2 days on Turkey’s Carian Trail

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

day 1 – 8am Starbucks, Bodrum.

9:30am – ferry to Datça.

You pass the Greek island of Kos en route.

11am – arrive at the new ferry terminal.

Free shuttle bus to town.

I wandered Datça town for an hour enjoying the peace and quiet after busy Bodrum.

Eventually I found the official trailhead in Eski Datça. This is the start of the 240km Datça Peninsula section.

People visit to see traditional old stone houses on cobbled streets.

Follow the red & white paint.

There are some signs on the Carian Trails, but not many.

I wore long pants due to thorny, stinging vegetation on the overgrown trails. In fact I should have had even thicker pants.

Traditionally this region is famous for fish, almonds and honey.

Most of the day was on logging roads. Good footing.

Alarmingly, the only water source was swarming with wasps. I couldn’t get close.

First glimpse of the ocean.

I was very happy to see my destination — Pig’s Hollow Camp (Dumuzcukuru). Wild boars visit occasionally.

It’s something of a commune. When I was there 3 Turks were in residence. One had been coming for 6 years.

They take care of the garden. Keep the place clean. Maintain the solar power rig and water purification system.

Anyone can stay and probably eat dinner with the guys. By donation.

My pasta dinner, home grown salad and wine were excellent. I was HAPPY to donate.

The guys told me very few Carian Trail hikers pass by. It truly has not caught on yet in Turkey though the nearby Lycian Way is booming. The Carian Trail was only launched in 2013.

I saw one big black snake. They guys said they see about one snake a day at the Camp.

My last night in the tent in Turkey. A nice spot. I had the beach to myself.

I read my kindle as dusk fell.

6 great mountain peaks you can hike

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Rainier, Washington

Mount Elbrus, Russia

Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Shasta, California

6 Iconic Hikes You Should Do Before You Die

I believe Kili is the only one of those 6 that you MUST do with a guide.

Check our list of best trekking peaks. Kili and Ranier are on it.

best hike – Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

For hikers Göreme is probably the best base for Cappadocia. You can literally go off hiking in any direction.  It’s got a good variety of restaurants and accommodation too.

On arrival in Göreme someone will hand you a FREE hiking map.

Most wander around with this thingfrequently getting lost. We could find no decent map nor guidebook in 2017.

For 6 days I hiked and cycled many of these trails, often lost, before finally deciding on what I felt was the best hike.

Ask the people at your accommodation in Göreme how to get to the Rose Valley Panoramic viewpoint. They’ll likely recommend a taxi and tell you the price. It’s about a 15 minute drive uphill from town.

There is a small entry fee for Panoramic viewpoint. The taxi may drop you outside the gates.

Here begins the Rose Valley trail. 5km to Caveusin. Most feel Rose is the best hike of all. And I’d agree.

Note that most of the trail signage is in Turkish.

There are many twisting and turning trail options. All are good but the very bottom of the valley might be muddy.

Rose is popular with cyclists, too.

Gorgeous, surreal scenery.

End of the trail is the village of Çavuşin.

If you haven’t yet seen enough Church caves — you might want to visit the World Heritage site Caveusin Kilisesi.

From Çavuşin you need to get to the Love Valley trailhead. Ask in town. It’s about 1km up the highway towards Goreme. (There are shortcuts.)

If walking the highway here’s the turn-off. These pink signs are the best of the admittedly poor and confusing trail signage in the area.

From there you can’t miss it.

Love Valley is the second best trail in my opinion.

Why they call it Love Valley I can’t imagine. 🙂

You can see here how those columns erode away from the valley wall.

It’s about 4km uphill to the end of the Love trail. If not lost you’ll finish at this tourist trap.

Bus tours stop and parade their unwilling passengers through the souvenirs.

Cross the highway and make your way up to the top of impressive Uchisar Castle. There’s a small entry fee.

Exiting on your way down ask for the Pigeon Valley trailhead. Look for these pigeons. It’s not difficult to find.

Some have reported seeing no pigeons in Pigeon Valley. We saw plenty.

Historically farmers built roosts for pigeons in the valley wall in order to later collect their guano.

It’s downhill to Göreme. A nice but often crowded walk.

Looking back to the Castle.

You might spend 4-6 hours including stops on this best hike.

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

click for larger version


A shorter alternative would be to loop Pigeon to Love Valley. It’s a 2km walk up the highway back to Göreme, however.

We really need someone to put together a decent map of trails out of Goreme. Hundreds of thousands visit every year and almost all do some hiking.

related – Hike Bike Travel – 21 Photos That Will Make You Want To Hike In Turkey’s Rose Valley

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 6

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 6 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I slept well on my own private beach. Woke about 6am wanting an early start.

I’d read that I could have the the ancient Greek and Roman city of Phaselis to myself if I got there before opening. And I did.

Phaselis was set up by the Rhodians in 700 BC. …

The city was captured by Persians after they conquered Asia Minor, and was later captured by Alexander the Great. …

In fact they handed Alexander a golden crown with the keys to the city.

Many others conquered Phaselis. Hadrian was one other prominent lord visitor.

Citizens did not care much who was overlord. They kept making money from their ideal trading route location.

The tourist site was just opening when I reached the front gates. Ticket agents kindly pointed me on to the Lycian Way. They are used to hikers arriving from the wrong direction at odd times.

Today I would have to leave the coast and climb inland. Big elevation gains.

Not so keen on the idea, I toyed with the idea of taking the cable car on high. And hiking back down to the Lycian.

But it turned out to be a 9km side trip on pavement to get to the cable car. I decided against that plan.

Many decide to quit the Lycian right about here. When the trail reaches the main highway.

I continued on a parallel trail, passing one tent of hikers. And one nude sunbather.

This is the tourist trap Kemer.

I knew I could catch a bus to Antalya from there.

I was still debating what to do as I circumnavigated this bay.

Finally, I did quit. (I could have rejoined the Lycian by hiking under the main highway here. But wimped out.)

Walking into town it wasn’t long before I found the express bus. About 50km later I was back to my base camp – Antalya.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We’ve added a Lycian Way information page for those who might want to do this excellent hike themselves. Go for it.