Antarctica & Arctic
Discover the delights of Turkey as you cycle along the shore and through hillside villages.
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7 nights accommodation, meals as indicated, transport and activities as specified & services of an Explore tour leader throughout.
Cycle with us through farmland, hills and forests as we travel along Turkey's beautiful Turquoise Coast. We cycle along the shores of Lake Koycegiz, visit hillside villages and relax on the golden sands of Patara Beach. We also take a boat cruise across Fethiye Bay, visit the ancient sites of Patara and Xanthos and savour the fresh local food.
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Beautiful scenery, interesting hill villages and great local food along the Turquoise Coast
Discover the ancient ruins at Patara and relax on the golden sand beach
Explore the ancient capital of Lycia from Xanthos
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The tour starts in the riverside town of Dalyan. Chance to meet your fellow travellers and tour leader and sample some of the excellent local food.
Protected by the huge mountains to the north and with a rugged coastline on all other sides of the Lycian Peninsula, the Lycian civilisation flourished in this beautiful land from about 2000BC, developing a language, alphabet, arts and architecture style particular to themselves. The Lycians burst onto the stage of history during the Trojan war when they helped to defend the Trojans, but later conquered by the Persians in 545BC, and then Alexander in 334BC, after which the area was Hellenised and the Lycian alphabet fell into disuse. Lycia flourished during the Roman empire, a golden age that ended in Byzantine times when a series of earthquakes, plagues, and finally the Arab raids ended the trading importance of the region, becoming a quiet backwater during Selcuk and Ottoman times.
Starting out from Dalyan we cycle to the river, cross by river taxi and then ride to the hot springs of Sultaniye where we make a stop. Entrance to this ancient source of wellness, used since Roman times, is included. We continue to ride along the shores of the lake before arriving through orange groves to the peaceful lakeside town of Koycegiz, with time for some refreshments before taking our bus back to Dalyan. For a relaxing end to the day you could head to the wonderful beach at Iztuzu for a dip and visit the Turtle sanctuary, or visit the stunning location of the ancient Lycian port of Caunos. Todays undulating ride is along the pine forested banks of the lake, with one significant ascent of 160m, before a descent to the flat alluvial plains full of pomegranate and orange orchards.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres (Total 300 metres accumulated ascent) (B)(L)
Leaving Dalyan we cycle along country roads following the flood plain around Dalyan and Sulungur Lake, we climb over the Gokbel pass (140m) and descend to the fertile plain of Dalaman. Once the Sultan's hunting lands, after the declaration of the Republic in 1923, this fertile delta was cleared to provide farmland for freed Ottoman slaves and there is still an unusual ethnic mix here. Where we join the boat depends on sea conditions, but there will be a thrilling descent to the stuning Gocek Bay where we will board our private boat. We take a 2 hour boat journey across the bay to Fethiye town where we spend the night. There will be a chance to swim during the boat trip.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres (Total 350 metres accumulated ascent) (B)(L)
Today after a relaxing rooftop breakfast, we walk round the town of Fethiye, looking at the remains of Telmessos and the Amyntas tomb carved in the rocks above the town. Telmessos: Situated in a perfect natural harbour, Telmessos has both Lycian and Carian influences, as displayed in the collection of monmantel tombs impressively cut into the cliffs. Equally cursed and blessed, this harbor town has great supplies of water and productive farmland, however frequent and powerful earthquakes periodically destroy man's work; the last major earthquake was in 1953. We then drive to the village of Gokben where we get on our bikes. Starting with a descent through charming terraced lands, the road starts to undulate with no major climbs, towards the village of Minare where we have lunch. The roads descends to cross the Xanthos river. From here we can have an optional visit to the ancient city of Pinara. Seemingly picked for it's beautiful position nestled in the hills, with views of the snowy peaks of the Taurus mountains, Pinara is famous for the many hundreds of rock tombs of various levels of decoration in the high cliffs behind the city, and a charmingly preserved theatre. We continue by bike, crossing the Xanthos Valley, on to our hotel near Saklikent. There is the opportunity for an optional visit to Saklikent Gorge.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 33 kilometres (Total 380 metres accumulated ascent) (B)(L)
This morning we drive 20 minutes with the bikes to the ancient site of Tlos. Set on a rocky promontory these largely unexcavated ruins have great views over the Xanthos Valley. The commanding location of this city above the fertile Xanthos valley below, make Tlos a natural location for an important city. The elevation and cool water that gushes down from the mountain behind, made this an ideal summer retreat for the wealthy, as evidenced by the fine bath houses, public squares and grand stadium built here. The most famous resident of Tlos was Bellerophon, who tamed the mythical Pegasus and slayed the Chimera, a fire breathing monster. We have the opportunity to explore the site (optional) before starting our spectacular alpine cycle ride at Arsakoy, climbing up through the slopes of Akdag, the White Mountian. Starting high up at Arsakoy, we follow the twisty alpine road, where we will be thankful of the low gears of the bikes, passing apple orchards, snow melt ravines, cedar forests, and quiet villages, before arriving at the market village of Sutlegen, a mountain village set on the shoulder of Mount Akdag, where we spend the night in a village house. There are five rooms the group will be split among, all with beds and full bedding provided. There are two bathrooms with toilets and showers. We should have time to visit the local blacksmith and mosque before dinner.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 29 kilometres (Total 1000 metres accumulated ascent) (B)(D)
Leaving Sutlegen behind a cool descent through the Cedar forests starts the day, before those who feel strong can tackle the 230m pass of Belmuar (those who prefer can jump on the bus and enjoy a tea at the scenic pass instead) before generally descending to the lush valley of Islamlar, where we can stop for a good lunch at one of the trout farms (Other dishes apart from fish are available). After lunch we continue downhill to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xanthos. This once proud capital of Lycia stood up to both the Persian and Roman armies; tragically defeated both times, the survivors chose to kill themselves rather than be enslaved, however Xanthos actually flourished both under the Persians and the Romans, the exquisite artwork of the Lycians is displayed both here in situ, and also forms one of the formemost exibits of the British Museum. We will visit the site before driving to our hotel in Patara, from where we can explore the Roman ruins (birthplace of Saint Nicholas) and have some time to relax on the beautiful golden beach (optional).
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 45 kilometres (Total 410 metres accumulated ascent) (B)
We have a gentle start to the day across the low lands of Patara. Then we climb 250m to the pass above Kalkan before we descend to the rugged coast. We ride through a productive agricultural area with many greenhouses before passing the attractive harbour town of Kalkan and completing our journey with a fantastic coastal ride into Kas. The road to Kas follows the coast all the way from here, and is one of the most spectacular coastal rides anywhere, crossing high canyons and following the jagged coastline. We should arrive in Kas in time for lunch on the harbour. There will be a chance to swim during the ride. On arrival in Kas we have the option to relax with a massage in a local hammam.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 42 kilometres (Total 715 metres accumulated ascent) (B)
After breakfast we drive 2.5 hours to Dalaman airport where the tour ends.
Kas is one of the most beautiful ports on the Turkish Riviera, with a dramatic backdrop of limestone cliffs. Kas is a great place to relax, with cafes and restaurants spilling out onto cobbled streets and a network of tiny back-alleys to explore. You may like to extend your stay and book additional nights accommodation and an airport transfer if you wish. (B)
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