Join this equestrian adventure in Cappadocia, a beautiful region in central Turkey famous for it's fairytale scenery. Discover the extraordinary landscape of fairy chimneys and volcanic formations. Over centuries, the erosion of volcanic rocks has formed this surrealistic breathtaking landscape. Visit cave villages, underground cities, troglodytic monasteries and ancient frescoed churches to discover the historical and cultural wealth of this region - a UNESCO World Heritage site.

From canyon to canyon, through tunnels, enjoy horseback riding on strong, sure footed and well-schooled Anatolian horses (Barb-Arab crosses), used to the varied terrain and so allowing riders the leisure to look around and take in the scenery. Ride 5-6 hours per day in small groups (first day being a shorter ride, 3 hours), covering covering 20-35km on horseback trails. The pace is mostly walk with opportunities for trots and canters every day.

Participants should be reasonably fit and this ride will suit strong novices and intermediate horseback riders and above. It is ideal for families who love to vacation and ride together

Visiting Turkey but can't commit to a full week trail? Why not book a shorter version of this trail, for more information click here.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from JD of Lake Oswego, Oregon on 06/06/2024

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Ebo is very nice a very kind horseman with a love of his horses and always had there safety and health out first as when as the clients. They only thing that would have made it better was as a bit more interaction with the clients and explanation of the surrounding landscape flora and fauna etc as we were riding through the land. The only complaint during the actual ride is the smoking of the guide and other riders as they are ahead and it is impossible when riding to not he downwind of the smoker since you’re following the guide. I can’t tolerate nor is it fair to have to breath or smell cigarette smoke and have polluted air or the ride, especially out in nature. It was really frustrating. If it’s possible to limit this and have stops for people or breaks if the guide must smoker or allow the riders to go ahead when the guide or smoking riders smoke so non smoking riders can be away from this would be very appreciated and courteous.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
More trotting and cantering to break up some of the walking pace of the trip. More explanation about the culture land area traveling through during the ride.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
2
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. We will discuss the smoking with the hosts immediately. Glad the ride went well! :)

Day 1 
Flight and arrival in Cappadocia (Kayseri or Nevsehir airport). Shuttle transfer to the village of Avanos (1h). Night in a local hotel. (Meals not included)

Day 2
In the morning riders will meet the horses. The guides will assess the level of each rider in the riding centre before allocating a horse to try. Take a warm-up ride along the backs of the Red River to Lake Batymhaci. Pass through the village of Sariihidir and return through the vineyards of Mount Ziyaret to finish back in Avanos to overnight. (5hrs Riding. Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 3
Depart toward Uchisar. Pass through the small canyon of Cayagil and continue to the Valley of Love with its 'fairytale chimneys'. Finish the day's ride in Uchisar, dominated by a huge rocky outcrop. Overnight in Uchisar. (5 hrs riding. Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 4 
Today's rides leads through the moonscape-like terrain in some of Cappadocia's most beautiful valleys. Enjoy lunch on the terrace next to the Uzumlu chapel. Return to the accommodation in Uchisar by way of the Karan Kemer Valley. (5.5 hr riding. Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 5 
Today the ride leads into a lesser-known area, the village of Ibrahimpacha, which still retains its rural character and charm. Continue on to the Gomeda and Uzengi valleys, known for their large 'pigeon houses'. End the day in Mustafapasa where we spend the night. It is an old Greek village that has preserved its original character. (5 hr riding. Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 6 
It is a day filled with diversity and leads to another aspect of Cappadocia, through plateaus and valleys with their fairy chimneys and pigeon houses of the Golgoli site. The trail leads to the Keslik Monastary where the group break for lunch and visit the monastery. Return to Mustahapacha via a trail that overlooks the entire valley. Overnight in Mustafapacha. (6 hours riding. Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 7 
Bayramhacılı - Avanos: Today explores the uniqueness of the area as the ride heads through the Pancarlik Valley and Monastery that was once a hospital. Follow a path with views of the Rose Valley before heading to the Devrent Valley, known as the Valley of Imagination to reach at the 13th centuary Saruhan Caranserai. Follow the Red River back to the stables. Say goodbye to the horses before heading to Avenos for the last night's accommodation and farewell dinner. (6 hrs riding. Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 8 
Shuttle transfer to Kayseri or Nevsehir airport (1h). Return flight.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are 15 horses for the guests to choose from. They are all Anatolien horses, a Barb Arabian cross. These are strong horses with great stamina. They have a friendly nature, are well trained and have different temperaments, there will be a horse to fit all expectations and skills. They are sure-footed and used to the challenging terrain.

Saddles used on this trail are English trail saddles, fitted with saddle bags to carry everything you need during the day.


Rider requirements

Must be able to walk, trot and canter on a good horse and be comfortable spending 4-6 hours in the saddle (covering 30-50km daily). The pace is mostly walk, with opportunities for trots and canters each day (when possible). An adventurous nature and confidence riding over varied terrain would be beneficial.
Sometimes riders may walk next to their horse for a short period of time to help their horse if walking is no issue for them. This is the rider's choice.
Riders may help with grooming and saddling their horse if they wish, there will always be someone on site to help though.

Weight limit: 188lb (85 kg). Minimum age is 12.
Riders should bring their own helmets and chaps.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Hotel accommodation: standard double/twin rooms with private bathrooms. Comfortable beds, towels, shampoos, soap, WiFi etc. available. Hotels used on this trail are traditional architecture, old stone houses restored as hotels.

Luxury hotel accommodation can be arranged for private groups depending on the budget.

Sample breakfast: Green olives, black olives, 2 kinds of cheeses, boiled eggs or omelette, jams, honey, butter, bread, fruits, tomatoes, cucumber, tea, coffee, fruit juices, milk.

Sample dinner: traditional dinner, different every evening (soup, main dish, rice or pasta, dessert or fruits).


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures

When visiting Turkey, your passport should be valid for at least 150 days from the date you arrive and there should be a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps. You can find more detail about the requirements for entry into Turkey on the website of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Passport and Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Turkey.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/turkiye

Climate Summary

The climate is a continental climate with large temperature variations. In summer, hot during the day (25/35º), cool in the evening and at night (10/15º). The altitude (between 900 and 1800m) and the season determine the temperature. The weather is generally nice and dry but one can have occasional heat storms. Spring can be cooler and wetter – take this into account when preparing your equipment.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

British-issued prescriptions are not accepted in pharmacies in Turkey, although some medicines may be available over the counter. You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

As a precaution against Avian Influenza it is recommended that you avoid being in close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds, and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked


Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Turkey and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Electricity

In Turkey the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

WiFi is available in every hotel accommodation. Phone signal is good on most parts of the trail except for when riding in deep valleys. If using a GoPro ensure you have the permission of the group to be filmed.

Packing List

- 1 large travel bag or duffel bag which will be transported by the assistance vehicle, suitcases can be used if preferred.
- 1 small backpack (20 l) will be very useful for air travel or in town, but not for on horseback where we have saddle bags
- Leather gloves
- Sand Shoes (avoid shoes that are too wide because of the stirrups)
- Cotton tracksuit or comfortable large pants with large elastic bands under the feet so as to avoid the pants from riding up your legs
- T-shirts
- Sweat shirt
- Long sleeve shirt (against sunburns)
- Warm jumper
- Wind jacket
- Rain cape
- Light pair of long pants
- Scarf for dust
- Shoes for rest periods
- Hat
- Shorts
- Swimming costume
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- First aid kit and medicines.

For tours in spring or autumn, bring warmer clothes and a coat.
Because of the heat, avoid wearing synthetic clothes and underwear, tight jeans or pants with thick seams and boots.

Programmes

This is a 8 day / 7 night programme with 6 days riding available every Saturday between April and October.

Departure Dates

2024: 6, 13, 27* Apr; 4*, 25* May; 8, 22 Jun; 6, 20 Jul; 7 (FULL),17, 14 Sept; 5, 19, 26 Oct: 9, 16 Nov: 14 Dec
* Confirmed dates
2025: 16, 30 Mar; 6, 20, 27 Apr; 11 May; 7, 14, 28 Sep; 5, 19, 26 Oct; 9, 16, 23 Nov; 7 Dec

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20248d/7n6double pp1,555
20248d/7n6small group supplement 2 riders pp159
20248d/7n6small group supplement 3 riders pp109
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6double pp1,489
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6Single supp 345
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20248d/7n6double pp1,815
20248d/7n6small group supplement 2 riders pp189
20248d/7n6small group supplement 3 riders pp125
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6double pp1,739
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6Single supp 399
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20248d/7n6double pp2,105
20248d/7n6small group supplement 2 riders pp219
20248d/7n6small group supplement 3 riders pp145
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6double pp2,015
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6Single supp 465
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20248d/7n6double pp21,829
20248d/7n6small group supplement 2 riders pp2,259
20248d/7n6small group supplement 3 riders pp1,505
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6double pp20,925
2025 (Dec)8d/7n6Single supp 4,820
Other Activities

The Cappadocia region of Turkey is a well known location in the world for hot air ballooning. As this a popular 'bucket list' item, it is best to book in advance. Your hosts recommend a sunrise flight! in the evening you could attend a Whirling Dervishes Ceremony, a sacred spiritual ritual that has been performed for a close to 800 years. It has become a cultural symbol of this incredibly diverse land of Turkey and is truly a special performance to witness.

Wildlife

The most interesting wildlife you might be able to see in this area are buzzards and other kinds of birds, tortoises and foxes.

Other Country Information

This south eastern European country is in south western Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria. It has a total area of 780,580 sq km. It has borders with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq and Syria. And has a 8,333 km coastline. The temperature is hot and dry in the summer with mild, wet winters. The terrain is mostly mountainous with narrow coastal plains and high central plateaus. The elevation varies from sea level to the highest point at Mount Ararat 5,166m. Norther Turkey can be prone to earthquakes.

Cappadocia occupies the centre of Turkey, the region between the Black Sea in the north and the Taurus Mountains, between the capital Ankara and the city of Malatya to the east. Famous for its spectacular natural rock formations and valleys, Goreme National Park, as it is known today, is strewn with underground cities, stone chapels, monasteries and dwellings that were hewn out of the weirdly eroded volcanic rock from as long ago as 400 BC.

Thousands of years of wind and rain erosion on a landscape of soft volcanic stone topped with hardened larva caps has created a fascinating landscape of rock cones and pinnacles that are known as ‘fairy chimneys’. The greatest concentration of fairy chimneys can be found within the triangle formed by the three main towns of the region, Avanos, Urgup and the main transport hub of Nevsehir.

Outside the triangle to the south are the remarkable underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, where layers of tunnels and an intricate system of caves hid generations of settlers and sheltered early Christians fleeing persecution. The Ilhara Canyon is another religious hideaway with more than 100 painted churches and about 4,000 dwellings carved into the rock walls or concealed within the cliffs; its river bed and lush vegetation stand in stark contrast to the dusty, seemingly barren land above.

Cave dwellings, ancient monasteries and painted chapels are well camouflaged, with entranceways that are barely noticeable among a landscape of perforated cliff walls and rock fissures. Houses of volcanic stone blend unobtrusively into the natural surroundings, pigmented in natural shades of ochre and yellow, to pinks, greys and greens, and many people still inhabit the cones and chimney formations. In tourist towns such as Goreme, delightful little hotels and pensions are built partially into the rock or are housed within a rock cone and offer cave-style rooms.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Kayseri Airport, Turkey (ASR)
Transfer:
Included from meeting point.
Flight Guide:
London - Kayseri return from £180 pp return
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