Day 1: Transfer from Kayseri Airport to Urgup:
We meet you at Kayseri Airport and transfer to a lovely boutique cave hotel in Urgup, where we’ll settle in, have a pre-tour briefing and if time allows, prepare our bikes.
Overnight Canyon Cave Hotel, Urgup
Day 2: Urgup – Sarihidir – Ozkonak (Picnic lunch) – Avanos – Zelve – Cavusin – Goreme
Total 60km / 1000m climb / 1100m descent
We begin the ride by rounding Boz Dagi table top mountain and Devrent valley to our left, before finally arriving at the great Kizilirmak. Turkey’s longest river is clean, fast flowing and a gorgeous emerald green here, where we cross at the little visited village of Sarihidir. From here, our ride takes us up into the hills to the historical town of Ozkonak where we can visit the underground city and have our picnic lunch in a tea cafe there (hot and cold drinks available). After lunch we take a fast and long downhill to arrive in Avanos- a small but thriving town, famous for it’s pottery and winemaking- a fantastic place to relax and check out the local handicrafts. From there we continue onwards, visiting the “fairy chimneys” at Zelve and Pasabag- one of the areas must-see geographic sights! We continue to Cavusin, where we have a chance to visit rock cut churches and ancient cave dwellings. Then an easy ride takes us to the base of Love Valley, named after it’s particularly phallic stone towers, and on to Goreme- the vibrant backpacker-loved village right in the centre of Cappadocia’s heart.
Overnight Karadut Cave Hotel, Goreme
Day 3: Hot Air Balloon Flight (optional) – Goreme – Uchisar – Urgup – Mustafapasa – Keslik Monastery (Picnic lunch) – Sahniefendi – Guzeloz – Soganli
Total 67km / 1100m climb / 880m descent
This morning you might like to see the dawn from a Hot Air Balloon flight- respected as a “must do” in Cappadocia, and an awesome way to see the roads that you rode yesterday from a completely different perspective! Though the tour is completely optional, this is an unmissable experience, and you’ll be back in time for breakfast- possibly slightly drunk from the champagne reception! From Goreme we climb out of the valley, enjoying tremendous panorama’s, to arrive in Uchisar- an iconic Cappadocian village with stunning hilltop rock cut castle from where we can enjoy superb views of the whole area. Passing Ortahisar and the centre of Urgup we head down a beautiful road that crosses the Gomeda valley on it’s way to Mustafapasa (Sinassos)- a picturesque formerly Greek village where we stop for refreshments. We continue along a very green and pleasant road, soon arriving at Keslik Monastery, where we enjoy a picnic lunch in the shady gardens of the rock cut churches. After lunch our route leads us south down a route full of interest and wonderful scenery. We stop and visit the historic Taskinpasa Medresse, Selcuk Mosque and Sobessos Roman city. Amidst awesome scenery this ride is a perfect balance of restful freewheeling and memorable historic sites. Finally we climb out of the valley at Sahinefendi, crossing a high plateau with views over all the region’s mountain ranges in clear weather. Finally, we drop down into Soganli valley- a lush green flash of life surrounded on all sides by sheer canyon walls. Soganli is an ancient and magical place- and we spend the evening visiting some spectacular rock cut churches- complete with stunningly preserved frescoes. We overnight in a local homestay- with wonderful organic food and true local hospitality. Rustic family ran accommodation is in local style cave rooms and may be shared depending on the size of the group.
Overnight Emek Pension, Soganli
Day 4: Transfer – Nar Lake – Gulagac – Selime (Restaurant lunch) – Ihlara – Guzelyurt
Total 59km / 685m climb / 580m descent
Today’s ride is relatively flat, offering a perfect scenic contrast between vast wide open plains and the awesome “Grand” canyon of Ihlara. We begin with a transfer via Derinkuyu (possible visit to the underground city) and continue out into wild, open uplands to our start point of Nar Golu crater lake. Now well out of the usual tourist realm we find ourselves in a place where shepherds guard huge herds of sheep and goats and people live in much the same way as they have done for generations. Continuing via Gulagac, we soon arrive at the many old houses of Demirci where we stop for drinks. From here our ride is mainly downhill through fantastic arid rocky scenery- arriving at Selime where we enjoy a restaurant lunch on the riverside. Now, our route climbs out of the Ihlara Canyon, and passes by Ihlara town for a super view of the deep upper canyon. After a good climb we arrive at the historic town of Guzelyurt and stay in one of the region’s most splendid hotels. Our host in Guzelyurt is a collection of restored and beautifully furnished Ottoman “konaks”- collections of wealthy town houses built from cut stone with arched ceilings and plenty of regal charm. All in all a hugely rewarding ride!
Overnight Karamanli Konaklari, Guzelyurt
Day 5: Guzelyurt – Sivrihisar – Ciftlik – Altunhisar (Restaurant Lunch) – Nigde
Total 81km / 970m climb / 1235m descent
From Guzelyurt (1430m) our route climbs steadily to the village of Sivrihisar (1780m) with increasingly epic views over the wide open expanses below. We carry on into wild, largely untravelled countryside, dropping down in the remote rural village of Ciftlik. From here we have a big climb (425m in 6.7km) amongst towering mountainous peaks and wonderful scenery to cross the Melendes Mountains. This is our most challenging climb to date but the gradient is gentle and the effort sustained. After recovering for little at the top we enjoy an epic 900m descent back to the flat plains of Nigde, and have lunch in a really good local restaurant in Altunhisar. The afternoon’s ride is much flatter and on larger roads, stopping off for a well earned break at the green gardens of Pinarbasi (60km) before cruising into the provincial capital of Nigde (Nee-Deh). Traffic isn’t too bad but the driver can wait at the edge of the city and transfer you in if you don’t fancy braving the streets! Nigde is an interesting town- untouristic and conservative but with a certain character of it’s own. We stay in the city centre at the best hotel in town and enjoy a sundowner or two on the hotel terrace.
Overnight Grand Hotel Nigde
Day 6: Transfer – Uckapili – Camardi – Kavaklitepe Pass (Picnic lunch), Kovali dam – Yahyali
Total 99km / 600m climb / 1450m descent
Today we make an early start and transfer out of Nigde to Gumusler, where we visit the impressive rock cut monastery complex. This monastery is an unknown treasure, with some of Cappadocia’s best examples of Byzantine art- superb, high colour frescoes dating from the 11th Century. We continue driving and begin riding at the summit of a ridge of hills that separate Nigde from the Aladaglar proper. The impending downhill is highly enjoyable, starting off with a gorgeous road that follows a lush green stream valley. Our first views of the Crimson Mountains (Aladaglar) seen here are spine tingling in grandeur and beauty, and the majority of the ride will now be spent in the shadow of these towering limestone peaks. We soon arrive at Camardi- a picturesque farming town right on the edge of the mountains, and carry on to skirt the edge of the massif besides apple orchards and wonderful scenery in every direction. We enjoy a hearty picnic lunch on the Kavaklitepe Pass at 1760m and from there the rest of the ride is mostly downhill. We set off through remote, upland hills where we’ll see shepherds guarding huge flocks of sheep. Finally, we begin a long descent past the Kovali Dam, rejoining the Anatolian Plateau at about 1000m. Here we overnight on the edge of the famous Sultan Marshes, one of Turkey’s foremost birdwatching highlights. Of course, for those who are interested, a guided birdwatching tour is possible (recommended early tomorrow morning!).
Overnight Sultan Birding, Sultan Sazlığı
Day 7: Yahyali – Develi (Restaurant lunch) – Mount Erciyes – Kayseri – Short transfer
Total 67km / 1200m climb / 600m descent
We begin riding with an easy morning ride across the plains nearby Sultan Sazligi marshes, getting ever closer to the towering volcanic peak of Mount Erciyes. After a good restaurant lunch we begin the biggest climb of the tour- up and over the shoulder of Mount Erciyes. This 2200m pass gives us incredible views of the plains below, plus a close up look at Erciyes itself- a towering dormant volcano of 3916m (12848 feet). The last section of our tour will be an epic big mountain descent, on good asphalt, over the saddle of Erciyes mountain, meeting our driver on the outskirts of Kayseri city. We don’t need to ride the bikes through the city, but have a small drive to our last hotel, which is a wonderful wineyard manor house right on the city outskirts.
Overnight Sunolus Vineyard Hotel, Kayseri
Day 8: Transfer to Kayseri Airport
Depending on your flight time we may also be able to enjoy an incredible downhill ride off the mountain via Hacilar- fast, flowing road biking on a good surface which is a perfect way to end your tour. We meet our driver on the edge of the city and transfer to the centre- so we don’t have to cycle through city traffic. Kayseri is a big city but one worth exploring, with ancient bazaars, tea shops and street vendors plus some impressive Ottoman architecture. So choose a late afternoon flight if possible.
Tour ends at Kayseri Airport.