Day 1: Arrive Kayseri Airport.
Transfer to hotel. This first day is for travel and transfers, and we use a comfortable hotel nearby Kayseri Airport to facilitate different arrival times to suit you best. The Ibis Hotel is comfortable, modern and convenient, with a large lawn area that’s good for testing and tuning bikes and an excellent buffet breakfast. Depending on arrival times we will eat a good dinner together and have a full briefing afterwards.
Overnight Ibis Hotel, Kayseri (L,D)
Day 2: Transfer to Arapli (65km / 1hr). Arapli – Soganli (Restaurant lunch) – Baskoy – Soganli
Total 50km / 700m Climbing / 700m Descent
From Kayseri we drive you 85km to a remote and wild start point in the small, semi-deserted village of Arapli. The ride begins on a well surfaced dirt track that runs alongside a railway line, heading up into a dry, barren valley with impressive cliff outcrops on rising up on both sides. Soon the track becomes too sandy to follow easily, so we take to the goat tracks that run nearby, carefully picking a line through the sand on an entertainingly technical course. Slowly gaining height, we are eventually able to rejoin the main track, and have a short spin across flat, open badlands above, before dropping into a deep canyon of epic proportions above the caves and abandoned stone houses of Soganli old village. The descent is first class singletrack- rocky, tight and challenging in places and fast, open and sandy in others, there are challenges and adrenalin boosting obstacles to wake / warm you up.
We eat a good lunch at the authentic Emek Pension, and then enjoy a relaxing circuit of Soganli’s north valley as we digest. Here we explore rock cut churches, cave houses and incredible rocky scenery on a network of technical singletrack trails. We also have chance to work on some essential trail skills here before retackling the steep singletrack route out of the canyon on which we entered. Continuing on rough tractor tracks and sometimes directly cross country, we get close (not too close) to the canyon edge for unbelievable views before picking up a fast, flowing dirt road which brings us back into the valley via some ancient and technical rock steps. This tricky section is one of the best- and you might like a few tries to nail your technique. From Baskoy, we return to Soganli on an easy, fast and very scenic asphalt road and have time for a few beers on the pension’s terrace. Dinner in pension.
Overnight Emek Penison, Soganli (B,L,D)
Day 3: Transfer – Nar Lake – Sivrihisar – Guzelyurt (Restaurant lunch) – Ihlara Canyon – Selime
Total 40km / 950m Climb / 1200m Descent.
After a 45 minute transfer we begin our ride at a fantastic volcanic crater lake, climbing up and over the rim on a rough, sometimes vertiginous tractor track, picking a route through the rock slides with superb views below. We descend on a fast flowing singletrack through the deserted houses of Nar village. After a challenging climb on cow tracks and then dirt tractor tracks we cross a high mountain pasture and two beautiful mountain lakes at around 1980m to arrive at Sivrihisar village. From here we descend on fast, rocky dirt tracks (with freeride sections for experts) into Guzelyurt’s Monastery Valley and head up into the town for a hearty restaurant lunch.
After lunch, we have time to explore the underground cities back down in the valley, before leaving town on yet more rough downhill via High Church and a moonscape of slick rocks with so many great lines to find… Dropping into the Ihlara Canyon at Belisirma we relax on comfortable wooden huts suspended over the water itself! We then ride the sometimes tricky singletrack in the canyon, eventually arriving at Selime village amongst a “Star Wars” landscape. At the end of the ride we shuttle you 15 minutes back up the hill to the beautiful old town of Guzelyurt and overnight in a splendid and luxurious Ottoman “Konak” hotel. Dinner in hotel.
Overnight Kapadokya Ihlara Konaklari, Guzelyurt (B,L,D)
Day 4: Transfer – Kavak – Gomeda – Ortahisar (Restaurant lunch) – Ibrahimpasa – Zemi – Goreme
Total 35km / 600m Climbing / 900m Descent
After breakfast we drive 80km / 1 hour north to Kavak, a little visited farming village nearby to Goreme but in a different cultural world, relatively unknown to tourists. After a warm up on sandy, undulating dirt roads we soon reach an amazing freeride descent through a moonscape of slick. This part is much like a natural BMX track with so many different lines to be ridden and natural carves and bowls like a man-made pump track. After a challenging final descent, we ride along the valley on jungle-like, overgrown singletracks (long sleeves recommended) with numerous technical stream crossings, log bridges and splash-downs to contend with. Heading on into the Uzengi Valley we check out the incredible multi-storey rock-cut pigeon lofts and a “natural wonder” mineral water spring. From here we climb on a picturesque dirt road to Ortahisar village, where we eat a wonderful 4-course meal in one of the region’s best small restaurants- featuring a main course of slow roasted lamb (veggie and other options available too).
Following our epic lunch, we ease into the afternoon with a gentle valley climb up through the green, fertile Balkon Valley to Ibrahimpasa, from where a rough track brings us fairly painlessly up and over the highest point above Goreme (Gemil Hill) and an unbelievable view over Goreme, Uchisar, Ortahisar, Avanos and Urgup! We descend a rough track to the top of Zemi Valley- where a technical and super steep slick rock slab entrance poses nerve-testing entertainment for the better riders. Now in lush, green and overgrown forested terraces, our downhill trail is great fun- passing through natural rock tunnels, handlebar-width mini canyons and hairpin drops and steps. From the valley’s mid-point one final technical climb brings us up and over into a parallel universe- Gorkundere- part of the 2007 European XC MTB Cup course. We fly down the rutted rocks, emerging with glowing smiles all round right in the centre of Goreme, where a logical next step is the bike-friendly bar named “Fat Boys”. Our base in Goreme is lively and great fun- as well as being at the trailhead of several of the best routes- and our hotel is one of the best true “cave hotels”- for that authentic “luxury hobbit” experience. Dinner at Orient Restaurant, Goreme
Overnight Flintstones Cave Hotel, Goreme (B,L,D)
Day 5: Hot Air Balloon flight – Rest morning – Goreme Panoramic – Uchisar – Pigeon Valley (down) – Love Valley (down) – Goreme
Total 16km / 470m Climbing / 470m Descent
This morning you might like to see the dawn in from a Hot Air Balloon flight- respected as a “must do” in Cappadocia, and an awesome way to see the trails you’ve ridden from a completely different perspective! Though the tour is completely optional, this an unmissable experience, and you’ll be back in time for breakfast- possibly slightly drunk from the champagne reception! The rest of the morning is free, and you can relax poolside at the hotel, catch up and R&R or wander through the backstreets of Goreme as you choose. We meet for a good restaurant lunch in the village, and after the meal set off on a stunningly beautiful climb to Uchisar via the edge of Goreme’s panoramic canyon.
We arrive in Uchisar (flying castle in Turkish)- an awesome cave village perched high above the Goreme valley and from then on some of the best singletracks kick in.The next 3 days are solid gold trail riding! We launch into an awesome 5km long singletrack descent through the top half of Pigeon Valley- on a fast, smooth footpath that snakes between well ordered vegetable gardens. Leaving the valley at the mid-point, we climb out on slick rocks and then drop into White Valley. Very steep and technical in places, the scenery is breathtaking, and our trail passes through Cappadocia’s best “fairy chimney” rock towers. We finish our “easy” day in Goreme, and again go out to dinner at one of Cappadocia’s best restaurants. Dinner at Ataturka Restaurant, Goreme
Overnight Flintstones Cave Hotel, Goreme (B,L,D)
Day 6: Goreme – Gorkundere – Kiliclar – Kaya Camping – Meskendir Valley (down) – Rose Valley / Columns Church (up) – Red Valley / Grapes Church (restaurant lunch) – The Balkon – Cavusin
Total 18km / 650m Climb / 650m Descent
Setting off from our hotel, we dovetail onto the last portion the Euro XC Cup circuit from a different direction and taking on the rutted rock downhill for a second time. Our route stays close to Goreme initially, enjoying some steep, smooth singletracks and great views as we meander through Swords Valley- Kiliclar. This accessible terrain is a good intro for the more technical and exposed trails to come this afternoon. We climb on an immensely scenic ascent along a ridge above Meskendir Valley, passing Kaya Camping and then dropping into that valley on one of three technical trails. Meskendir Valley is one of the best- with a flowing trail that descends through tunnels, canyons and steeply terraced gardens- with some steps and “north shore” thrown in for good measure! Eventually we run our of downs, and put up our saddles ready for the almost vertical techy climbs of Rose Valley- stopping to draw breath and admire the phenomenal and relatively unknown 8th Century rock-cut “Church of Columns”. Crossing a grassy plateau brings us immediately back into singletrack domain, this time above Red Valley and onto a sheer sided rocky spur that affords a “hot air balloon” view to the valley below. We enjoy a delicious lunch in an off-grid eco-sensitive local restaurant and have time to chill on the sofas there as we digest.
After lunch an easy dirt track climb brings us to the Panoramic Viewpoint for perhaps the hardest but most incredible of all the trails… We call it The Balkon. Though not for the faint hearted everyone is able to tackle the 7km downhill trail at their own speed, and there is no shame in walking some of the steeper sectors. However, the great riding through boulder strewn and deeply eroded gullies is reminiscent of Zion, Utah, and of Red Bull’s legendary Rampage- live your dreams! We return to Goreme and have the option to spend the afternoon in the nearby small town of Avanos, where we can visit an artisanal ceramics workshop and museum! A tougher day than the modest km’s suggest, but world-class trail riding in every respect. Dinner at Bizim Ev restaurant, Avanos.
Overnight Flintstones Cave Hotel, Goreme (B,L,D)
Day 7: Cavusin – Rose Valley – Pasabagi – Table Top Mountain – Devrent valley – Urgup
Total 25km / 650m Climb / 600m Descent
Our last day is less intensely technical than yesterday’s so you sholud go home feeling refreshed and satisfied. That said, the morning ride is challenging and again, longer than it’s km’s suggest. From Cavusin we begin a 7km circuit of a different part of Rose Valley, passing by Cross Church on a technical, slick rock course. Now, passing above Cavusin we traverse undulating singletracks through a seemingly impassable landscape of deeply eroded rock, to an old water tower above the fairy chimneys at Pasabagi. From here, a steep 20 minute hike-a-bike trail gets us right to the top of Boz Dagi table top mountain- and some of the best views of the whole trip! We take hugely panoramic goat tracks right around the edge of the table top plateau, with views down to the valleys below and then drop down on a steep, open, enduro-style descent that plunges into a super fast dirt road, meeting up with the Urgup – Avanos road in the barren, desert-like landscape of Devrent Valley. Passing by “Camel Rock” we continue easily on to our final base in the youthful and cosmopolitan town of Urgup.
We have the option to finish our ride in a traditional Turkish bath / hamam- the perfect way to relax and let the stresses and strains of the week melt away… After a tasty restaurant lunch we have time to relax, explore the small boutiques or indulge in a Turkish ice cream and good coffee. There is also time for shopping, and time to relax before the last evening’s entertainment. Optional wine tasting at Turasan winery is also possible. Our evening meal at Urgup’s best restaurant sets the scene for a fantastic last evening, and there are bars and night clubs here for those with a party spirit. Our hotel is a boutique, stone-built cave suites and the perfect place to end a perfect tour. Dinner Ziggys Restaurant, Urgup
Overnight Courtyard Cave Hotel, Urgup (B,L,D)
Day 8: Transfer to Kayseri Airport
We include one private airport transfer per group, but often people arrive and depart at very different times. In which case, we include a reliable scheduled shuttle-bus service which will get you to the airport on time. (B)
Included: B- Breakfast, L- Lunch, D-Dinner
7 Nights top-quality accommodation in hand-selected family-run boutique, authentic cave and deluxe restored Ottoman mansion hotels: the best Cappadocia has to offer and a true highlight of the tour!