Turkey - Cappadocia Trail Ride
Cappadocia, or "land of the beautiful horses" as it is called in Old Persian, includes the Göreme Valley, Ürgüp and its surrounds. It is one of the most mysterious and stunning landscapes in the world, and has even been the backdrop to one of the Star Wars’ movies. Time, wind and weather have shaped the almost sensual curves of this once-volcanic region and the rounded peaks and pinnacles are known today as "fairy chimneys". Cappadocia is unique, and is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The ranch is located in the heart of the National Park and is a perfect starting point to explore the famous Cappadocia Valley. French-born Nicolas discovered Cappadocia when he first went there as a film producer. After having travelled and ridden a lot in Asia, including Afghanistan and Turkey, he moved here nine years ago to realize his dream and since then has organized trekking in the area. He speaks English, French and Turkish. Nicolas is an open and soft-spoken person, but if you ask him a question, he can talk for hours about horses, Turkey, and the history of the area ... Nicolas and his girlfriend Hélène share their home with 25 horses, dogs, cats, goats, geese and one donkey.
Accommodation and Food
In Cappadocia - you will stay at the family-run guesthouse which is typical for the area (stone houses, cave houses, Ottoman and Greek style). During the week, you will stay in three different guesthouses, in Cappadocia's most beautiful villages. Double rooms with ensuite shower / toilet. Most offer free Internet access and a laundry service.
Some dates are camping in tents. For the riders who don't want to sleep outside, a hotel option is possible. You will be driven to the closest guest house (same hotels as Guest house trail, usually a short 15 minute drive). For the supplement price, same as Cappadocia Trail Ride in guest house accomodation.
Turkey is known for its kebabs, mezes (different kinds of side dishes) and also and the use of vegetables and fish. Central Anatolia is well known for its Manti and Gozleme, delicious pastries filled with spinach and cheese and other tasty fillings. Breakfast is typically continental. Most days you will ride to a local restaurant for lunch, and some days you will enjoy a picnic. Dinner usually consists of an appetizer, one or two main courses and a dessert. Vegetarians can be catered for but please notify us before departure. Water, tea and coffee are included. Local wine, beer and other beverages are available and you pay locally.
This 6-day progressive ride takes you around Cappadocia, starting from the ranch between Ürgüp and Ortahisar in the heart of the national park. You will ride from Cappadocia’s agricultural country in the south, to the most beautiful valleys in the north. On this surprisingly varied ride, you will see stunning rock formations, lush canyons, high plateaus, steppe-like landscapes, along with vineyards and orchards. The villages reflect the Anatolian lifestyle while frescoed churches and other cave treasures testify to the rich history of this area. The ride is entirely within the National Park.
You ride 6 days, about 6 hours / day except Wednesday, when it is 3½ hours. About 30 km (19 miles) / day at mixed paced over a total of 170 kilometers (106 miles), either walking or galloping. You will need to be in good physical condition, as you will occasionally need to dismount and lead your horse up or down steep slopes. 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 will be met by your driver and driven about 50 minutes to your guesthouse in Ortahisar, where you eat dinner with your guide.
Monday - "Ürgüp" You drive to the ranch in the morning where you will meet your horse, and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. You start with an hour of riding through the lush vegetation and along the stream at Uzengi canyon. Villagers will cook lunch for you over an open fire at the foot of steep cliffs that are full of pigeon nests. Now you get your first long gallop up Mount Avlak (Mount Avlak is impossible in the rain, which may mean you cannot do this or it will be moved to Saturday), and get a magnificent view of Cappadocia. The rocky mountain formations could be taken straight out of a western movie ... you then continue the ride through the barren hills surrounding Lake Damsa (if the weather permits, you can swim in the lake with your horse). You gallop along the trails of soft red clay that will take you to Mustafapasa. You enter the village, which is surrounded by vineyards and apricot, pear and apple orchards and finally arrive at tonight's guesthouse. The horses stay in a nearby pasture. In the evening, you can stroll amongst Mustafapasa’s old stone house and see its Ottoman school and beautiful church.
Tuesday - Golgoli - Kirkule: You start the ride up the valley of St. Nicholas and continue south through Cappadocia. You ride through remote areas along a scenic route through the rock formations, vineyards and orchards. After a glorious gallop, you visit the cave village of Golgoli. You then climb up to a scenic plateau where you have the chance for another gallop. You then head through a hidden canyon to the village of Göreme, where you have lunch at a restaurant deep in a mountain. There is a pool is in front of the restaurant. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a constantly changing scenery of narrow paths, small gullies, agricultural land, and the expanses of Bahceli, where shepherds watch their flocks. You head through the lush gorge at Sorkumlu, before galloping on the wide sandy roads. You can then visit a second and different cave village known as "Kirkule". In the evening, you will return to the guesthouse in Ürgüp.
Wednesday - Uchisar: Today, you ride for about three hours in the morning. You gallop through vineyards and orchards and over white rolling hills to Ibrahimpasa. From this picturesque village you start your climb up the "twin peaks" of Cappadocia from where you will enjoy a panoramic view encompassing northern Cappadocia and the high mountains of Uchisar. As you ride towards Uchisar, you will see the multicolored rock formations of the famous Pigeon Valley and Uchisar’s picturesque fairy chimneys. You arrive at the guesthouse and get to enjoy a late lunch on the terrace with a great view. You can spend the rest of the day exploring Uchisar or ride through Pigeon Valley to the churches at the Göreme Open Air Museum. An excursion to the cave cities can also be arranged on request.
Thursday - Green- Red Valley: Optional hot air balloon flight early in the morning: A Journey at sunrise on the winds over Cappadocia's magical landscape (not included in price).
The riding starts with a leisurely ride through rock tunnels, passages and small, forest roads and the spectacular 4 km long Green Valley canyon. You take a detour through the famous Love Valley and its enormous giant mushroom-like rock formations. You then ride to Sword Valley and on to Red Valley, Cappadocia's most spectacular collection of geological formations with its red-, pink and ocher mountains, and its beautiful cave churches. You will eat lunch at a cave café located in an old monastery. In the afternoon, you continue to explore the red and pink valley and ride out into the fields where you are surrounded by the rugged mountains of northern Cappadocia. The winding paths of the Shepherd Valley will take you back to your guesthouse in Uchisar, in time to admire central Cappadocia at sunset.
Friday - Ortahisar: Optional hot air balloon flight early in the morning: A Journey at sunrise on the winds over Cappadocia's magical landscape (not included in price).
Today you will ride into another beautiful canyon called the White Valley, named after the color of the mountains. You ride through the stone labyrinths and lush vegetation, passing the impressive fairy chimneys, yet another Love Valley ... You ride through the picturesque village of Cavusin and follow a beautiful path that has been hollowed out of the red mountain. You reach the famous rock formations at Paşabaği and then ride on to Zelve, an old cave settlement that you can visit during your restaurant lunch stop. In the afternoon, you gallop across the plains at Avanos to the peaks overlooking the Devrent Valley and its oddly shaped fairy chimneys. You can enjoy more long gallops through a maze of forest and sandy roads in the Urgup Valley before you reach Ortahisar. Your guesthouse is located on a terrace in the village's old town above a canyon where the horses will spend the night.
Saturday - Taslik: You ride through the Pancarlik Valley with its multicolored rock formations, gardens and orchards, then gallop over riding friendly roads that take you to a natural rock amphitheater at Taslik. You stop and eat a picnic lunch in a shady canyon deep in the rock (or lunch at a restaurant with a pool). In the afternoon, you ride in Gümüslü "the fairy chimney valley", then even more riding through the narrow passages and archways of the Tahtali Canyon. You ride uphill until you reach the peaks again, the follow a spectacular, narrow path along a cliff overlooking ravines. You return to the ranch in the early afternoon and, depending on season and availability of cattle, you can try your hand at cutting and driving cattle for the rest of the afternoon. After tea on the terrace, you have the opportunity to be driven to a hamam (bathhouse) in Ürgüp for a relaxing steam bath and massage (transport there included). Drive back to your guesthouse in Ortahisar and a farewell dinner.
Sunday: After breakfast transfer to Kayseri Airport.
Horses and Riding
There are about 25 horses, Anatolian (local breed), Arab and Arab crosses, 150 cm (59 in) and well suited to the task. They go out with the herd year round. They are ridden with hackamore and McClellan trail riding saddles. There are saddlebags for picnic lunches and personal items that you may need during the day. Weight limit for riders is 90kg (200 lbs).
You will ride six full-day rides, about 6 hours / day except Wednesday, when it is about 3½ hours. You ride at a high tempo, both uphill and downhill. You will need to be in good physical condition, as you will occasionally need to dismount and lead your horse up or down steep slopes.
A minimum of 2 and maximum of 8 riders.
Below is an indicative list of visits, excursions and activities available in Cappadocia. Some can be done independently, while others can be arranged through us or by a local travel agent that we can recommend you.
- Hot air balloon at sunrise, a fantastic experience! (must be booked in advance)
- Visit the Göreme Open Air Museum - the region's largest concentration of frescoed churches.
- Excursion to the cave cities - these were used as shelters during the war, the bigger cities have 8 levels below ground level and there is a series of rooms, stairs and tunnels.
- Excursion to Ilhara Valley - at the foot of Hasan Dagi volcano, this long lush valley holds several shelters and several churches.
- Motor vehicle activities (jeep, scooter, ATV), mountain biking
- Discover Cappadocia’s wineries and enjoy wine tasting
- Visit local craft shops and workshops: carpets, ceramics, and jewelry.
- Massage at a bathhouse in Ürgüp or Göreme.
April: The sun is back and nature comes back to life. The nights can be cool.
May: Mostly sunny and it can be quite windy.
June: The meadows are full of flowers and horses are in top form.
July: Beautiful weather !
August: Sunny and warm about 35 C degrees (95 F). Siesta is a must after lunch. Bring a hat and sunglasses.
September: Very nice late summer, the trees are laden with fruit.
October: Beautiful light and nice colors. The days are cooler and the nights are cold.
It rains on average about 29 days / year.
Ability description: Trail ride Level 3 >>
Included in the price: 7 nights, 6 days riding, full board incl. water, tea/coffee, transfer from/to Kayseri between 05.00 am and 10.00 pm.
Not included: Flights, insurance, optional activities, drinks and extras not mentioned.
Travel: Book flight/rental car >> We help you book your flight if you wish.
Fly to Kayseri airport (via Istanbul).
Transfer: You can order a transfer through horseXplore.
Frpm Kayseri to equestrian center, about 50 minutes with bus.
You will be met for flights arriving between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm, we recommend arrival to Kayseri before 06.30 pm to be in time for the dinner at 08.00 pm. Transfer back to Kayseri Airport after breakfast.
Disount 2018: 10% for people under 30 year old.
Visa: Visit this page to check if you need to apply for e-Visa evisa.gov.tr/en/