Mix ancient history with stunning scenery and plenty of active adventure on this 11-day exploration of Turkey. Hike, bike, and horseback ride your way through the rocky valleys of Cappadocia, then head for the Mediterranean coast for more cycling and trekking excursions among the myth-steeped landscapes of Mount Olympos and the Lycian Way. End in Istanbul, where you'll explore the city on an off-the-beaten-path urban hike, then soothe your muscles at a traditional hammam.


  • Get into gear with a bike ride through Cappadocia's lunar landscapes
  • Horseback ride through central Turkey's windswept valleys
  • Hike a section of the famed Lycian Way and summit Mount Olympos
  • See a different side to Istanbul on an urban hike along its ancient city walls
  • Soothe you muscles with an afternoon of pampering in a traditional hammam

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia, Sunset Bike Tour Cappadocia
Day 2 Hot-Air Balloon Tour, Kaymaklı Underground City, Ihlara Valley Hike  Cappadocia
Day 3 Explore Uçhisar, Watch a Pottery Demonstration, Horseback Safari  Cappadocia
Day 4 Fly to Antalya & the Mediterranean Coast, City E-Bike Tour Antalya
Day 5 Trek to the Summit of Mount Tahtalı  Antalya
Day 6 Transfer to Adrasan via Yanartaş, Enjoy a Free Afternoon Adrasan
Day 7 Hike to the Olympos Ruins via Musa Dağı Adrasan
Day 8 Scenic Boat Trip to Suluada Island  Adrasan
Day 9 Hike the Lycian Way to Cape Gelidonya, Fly to İstanbul İstanbul
Day 10 İstanbul City Walls Urban Hike, Relax at a Hammam İstanbul
Day 11 Free Time in İstanbul, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia, Sunset Bike Tour

Cycle among Cappadocia's unique rock formations

Welcome to Turkey! A driver will be waiting for you outside Kayseri Erkilet Airport to transfer you to Cappadocia, located in central Turkey. On the way, don't forget to look out the windows to catch a glimpse of the ancient cave dwellings, surreal rock formations, and captivating hot-air balloon rides the region is known for. Relax at the hotel, then gear up for a sunset bike tour this afternoon. Start the three-hour excursion at the Pancarlık Valley, where you'll cruise through the area's windswept landscapes and spot ancient churches carved into rugged cliffsides.

As you cycle across the volcanic terrain, you'll see the beautiful fortress town of Ortahisar sitting at the foot of the largest rock citadel in the region. Continue to the Göreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its collection of rock-cut churches adorned with intricate Byzantine frescoes. As the sun slowly sets around you, cycle to the Red Valley, full of reddish-pink rock formations, and end in the Paşabağ Valley, known for its whimsical rock formations called "fairy chimneys." Transfer to your hotel to rest before tomorrow's early wake-up call.

Day 2: Hot-Air Balloon Tour, Kaymaklı Underground City, Ihlara Valley Hike 

Experience the ultimate view of Cappadocia with a dawn hot-air balloon flight

You have an early morning wake-up call to embark on what's sure to be one of the trip's highlights—a hot-air balloon flight. Enjoy a quick breakfast and transfer to the launch point to watch the crew inflate the massive balloons. When they're ready, hop into the basket and hold on tight as you rise into the air. Take in the breathtaking views below, as the valleys undergo a transformation in the soft morning light. When you land, celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine before transferring back to your hotel for a well-deserved nap.

Your action-packed day continues at Kaymaklı Underground City, one of 36 underground cities in Cappadocia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is comprised of eight floors, which were populated by over 3,500 people fleeing religious persecution in the seventh and eighth centuries BCE. Visitors can explore the first four floors, descending 65 feet (20 m) below ground. Enter at the first level, which used to be a stable, then walk along narrow corridors, peek into old living quarters, and see where residents used to cook at night so enemies wouldn't see the smoke.

When you're back above ground, transfer to the Ihlara Valley, one of the largest canyons in the world at 8 miles (14 km) long and 65 feet (120 m) deep. Despite the size, hiking through this canyon is relatively easy. Walk along the Melendiz River, exploring beautiful rock-hewn caves and churches. Stop at Selime Monastery, a rock-cut construction hosting a cathedral-sized church carved directly into the volcanic tuff dating back to the eighth or ninth century BCE. Later in the afternoon, you'll transfer back to your hotel to rest for the night. 

Day 3: Explore Uçhisar, Watch a Pottery Demonstration, Horseback Safari 

Venture deeper into Cappadocia's landscapes on horseback

Start your day in the beautiful town of Uçhisar, situated on the edge of Göreme National Park. Visit Uçhisar Castle, often called the "Eye of Cappadocia" for its panoramic view of the whole region. Walk among the ancient hallways and residences of soldiers who defended the area in the fourth century CE. From the top, you can see the valleys of Avcılar, Çavuşin, and Paşabağ, your following stops on the tour. These valleys are known for their geological wonders like towering rock formations and fairy chimneys, which you'll admire before you head to Avanos.

This town has been renowned as a pottery hub for centuries, thanks to the abundance of red clay from the Kızılırmak River. The tradition of creating pottery from this clay dates back to the Hittite period, around 2000 BCE. Witness a continuation of this tradition as you watch local artisans mold clay into intricate works of art, using ancient techniques. Following this demonstration, head back toward Göreme for a short, 2.4-mile (4 km) hike across Aşıklar Vadisi (Love Valley). Walk among more remarkable fairy chimneys and take in the serene atmosphere before returning to your hotel.

Once you're rested, continue this action-packed day at a local Cappadocian ranch for a horseback safari. Follow your experienced guide through the mesmerizing landscapes of the region, transformed by the light of the setting sun. Trot between Cappadocia's distinctive rock formations, admire houses carved into the mountains, and enjoy the peace and quiet far from any crowds. At the end of the excursion, give your horse a pat in thanks before transferring back to your hotel for the night. 

Day 4: Fly to Antalya & the Mediterranean Coast, City E-Bike Tour

Watch as Düden Waterfall spills into the Mediterranean Sea

Your journey continues today, catching a short flight west to Antalya International Airport, where a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Settle in before you embark on an e-bike tour of Antalya, the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast. Once you grab your equipment and complete a safety briefing, start your tour at Düden Park, home to Düden Waterfall. Hop off your bike to get a view of the falls cascading into the Mediterranean Sea from the park's observation deck.

Leave the water behind to head to Kaleiçi, the city's historic old town. Cycle along the narrow streets surrounded by the city walls, mosques, Turkish baths, and charming shops. Take a break in a local restaurant to try a simit, a traditional Turkish bagel, with a cup of tea. Once you're rejuvenated, continue on the tour, passing world-famous beaches, cultural centers, green parks, and the Antalya Aquarium. Transfer back to your hotel to rest your legs this evening.

Day 5: Trek to the Summit of Mount Tahtalı

Enjoy the view of Antalya Bay on your way down the mountain
Get ready for a trek up Mount Tahtalı, which you may know by its ancient name, Mount Olympos, home of the gods. Ascend the winding trails surrounded by colorful fruit trees. As you reach the top of the tree line, don't celebrate just yet. From here, the path changes to rocky terrain, but you'll reach a cable car station shortly. Take the cable car to the summit to enjoy panoramic views of the Taurus mountains and the beautiful bay of Antalya. Once you're rested, descend the mountain on the cable car, enjoying a stunning view of the coastline, before heading back to your hotel.
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Day 6: Transfer to Adrasan via Yanartaş, Enjoy a Free Afternoon

Bay of Adrasan , naturally protected area, surrounded by a national park with pine forests, Taurus Mountains, blue water lagoons and sandy beaches
Musa Dağı, the fabled "Mount Olympos," overlooks the bay of Adrasan

Say goodbye to Antalya as you hit the road to Adrasan, a small village south along the Mediterranean coast. On the way, stop at Yanartaş (Burning Rock), where gases like methane emerge from the rocks, creating a permanent fire. Admire the fifth-century BCE church at the entrance, then head up the hill to see the legendary volcanic field. When you reach the top, look out at the flames that have been burning for over 2,500 years, inspiring the creation of Homer's mythical fiery creature, the Chimera. Walk back down to continue your journey to Adrasan.

The afternoon is yours to explore this peaceful coastal town. Bask in the Mediterranean sun and swim through the turquoise waters at one of the many beaches, such as Adrasan Sahil or Adrasan Koyu. If you're looking for something more active, take a trek to the ruins of Adrasan Kalesi (Adrasan Castle) instead. It's a strenuous, 30-minute hike to the top, so it's not for the faint of heart, but the bird's-eye view of the coastline is worth it. End your night with a delicious dinner at one of the many local restaurants overlooking the water, like Saide Café & Restaurant or Le Jardin Café.

Day 7: Hike to the Olympos Ruins via Musa Dağı

Walk through the fourth-century ruins of Olympos on today's full-day hike

Hopefully you got a good night's rest, as today you embark on a challenging six to seven-hour trek to Olympos, the ruins of a city built around the end of the fourth century BCE. Start your journey on a winding path bordered by orange and pomegranate trees before you enter a crisp pine forest. As the forest thins, head up Musa Dağı (Mount Musa). Take a break at the top to enjoy a stunning view of Adrasan and the vast Mediterranean Sea. Be careful on the rocky descent to the ancient ruins.

Olympos Beach welcomes you at the bottom of the mountain, where the ruins sit on the rim of the beachfront. Enter the ruins through the old temple gate, view the impressive sarcophagus of Captain Eudemos, and stand in the ruined theater to appreciate the infrastructure of what was once one of the most important Lycian civilizations. The ruins extend into the forest, where you can see the remnants of the city's defensive walls and chamber tombs. Once your feet have had enough, hop on a bus back to Adrasan for the evening.

Day 8: Scenic Boat Trip to Suluada Island

Take a break from all the active adventures today with some sun, sea, and sand on Suluada

Since Adrasan sits on the Mediterranean coast, exploring the area by boat is one of the best ways to see experience this spectacularly scenic region. Celebrate the penultimate day of your trip with a boat tour that sets off from Adrasan Beach, taking a relaxing 45-minute cruise to the island of Suluada (Water Island). This uninhabited gem is sometimes called the "Maldives of Turkey" for its pristine, shallow waters and postcard-perfect beaches.

Spend your day basking on the sands and swimming in the warm turquoise waters of the island's three bays—if you're lucky you might even spot a dolphin or a Mediterranean monk seal swimming alongside. After cruising back to Adrasan, enjoy your final evening in Turkey with a sea-view meal as you watch the sunset over the Mediterranean.

Day 9: Hike the Lycian Way to Cape Gelidonya, Fly to İstanbul

Tackle a portion of the Lycian Way to reach the lighthouse at Cape Gelidonya

Spend your last day in Adrasan exploring part of the famed Lycian Way, a 310-mile (500 km) long-distance hiking route along the Mediterranean coast that traces the ancient trade route of the Lycians. Start at the small village of Karaöz and embark on a 4.3-mile (7 km) hike to Cape Gelidonya along the Taurus mountains. The terrain is rugged as you walk among jagged cliffs, so wear your best hiking shoes. As you ascend to the cape's summit and break away from the thick trees, the glittering Mediterranean Sea will stretch out before you.

When you arrive at the top, admire the Gelidonya Lighthouse (the tallest in Turkey), and stop for a scenic lunch. If you visit on a clear day, you'll be met with 10 miles (16 km) of visibility, looking out over the many islands and bays surrounding Adrasan. Thankfully, you won't need to hike the entire way back, as a bus will be waiting to transfer you back to town. Then it's time to grab your bags and transfer to Antalya Airport to catch a domestic flight to İstanbul. Meet your driver outside İstanbul International Airport and transfer to your centrally-located hotel, where you can rest up for tomorrow's busy day of sightseeing.

Day 10: İstanbul City Walls Urban Hike, Relax at a Hammam

Skirt the Golden Horn as you take an urban hike along İstanbul's ancient city walls
You'll experience a side of İstanbul far from the tourist-trail chaos today on an urban hike under the old city walls in the Edirnekapı district. Along the way, you'll see some of the city's important religious buildings like the Kariye Mosque, Fethiye Mosque, and Kanlı Church. Duck inside to learn more from your knowledgeable guide, then continue to the city's atmospheric Fener and Balat neighborhoods, situated along the Golden Horn waterway. Walk among the narrow streets and admire the colorful Ottoman-era houses as your guide shares stories of their rich history and diverse culture.
After all that walking, enjoy a relaxing and authentic Turkish bath experience at the Hurrem Sultan Hammam. This historic hammam was commissioned by Hurrem Sultan, the beloved wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, in the 16th century. As you enter, admire the marble interiors, intricate tilework, and elegant domes that create a serene and tranquil atmosphere. Choose the spa treatments you want to indulge in, such as a steam bath, massage, or body scrub, then sit back, relax, and enjoy being pampered.

Day 11: Free Time in İstanbul, Depart

Check off a few last İstanbul icons, like the Blue Mosque

If you have time before your departure, spend this morning visiting some İstanbul landmarks you didn't see yesterday, like the iconic Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome of Constantinople, an ancient Roman racing arena built in the third century. Today, it's a square with a beautiful fountain and the historic Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius. Keep an eye on the clock, and when the time comes, a driver will pick you up at your hotel to transfer you to İstanbul Airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Turkey Active Adventure: Cappadocia, Antalya, Adrasan & Istanbul - 11 Days
Map of Turkey Active Adventure: Cappadocia, Antalya, Adrasan & Istanbul - 11 Days