Turkey Family Adventure: Cappadocia & Lycian Way Hiking - 9 Days

Perfect for active families of all ages, this adventurous 9-day itinerary highlights some of Turkey's most stunning natural scenery. Beginning among the famous "fairy chimneys" of Cappadocia, you'll explore the valley with easy hikes and bike rides, discovering ancient fortresses and underground cities. After an unforgettable hot air balloon ride, it's time to transfer west to the Mediterranean coast, where you'll trek some inviting portions of the famous Lycian Way against a backdrop of fragrant pine forests, rugged coastline, and mythical mountains.

Day 1

Arrive in Cappadocia

Uçhisar, one of Cappadocia's famous rock-cut villages

Welcome to Turkey! Upon arrival, you'll be met by your guide at Kayseri Airport and transferred to your hotel in Cappadocia. Here you can get settled in and rest up for a busy day of exploring tomorrow.

Day 2

Göreme Open Air Museum, Pottery Making & Valley Hike

The whimsical rock formations of Cappadocia

Start today's explorations at the Göreme Open Air Museum. Here you can marvel at some of the most beautiful rock-cut churches and frescoes in the world, see unique examples of rock-hewn architecture, and learn about historic fresco techniques dating back to the 10th-12th centuries.

Continue to a local pottery atelier, where you'll watch a live demonstration and the whole family can try their hand at this ancient art. Supplied by the red clay of the Kızılırmak River, pottery making has been a tradition in the region since the Hittite civilization of 2000 to 1500 BCE.

In the afternoon, a short and easy hike takes you into the Love Valley, where you can enjoy walking amongst one of the most beautiful areas in all of Cappadocia.

Day 3

Hot Air Balloon Ride & Valley Bike Tour

Hot air balloons over Cappadocia

Early risers can opt for an unforgettable sunrise hot air balloon ride this morning, soaring over Cappadocia's spectacular "fairy chimneys" or hoodoos, the fantastical geological formations that pepper the area's natural landscapes.

After breakfast, take a tour around the beautiful town of Uçhisar, known for its ancient defensive fortress carved into the natural rock, and continue to the Avcilar and Pasabag Valleys for panoramic views.

In the afternoon, you'll switch gears and set out on a three-hour bike tour through the area's most scenic valleys.

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Day 4

Kaymaklı Underground City & Ihlara Valley Hike

Descend underground to the tunnels and chambers of Kaymaklı

Start today with a visit to the Kaymaklı Underground City. Built by early Christians to protect themselves from the religious persecution of Roman soldiers, this ancient wonder is a maze of elaborate underground tunnels and chambers.

In the afternoon, you'll set out on another easy hike in the Ihlara Valley. Following the Melendiz River, the two-hour trek follows flat terrain and takes you past several historic rock-cut churches.

Day 5

Transfer to Antalya via Konya & Aspendos

Stop at Konya to learn more about the life of Rumi

Say your goodbyes to Cappadocia this morning as you set out on a full day's journey with your driver, heading southwest towards the Mediterranean coast. Along the way, you'll visit a 13th-century caravanserai, a historic roadside inn that served an important role for traders traveling along the Old Silk Road. Your next stop is the city of Konya, a famous pilgrimage site and home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, scholar, and Sufi mystic. Tour the Mevlana Museum, where you can see the Tomb of Rumi and learn about the history of one of the world's greatest poets, then sit down to a leisurely lunch.

Continuing the drive, you'll stop to marvel at the 2nd century Aspendos Theater, one of the world's best-preserved Roman amphitheaters, before reaching the Mediterranean coastal resort of Antalya for the evening.

Day 6

Discover Antalya, Hike to Mount Chimera

The eternal flames of Chimera

After breakfast, it's time to embark on a guided walking tour of Antalya to discover the city's rich Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk, and Ottoman heritage. Stroll along the harborfront, then wander the winding streets of Kaleiçi, Antalya's historic old quarter, where you can stop at charming cafes and browse for souvenirs among its many shops.

Next, you'll step back in time with a visit to the Antalya Museum of Archaeology, one of Turkey's largest museums, where you can browse an impressive collection of imperial statues and sarcophagi. For lunch, you'll transfer to the pretty village of Ulupınar, where you can savor fresh-caught trout overlooking the water.

In the afternoon, set out on a scenic three-hour hike, heading mostly downhill towards Cıralı. Passing through idyllic forests, you'll be rewarded with several panoramic outlooks over Mount Olympos. You'll also pass the eternal flames of Chimera, or Yanartas, widely believed to be the origin of the myth of the Chimera monster. Fueled by methane and other gases released from the earth below, these incredible flaming rocks have burned for millennia. When you reach Cıralı, you'll have time to relax at the beach before a transfer takes you to Adrasan for the evening. Here you'll get settled into your accommodation and enjoy a well-earned dinner.

Day 7

Hike to Cape Gelidonya

Hike to the Cape Gelidonya Lighthouse

Today starts with a transfer to nearby Karaöz. This tiny village will be your starting point as you continue walking along the Taurus Mountains. A highlight of the three-hour trek is Cape Gelidonya, a site most famously known for the Bronze Age shipwreck that was located here in the 1950s. You will also pass by the cape's lighthouse, which overlooks a collection of forested islets. After enjoying the views, you'll transfer back to Adrasan, where the rest of the day is yours to spend at your leisure.

Day 8

Adrasan Scenic Boat Tour

Discover the Bay of Olympos by boat

Today you can rest your legs and see the coast from a new vantage point with a scenic boat tour. Starting from the harbor in Adrasan, you'll set out to explore the wonderful bays and islets of this spectacular stretch of coast, enjoying a memorable lunch onboard.

Day 9

Transfer to Antalya & Departure

Antalya's beautiful Mediterannean port

Your adventure draws to a close this morning, as you enjoy a final breakfast on the coast before transferring to Antalya to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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