steadily to the village of Sivrihisar (1780m) with increasingly epic views over the wide open expanses below. We carry on into wild, largely untravelled countryside, dropping down in the remote rural village of Ciftlik. From here we have a big climb (425m in 6.7km) amongst towering mountainous peaks and wonderful scenery to cross the Melendes Mountains. This is our most challenging climb to date but the gradient is gentle and the effort sustained. After recovering for little at the top we enjoy an epic 900m descent back to the flat plains of Nigde, and have lunch in a really good local restaurant in Altunhisar. The afternoon's ride is much flatter and on larger roads, stopping off for a well earned break at the green gardens of Pinarbasi (60km) before cruising into the provincial capital of Nigde (Nee-Deh). Traffic isn't too bad but the driver can wait at the edge of the city and transfer you in if you don't fancy braving the streets! Nigde is an interesting town- untouristic and conservative but with a certain character of it's own. We stay in the city centre at the best hotel in town and enjoy a sundowner or two on the hotel terrace. Overnight Grand Hotel Nigde
Day 6: Transfer – Uckapili – Camardi – Kavaklitepe Pass (Picnic lunch), Kovali dam – Yahyali Total 99km / 600m climb / 1450m descent Today we make an early start and transfer out of Nigde to Gumusler, where we visit the impressive rock cut monastery complex. This monastery is an unknown treasure, with some of Cappadocia's best examples of Byzantine art- superb, high colour frescoes dating from the 11th Century. We continue driving and begin riding at the summit of a ridge of hills that separate Nigde from the Aladaglar proper. The impending downhill is highly enjoyable, starting off with a gorgeous road that follows a lush green stream valley. Our first views of the Crimson Mountains (Aladaglar) seen here are spine tingling in grandeur and beauty, and the majority of the ride will now be spent in the shadow of these towering limestone peaks. We soon arrive at Camardi- a picturesque farming town right on the edge of the mountains, and carry on to skirt the edge of the massif besides apple orchards and wonderful scenery in every direction. We enjoy a hearty picnic lunch on the Kavaklitepe Pass at 1760m and from there the rest of the ride is mostly downhill. We set off through remote, upland hills where we'll see shepherds guarding huge flocks of sheep. Finally, we begin a long decent past the Kovali Dam, rejoining the Anatolian Plateau at about 1000m. Our destination is Yahyali, gateway to the central Aladaglar, and a centre of carpet weaving production. Our hotel is a modern, business class facility right in the town centre. Overnight Aydin Hotel, Yahyali
Day 7: Yahyali – Bademdere (Picnic lunch) – Dikme – Degirmenocagi – Karpuzbasi Total 65km / 1000m Climbing / 1500m Descent Today's ride us takes us on a challenging, hilly course through beautiful, remote countryside on a meandering path to Karpuzbasi and the incredible waterfalls there. Karpuzbasi is an unknown gem of the Cappadocia region, and even in late summer / autumn you can see hugely impressive torrents of water, that in some places even emerge from the mountain side itself! The scenery gets progressively more stunning as we get nearer our destination, and the deepening valleys on our predominantly downhill course gives a sense of scale of the mountains above. A picnic lunch by the riverside at Bademdere sets us up for a fantastic afternoon- finished off with a visit to some of the more remarkable falls- photo opportunities in every direction! We stay in a comfortable complex of eco-sensitive wooden bungalows, a true highlight of the tour. Overnight Karpuzbasi Selale Motel, Karpuzbasi
Day 8: Transfer – Yahyali – Develi (Restaurant lunch) – Mount Erciyes Total 67km / 1200m climb / 600m descent On our last day we begin with a transfer back along the scenic road from Yahyali (on which we cycled yesterday). We begin riding at the top of the hill above Yahyalli and enjoy an easy morning across the plains nearby Sultan Sazligi marshes, getting ever closer to the towering volcanic peak of Mount Erciyes. After a good restaurant lunch we begin the biggest climb of the tour- up and over the shoulder of Mount Erciyes. This 2200m pass gives us incredible views of the plains below, plus a close up look at Erciyes itself- a towering dormant volcano of 3916m (12848 feet). The height is gained easier than the height itself would suggest, and a new, well surfaced access road to the mountain's ski resort makes it easier still. That said, we will be happy to relax in the facilities of Mira del Lago ski hotel, where we enjoy a last night of refinement, rest and relaxation. Overnight Mira del Lago Hotel, Mount Erciyes
Day 9: Transfer to Kayseri Airport. Depending on your flight time we may also be able to enjoy an incredible downhill ride off the mountain via Hacilar- fast, flowing road biking on a good surface which is a perfect way to end your tour. We meet our driver on the edge of the city and transfer to the hotel- so we don't have to cycle through city traffic. Kayseri is a big city but one worth exploring, with ancient bazaars, tea shops and street vendors plus some impressive Ottoman architecture. So choose a late afternoon flight if possible. Tour ends at Kayseri Airport.
Price (per person):
There are 3 options for this tour:
Single Supplement 220 Euro.
Bike rental 150 Euro.
8 nights hotel accommodation. Transfers to and from Kayseri airport. Professional guide. Full use of support vehicle.
Price does not include:
Flights. Alcoholic and soft drinks available at camps or Restaurants, drinks or extras at optional cafe stops and entrance fees to historical sites and museums. Tips for guides and driver.
June 10 – 18 2017
September 30 – 8 October 2017
9 days. Shorter or longer itineraries possible by arrangement.
Start / finish point:
3-4: Challenging sectors and a daily distance of around 80km requires a good level of fitness, although a support car is provided.
7 days multi centre road bike touring. Self guided options are also available.
Equipment advice: A road bike or lightweight touring bike is strongly recommended for this tour. We recommend 25-35mm tyres, ideally of a toughened type, as the road surfaces can sometimes be a little rough.
About the Area:
We have been based in Goreme, the jewel in Cappadocia's crown, for the last 10 years, and know the region's roads like the backs of our hands. The choice to combine this tour with a circuit of the Crimson mountains came out of Cappadocia's relatively small geographic size and the desire to create an even more memorable itinerary. The region has perfect riding conditions from May to October though the high summer of July and August may be too hot for some. The tour starts and finishes in Kayseri, the capital of Cappadocia. Modestly priced flight connections are available, normally via Istanbul.
The remains of the millions years ago volcanic eruptions, shaped by the wind and rain for thousands of years, have formed one of natures most spectacular masterpieces: Strange rock formations, called: "fairy chimneys". Settled throughout time by Hittite, Persian, Romans, Byzantine and Ottoman civilisations, many of these caves are still decorated with icons and wall paintings from the early Christian times. Cappadocia is rich with history and filled with natural wonders! Click here for for information on Cappadocia.
Tour Options: New for 2016 we have improved and extended the route and added options that let you choose the tour format that suits you best. Choose from:
1: Guided Group Departures By riding with one of our professional guides you will not only learn so much about the places you ride through, but enjoy the company and companionship that social cycling provides. These tours run on fixed dates throughout the year and are open to single riders willing to share a twin room with no single supplement. All guides speak English fluently and have extensive cycling experience in the region. These tours include all meals at excellent and well-chosen restaurants. The group size is between 3 and 10. There is a surcharge of 150 Euros per person for 3 to 5 Pax groups. Smaller groups and bespoke guided tours are available on request.
2: Fully Supported Self-Guided This new option puts one of our professional biking guides in the driving seat of your support vehicle. It’s the best way to enjoy the support and assistance that a fully guided tour provides but gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and make your own choices. Not only will your baggage be transported from hotel to hotel but you will enjoy full technical support and route assistance at every stage- just like having a driver and a guide in one. This option includes evening meals but lunches are extra. Please ask for prices for groups larger than 2 Pax as the quoted rate is based on 2 people sharing a support car and driver / guide and larger parties will always cost less. Dates tailored to your preference and departures are available throughout the year.
3: Self-Guided For those who prefer the freedom and value that self-guided tours offer, this is the best option. Your baggage will be transported from hotel to hotel, and you will still have a support car and driver following you (out of sight) along the route. But with this option your driver may not speak much English, and certainly won’t have the skills or knowledge of an expert guide. These tours are bed and breakfast only, leaving you free to make your own meal arrangements. We can add a half board supplement if you prefer, and all hotels are able to produce excellent meals. Please ask for prices larger than 2 Pax as the quoted rate is based on 2 people sharing a support car and driver.Dates tailored to your preference and departures are available throughout the year.