Top 10 Adventure Holidays
2. Family adventures around Kas
The laid-back resort of Kas, squeezed between the astonishingly blue waters of the Mediterranean and the soaring mountains of Lycia, is generally acknowledged to be Turkey’s adventure capital. This pretty, former Greek fishing village has been saved from over-development by its rocky location and lack of big beaches. As a result, prices have remained reasonable in the low-key restaurants and shops, the locals friendly and the atmosphere relaxed – making it the ideal venue for a multi-activity family holiday. Exodus’s Turquoise Coast Adventure includes activities as varied as shopping in the local market to sea-kayaking above an ancient sunken city off Kekova, and negotiating a rope adventure course to exploring the dramatic Saklikent (Hidden City) canyon.
3. On horseback across Cappadocia
With its weirdly eroded volcanic tuff pillars known as Fairy Chimneys, some positively phallic in appearance, the central Anatolian region of Cappadocia possesses one of the world’s most intriguing landscapes. Then there are mysterious valleys riddled with rock-cut dwellings and churches, underground cities, mile after mile of rolling steppe-land punctuated by snow-covered volcanic peaks, and flat-topped mesas and buttes. This is “Big Sky” country in Asia, custom-made for exploring on horseback. No wonder Cappadocia, a name derived from the ancient Hittites, means “Land of Horses”. In The Saddle offers a fascinating circular ride around this fabulous landscape, taking riders into parts of the region yet to be affected by large-scale tourism.
The central Anatolian region of Cappadocia possesses one of the world's most intriguing landscapes
4. Cycling along the south-west coast
Turkey’s fascinating southwest coast and its hinterland, between the river bank resort of Dalyan and the former-fishing village of Kas, is a magnet for visitors. Most explore this beautiful area in a hired car, on organised excursions from their villa or hotel, or on a gulet cruise. Some more energetic souls walk the Lycian Way (see above). A brilliant compromise is to peddle your way through this majestic region. On Explore’s moderately callenging Turkish Backroads and Coastal Towns route you’ll cover around 30 miles a day, weaving your way around reed-fringed Lake Köycegiz, dropping your bike for a swim off lovely Patara beach, and cruising down a mountain road to journey’s end in picturesque Kas.
5. Climbing Mt Ararat
Rearing up to nearly 17, 000ft in the remote country where Turkey, Iran and Armenia meet, the glacier-clad summit of this legendary volcanic mountain is a magnet for peak-baggers worldwide. The climb is best done over five days to allow adequate time for acclimatisation, and anyone in good shape can attempt it, though crampons and ice-axe are de rigueur for the summit bid. A reputable agency based in Dogubeyazit at the foot of the mountain is Tamzara, run by friendly, fluent-English-speaking Mustafa. They have experienced guides and arrange the baggage transfers, provide pack animals and set up camps (three in all). They also arrange the obligatory official climbing permit. You probably won’t find Noah’s Ark, but the views from the summit are superlative.
Tamzara charges £400 for the climb, including two nights’ hotel accommodation in Dogubeyazit, all meals on the three-night/four-day climb, permits, guide and porters, and equipment such as tent, sleeping bag and crampons (0090 472 3125 232; mtararattour.com).
6. Kite-surfing in Alaçati
Turkey’s premier kite-surfing venue is Alaçati, a delightfully well-preserved former Greek village on the Çesme Peninsula. Offshore, the warm waters of the Aegean and the steady and reliable winds make for an ideal place to learn this most exhilarating of activities – a curious but thrilling hybrid of surfing, windsurfing and paragliding. The best way to learn is to sign up for a course. Kite-Turkey, a reliable part-British-run company based in Alaçati, offers beginners’ courses spread over four days, with one instructor for a maximum of two students. With application, you’ll be soaring and twisting over the azure waters of the Aegean by the end of it.