Aladaglar & the green Paradise Kackar

Tour Code : TRE 15

Highlights
–    Camping & hiking in the Aladaglar national park 
–    Ascent to Mt. Emler summit 3.723m 
–    Hike up to seven lakes plateau 3.100m
–    Mount Kackar summit 3.937m
–    Trabzon & Sumela Monastery
–    Black sea culture & georgian churches

TRE 15 - PRIN

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

 

Duration of the Trip
14 Days / 13 Nights

 

Difficulty Level/walks (treks)
= C/D (Moderate/Challenging)
Trans Aladaglar & Kackar Mountains trek (10 routes on 10 days)

 

Accommodation
Hotel            :    5 Nights
Camp           :    7 Nights
Night train    :    1 Night

Day 1 : Istanbul

Meet at the Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport with Demavend Travels representative and drive to the Hotel, located in the historical centre of Istanbul, known as Sultanahmet.
Transfer time: 30 min.; transfer distance: 18 km; (Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport – Hotel)
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / – 

Day 2 : Istanbul sightseeing Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Hippodrome Square - fly to Kayseri and continue to Aladaglar national park

Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was the hub of the Ottoman Empire, and many of the grand buildings of this period are present today. You could easily spend a week in this city and still not have seen all the sites. Today we will explore the old Sultanahmet Area. We visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Hippodrome square. The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616. The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighbouring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on February 1935. The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydani (Sultan Ahmet Square) and largely follows the ground plan and dimensions of the now vanished Hippodrome. The surviving monuments of the Spina (the middle barrier of the racecourse), the two obelisks (Obelisk of Thutmose III & Walled Obelisk) and the Serpentine Column, now sit in holes in a landscaped garden. 
In the late afternoon we drive to the Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport and fly to Kayseri and continue from there to the Taurus Mountains Aladaglar National park. The Aladaglar become National park since 1995; via Camardi village, if time is permitting, we follow for a while on stabilized roads and continue on small paths into the Kaziklar Valley, 50 to 70 meters high walls leading us to the Emli Valley where we spend the Night at the Camp.
Transfer time: 2 h; transfer distance: 145 km; (Kayseri airport – Taurus Mountains Aladaglar National park)
Walking time: 2 h; ascent: 250m; descent: 80m
ON: Aladaglar national park at the Emli valley campsite (1.750m)
Meals: B / – / D

Day 3 : Aladaglar national park; Emli valley to Sokulupinar via Siyirmalik valley & Eznevit plateau

This morning you will leave the Emli valley behind as you walk up the Siyirmalik valley and climb up to Eznevit, a campsite inhabited by semi-nomadic families who might invite us for some drinks and will visit their tents to see their original life style during the time they spent in the mountains. From here you will be rewarded with good views over the surrounding area as you continue walking towards Sakartas. From Sakartas you will descend to Sokulupinar, where you will spend the night at the campsite.
Walking time: 6/7 h; ascent: 788m; descent: 538m
ON: Aladaglar national park at the Sokulupinar campsite (2.000m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : Aladaglar National park; via Celikbuyduran pass to Mt. Emler sumit (3.723m) & Yedigoller plateau

Our trek today takes us to our high camp. We begin by preparing our luggage for loading on the mules. After breakfast we head up to Karayalak Valley and climb up to Celikbuyduran Pass (3450m). It’s going to be our toughest day of walking as we will ascend for around 5 hours. Just before the pass we stop by the spring and have lunch. After Lunch with an easy walk we will ascend to Emler summit. It will take nearby 1 h to climb to the Summit from the Celikbuyduran Pass. From the peak it is possible to see the Mt. Erciyes (3.917m) to the North, the Mt. Hasan (3.268m) to the West, and the Bolkar Range to the South and all important Summits of the Aladaglar Range. After the pass we start descending down to Yedigoller (3.100m) plateau, with a gentle downhill slope. Our campsite is near the biggest lake of the area.
Walking time: 7/8 h; Ascent: 1.723m; Descent: 623m
ON: Aladaglar national park at the Yedigoller plateau campsite (3.100m)

Meals: B / L / D

Day 5 : Aladaglar national park; Yedigoller plateau to Karagol Lake via Teke Kalesi pass

We load up luggage on the mules and start our walk early in the morning. First we arrive at the second biggest lake of the area, and then climb up to Teke Kalesi pass (3.517m). With a spectacular view to the north-west we descend down via a narrow path where we may meet ibexes grazing. Via Yildiz (star) Lake we descend down to Karagol where Tea will be ready at the camp.
Walking time: 7 h; ascent: 417m; descent: 717m
ON: Aladaglar national park at the Karagol campsite (2.800m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Aladaglar National park; Karagol Lake to Demirkazik village – Derinkuyu underground city & Cappadocia

Our last day trek will take us down to Maden gorge. We descend following mine roads and little creeks via Maden George to Pinarbasi village. At the end of the valley we will meet our vehicle and drive to the village of Demirkazik where we will have Lunch first before we drive to Cappadocia. On the way to Cappadocia we take time to visit the incredible underground city of Derinkuyu; opened to visitors in 1965. Only 10 % of the city can be visited. The city is approximately 85m deep and contains all of the usual rooms found in an underground city, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches and wineries. Apart from these, a large room with a barrel vaulted ceiling on the second floor served as a missionary school, the rooms to the left used as study rooms. After visiting Derinkuyu we continue to Cappadocia where we spend the Night.
Optional Activity: Turkish bath (Hamam)
In the late afternoon/ or early evening it is optional possible to try a traditional Turkish bath, better known as Hamam. The Hamam combines the functionality and the structural elements of its predecessors in Anatolia, the Roman thermal and Eastern Roman baths.
Transfer time: 2 h; transfer distance: 125 km (Taurus Mountains Aladaglar National park – Cappadocia via Derinkuyu)
Walking time: 3 h; ascent: 0m; descent: 900m
ON: in Cappadocia at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Goreme open air museum - Meskendir valley; Red & Rose valley - Avanos - Kayseri & Night train to Erzurum

In the morning we start today’s first activity and walk out to explore one of the most beautiful valleys in Cappadocia. The Christian people at the heart of the Cappadocia realized that the soft rocks could be easily carved out to form houses, churches and monasteries. These Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art from the post iconoclastic period. The frescoes inside the Goreme Open Air Museum are a unique artistic achievement from this period.  After visiting the Goreme open air Museum we start our walking in the Meskendir Valley. We follow the path which is full with old Cave houses and complexes from the old Christian civilization. From the Meskendir Valley we cross over to the Red Valley, the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia with its spectacular formations and colours. In Red Valley it is possible, depending on walking pace and time, to visit some hidden churches like the Uzumlu church (Grape church / Red Valley), the hidden Cross Church and the Church of the Three Crosses (Rose Valley). These churches have been carved out of the cliff face, although it is not definite, the common believe is that these churches date back to the 8/9th century. The decorative reliefs and frescoes are added in the 10/11th Century. After walking through the Red and Rose valleys we will arrive in Cavusin, where our vehicle is waiting for us. Afterwards we take time to visit Avanos.
Optional Activity: visiting Pottery shaping Studio
The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, is its production of earthenware pottery; it is also the most economic activity in the town. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kızılırmak has always been used. We will take time to visit one of the Pottery studios and you will try to shape by your own.
In the early or late evening (Night) we drive to Kayseri and take the Night train to Erzurum.
Walking time: 4 h; walking distance: 9 km; ascent: 85m; descent: 135m; (Meskendir Valley; Red & Rose Valley)
ON: at the Trains sleeper Wagons / 2 Persons per Cabin / Single reservation not possible
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Erzurum to Kackar mountains Yaylalar village via Tortum waterfalls; Yusufeli & Barhal

After arrival in Erzurum we continue to the Kackar Mountains. On the Way, depending on time, it is possible to take a break at the Tortum Waterfalls and to taste cup of traditional Turkish Tea, known as Cay. Afterwards continue to Yusufeli where we will have our Lunch in a local Restaurant. From Yusufeli we drive via Barhal to the Yaylalar village where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 4 h; transfer distance: 230 km (Erzurum – Yaylalar village) 
ON: in Yaylalar village at the Pension
Meals: B / L / D

Day 9 : Yaylalar village to Dilberduzu campsite via Olgunlar village

Hike along Buyuk Cay Deresi to Dilberduzu, accompanied by horses carrying the luggage. We walk approximately 30min. until we reach the Olgunlar village. From there we follow the walking path and climb on an easy ascend until we reach the Dilberduzu Camp. On the way it is sometimes possible to meet local shepherds grazing their animals during summer season. We spend the Night at the Dilberduzu Camp.
Walking time: 3/4 h; ascent: 640m; descent: 0m;  
ON: at the Dilberduzu campsite (2.840m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 10 : Mount Kackar summit ascent 3.937m & return to Dilberduzu campsite

Today we have an early morning departure (before sunrise) to the Kackar summit. We climb up approximately 2 h until we reach the Deniz Golu Lake at 3.300m. From here we continue to get to the bottom of the Kackar massive for another hour. On our left hand we have the scene of a giant glacier. From here to get on the peak takes another hour, climbing up without any certain path, on sheer rock. With a clear sky, we might see the whole Kackar range and even the Mt. Ararat from a distance. Afterwards we return to the Dilberduzu Camp where we will stay for one more Night.
Walking time: 9/10 h; ascent: 1.097m; descent: 1.097m
ON: at the Dilberduzu campsite (2.840m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 11 : Dilberduzu to Dupeduzu Yaylasi via Olgunlar

In the morning we walk down to Olgunlar village and continue from there to the Dupeduzu camp via Palovit ridge. From the Olgunlar village we follow the Buyuk Cay stream, in the middle of the Mezovit Mountain range. After reaching the Dobe Yaylasi (Plateau) we continue our walk until we reach the Palovit and Hevek Yaylasi, after a short and easy descent we reach our campsite at the Dupeduzu.
Walking time: 4/5 h; ascent: 500 m; descent: 640m 
ON: at the Dupeduzu campsite (2.700m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 12 : Dupeduzu to Ayder village via Naletleme pass (3.100m) & Yukari Kavron Yaylasi

We leave our Camp at Dupeduzu and walk along the Great Deniz Lake and ascend to the Naletleme Pass (3.100m), after a break next to the Karadeniz Lake (2.650m), we descend through highland villages Yukari and Asagi Caymakcur. Our vehicle will pick us up in Caymakcur and we drive to Ayder village where we spend the Night.
Walking time: 5/6 h; ascent: 592m; descent: 1.035m
ON:  in Ayder village at the Hotel/Pension
Meals: B / L / D

Day 13 : Ayder village to Trabzon & Sumela monastery

After breakfast we leave Ayder and drive to Trabzon; located on the historical Silk Road and a melting pot of religions, languages and culture. Being open towards other cultures and religions plays a significant role in the lifestyle of the Trabzonites; Muslims and Christians have lived together in the past as well as today, making the city a proud heir to a rich cultural heritage. Here we take time to visit the Monastery of Sumela, a Greek Orthodox monastery at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altindere valley. Founded in the year 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I., legend has it that two priests undertook the founding of the monastery on the site after having discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain. In the late afternoon we return to Trabzon where we spend the night.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 165 km (Ayder village – Trabzon)
Transfer time: 40/45 min.; transfer distance: 45 km (Trabzon – Sumela Monastery) 
ON:  in Trabzon at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 14 : Trabzon – Home

Transfer to Trabzon airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 10/15 min.; transfer distance: 10 km (Hotel – Trabzon 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& 2: One (one way) arrival/departure transfer from/to Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport/Hotel in Sultanahmet
      Transfers in Istanbul valid for Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport only/Extra transfer cost will be charged for each transfer
      Day 14: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel in Trabzon/Trabzon airport
–    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
–    13 x Breakfast, 11 x Lunch (Lunch Packages & Restaurants where available), 12 x Dinner
–    All necessary Camping Equipment’s (Tents, Mattresses, necessary Kitchen Gears & Dinnerware)
–    Taurus Mountains Aladaglar National park Entrance & camping Fees
–    Night Train from/to Kayseri/Erzurum (sleeper Wagon: 2 Persons per Cabin / Single reservation not possible)

 

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
–    Single Tents
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips