From the sun-drenched Turquoise Coast of the south to the high mountain plateaus and vertiginous peaks of the east, walking holidays in Turkey offer a wealth of opportunities to discover the country’s richly diverse landscapes. Amidst the Mediterranean backdrop you’ll find ancient sites filled with crumbling ruins and monuments that tell of Turkey’s Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past which has shaped the land and culture of the country.
The Goreme open-air museum is one of the most fascinating sites to explore on holidays to Turkey. As well as boasting dazzling views over the valley, it’s also home to a collection of cave churches decorated with ornate Byzantine frescoes that date back to 1000 – 1200 AD when they were used by orthodox monks.
Cappadocia is one of the most famous sites in Turkey and its distinctive landscape is punctuated by unusual rock formations that resemble a scene from a fairy tale. The unique pillars were formed from volcanic eruptions and have become recognised around the world, making it a popular destination for walking holidays in Turkey.
In between trekking among sun-kissed beaches, olive groves and ancient wonders, there’s plenty of time to immerse yourself in the local culture. The Turks are extremely welcoming and eager to show you their traditional way of life. And, of course, the cuisine is also one of the highlights on trips to Turkey. From authentic meze and spicy kebabs to sweet baklava, the vibrant Mediterranean flavours are irresistible.
Walking Holidays in Turkey
8 Daysfrom£ 1,399
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Trek through Turkey's amazing rock formations in Cappadocia
Top 5 Places to Visit on Walking Holidays in Turkey
Cappadocia: Piercing the skyline with its fantastical rocky pillars, Cappadocia is a dreamlike vision that attract visitors from across the world. These curious, geological wonders rise up against a canvas of rugged hills in central Turkey and are known as the ‘fairy chimneys’ owing to their distinctive formations. One of the best ways to witness these natural wonders is by hot air balloon which gives you a bird’s-eye perspective of this almost unreal landscape. Back on the ground, you might also get to see the equally interesting wildlife such as the Eurasian fox or the hoopoe.
Kaymakli: Also located in Cappadocia is the underground city of Kaymakli. Built by Christians as far back as the 7th-century BCE, Kaymakli is a labyrinth of tunnels, caves and ancient homes and settlements where the local people would hide to avoid attack from the Byzantine invaders. It’s hard to imagine that inhabitants lived in this underground city and created everything from kitchens and living areas to stables and there’s even a church and graveyard. At one time a staggering number of people, around 3,500, lived inside Kaymakli City.
Goreme Open-Air Museum: Believed to be a Byzantine monastic settlement and a pilgrimage site in later years, Goreme Open-Air Museum is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the greatest of its kind. The museum is a fine example of Byzantine art and architecture and is home to an incredible complex of churches, chapels and monasteries cut into the volcanic rock. Inside each of the structures you’ll find beautiful frescoes that depict life in times gone by. The 11th-century Chapel of St Basil is particularly fascinating with its paintings of St Basil himself, a Maltese cross and St George slaying a dragon. The Dark Church is another highlight of Goreme Open-Air Museum and was so named owing to its lack of windows. Because of the lack of light in the church, its frescoes have hardly faded and still retain their vibrancy.
Akvadi Valley: Also known as White Valley, Akvadi is one of the most popular walking areas in Cappadocia and also one of the most diverse valleys. There are several walking trails that lead you through surreal landscapes made up of white rocks, orchards, vineyards and fairy chimneys. As you walk along the ancient river path, there’s a real sense of calm and you’ll be enthralled by the stunning scenery.
Arycanda: The ancient Lycian city of Arycanda lies on mountain terraces overlooking a pretty valley. It’s believed the city dates all the way back to Anatolian times and had several rulers throughout history, from the Persians and Alexander the Great to Seleucids. It is one of the oldest cities in Lycia and suffered from the great earthquake in 240 AD. Explore the Acropolis to see Hellenistic ruins, the Temple of Helios and Roman ruins. The well-preserved theatre is worth visiting to see its coloured marbles and the bust of Emperor Hadrian.
This was an excellent week of walking. The paths are steep in some places but well defined and Jose guided us with care and attention on the challenging ascents and descents of the Sierra Aitana. The walks were well-paced by Jose but the days are long so you do need to be fit. We trekked through a number of landscapes illustrating the historic and current use of the area and Jose with his local knowledge enhanced our understanding of how this area has evolved over the centuries as well as the current challenges. The views from the walks were amazing – one way you could see the coast from Alicante to Benidorm and beyond and the other the folding valleys and mountains of the interior. The skies were blue and the days sunny and warm and we experienced very little wind even on the summits. We were based at the Hostel Rincon de Pepe where we had a wonderful week being looked after by Raquel. The food was amazing and hearty (three courses plus wine). The terrace was also great place to have breakfast every morning as the sun rose out of the Med, as well as a beer or two after the walk as the sun disappeared behind the mountains.
This is a great week’s walking in a little-known (and underrated) part of Spain. The Aitana range is a compact set of mountains so you get to tick off almost all of it, and there are great views from the top of all the peaks, out to the coast and across to the surrounding peaks. Most of the walks are reasonably demanding, but also rewarding.
Being based in one location, with very short transfers (or none) for each walk makes for a very relaxing week aside from the walking. It’s also a fairly short transfer to/from Alicante Airport.
The vast majority of meals are included which makes it much better value than some other (apparently similarly priced) holidays.
Jose the guide is exceptional: hard-working, helpful, supportive and deeply knowledgeable about the area.