Turkey is so full of beautiful sites and historical locations that it is best experienced while cycling. At the cycling pace, you are able to clearly see the diversity, really feel the culture and smell the fresh air of the sea and mountains. This tour will travel through many historical sites and experience Turkey’s diverse landscapes, from the sea coast to volcanic mountains and meadows. This tour starts in Trabzon and travels along the Black Sea coast until it cuts inland through lush subtropical mountains. After traveling over a mountain pass, we enter into unique geological formations. Along the way, we will explore ancient castle ruins and long abandoned monasteries from the 10th century. We will work our way south through quaint local villages and past the legendary Mt. Ararat until we reach the saline Van Lake, one of the largest endorheic lakes in the world. This trip is a great mixture of beautiful scenery and historical encounters.
Day 1: ARRIVE AND SEE
This tour starts from Trabzon and travels along the Black Sea. Upon arrival, we will begin encountering the history of the area by exploring the amazing architecture of the Hagia Sophia as well as the Sumela Monastery. Nestled into a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1200 m and with a stunning view of the Altindere Valley, this monastery is a site of great cultural and historical significance. In the evening, after settling into our comfortable hotel in Trabzon, we will be given an orientation on what to expect during the rest of our tour.
Day 2: BEGIN THE JOURNEY (80km)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will begin cycling along the Black Sea coast northeast toward the charming seaside city of Rize. This route has a beautiful highway, offering great cycling as we move between the sparkling Black Sea and the lush coastal mountains. This evening we will stay at a comfortable hotel in Rize.
Day 3: INTO THE MOUNTAINS (50km)
Today will take us into the subtropical side of the mountains. The hills are filled with local farmers picking tea leaves and there are many small villages hidden amongst these mountains. The evening will be spent at an authentic thermal spa hotel where we can relax our muscles and get ready to hit the road again the next day.
Day 4: OVER THE PASS (70km)
After a relaxing stay at the thermal hotel, we will continue on toward Ispir. This day will take us over the main divide of the Kaçkar Mountains, which separates the lush, subtropic region of the Black Sea from the rocky meadows on the inland facing slopes. Tonight we will stay in a charming cabin beside the Çoruh River, the main white water rafting river in the region.
Day 5: ALONG THE RIVER (80km)
In the morning, we will hike up to the top of the ancient Ispir castle, which affords a panoramic view of Ispir. From here we will travel along the playful Çoruh river toward Yusufeli. Today our tour will take us through a mountain valley and along the way, we will have the opportunity to stop and eat some figs off the trees growing along the side of the river. Once we arrive in Yusufeli, we will relax for the evening in a comfortable local hotel.
Day 6: ANCIENT CHURCH (100km)
From Yusufeli we will travel on toward Kars. Along this route, we will stop to visit an incredible 10th century monastery built into the mountains.
Day 7: KARS (100km)
Today we will finish the journey between Yusufeli and Kars. Kars is famous for its locally made honey and cheese, and we will be able to sample some of these local delicacies. “Kars” in Turkish means “snow” and during the winter, Kars is true to its name.
Day 8: REST
We will stay in Kars today and rest those cycling muscles while we explore the ancient city of Ani, also known as “The City of 1,001 Churches”. After wandering through the historical ruins, we will climb to the Kars Castle, which sits on a hill in the middle of the city. There we will be able to sit and have Turkish tea while we enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
Day 9: CONTINUE THE JOURNEY (140km)
Today we will be cycling along the Turkish-Armenian border. The coastal mountains are behind us and the vast agricultural plains offer incredible views of the vast skyline. For much of our approach to Iğdır, we will be able to see the majestic Mt. Ararat slowly begin to dominate the skyline.
Day 10: BESIDE A GIANT (50 km)
On our trip from Iğdır to Doğubeyazıt, you will have the opportunity to travel alongside Mount Ararat, the highest peak in Turkey at 5,137m and the historic resting place of Noah’s Ark. After arriving in Doğubeyazıt, we will explore the Işık Paşa Palace, an old Silk Road palace and a beautifully restored historical site.
Day 11: TO THE LAKE (95KM)
After spending time in the shadow of Mt. Ararat, we will be traveling down toward the beautiful Van Lake. Along the way, we will encounter a fascinating waterfall and we will stop for the night at a cozy hotel in Muradiye.
Day 12: FINAL PUSH (90km)
The final day of cycling will bring us along the banks of Van Lake. From here, we will be greeted with a breathtaking view of the mountains surrounding the vast and sparkling water.
Day 13: FAREWELL
If there is time before your flight, this day will include a tour of Akdamar, an ancient Armenian church built on the charming island in the middle of Van Lake, as well as the Van Castle, a 7th century fortress, otherwise known as Van Citadel.
- Transfers from the Trabzon airport and to the Van airport
- All Hotel Accommodation along the tour.
- Cycling Guide
- Guide Vehicle and driver
- All meals during the tour
- Entrance fees to attractions
- Touring style bicycles
- Delivery of your luggage with the guide vehicle
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Gratuity for guides and porters
We will supply bikes, helmets and other safety items. The equipment and clothing you bring to this program will have a big impact upon the quality of your experience. If you have any questions regarding equipment please contact us and we will clarify any questions that you might have. If you need to purchase additional equipment when you are here we will be able to connect you with a local store.
- Touring Bikes suitable for some gravel road sections and comfortable for traveling along the highway sections.
- General Safety equipment. The guides will carry all necessary safety equipment including general first aid items.
- Cycling shoes that will provide comfort and support for the long days of cycling. The bikes have standard pedals that will fit all shoes. Also you will want light comfortable shoes to where around town in evenings.
- Waterproof and breathable clothing. You will want multiple layers for the change in weather and physical activities. See recommended clothing for more information.
- Sunblock and SPF lip cream/gloss
- Water Bottle
- Personal Toiletry kit
- First Aid items – bandages and light pain relief medication.
- Camera – the views are stunning and you will want to capture the experience.
- Cycling T-shirt – something light and comfortable, moisture wicking material is preferable.
- Long Sleeve T-shirt for the colder days and mountain elevation.
- Jacket – you will want something that is wind and waterproof for possible days of rain and wind.
- You will want some comfortable cycling shorts that will provide some padding and chaffing prevention.
- Laundry can be done along the tour if necessary, but make sure that you have a couple sets of clothing.