7 and 8 nights exploring Cappadocia, staying in small hotels and guesthouses, available April to October. Other rides during March, October and November, explore further south in Antalya or the Dalyan region, using basic camps and guesthouses. Suitable for intermediate riders and above (some less experienced riders on Cappadocia Dicovery Rides).
Where Most rides are in Cappadocia, a UNESCO world heritage region in central Antalya about 700 kms from Istanbul and just north of the Taurus mountains. Antalya Rides also explore the southern part of the Taurus mountains, and Dalyan Rides the mediterranean coast.
What is it like Cappadocia's landscape is breathtaking, a network of canyons and fantastically shaped rocks eroded and carved by the wind and water, and churches, houses and dovecots carved into the soft rock by man. From prehistoric times, civilizations have flourished here and the Hittites, Persians, early and Byzantine Christians, Mongols, Greeks and Ottomans have all left evidence of their passage. Translating to ‘the land of beautiful horses’, a name given by the Persians when they saw the wild mountain ponies of the region, Cappadocia is unique. Wild ponies still live on the slopes of the Erciyes Volcano and the whole region is listed World Heritage by UNESCO.
Who does it suit Strong intermediate riders who are fit and active, although rides can be tailored for less experienced private and family groups. The horses are agile and keen, negotiating narrow paths, cantering over steppe and through winding canyons, with ease. Riders are expected to groom and tack up their own horse (extra help on request for a small extra cost on Pasha Rides) and there are plenty of long, fast canters as well as some walking up and down steep hills. Nights are in small guesthouses and pensions offering traditional Turkish hospitality (upgrades possible) and on the Great Cappadocia, Antalya and Dalyan Rides, in simple camps set up in different locations.
Why we love it Not too far from the UK but culturally so different, visiting Turkey is exciting for any travel lover and Cappadocia's landscape is quite simply spectacular - like something you've never seen before. A horse gives scope to properly explore the canyons, cliffs and gorges and where else can you enjoy exhilarating, energetic riding in such dramatic surroundings?
Riding: 4-6 hours a day (varies with itinerary)
Horses: Arab and Arab cross
Pace: moderate to fast but varies with itinerary; some slow sections due to rough, hilly terrain but good chances to canter most days
Riding ability: fit, intermediate riders and above (confident intermediate and above only for Cappadocia Adventure, Great Cappadocia and Antalya Rides; confident novice riders accepted on Cappadocia Discovery Rides)
Weight limit: 85kg (13st 5lbs)
Accommodation: comfortable guesthouses / 3* hotels with upgrade to boutique hotels possible; simple 2∆ camps on Great Cappacocia, Antalya and Dalyan Ride.
Group size: max 8
Season: April to October
Price: 7 nights from 1375 Euros (approx £1250) per person; Discover Cappadocia Family Rides from 885 Euros (approx. £805) per person
Horses: The horses are locally bred, mainly Arab and Arab crosses, several of which are also used for endurance. Most are between about 14.2 and 15.2hh.They are keen and forward going but also calm, adaptable and well suited to the terrain. Saddles are Maclellan style, similar to a western, fitted with cruppers and breastplates. Saddle bags are provided. Most horses are ridden in snaffles (some pelhams) and are used to light contact. There is a strict rider weight limit of 85kg / 13st 5lbs (some experienced heavier riders up to 90kg on request, with supplement payable).
Hours: Varies with itinerary but usually between 4 and 6 hours riding a day with breaks for rests and lunch. Some days with less riding so you can visit some of the fascinating sites on foot. On the Cappadocia Discovery, hours are tailored to suit and other tailormade itineraries are possible for private groups.
Pace and experience required: Moderate pace overall with fast sections and some slow sections due to hilly terrain (some quite steep mountain tracks and a little road work through towns and villages). Lots of opportunities for long, energetic canters (around 10 minutes at a time) along valley floors, winding between towering rocks and following paths between wheat fields. Some walking up and down steep hills on all routes and you need to be able to mount / dismount unassisted. Generally you need to be a fit rider of at least intermediate standard to participate although Cappadocia Discovery are aimed at families and groups wishing to learn and tailormade rides can be organised on request for those wishing to adapt riding hours / pace. The Cappadocia Adventure, Great Cappadocia (which is set up as a team challenge) and Antalya Rides require the greatest level of riding and all round general fitness; the route is adapted a litle on Pasha Rides to avoid some steep sections - although the ride is still sporty in nature.
Accommodation is either in local guesthouses and small hotels or, on the Great Cappadocia, Antalya and Dalyan rides, in simple camps. There is an option to upgrade on the Cappadocia Adventure and Pasha Rides to 'boutique' hotels with extra facilities such as swimming pools. Guesthouses and hotels are all carefully chosen for their character; some are very traditional family run and most are typical of the region, with rooms carved into the rock "troglodyte" style. Rooms have private bathrooms and rates are based on twin / double occupancy. Single rooms can be arranged subject to availability for a small supplement.
Camping (Great Cappadocia, Antalya and Dalyan Rides) is simple - 2 man 'teepee' style tents with a waterproof groundsheet, rugs and 2" thick mattresses supplied. You need your own sleeping bag and are expected to put up / take down your tent. There is a central 'mess' tent in traditional nomadic style with kilims, rugs and low Turkish 'chai' tables. A 'shower' tent is set up for the group. Loos are open air!
Cappadocia Adventure - Low season 1375 Euros; Mid season 1550 Euros; High season 1700 Euros
Average temperature guide
|Itinerary in brief - Cappadocla Adventure Ride. Please ask us for other itineraries
We recommend a night in Istanbul before the ride and can arrange this / book hotels etc.
|Day 1||Airport shuttle service from Kayseri to Ortahisar. Dinner and night at a guesthouse in Urgup.|
||After breakfast, you will be driven about 20 minutes to meet the horses. A brief introduction, saddle up and trial ride arond the farm, then set off riding aong the stream of the Uzengi Canyon. Lunch and then a long canter to Avlak mountain with a wonderful view. Afternoon riding to Karain village. transfer to Urgup for the night.|
||Breakfast, prepare the horses and the day starts with a canter on the high Anatolian plateau. 20 minute decent on foot to Damsa lake. Lunch cooked on a woodfire, a swim in the lake if it is hot (with your horse), then canter on soft clay to the village of Ayvali. Dinner and night Ayvali.|
||Ride to the underground village of Golgoli, off the beaten track winding through rock formations, vineyards and orchards, Arrive in the old Greek village of Mustafapasa, climbing to a high plateau where there is chance for an exhilarating canter before riding back to the guesthouse in Ayvali. Lunch in Mustafapasa or by the pool in Ayvali depending on the weather.|
|Day 5||Riding away from the guesthouse, you can enjoy the variety of tracks, farmland and open spaces of Subasi before visiting a second, different underground village, Kirkule. Á long canter to the fairy chimneys of the Gomeda Valley and then lunch at a good local restaurant. After lunch climb the twin hills of Cappadocia and ride towards the village of Uchisar though canyons of multicoloured rocks and fairy chimneys. Dinner and night Uchisar.|
||Optional hot air balloon flight (approx 270 euros, always weather dependant) then ride through the 4kms long canyon, Green Valley. Detour through the famous Love Valley with its gigantic phallic rock formations and then into Sword Valley and Red Valley. With its citadels of red, pink and ochre rock and beautiful troglodytic churches, this is Cappadocia's most spectacular ensemble. Lunch in an ancient monastry, exploring again in the afternoon and ending with a long canter back to the guesthouse in Uchisar at sun set. Dinner and night|
||Breakfast and a final day's ride through White Valley., named after the colour of its rock. Stone labyrinths, towering fairy chimneys, another Love Valley ....then a short walk to the plateau of Boz and finally ride along sandy tracks, past orchards and gardens of Urgup to get back to the farm for tea. An optional Haman, steam bath and massage in Urgup before dinner and night at the guesthouse .|
||Breakfast and shuttle transfer back to Kayseri airport for onward flight.|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting point is Kayseri airport (Konya airport for Antalya Ride, Dalaman Airport for Dalyan Ride). You need to fly to Istanbul and then take an internal flight to Kayseri / Konya. If possible we recommend a night or two in Istanbul before the ride to explore the city and be sure flight connections work. For flights from London budget around £400 to £500 economy return (varies with season and availability) - Euros 245