The Taurus Mountains stretch for 500 kms across Turkey, forming the southern border of the Anatolian plateau. They are a window into lost empires, home to a sprawling, often otherworldly wilderness, to typically hospitable villagers and dotted with the historic ruins of a bygone era.
In spring the hillsides are abundant with wildflowers: iris, grape hyacinth and wild tulips, while autumn brings the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. We will wind our way along quiet backroads and trails as we head south along parts of a route taken by St. Paul in the 1st century AD.
We spend nights in simple guest houses and homestays, with at least one night in The Slow Cyclist’s very own private luxury tented camp.
When to go
Apr - Oct
From the moment you touch down in southern Turkey, everything is included so that while you are with us you can forget about your wallet, relax and enjoy your time in the Taurus Mountains.
- Travel through a hidden corner of Turkey that sees little to no tourism.
- Visit the region’s earliest settlements, including the 2nd century Adada which is barely excavated.
- Farm to table cuisine in the homes, gardens and villages of local people.
- Stay in The Slow Cyclist’s private luxury tented camp in what we have coined The Magic Valley.
- Wild swimming in forest pools and rushing rivers.
- The immense generosity of your guides and the other Turkish people you will meet.
- Our favourite walk anywhere in the world, amid the otherworldly rock formations of Deli Sarnic.
ON THE MOVE
We start our journey on the western edge of the Taurus Mountains at Lake Egirdir, on the edge of a steppe-like landscape that feels a world away from the busy beaches and hotels of the Mediterranean coast.
We travel, on foot and by e-bike, through a land of rushing rivers, cedar and cypress forests, apple orchards, rose fields, temples, turquiose pools, ancient cities, gorges and simple rural villages where life has changed little for centuries. We traverse ancient trails on mountains where the black goat hair tents of Yoruk nomads are scattered across hillsides.
Cycling distances will be between 20 and 65 kms per day. The cycling consists exclusively of very quiet tarmac backroads. The journey is suitable for almost all levels of cyclist and whether you are a novice or experienced cyclist, our guides are skilled at spotting your ability and level of confidence and reacting accordingly. Walks will be no more than 3 hours and although they require steady legs, are not technical.
Meet journey designer emily
I spent much of 2022 in Turkey designing this journey, working with local communities to create an incredible experience for our guests; one that is true to the slow travel ethos.
HOW TO BOOK
There are two ways to travel with us. You can either travel on a set-date Scheduled Journey or put together your own private party.
We designed our journey through the remote Taurus Mountains to be a 5-night immersion in a corner of Turkey that sees very little tourism. Below is the itinerary.
Transfer 2 hours
We recommend landing in Antalya this lunchtime / early afternoon in time to be transferred into the mountains to the western shore of Lake Egirdir. Here we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the centre of this bustling agricultural town, the launch point for our journey beginning the following morning. Dinner will be close to your hotel.
Morning cycle 36 kms – Afternoon cycle 4kms, walk 2.5 hours
After a short transfer out of Egirdir, we start riding south along quiet roads through rural villages. We’ll cycle towards Adada, a remote and little visited 2nd century city, and will have lunch in Yenikoy on the way. In the afternoon we’ll continue along an ancient road following in the footsteps of St Paul, whose journey from Antalya to Antioch in Pisidia, north of Lake Egirdir, was pivotal in the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire and the Western world. Tonight we will stay in a private village house. Although comfortable, it is not the most charming property. However, it serves a purpose, allowing us to continue our journey without interrupting it too much with long transfers.
Morning cycle 38 kms – Afternoon cycle 25 kms
After breakfast we will transfer you from Bogazkoy to Adada to begin your cycle. First we cross a high plateau where wild horses roam, before a long descent to lunch near Ibisler. In the afternoon the landscape changes again, with occasional villages punctuating the idyllic surroundings. We call this region the ‘Magic Valley,’ and we think you’ll understand why. The next two nights will be spent at a private luxury tented camp we built just outside the village of Cukurca, high above the Köprüçay river canyon.
Various walking options
The landscapes around our campsite in Cukurca are quite extraordinary and merit further exploration. This morning you will be given the option to walk a beautiful 2.5 hour loop from Kesme, or simply relax back at camp. Lunch will be in or near the village and in the afternoon we will walk down to the Köprüçay river for a swim in its crystal clear waters. This evening will be our second and final night at camp.
Morning cycle 29 kms – Afternoon cycle / walk loop 2.5 hours
This morning begins with a beautiful ride to Caltepe, the location of our last guest house. We will have lunch with its owner, Erdinc, after which you may enjoy a short bike ride and walk to another beautiful swim spot. Erdinc’s wife, Emine, will prepare a feast for us tonight on this, our last spent together.
Morning cycle 10 kms, walk 3 hours
On our final day we will cycle to the spellbinding rock formations at Deli Sarnic, before leaving our bikes and spending the rest of the morning walking through this magical landscape. Our destination is a peaceful valley just north of Selge, where Shevki and his family will provide us with lunch in their garden. It is the end of our journey. From there we will drive you to Antalya, with the option of stopping at the world’s best preserved ancient theatre at Aspendos. In Antalya we will say goodbye as you continue your onward journey. We will be happy to arrange overnight accommodation and an airport transfer if you intend to return to the UK the next morning.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
A wonderful opportunity to explore a fascinating part of the world, to meet like-minded travellers and make new friends in a group of Slow Cyclists assembled by us.
TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS
If you love the look of the Taurus Mountains and would like to experience them in a small group of family or friends, get in touch and we will explain how we can make it happen.