When we first thought about trekking in Turkey, we knew very little about the tracks or regions where one could walk - The Lycian Way was a just a name and we had not even heard of the Kaçkar and Ala Dağlar mountains. After eight weeks, we feel that we have just scraped the surface in this beautiful part of the world, but at least now we know it. It really is an emerging trekker's paradise with an astonishing diversity of landscapes.

The Lycian Way offers rugged pine-clad coastal mountains broken by inlets and coves of the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea - it is probably best walked in Spring or Autumn, as even by early June the temperatures were reaching an energy-sapping 30+°C which made the walking tougher but the sea all that more enjoyable. The St Paul Trail headed inland into the canyons, lakes and forests of the Mediterranean hinterland while both of these tracks wander through the ruins of the Greek, Lycian and Roman civilisations that existed here thousands of year ago.

History and culture are part of trekking in Turkey and by the time we walked in the valleys of Cappadocia, the history on show was more about the Byzantine and Ottoman Cultures - on these tracks one was never too far from the cry of the muezzin drifting out across the countryside from the loudspeaker-clad minarets. The walking in Cappadocia was much easier than the Mediterranean tracks and the landscapes more severe, but with a beauty that only erosion can carve.

The St Paul Trail

The Lycian Way

Valleys of Cappadocia

Ala Dağlar Mountains

Kaçkar Mountains

There are also many wild places, far from the madding crowds and the best are probably in the mountains. We walked in the Ala Dağlar and Kaçkar Mountains, which offer two very different landscapes; the Ala Dağlar, with their jagged orange-grey karst cliffs and peaks, and barren scree slopes have a stark arid beauty, while the Kaçkars, lushly green with the Black Sea rains but also with dark rock peaks, glaciers and frozen alpine lakes have a more classic alpine beauty.

We walked early in the season, from the St Paul Trail in late May to the Kaçkars in early July, always a week or so ahead of the holiday crowd. We met only a few people on the track, which is the way we like it, especially when those we met provided that pleasant trekking camaraderie needed when solitude begins to verge on isolation. Perhaps we were just a bit too early as the late snows in the Ala Dağlar had not yet melted and we could not do the crossing - still the western side was glorious.


Apart from having a quieter track, the big advantage of walking early was that the wildflowers were in full bloom, and how superb they were!

Walking in the mountains here can be hard - we were surprised when going back over the tracks to see that three of our biggest single days ever (in terms of climbing and descending) were on this trip. They certainly challenged the ankle that I broke 6 months earlier, but titanium steel is sturdy stuff. You will leave fit if you weren't when you arrived.

Finally, just a few acknowledgments to the people who helped make our time in Turkey so enjoyable; Berry, Devrim, Ibrahim, Husseyn, Karl, the English singles walking group, Captain Omar and our Blue Cruise companions, Faruk, Ali, Marie-Claude and Jean-Phillipe, Ahmet, Mehmet and family, Naim, Ibrahim, Maksur and Mehmet, plus all the others whose names have slipped my failing memory.