Western Turkey; Birds, Flowers & History

Tour Code : NAW 01

–    Birds, flowers & history along the Aegean coast
–    Dilek national park & ancient Ephesus
–    Lake Bafa & ancient Priene
–    The Menderes delta
–    Pamukkale & World Heritage Hierapolis
–    Lake Acigol & Isikli Golu; Kusadasi & Mount Honaz

Best Season   
Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec


Duration of the Trip
8 Days / 7 Nights


Difficulty Level
= A (Easy)


Hotel    :    7 Nights

Day 1 : Izmir to Kusadasi

Meet at the Izmir airport with Demavend Travels representative and head straight into the field; so keep your binoculars handy. Birds to look out for include Pallid and Alpine Swifts, Red-rumped Swallow, Serin and Spanish Sparrow. Krüper’s Nuthatch also lives in the pine-clad hillsides surrounding the city and this will be our first opportunity it too look for this sought after species (Krüper’s Nuthatch can also be found on Mount Honaz which we will visit near the end of the tour). Later in the afternoon we will drive south to our base for the next two nights in the coastal town of Kusadasi.
Transfer time: 1 h; transfer distance: 80 km; (Izmir Airport – Kusadasi)
ON: in Kusadasi at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / D

Day 2 : Kusadasi to Dilek national park & ancient Ephesus

This morning we head south to explore the Dilek National Park on the Aegean coast opposite the Greek island of Samos. Comprising rocky outcrops, scrub-covered hills, canyons and pine forests, the Dilek National Park is a haven for wildlife and also very rich botanically. It was one of the last refuges of the now extinct Anatolian Leopard and looking up at the crags it is easy to imagine one of these attractive cats soaking up the sun on a convenient ledge! Sadly, the leopards are now long gone, but larger mammals can still be found in the shape of Wild Boar which roots for food in the forests. Raptors soaring over the hills may include resident Bonelli’s Eagles and Peregrines as well as visiting Eleonora’s Falcons and perhaps other migrants such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black Kite and Hobby. Subalpine, Ruppell’s and Eastern Orphean Warblers sing side by side from the low scrub covering the lower hill slopes whilst Western Rock Nuthatches noisily scold from their boulder strewn haunts. After lunch we take time to visit ancient Ephesus; one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome. Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15 % has been excavated. The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city’s original splendour and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. Later we conclude our visit to Ephesus with a look at a nearby wetland. Here we will turn out attention back to the wildlife and continue the daily theme of this tour by combining natural history with regular opportunities to glimpse the colourful past of Empires which for so long dominated Mediterranean Europe and the region of Asia Minor. In the late afternoon/early evening we return to Kusadasi where we spend the Night.
ON: in Kusadasi at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 3 : Lake Bafa & ancient Priene

This morning we drive to the bird rich shores of Lake Bafa, a journey of a couple of hours. We then have the rest of the day to explore the lake and its surroundings; blending a little sightseeing with visits to wetland areas. Beginning at Karina Golu and the Karina Fish Ponds we should find large numbers of egrets and herons, with perhaps White Pelicans too. A variety of waders should be present around the muddy margins including noisy pairs of Spur-winged Plovers and perhaps a few migrants such as Little Stint and Marsh Sandpiper. The Miletos Ponds offer further opportunities to see water birds plus an interesting wetland flora. Later in the afternoon we will make our way to the ancient city of Priene; an ancient Greek city of Ionia and member of the Ionian League. Priene possessed a great deal of famous Hellenistic art and architecture. The city was arranged into four districts, firstly the political district which consisted of the bouleuterion and the prytaneion, the cultural district containing the theatre, the commercial where the agora was located and finally the religious district which contained sanctuaries dedicated to Zeus and Demeter and most importantly the Temple of Athena. After a full day enjoying the bird, botanical and archaeological delights of this region we will arrive in Pinarcik village; set in olive groves and overlooking Lake Bafa.
ON: in Pinarcik village (Lake Bafa) at the Hotel 
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : Lake Bafa & Menderes Delta

Today we will continue our exploration of the Menderes Delta and Lake Bafa region and, as per previous days, mix birds and botany with a little history. This is superb area for birds including Pygmy Cormorant, White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, White-winged Tern, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Ferruginous Duck and Black-winged Stilt. Overhead hunt Long-legged Buzzards and Red-footed Falcons, whilst the rocky islands are home to breeding Ruddy Shelduck. We will also spend time seeking and appreciating some of the characteristic birds of the surrounding dry countryside such as Masked Shrike, Ruppell’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Isabel line Wheatear and the shy Olive-tree Warbler. Close to Latmos is the ancient site of Heraklea, former capital of Linkestisa, which was once an important military and strategic centre. Our local guide will fill in some of the historical background as we briefly divert from the natural history to see more of the splendours of bygone days. In the late afternoon/early evening we return to Pinarcik village where we spend the Night.
ON: in Pinarcik village (Lake Bafa) at the Hotel 
Meals: B / L / D

Day 5 : Denizli to Pamukkale; Cotton Castle & World Heritage Hierapolis

We leave Lake Bafa region and follow the Maeander River to the town of Denizli, high on the Anatolian plateau at around 1.000m. From here we visit Pamukkale & World Heritage Hierapolis.
Pamukkale, has the meaning “cotton castle” and is one of the most remarkable natural sites with its cotton white plateaus, pale blue waters topping of the shallow pools and gently cascading down the drape-like stalagmites onto the lower levels for over 300 feet. The city contains hot springs and travertine, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC; people came to soothe their ailments, with many of them retiring or dying here. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi, including the Sarcophagus of Marcus Aurelius. Parts of the archaeological site of Hierapolis are the great bathes, which were constructed with huge stone blocks without the use of cement, and consisted of various closed or open sections linked together. The surrounding dry scrubby bushland and rocky hillsides are home to an interesting variety of birds including the localised Finch’s Wheatear, a species at the very western limit of its range. Red-billed Choughs glide along the rocky crags, whilst overhead we should keep our eyes open for Griffon, Black and Egyptian Vultures. Nearer ground level we will also look for Chukar, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Calandra Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Bee-eater, Black-eared Wheatear and Rock Sparrow. After another full day in the field we drive back to Denzili where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
ON: in Denizli at the Hotel 
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Denizli to Lake Acigol & Isikli Golu

We will use today to explore the two locally contrasting sites, the saline waters of Lake Acigol and the freshwater habitats around Isikli Golu. Lake Acigol is surrounded by extensive Central Anatolian steppe and steep limestone hills. Few species such as Greater Flamingo, Slender-billed Gull and Avocet can tolerate the lake’s extremely saline waters, but freshwater springs in the foothills attract a much wider variety of species and plenty of passage migrants. The rocky juniper-dotted scrub that cloths these foothills are also home to noisy flocks of Alpine Swifts, plus Western Rock Nuthatch, Ruppell’s Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Rock Bunting, Red-fronted Serin, Cirl Bunting and the enigmatic White-throated Robin. Later, we will shift to the freshwater lake Isikli Gölü, the birthplace of river Meander. The lake is surrounded by high mountains and extensive reedbeds, and floating water lilies. Whiskered Tern, Little Bittern and Night Heron breed here, whilst the surrounding juniper scrubland is home to Finch’s Weather, White-throated Robin, Eastern Orphean and Ruppell’s Warblers. At the end of another exciting day, we return back to Denizli where we spend the Night.                                 
ON: in Denizli at the Hotel 
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Kusadasi & Mount Honaz

We spend this morning exploring the various altitudes on the drive up Mount Honaz, the centre piece of Honaz National Park. The foothills of this 2.500m high mountain are covered with extensive tracts of Turkish (Calabrian) Pine, home for Krüper’s Nuthatch, amongst others. As we ascend, the vegetation – and associated birdlife – gradually changes until we reach the barren upper slopes, clothed in an alpine flora and home to Snow finch, Horned Lark (of the Anatolian subspecies), Red-fronted Serin and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush. Following lunch we drive back to Kusadasi for our final night in Turkey; there should be time to break the journey with a couple of bird watching stops en-route and we aim to arrive back at our accommodation late in the afternoon.
ON: in Kusadasi at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Izmir – Home

Transfer to Izmir airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 1 h; transfer distance: 80 km; (Kusadasi – Izmir Airport)
Meals: B / – / –

ON = Overnight accommodation / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Price Includes
–    All transfers and transportations with private vehicles to the places mentioned in the Itinerary
      Days 1 & 8: One (one way) arrival/departure transfer from/to Izmir airport/Hotel in Kusadasi
–    Demavend Travel English speaking Tour Leader
–    Hotel accommodations, rooms on double/twin share base;
      Bed & Breakfast (BB) and Half Board (HB) service; Important: HB Dinner Service available until 20:30/21:00 h
–    7 x Breakfast, 6 x Lunch (Lunch Packages & Restaurants where available), 7 x Dinner


Price Excludes
–    All International and Domestic Flights
–    Travel insurance
–    Extra Transports and transfers other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of Soft and Alcoholic drinks, Bottled Water, Tea & Coffee
–    Meals other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of personal expenses
–    All kind of Entrance fees for historical and natural sites
–    All kind of optional activities
–    Extra Nights
–    Single supplements
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips