World Heritage Singletrack, Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is Turkey’s mountain bike paradise- a fascinating and wildly beautiful area of volcanic “tuff” located in central Turkey. Here are dramatic landscapes with many strange rock formations and fascinating valleys, rich in vibrant, glorious history. Our singletrack tour has a lovely flow through the valleys and mountain sides, often on steep and narrow trails.
This tour features many steep uphill climbs steep descents, and has a physical demand much greater than the modest distances suggest. It requires good fitness so that you have power to enjoy the amazing views, and to keep the concentration when things get tricky.The tour features six days biking, and takes advantage of boutique “cave hotels” and high end restaurants (lunch and dinners). All food, including high quality trail snacks, is included, and that helps to make this tour incredible value for money.
Cappadocia is a fairytale land of moonscapes, hobbit-like cave dwellings and ancient rock-cut churches- and the fast, flowing and super fun singletrack trails here bring out the big kid in all of us! The tour features a number of technical sections that will challenge advanced riders but the smooth, soft, high traction trails also make it suitable for adventurous novices- really something for everyone.
The expert guides at our partner Biking in Turkey make sure that everything runs smoothly, aiming to give you the best mountain biking experience ever whilst offering trail specific training and ensuring that best safety standard are always kept up.
"Throughout the tour, we stay in amazingly beautiful hotels, with the best breakfasts of your life! Dinner and lunches are also all at wonderful restaurants and completely delicious- with lots of choice and often a la carte- so on this tour we will stay comfortably and eat well".
Jon Bawn, Head Guide, Biking in Turkey
The trip day for day
Day 1: Arrive at Kayseri Airport and transfer to Kayseri Ibis Hotel
Most likely your flight will connect through Istanbul, and you might like to spend a couple of days there taking in the sites before or after your trip! We meet you at Kayseri Airport and drive 10 minutes to our city centre hotel. This has the advantage of meaning that you can chose to arrive at any time of day- we will not charge extra if you can’t meet the standard arrival time of 16.00. After checking into the hotel there is time for building up bikes, checking equipment etc. 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 to look forward to. In the evening we go out for a welcome dinner and get more information about the coming days.
Overnight Kayseri Ibis Hotel
Day 2. Transfer to Arapli. Ride Arapli – Soganli (lunch) – Baskoy – Soganli
From Kayseri we drive 85km to the semi-deserted village of Arapli. The ride begins dirt track through a dry, barren valley with impressive cliff outcrops rising up on both sides. Soon we take to the goat tracks picking technical lines through the sandy valley floor. From the plateau at the valley head we have a short spin across flat, open badlands before dropping into a deep canyon of epic proportions 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. Soon we see the caves and abandoned stone houses of Soganli old village and eat a good lunch at the authentic Emek Pension (also our lodgings for the evening)
After lunch we enjoy a relaxing loop, exploring rock cut churches, cave houses and incredible rocky scenery. We also have chance to work on some essential trail skills here before retackling the steep singletrack out of the canyon. Continuing on rough tractor tracks and sometimes directly cross country, we get close to the canyon edge for unbelievable views. One tricky downhill section takes us down a narrow high-sided stone gully, with big steps eroded into the rock. 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.
Today’s biking: 50km / 700m altitude metres / 700 metres descent
Overnight Emek Penison, Soganli
Day 3. Transfer to Nar Lake. Ride Nar - Sivrihisar - Güzelyurt - Ihlara Canyon - Selime - Transfer
The day begins with a 40 minute transfer across the vast open plains of Derinkuyu, to a start point beside the splendid crater lake of Nar- alive with gorgeous hues of yellow and green from the rich sulphurous waters coming up from underground. The ride starts with a stiff climb up to the rim of Turkey's most beautiful crater lake, with fantastic views over the azure blue water below. The path climbs almost 700m from here (don’t worry, we take our time...), passing two high mountain lakes and crossing areas of pristine mountain grassland known as yayla’s. Here we will meet shepherds who look after huge herds of goats and sheep throughout spring and summer. We begin a long sector of descents towards the village of Sivrihisar, and continue on rough, fast and extreme fun downhills all the way to Monastery Valley below the pretty, formerly Greek town of Güzelyurt, where we enjoy a delicious 3-course lunch of tradtitional food at one of the best local restaurants.
After lunch we roll on down through the town’s dirt tracks to Yuksek Kilise (High Church) and onwards to Ihlara Valley- Turkey's “Grand Canyon”. The trip down through the valley starts with great technical singletrack, generally easy but sometimes challenging with sections to carry the bikes over rocky obstacles. We continue through small woodlands and gardenterraces, in places right along the river side, soon arriving in the village of Selime- famous for it’s rock scenery that made a still in the original Star Wars movie. We finish with a 15 minute transfer back up the hotel to Guzelyurt, where we stay in a luxury, restored Greek Ottoman “konak” stately home hotel. A long and challenging day- don’t be fooled by the distance!
Overnight Kapadoky Ihlara Konaklari, Guzelyurt
Today's cycling: 41 km / 940 altitude meters / 1210 metres descent.
Day 4. Transfer – Kavak – Gomeda – Ortahisar (lunch) – Ibrahimpasa – Zemi – Goreme
Over the next three days, we will entertain ourselves with the area's best singletrack biking in the area close to Goreme, but first we have to get there... After breakfast we drive 1 hour north to Kavak, a farming village relatively unknown to tourists. After a warm up on sandy dirt tracks we reach an amazing free-ride descent through a natural moonscape of slick rock. This part is much like a pump track with many different lines to be ridden and natural carves and bowls. After a challenging final descent, we ride along the valley on overgrown singletracks (long sleeves recommended) with numerous technical stream crossings, log bridges and splash-downs on our jungle leg. In the Uzengi Valley we stop to photograph incredible multi-storey rock-cut pigeon lofts and can drink delicious fizzy water from a mineral water spring. From here we climb to Ortahisar village, where we eat a wonderful 4-course meal in one of the region’s best small restaurants.
We ease into the afternoon with a gentle valley climb up through the green, fertile valley to Ibrahimpasa, and continue to climb fairly painlessly up and over the highest point above Goreme The views over Goreme, Uchisar, Ortahisar, Avanos and Urgup and fantastic! We descend rough singletrack to the top of Zemi Valley- where the first part is very steep and a good challenge for even advanced riders. Now again amongst overgrown forested garden terraces, our downhill trail is 100% fun- passing through natural rock tunnels, mini canyons and hairpin drops and steps. From the valley’s mid-point one final steep climb brings us to Gorkundere- part of the 2007 European XC MTB Cup course. We fly down the rutted rocks, emerging with glowing smiles right in the centre of Goreme, where we will stay two nights at Holiday Cave Hotel- one of the better known cave hotels with a gorgeous swimming pool. Göreme is located in the middle of the national park of the same name. The fabulous landscape with remarkable rock formations, underground churches, houses and buildings, is unique on our planet and it is the reason that even that has been placed on UNESCO World Heritage List.
Overnight Holiday Cave Hotel, Goreme
Today's biking: 35km / 600 altitude metres / 900 metres descent
Day 5. Hot Air Balloon flight – Rest morning – Goreme Panoramic – Uchisar – Pigeon Valley (down) – Love Valley (down) – Goreme
This morning you might like to see the dawn in from a Hot Air Balloon flight- the tour is completely optional, but is an unmissable experience and respected as a “must do” in Cappadocia. If you take the balloon flight, you’ll be back by 09.00 and the rest of the morning is free. Even if you do not want to fly yourself, it's a colorful spectacle to see when the hot air balloons at dawn, filled up and float away like gigantic "crawfish lanterns" (the average is between 50-80 balloons starting every windless morning, year) those who take the chance to experience this is back to breakfast and then ready to go on the trip last day in the saddle. You can relax poolside at the hotel, catch up on R&R or wander through the backstreets of Goreme as you choose. Alternatively you can book extra activities like horseback riding, ATV tours etc.
We meet for a good restaurant lunch in the village, and then set off on a stunningly beautiful climb to Uchisar via the edge of Goreme’s panoramic canyon edge. We arrive in Uchisar- an awesome cave village perched high above Goreme valley and then on some of the best singletracks kick in. We launch into an awesome 5km long singletrack descent through Pigeon Valley on fast, smooth footpaths that snake between vegetable gardens and poplar plantations. Leaving the valley, we climb steeply on slick rocks and then drop into Love Valley. The trail is very steep and technical in places, but less-experienced riders are able to safely walk their bikes through the tougher sections. 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.
Overnight Holiday Cave Hotel, Goreme
Today's biking: 16 km / 470 altitude meters / 470 meters descent
Day 6. Gorkundere – Kiliclar – Meskendir Valley – Rose Valley – Red Valley - Cavusin
We jump on the bikes right outside the hotel and launch straight into a new circuit of the Euro Cup XC course, still in the vicinity of Göreme but in a different world- with incredible riding and landscapes alike. This circuit offers a good warm-up for the more technical singletracks waiting for us in the afternoon. Passing by the 8th Century monastery in Kiliclar Valley, we experience epic views on both sides of a knife-edge rocky ridge as we climb above Meskandir Valley, soon descending on a trail that passes through tunnels, narrow gorges and terraces. We stop again to admire the incredible “Church of Columns” in Rose Valley, and after a good, stiff climb arrive at a delightful off-grid restaurant where we eat lunch in the shadow of fairy chimneys and cave churches.
This afternoon we tackle one of the most spectacular and technical trails: The Balkon. Here we ride across the slopes of Boz Dagi table top mountain, navigating troughs, berms and off-camber with some exposure mixed in to the melting pot. There is of course no shame to walk the steep sections, and as our guide will reinforce, safety always comes first. After seven kilometers downhill trail we arrive in Cavusin where a simple 3km flat dirt road returns us back to Goreme. A tougher day than you would expect of 18 kilometers, but those who still have energy over to take another round are welcome.
Overnight Holiday Cave Hotel, Goreme
Today's biking: 18 km / 650 altitude metres / 650 descent
Day 7. Goreme - Cavusin – Rose Valley – Pasabagi – Table Top Mountain – Devrent – Urgup
Today we get the chance to ride high up on the table top mountain, and enjoy epic views over the the trails below- in a hot air balloon. People flock from the whole world to get soar above Cappadocia's landscape in a hot air balloon, but here we can get the same height under pedal power! Today's stage is not as technical as yesterday but still challenging. From Goreme we head again into Rose Valley and visit the impressive 14th Century “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, we arrive at the site of Pasabagi. From here, a steep 20 minute hike-a-bike gets us right to the top of the table top mountain where we follow goat tracks right around the edge of the plateau. We descend into Devrent Valley on a steep, fast, enduro-style descent and then climb through barren, desert-like landscape, passing by “Camel Rock” to easily reach our final base in the youthful and cosmopolitan town of Urgup. We have the option to finish our ride in a traditional Turkish bath with massage (hamam)- the perfect way to relax and let the aches and pains subside.
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.
Overnight Courtyard Cave Hotel, Urgup
Today's biking: 25 km / 650 altitude metres / 600 descent
Day 8. Transfer to Kayseri Airport for onward travel
We transfer back to Kayseri airport. Normal departure time is 10.00, but if your flight arrangements don’t fit in with this there are reliable shuttle bus connections to all flights.