Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Cost From:||$5995 see pricing|
|Lodging:||15 nights hotels and inns|
|Meals:||All meals included except 1 dinner|
A mix of moderate walks and hikes, some steep sections, 1-4.5 hours a day
- Off-the-beaten path World Heritage Sites of Safranbolu and Hattusas
- Ancient rural villages, Turkish baths (hammam), hidden ruins
- Nature walks, forest paths, swims below waterfalls
- Hikes in the alpine Kackar Mountains
- Black Sea monuments including remarkable Sumela Monastery
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
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Join our Trip Leader extraordinaire Enver Lucas for a special WT Expedition in one of Turkey’s most fascinating realms: the Black Sea Coast, with its craggy shoreline, alpine forests, hazelnut and tea plantations, and green mountains dotted with timeless villages. We’ll visit remarkable off-the-beaten-path World Heritage Sites including Ani, the ancient Armenian capital, hike in the deep canyons of the Kure Mountains, then enter the heartland of the Hittite Empire at Hattusas, a Bronze Age site. We’ll also ramble the beautiful alpine trails of the Kackar Mountains, where an age-old way of life continues in undisturbed stone-built hamlets called yaylas. Trip highlights include the lively market day in the little town of Pinarbasi, where women still wear traditional dress, Ankara’s extraordinary Museum of Anatolian Civilization, hidden Georgian churches, tiny Ottoman mosques, a wonderful collection of hikes, and the colorful ethnic feast of the Black Sea and its synthesis of Turkic, Greek, Laz, Georgian, and Armenian cultures. With his dual American and Turkish roots, Enver is the perfect cultural ambassador, helping us enjoy a sense of exploration in this inviting realm of northern Turkey. The regional cuisine will keep us well fed (from fresh-caught sardines to the country’s best cheeses), and we’ll enjoy a range of delightful accommodations, from seafront hotels to mountain inns. Come along for a great adventure with a true Turkey expert!
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Istanbul / Safranbolul
After a private sunset cruise on Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait, we head to the charming town of Safranbolu, a World Heritage Site renowned for its Ottoman architecture. We explore Safranbolu’s picturesque Old Town, with its stone-paved streets and bazaar, then hike Incekaya Tokat Canyon and visit the picturesque village of Yoruk, with an option for a relaxing Turkish hammam (bath) at the historic Cinci Hamam, complete with a massage.
Kure Mountains / Pinarbasi / Hattusas
In the inland Black Sea area south of the Kure Mountains, we explore an unspoiled countryside of beautiful rural villages and deep canyonlands. We visit Pinarbasi’s farmers’ market, where traditional dress is still worn, take a dip below a forest waterfall, and hike to a viewpoint over the spectacular Catak Canyon. After visiting Kastamonu’s medieval castle, we head south to Ilgaz Mountains National Park. Day 6 is devoted to the remarkable World Heritage Site of Hattusas, capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age, where we explore its fantastic Upper and Lower Cities and the Royal Citadel of Buyukkale.
Yazilikaya / Ankara / Tabzon
After visiting the impressive 13th century BC sanctuary of Yazilikaya, nestled amid rock outcrops, we head to Alaca Hoyuk, where a flourishing Hattian culture existed as early as the 4th millennium BC. In Ankara, we explore the Old Town and remarkable Museum of Anatolian Civilization, then head to the coast at Trabzon, with a walk on the medieval city walls and time to explore the colorful Genoese-built Bedesten, an ancient covered market.
Sumela Monastery / Kackar Mountains
We visit the most evocative of all sights on the Black Sea, the amazing Sumela Monastery, set high on a cliff wall, then head inland through the wild and beautiful Firtina River Valley into the Kackar Mountains. One of our mountain hikes brings us up to Huser Yayla for fine views of the main summits of the Kackar. We meet the people of these seasonal villages, then visit the awesome Zilkale Castle, a medieval Armenian fortress perched above the Firtina River. Another hike brings us through dense forests and fern thickets to a vista point at 7,900 feet. At our mountain inn in the village of Ayder, we can enjoy a soak in the hot springs.
The Georgian Valleys / Kars / Istanbul
Leaving the Black Sea behind, we head inland through the heart of what in medieval times were two Georgian principalities,Tao-Klarjeti and Savseti, which shelter wonderful churches, monasteries, and castles. After we explore the city of Kars, with its Belle Epoque buildings from the 19th century Russian occupation, our final visit is the 10th century Armenian capital of Ani, with its masterful stone masonry and 11th century churches. Our last night finds us in magical Istanbul, and we depart on Day 16.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
What the Trip is Like
This trip is rated Level 2+, Easy to Moderate. It is a relaxed adventure with hikes that should be managable for the average active traveler. The hikes are a focus of the trip, often bringing us to small villages or off-the-beaten-path ruins accessible only on foot. The walks and hikes range from 1 to 4.5 hours each, all with some uphill and downhill walking. Even if you choose not to participate in the optional hikes, most visits to archaeological sites require walking or hiking on sometimes rocky, uneven paths. For your enjoyment of the trip, you should be a fit walker and bring lightweight hiking boots.
Departures & Leaders
Sep 16-Oct 1, 2013 Enver Lucas
Prices are for 2013
$5995 (14-16 members)
$6595 (11-13 members)
$6995 (8-10 members)
Single supplement: $825
Forced single supplement: $625
Internal airfare: $430 (subject to change)
more on pricing
Trip Cost Includes:
- Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader
- Accommodations in comfortable hotels and inns
- All meals included except 1 dinner
- Bottled water with meals and in vehicles
- Sightseeing as noted, entrance fees for Turkish baths in Safranbolu or Trabzon and at hot springs in Ayder
- Land transportation, Istanbul airport transfers
Trip Cost Does Not Include:International airfare, visas, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expense of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance or passports; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, hotel telephone calls, etc.).
Trip Payment Schedule
At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance
Enver Lucas is the synthesis of Turkish and American cultures, a dual national with an equal love for both countries. Born in California to a Turkish mother and American father, he spent most of his childhood and early education in Turkey. He returned to the US to continue his studies at San Diego Mesa College, earning a certificate in Business Administration. A 10-year tenure in the hospitality business as an auditor in Yosemite National Park followed, opening up his appreciation of the great outdoors and prompting his career in travel. Enver completed Professional Guide School in Turkey in 1986, with an emphasis in archaeology and anthropology. Following extensive travel around Turkey, he wrote the Trekking in Turkey guide for Lonely Planet in 1988. Enver enjoys classic archaeology, history, photography, scuba diving, mountain biking, and Turkish cooking. He lives with his wife and son in Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast and keeps a part-time home at Lake Tahoe in California.
I feel like I have known Enver my whole life. He did everything to make our trip perfect, including letting me win at backgammon.John D., Louisville, KY
The Turquoise Coast