You ride 6 days, about 5-6 hours / day. About 35 km / day on varied grounds. Pace is walk, with prevalent canters. Canters can be long (15 minutes) and technical (turn, slow down, downhill).
Riders must be in good physical condition to take part in the progressive trail. Circuit includes difficult ways where riders will be asked to dismount and lead their horses, sometimes up or down steep paths (twice 20 minutes downhill on rocky ground).
During the week, you have the chance to take a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia's surreal landscape, as well as take side trips to the cave cities. You can also get a steam bath and massage in Ürgüp’s traditional hammam (bathhouses) at the end of the week.
Tentative Itinerary (subject to change)
Sunday: Arrival at Kayseri airport. You are met by your chauffeur and transferred in 50 mn to your guesthouse in Ortahisar, where you have dinner with your guide.
Monday - You are driven to the ranch in the morning to meet your horse, and get acquainted with the riding equipment. You will have time to try your horse on a 1 km training course going around the farm. The trail begins with a one-hour riding through lush vegetation and along the stream of the Uzengi canyon. Very quickly, the first long canter brings you to Avlak mountain, with a magnificent encompassing view of Cappadocia. The rocky hills could provide the perfect background to a Western movie… Cantering on this high plateau brings us to lunch time. Olives, humous, vegetables, different cheeses, black bread, traditional yoghurt dish, Turkish black tea are served on a table, in the heart of a green tiny canyon, with the horses grazing around. The afternoon is spent riding through a huge valley where the ghost village of Karain takes place. A few more canters let us arrive to Akköy village. The horses are tied just under the hotel, and the group can enjoy a drink looking at them. The terrace of the hotel has an 180° view on the valley and the paddock is 100 m in front of the hotel.
Tuesday - We start this day by cantering through fields of the high Anatolian plateau (1600 m high) : barley, wheat, oat and beans fields. We dismount for 20 minutes of a steep single trail down to Damsa lake. Villagers cook lunch for us on a woodfire. Passing by and overlooking a valley of fairy chimneys, the afternoon scenery is made of bare hills surrounding the lake. (In case of hot weather, you can swim in the lake with your horse). You canter along tracks of soft red clay leading you to the village of Ayvali through a hidden canyon, and stop at your hotel.
Wednesday - In the morning, a quick start with a canter brings you to visit the underground village of Golgoli. Your sure-footed horse takes you off the beaten tracks along a scenic path through rock formations, vineyard and orchards, surrounded by table-mountains. Arrival in the center of the old Greek village of Mustafapasa and visit on horseback. You climb a scenic plateau where you have the opportunity to gallop your horse again. ` After a short ride, you arrive to your hotel in Ayvali. (depending on the season and weather forecast, lunch in Mustafapasa or next to the swimming pool in Ayvali)
Thursday - Leaving the hotel on horseback, you can enjoy a varied scenery of narrow tracks, small canyons, farmed land, and the wide- open spaces of Subasi, where shepherds lead their flock. You sneak your way along the lush, narrow canyon of a remote village, before galloping on large sandy tracks. Visit of a second and different type of underground village : “Kirkule”. Long canter leads us through vineyards and orchards and over rolling hills of white tuffa to reach the fairy chimneys of Gomeda valley, then more fun riding awaits you in the narrow corridors and arches of the canyon of Gumuslu. You ride uphill to reach one of our best restaurants for lunch: “Babayan evi”. Very good and healthy local food. From this picturesque village, you start ascending the ‘twin hills’ of Cappadocia to reach a panoramic viewpoint encompassing northern Cappadocia and the towering rock fortress of Uchisar. As you ride towards the village, you can admire the multicoloured rock formations of the famous Pigeon Valley, and Uchisar’s picturesque fairy chimneys. Your reach your panoramic guesthouse on horseback and enjoy a drink on the terrace.
Friday - Optional hot-air balloon flight in the early morning: travel with the wind over Cappadocia’s magical landscape at sunrise.
You ride through the rock tunnels, arches and small woods of the spectacular, 4 km-long canyon called the Green Valley. You make a detour through the famous Love Valley and its gigantic phallic rock formations, then into the Sword Valley and Red Valley. With its citadels of red, pink and ocre rock, and its beautiful troglodytic churches, this is Cappadocia’s most spectacular ensemble of geological formations. A cave cafe located in an ancient monastery welcomes you for lunch. In the afternoon, you keep exploring the Red and Rose Valleys, then ride out into the fields, surrounded by the rocky hills of north Cappadocia. The winding paths of the Shepherd’s valley take you back with a long canter to your guesthouse in Uchisar, in time to admire north Cappadocia in the sunset light.
Saturday - You enter another beautiful canyon called the White Valley, after the colour of its rock. You ride through stone labyrinths and lush vegetation, and pass the impressive fairy chimneys of yet another Love Valley ... Crossing the picturesque village of Cavusin, you dismount for a short walk to reach the plateau of Boz daha, you canter on the crest overlooking Red valley on one side and Devrent valley on the other, with its strangely shaped fairy chimneys on the other side. You enjoy more long canters through the maze of woody, sandy paths of the valley of Urgüp before reaching the valley of Pancarlik and its multicoloured rock formations, gardens and orchards. You return to the ranch in the afternoon. After tea on our terrace, you have an option to be driven to the hamam in Urgüp for a relaxing steam bath and massage. Short transfer back to your guesthouse and farewell dinner.
Sunday: After breakfast transfer to Kayseri Airport.