Day 1 : Transfer from Kayseri Airport to Soganli, southern Cappadocia
Day 2-6 : Mountain biking in Cappadocia
Day 8 : Return transfer to Kayseri Airport
7 Nights top-quality accommodation in hand-selected family-run boutique, authentic cave and deluxe restored Ottoman mansion hotels: the best Cappadocia has to offer and a true highlight of the tour!
Day 1: Flight to Kayseri Airport. Transfer Soganli Valley (1 hour drive)
We recommend a flight that arrives in Kayseri early afternoon. Our drive to Soganli takes about an hour- and we can stop for refreshments on the way if you are hungry or thirsty! This evening, we assemble bikes and then have an informal briefing over a delicious home-cooked meal. We stay in a fantastic and truly authentic local pension with awesome cave rooms, home made village style food and fantastic hospitality. The canyon setting and open terrace are the stuff of dreams….
Overnight Emek Pension Soganli
Day 2: Soganli Canyon – Guzeloz – Derbentbasi (picnic lunch) – Derinkuyu Underground City (Total 39km / 715m Climb / 660m Descent)
We begin by exploring Soganli valley- discovering rock cut churches, cave houses and incredible rocky scenery on a network of technical singletrack trails. In at the deep end, we’ll have chance to work on some essential trail skills here before taking a steep singletrack route (mostly rideable) out of the canyon. Continuing on rough tractor tracks and sometimes directly cross country, we get close (not too close) to the canyon edge for some unbelievable views, before picking up a fast, flowing dirt road which brings us back into the valley via some ancient and technical rock steps to Baskoy. From here, easy and shady tractor tracks, with some stream crossings provide the entertainment. We have a picnic lunch at the head of the canyon in the remote village of Derbentbasi (18km) where travellers are a rarity and the local hospitality is enchanting.
After lunch, we head off across open countryside on a network of dirt and rocky tractor tracks across a wide open landscape that conjures up images of camel trains and the historical Silk Road that passes so close to here. This section is a chance to ride together and get to know each other- be social, and have fun! After nearly 40km we arrive in Derinkuyu, and have the option to explore the fascinating multi story underground city there- one of the tour highlights! We then transfer 50km to the beautiful old town of Guzelyurt and overnight in a splendid and luxurious Ottoman “Konak” hotel.
Overnight Kapadokya Ihlara Konaklari, Guzelyurt
Day 3: Transfer – Nar Lake – Sivrihisar – Guzelyurt (restaurant lunch) – Ihlara Canyon – Selime (Total 41km / 940m Climb / 1210m Descent)
After a short 20 minute transfer we begin our ride at a fantastic volcanic crater lake, climbing up and over the rim on a rough, sometimes vertiginous tractor track, picking a route through the rock slides with superb views below. We descend on a fast flowing singletrack through the deserted houses of Nar village. After a challenging climb on cow tracks and then dirt tractor tracks we cross a high mountain pasture (1900m) to arrive at Sivrihisar village. From here we descend on fast dirt tracks descent into Guzelyurt’s Monastery Valley and head up into the town for a gorgeous restaurant lunch of local food.
After lunch, we have time to explore the underground cities back down in the valley, before leaving town of Guzelyurt on yet more rough downhill via Yuksek Kilise (High Church) and a moonscape of slick rocks with so many great lines to find… Dropping into the Ihlara Canyon at Belisirma we relax on comfortable wooden huts suspended over the water itself! We then ride the sometimes tricky singletrack in the canyon, eventually arriving at Selime village where we have dinner and drinks on the riverside- amongst a landscape that has to be seen to be believed!
Overnight Catlak Pansiyon Selime
Day 4: Selime Monastery – Transfer -Wine Tasting – Uchisar (restaurant lunch) – Pigeon Valley (down) – White Valley (down) (Total 13km / 270m Climb / 480m Descent)
This morning we get some rest and recuperate a little from the last two days! We begin with a visit to the incredible rock-cut Selime Monastery and churches and spend some time exploring the amazing surrounding landscape- famous from the Sand People scene in the first Star Wars film… We then transfer via a viewpoint on the Ihlara Canyon to Uchisar- an awesome cave village perched high above the Goreme valley- where we go to a winery to taste some of the best local wines. Lunch at a unique and totally awesome restaurant is a highlight!
This afternoon is where the best singletracks kick in… and the next 3 days are pretty much solid gold trail riding! From Uchisar we launch into an awesome 5km long single track descent through the top half of Pigeon Valley- on a fast, smooth footpath that snakes between well ordered vegetable gardens. Leaving the valley at the mid-point, we climb out on slick rocks and then drop into White Valley. Very steep and technical in places, the scenery is breathtaking, and our trail passes through Cappadocia’s best “fairy chimney” rock towers. We finish our “easy” day in Goreme- where you might like to spend some time doing something a little different- ATV’s, horseback riding and a superb hamam (Turkish bath with massage and skin peeling) are popular options. Our in Goreme is lively and great fun- as well as being at the trailhead of several of the best routes- and our hotel is one of the best true “cave hotels”- for that authentic “luxury hobbit” experience….
Overnight Flintstones Cave Hotel, Goreme.
Day 5: Transfer Uchisar (15 mins) – Kavak – Gomeda Valley – Uzengi Valley -Ortahisar (restaurant lunch) – Balkan Valley – Ibrahimpasa – Zemi Valley – Gorkundere Euro XC Course – Goreme (Total 41km / 1040m Climb / 1250m Descent)
Today’s ride takes us out of the Goreme valley system and into an area of even more epic proportions… It’s a longer, more challenging ride, roughly half on top class singletrack trails and half on fast, open inter-village tractor tracks. We begin with a short transfer up the hill to Uchisar and after a brief warm up enjoy a technical climb over Karli Tepe- the highest point in the area with incredible views. Heading out to Kavak village sees us amongst rural, non-touristic Central Anatolia, and it’s nice to spend some time taking in the pace of life and local smiles in this totally authentic farming town. However, before long we reach an amazing freeride descent into the Gomeda Valley. This is like a natural BMX track with so many different lines to be ridden and natural carves and bowls like a man-made pump track- unbelievable! After a challenging final descent, we ride along the valley on jungle-like, overgrown singletracks (long sleeves recommended) with numerous technical stream crossings and splash-downs to contend with! Heading on into the Uzengi Valley we check out the finest multi-storey rock-cut pigeon lofts that Capadocia has to offer… plus a “natural wonder” spring where we drink sparkling water just like San Pelligrino- I kid you not! From here we climb on a picturesque dirt road to Ortahisar village, where we eat a wonderful 4-course meal in one of the region’s best small restaurants- featuring a main course of slow roasted “tandir” lamb, for the meat lovers among us. What a morning!
Following our epic lunch, we ease into the afternoon with a gentle valley climb up through the green, fertile Balkon Valley to Ibrahimpasa, from where a rough track brings us fairly painlessly back over the highest point and roughly down to the top of Zemi Valley- where a technical and super steep slick rock slab entrance poses nerve-testing entertainment for the better riders. Now in lush, green and overgrown forested terraces, our downhill trail is great fun- passing through natural rock tunnels, handlebar-width mini canyons and hairpin drops and steps. From the valley’s mid-point one final technical climb brings us up and over into a parallel universe- Gorkundere- famous for it’s key role in the European XC MTB Cup that was held here in 2007. We fly down the rutted rocks, emerging with glowing smiles all round right in the centre of Goreme, where a logical next step is the bike-friendly bar named “Fat Boys”. Dinner tonight is at one of Goreme’s finest restaurants- you will not be disappointed!
Overnight Flintstones Cave Hotel, Goreme.
Day 6: Goreme – Gorkundere – Kiliclar – Kaya Camping – Meskendir Valley (down) – Rose Valley / Columns Church (up) – Red Valley / Grapes Church (restaurant lunch) – The Balkon – Cavusin (Total 20km / 650m Climb / 650m Descent)
Setting off from hotel, we dovetail nicely onto the last portion of yesterday’s ride, hitting the Euro XC Cup circuit from a different direction and taking on the rutted rock downhill for a second time. Our route stays close to Goreme initially, enjoying some steep, smooth singletracks and great views as we meander through Swords Valley- Kiliclar. This accessible terrain is a good intro for the more technical and exposed trails to come this afternoon! We climb on an immensely scenic ascent along a ridge above Meskendir Valley, passing Kaya Camping and then dropping into that valley on one of three technical trails. Meskendir Valley is one of the best- with a flowing trail that descends through tunnels, canyons and steeply terraced gardens- with some steps and “north shore” thrown in for good measure! Eventually we run our of downs, and put up our saddles ready for the almost vertical techy climbs of Rose Valley- stopping to draw breath and admire the phenomenal and relatively unknown 8th Century rock-cut “Church of Columns”. Crossing a grassy plateau brings us immediately back into singletrack domain, this time above Red Valley and onto a sheer sided rocky spur that affords a “hot air balloon” view to the valley below. We enjoy a delicious lunch in an off-grid eco-sensitive local restaurant and have time to chill on the sofas there as we digest.
After lunch an easy dirt track climb brings us to the Panoramic Viewpoint for perhaps the hardest but most incredible of all the trails… We call it The Balkon. Though not for the faint hearted everyone is able to tackle the 7km downhill trail at their own speed, and there is no shame in walking some of the steeper sectors. However, great riding through boulder strewn and deeply eroded gullies is reminiscent of Zion, Utah, and of Red Bull’s legendary Rampage- live the dream! Taking our time here and ending the day’s ride right at the front door of our garden-hotel in the small village of Cavusin still leaves time for the stronger riders to go out on an extra loop! A tougher day than the modest km’s suggest, but world-class trail riding in every respect!
Overnight Hotel Green, Cavusin.
Day 7: Hot Air Balloon flight – Cavusin – Table Top Mountain – Devent Valley -Urgup (restaurant lunch) – Rose Valley / Hacli Church (down) – Cavusin (Total 28km / 720m Climb / 720m Descent
This morning you might like to see the dawn in from an optional Hot Air Balloon flight- respected as a “must do” in Cappadocia, and an awesome way to see the trails you’ve ridden from a completely different perspective! Though the tour is completely optional, this an unmissable experience, and you’ll be back in time for breakfast- slightly drunk from the champagne reception! Our last day’s ride is less intensely technical than yesterdays- but still challenging! From Cavusin we climb on undulating singletracks through a seemingly impassable landscape of deeply eroded rock, to an old water tower above the fairy chimneys at Pasabagi. From here, a steep 20 minute hike-a-bike trail gets us right to the top of Boz Dagi table top mountain- and some of the best views of the whole trip! We take hugely panoramic goat tracks right around the edge of the table top plateau, with views down to the valleys below and then drop down on a steep, open, enduro-style descent that plunges into a super fast dirt road, meeting up with the Urgup – Avanos road in the barren, desert-like landscape of Devrent Valley. Passing by “Camel Rock” we continue easily on to Urgup for a tasty restaurant lunch and then have time to relax, explore the small boutiques or indulge in a Turkish ice cream in one of the boutique parlours…
After lunch, a gentle but extremely beautiful sandy dirt track regains our lost height, and we reach the Panoramic Viewpoint once again without too much sweat or tears. Our last downhill trail drops into a steep natural half-pipe chute via a flight of steps: perfect technical options for riders who prefer life on the edge a little more. Certainly, riding the bowl here is one of the most things you’ll ever do! Into Rose Valley once again, and this time along a very different trail to the fantastic Hacli church- where you’ll see some of the most amazing Byzantine frescoes and experiment with the unique and very bizarre acoustics. Never wishing to call a last run, we arrive back at Cavusin without too much fuss or build up, and time to relax and pack up our bikes in the hotel gardens. Tonight we go out for a perfect top class meal at Goreme’s best restaurant and no doubt enjoy a few drinks over tales of the week’s highs, lows, trials and trails…
Overnight Hotel Green, Cavasin.
Day 8: Transfer Nevsehir / Kayseri Airport for flight home. We include one private airport transfer per group, but often people arrive and depart at very different times. In which case, we include a reliable scheduled shuttle-bus service which will get you to the airport on time! The end of a truly brilliant week!
Note: Itineraries are subject to change without notice.