Turkey: Boats, bikes and balloons

Turkey: Boats, bikes and balloons

Transform a Turkey trip with exciting ways to get around, says Katie McGonagle

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If life is about the journey rather than the destination, how you get there matters more than ever – and choosing the right mode of transport makes all the difference.

Take Cappadocia’s famous fairy chimneys – they are impressive from any angle, but those who glide over the peaks in a hot-air balloon will get a dramatically different perspective, from those at ground level.

Similarly, Turkey’s captivating coastline is the star of the popular Lycian Way walking route, but see those shores from a traditional gulet or the seat of a kayak for a complete contrast.

Here, we seek out some of the most interesting ways to travel around Turkey, whether clients like life in the slow lane, or prefer it fast and furious.

BOATING BLUES



Staring out at beautiful blue sea is one thing, but board a boat and you can admire the shore too. Choose from traditional gulet cruises, such as Direct Traveller’s seven-night Bodrum and Greek Islands tour (from £349 with meals, excluding flights), or a yachting trip like Intrepid’s Sail Turkey: Aegean Sea. This eight-day itinerary departs Bodrum, stopping at the ancient amphitheatre in Knidos, and even giving passengers a chance to take the ropes (from £750, plus a €50 kitty for breakfast and lunch, without flights).

Turkey is home to another famous waterway, the Bosphorus, which divides Europe from Asia. Cruise it in the afternoon sunshine (from £39 or £20 for under-sixes, with Attraction World) or over a romantic dinner (from £92).Guests on Titan’s 15-day Treasures of Turkey tour can also add an Spice Market and Cruise on the Bosphorus excursion for £21.

FEET FIRST



There’s no better way to get a feel for the landscape than on foot. Inntravel offers a self-guided trail, The Two Faces of Cappadocia, through fascinating rock formations, rock-hewn churches and dramatic gorges (from £740 land-only, including seven nights’ accommodation, luggage transfers and walking notes).

The famous Lycian Way offers glimpses of golden beaches, ancient sarcophagi, castles, historic temples and more. Inntravel ventures from the sleepy village of Beycik in the foothills of Mount Olympus to the ancient city of Simena, in a 10-night trip that costs from £990 half-board without flights.

G Adventures has just added a small-group tour, Lycian Way Trekking, going from Fethiye to Kas in eight days, with shoulder season departures to ensure good walking weather.

For something a little more challenging, Explore has a group tour trekking up the Taurus Mountains and to the top of Mount Ararat. It also takes in Cappadocia and ends in Istanbul (from £1,377 for 15 days, including flights, hotel or campsite accommodation and most meals).

CYCLE SAFETY



Swap two feet for two wheels with Explore’s eight-day cycling tour along little back roads and farm tracks in Cappadocia, visiting the Troglodyte village of Zelve and underground tunnels of Kaymakli. Cappadocia Freewheel, graded ‘easy’, starts at £949 with flights and hotel accommodation.

Cycling also plays a part in G Adventures’ new Turkey Active Adventure, which includes a 12 to 18-mile bike ride along the shore of Lake Kocagol in Dalaman, with off-road downhill terrain for more adventurous cyclists (from £340 for eight days, excluding flights).

COASTAL KAYAKS



Simple but satisfying, kayaking along Turkey’s beautiful shores offers a great way to get some exercise and admire the scenery.

Exodus goes the whole hog with its eight-day trip along the Turquoise Coast, which includes a kayaking lesson, a day for optional diving and paragliding, then kayaking two to seven miles a day for the rest of the trip, paddling over the sunken city of Kekova, passing ancient ruins and camping each night (from £879, including flights).

If that sounds like hard work, add a shorter kayaking adventure onto a beach or city stay. Luxury operator Exclusive Escapes has a three-day sea-kayaking safari stopping at secluded coves, spotting historic ruins, and setting up camp each night, from £275.

Turkey

UP AND AWAY



Once clients see iconic images of colourful hot-air balloons rising over Cappadocia, this region will jump straight to the top of their must-visit list, so be prepared to include this experience.

It’s possible to fit in a flight even on a short trip – Intrepid’s four-day Cappadocia Explorer offers a two-hour sunrise balloon flight as an optional extra for €165, with the trip starting at £365.

Peter Sommer Travels also includes a balloon ride in its new Walking and Exploring Cappadocia escorted tour, departing September 2 and including a stay at a cave hotel, guided walks past the pink-tinged rocks of Rose Valley and beautiful Ihlara Valley (from £1,395 for five nights, including half-board accommodation but no flights).

OFF-ROAD ADVENTURES


Venture off the beaten track with attraction providers Do Something Different and Attraction World, which offer jeep safaris from major resorts. The latter has a summer discount on its Marmaris trip, which now starts at £17 for adults or £9 for children, or for a more nature-focused route, its Ecoventure off-road safari; family passes from £48.

If they prefer being in the driving seat, suggest quad biking, from £28 with Do Something Different, or a more leisurely horse ride through the countryside (from £37 ex-Bodrum, suitable for novices).

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