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Turkey – spring natural history on the Lycian coast

Explore the Mediterranean coast and mountains of south-west Turkey in spring.

Turkey is a vast and varied country full of exciting wild flowers and birds in a great range of landscapes from coastal lagoons to high forest and alpine meadows. Our holiday explores the fascinating area known as Lycia that lies along the Mediterranean coast. A history stretching from antiquity through the Byzantine and Ottoman empires has left many archaeological remains. During our week in Turkey, we will visit the impressive ancient sites at Olympos and Chimaera, Arykanda, Patara and Myra.

The holiday is timed to catch the best of the spring flowers, including orchids, tulips and fritillaries, while enjoying pleasant temperatures before the majority of tourists arrive. The end of April is the peak time for northbound bird migration in the eastern Mediterranean, when large numbers of birds should be passing through, including storks, raptors, chats, shrikes and warblers.

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The nearby mountains form part of the Western Taurus, famous for the finest stands of Cedrus libani in the eastern Mediterranean, home to Persian squirrel and Krüper’s nuthatch. The hillsides also have deciduous woods and forests of juniper, with pine and coastal maquis lower down. We will go higher into the alpine zone on one day to see other plants and bird the shores of Lake Avlan.

Our base for the final four days of the trip will be the colourful Lycian coastal town of Kaş, with a picturesque harbour and interesting shops. A boat trip takes us around the tranquil bay near the island of Kekova, where we can see the remains of ancient cities under the water and perhaps glimpse a passing Loggerhead Turtle.

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Dates

April 2020

Leader

To be confirmed

Price

To be confirmed

Included

Return flight from UK to Antalya. Local transport as specified in itinerary. Seven nights’ accommodation, full board.

Not included

Refreshments. Entrance fees for optional sightseeing. Gratuities. Travel insurance.

Day 1 Flight to Antalya. Transfer to our hotel in the village of Göynük (~ 1hour) near the Kemer Valley.

Day 2 Today we travel up the Kemer Valley towards Gedelme with stops to look at spring flowers and listen for calling Krüper’s Nuthatch along the way. We will visit the spectacular Göynük canyon and walk part the way up.

Day 3 We head south to the archaeological sites of Olympos and the ’eternal flames’ of Chimaera near the village of Cirali, where methane and other gases emerge from the volcanic rocks and burn. Our explorations take us through coastal maquis and olive groves.

Day 4 This morning we visit the well preserved ancient Lycian city of Arykanda where, as well as the impressive ruins, we should also find interesting flowers, Persian Squirrel and Rock Nuthatch. We visit the Beymelek lagoon with its rich bird-life, before continuing westwards to the colourful Lycian coastal town of Kaş.

Day 5 We head higher today, spending our time exploring the cedar forests around Kuruova Pass and the juniper forests and bird-rich shores of nearby Lake Avlan.

Day 6 Today we take a boat trip to Kekova Island. Loggerhead Turtles are a regular sight on this journey, and this is one of the few places in Turkey where Mediterranean Monk Seals have been seen with any regularity in recent years.

Day 7 Patara is known both for its ancient ruins and for its beach of soft white sand, backed by majestic dunes, bordered on its ends by mountains and the large marshy area, all that remains of the celebrated port of Patara. Patara is now a national park and home to many birds, as well as being the breeding ground of the endangered Loggerhead Turtle.

Day 8 We return to Antalya, stopping on the way at Myra to see the impressive rock cut tombs on a vertical cliff. We will have dinner in Antalya before our flight to the UK.

Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders. 

We will stay at two locations: three nights in Göynük and four nights in Kaş. In Göynük we are likely to stay at the Beydağı Konak and in Kaş at the Hotel Begonvil, a hotel near the harbour of this pleasant seaside town. The exact hotels will partly depend on group size. They will be of a good standard with rooms en-suite.

Evening meals will be taken at the hotel or in local restaurants. Lunches will be a combination of picnics and meals at traditional restaurants.

We will travel by minibus. The boat trip to Kekova is in an attractive, traditional Turkish boat.

The group flights are with Easyjet from London Gatwick.

22 May depart London Gatwick 05.55, arrive Thessaloniki 11.10
29 May depart Thessaloniki 11.55, arrive London Gatwick 13.25

It is also possible to fly from Manchester and Luton however a separate transfer may be required.

Turkey is two hours ahead of UK time.

If you have a UK passport, you must apply for an e-visa in advance at a cost of $20. For other passports, you should consult the Turkish consulate.

At this time of year the weather is usually sunny but not too hot. There may be some cooler weather and some rain. It may be warm enough to sit outside for breakfast.

The walking is not strenuous but we will be walking (relatively gently) uphill in some places: paths may be rocky and uneven and some walking is ‘off-track’. Walking boots are essential for most excursions (lightweight boots are fine). All excursions are optional except those on days when transferring between hotels. The hotel rooms are likely to be reached by stairs rather than lifts (but help will be given with luggage). On some days we will take longer walks (2 hours+) but on most days, walks will be shorter (1-2 hours).