Contrasts of the Carian Trail
Immerse yourself in nature and explore pulsating Bodrum
Bodrum and Akyaka are, for differing reasons, well-known summer resorts of the region. Akyaka is still a working fishing village, and has in the past several decades become an idyllic retreat for families, still appealing mostly to Turkish tourists from the main cities of Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir. It is known for its pristine swimming beach, low-impact water sports like kayaking and its natural surroundings with footpaths and mountain bike trails. Contrast this with the jet set lifestyle and pulsating nightlife for which Bodrum is known and you have the perfect recipe for experiencing two different faces of Turkey during your visit with us. Watch the local fishermen mending their nets and toast to a successful hike at a vibrant waterside bar. Now you can have both!
This is the area so famously chronicled by Herodotus, the “Father of History”, writing in the time when modern-day Bodrum was still called Halicarnassus and fought over by the Persians and Greeks. The founding of Halicarnassus is still debated, but it is generally accepted it was a Dorian colony. Later it became the capital of ancient Caria and the city was expanded, streets and squares paved, and the harbour deepened to increase trade. The Carian king Mausolus had a massive fortified tomb built for himself which later became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Its ruins can still be visited today. More striking is the Crusader castle of St. Peter, which to this day continues to stand sentinel over the city. Bodrum is the starting point for many a “Blue Voyage” – the name given to tranquil cruises in traditional gullet schooners that have popularized the whole Turquoise Coast.
Look forward to
This is the region of contrasts. Picturesque fishing villages, bays with crystal-clear waters and mountain settlements where time has stood still and people are still valuing the land and its abundance as they have for centuries; in stark juxtaposition with the vibrant nightlife and multi-million dollar yachts moored in Bodrum’s bay and high-end restaurants catering to the jet set. Discover for yourself the contrasts of modern Turkey.
- Hike on the paths of ancient civilizations
- Bask in Mediterranean sun and warmth
- Watch fishermen repair their nets
- Observe local women weaving traditional kilim carpets
- Explore the ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
- Experience the vibrant nightlife of Bodrum
Welcome to Turkey! Arrival at Dalaman or Bodrum airport. Airport pick-up and transfer to Akyaka (about an hour’s drive). Depending on your arrival time, possibility to go for an afternoon swim in Akyaka’s shallow, pristine bay. Welcome dinner and orientation session with your guide.
After a fortifying Turkish breakfast we will begin our hike directly from the guesthouse and enter the forest surrounding Akyaka via the central market square. The fragrant pine forest is a companion for all our senses. We alternate between gravel roads and forest paths, dipping in and out of the trees to pass through small villages and enjoy the marvellous view of Gökova Bay over and over again. We end our hike in the small village of Turnalı after a total of 15 km and 580 m ascent/descent. Transfer to nearby Akbük by minibus to our guesthouse, where we will stay for two night. There is usually time for a swim before dinner.
The morning begins with a long climb, which is rewarded by stunning views of the Gulf of Gökova and the Datça Peninsula. Reaching an altitude of 700 m over 12 km, the trail passes through a mystic pine forest and our course zigzags upwards on a mixture of mule trails and gravel roads until we reach Sarnıç village with its fertile fields up high on the plain. We transfer back to the village of Akbük to our guesthouse, on its heavenly bay.
A short transfer takes us to the starting point for our hike, the village of Türkevleri. Our hiking distance is 13 kilometers today. We will wind upwards through low vegetation, reaching a height for nice views of the Aegean. The route continues through pine forest to Bozalan village, where we will stay in a guesthouse. We spend a cultural afternoon learning from the local women about carpet weaving (kilim) and watching them at work on traditional, age-old patterns: knot by knot. The village of Bozalan is famous for its kilim, and uses only natural dyes.
We continue our hike this morning, enjoying how the slower pace of travel on foot brings us closer the local inhabitants and way of life as we walk through Bozalan village, passing age-old terraces that have been farmed for centuries, and village houses. An old caravan trail takes us to Gökbel village, also known for its carpet-weaving. We stop for refreshments and some Turkish çay in the village centre and carry on with our hike – with regular views of the sea as our guide. Our hike ends 14 kilometers later in a small guesthouse in the seaside village of Çakıllıyalı. Here too, swimming will be possible, and we will savour the local flavours at a fish restaurant at dinner.
After another delicious Turkish breakfast we head off strengthened for the day with the longest distance to cover: 18 kilometers. We start directly from our guesthouse in Çakıllıyalı. The old trail we walk today had fallen into disrepair until recently. Now after the opening of the Carian Trail it is now being used again, though by hiking and walking enthusiasts. The hilly route passes through many untouched beaches and coves. The habitat is diverse: maquis, olive groves and strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo). Our route takes us through Kisebükü, an old Byzantine settlement, and on to our endpoint for the day, the small village of Çiftlik. From here we will transfer to our centrally located guesthouse in Bodrum. Modern-day Bodrum is well-known for its pulsating nightlife, which you are free to explore this evening.
Our guide will accompany you to the city of Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus of Caria) and its Castle of the Knights of St. John, which has one of the best underwater archeological museums in the world, taking you back through the ages in original exhibits of shipwrecks from Anatolian shores. We will walk to Myndos Gate dating back to the 4th century BC and to the Mausoleum of Mausolus – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On this your last evening, why not toast to a successful hike with a high-flying cocktail at one of Bodrum’s many busy waterside bars?
Return day and transfer to Bodrum airport. We are more than happy to assist in organizing additional activities for the morning depending on your departure time. Farewell and see you again next time!
Included in the Price
- airport transfers on arrival and departure days
- 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch & dinner); water, coffee & tea included
- English-speaking, local guide
- 7 nights in guesthouses, based on double occupancy with your own facilities
- Children 10 years and older are welcome, children 7-12 years old receive a 50% discount
Excluded: return flights to Dalaman or Bodrum airports, personal expenses & drinks
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