This horseback riding vacation introduces guests to the varied terrain of Southern Turkey. Ride over mountains and through valleys, see wild horses, follow ancient caravan trails and visit the stalactite caves& in the Altinbesik National Park. The riding varies from slower mountain horseback trails to cantering through grassland, and is adjusted according to the horseback riders' ability. Experience the local culture, have tea with a goatherd, and stay in a classic Ottoman styled boutique hotel. A rest day at the coast can be spent at the beach or exploring the sights and markets. For intermediate horseback riders and above

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 SH of Renton, WA on 23/05/2024

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

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
If our local guide had been able to speak even a little bit English, we could have learned a lot more things.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
The pacers were very comfortable.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
Regarding the riding hours, it’s hard to say that they were shorter than what it was described. Probably, it wasn’t a significantly shorter but a little shorter.
In the original itinerary, it said there was no ride on Friday, but there was one hour beach ride on both Thursday and on Friday.
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?
Better language skill of the guide.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The terrain wasn't difficult, but you need to be able to control your horse. You sometimes get chased by sheep guard dogs during the canters.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Friendliness and quick responses
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Our host was flexible, punctual and customer oriented. Beach ride was a good surprise.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. We're glad the ride went well and we will work on getting the itinerary 100% correct :)

Day 1
Arrival (Saturday): Meet the other guests and have dinner together.

Day 2
Sunday: See the wild horses: After breakfast, set off riding up mountain trails in the beautiful Akseki National Park (approx 1500m), and then descend into the green valley to the farm for the lunch stop. This is a working cattle and sheep farm. In the afternoon, ride out to find the wild horses of the valley and relax, spend time watching them and taking photos.
The horses stay at the farm whilst the riders are transferred back to the hotel for dinner.

Day 3
Monday: Forests, plateaus and milking a goat: Today's ride is along ancient nomadic trails through forest and open plateaus. Mediterranean herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme grow wild here, and their scents fill the air. At a tea break, meet a local goatherd where there will be the chance to try milking a goat (if you would like to!) and to taste the fresh milk. Dinner back at the hotel.

Day 4
Tuesday: Caravan Trails and caves: Today's ride is along ancient caravan trails in the valley to visit one of the old caravanserai at Enifhan. After lunch, visit the dramatic Altinbesik Cave with its huge stalactites. Dinner and music with traditional dancing this evening.

Day 5
Wednesday: Ormana: Today, transfer to meet the horses and ride through the beautiful Baslar pass. Then ride through the ancient village of Ormana with its famous button houses. Back to the hotel. 

Day 6
Thursday: Dilek National Park: After breakfast, today's ride is in the famous Dilek National Park along the scenic river banks. The wildlife is rich and varied, and it is possible to be lucky enough to see the long horned Ibex. Additionally, over 250 bird species are known to visit the park. This park covers the area where the Aegean Sea meets the fertile river delta, featuring diverse landscapes featuring rocky cliffs and sandy beaches to wetlands and forests.

Day 7

 Friday: Non riding day in Side, an ancient port: After breakfast, transfer to Side, a resort town on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast. An ancient port city, known for long beaches and Greco-Roman ruins. There is plenty to do, so spend the day relaxing on the beach, sight seeing or exploring the markets. This last night is spent in the resort.

Day 8 

 Departure after breakfast.

 

Non-riders are welcome and can travel with the support car and meet their riding partners during breaks, there is also the opportunity to watch the wild horses and join the riders on the sightseeing excursions. The hotel is based in the National Park and non riders are also welcome to spend the day relaxing at the hotel.

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

The horses at this stable comprise of Arabs and Arab crosses, ranging from 14-15 hh with English saddles. There are also some traditional Rahvan horses, gaited horses, ideal for covering long distances efficiently, similar to the Icelandic tolt. Like the Icelandics, they are tough and small, usually 13-14hh



Rahvan is the Turkish word, which literally means ‘ambling’ and is used to describe their quick, surefooted walking gait.



Various paces can be accommodated. There are slower rocky trails and meadows good for cantering.


Rider requirements

Walk, trot and canter. Riders of varying confidence levels can be catered for as there is a range of horses to choose from.

There are slower rocky trails and meadows good for cantering.

Weight Limit

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

The main hotel is located up in the mountains. It has rooms in the old restored main house (authentic original) as well as new 'tiny' bungalows, all of which are very comfortable, with air conditioning, TV, internet. After riding enjoy excursions around the area and see all the sights. The hotel is located an hour from the coast in a small village 1,500m above sea level in the mountains of the Akseki National Park.



The second hotel is located right on the beach, in the old town of Side. This or a hotel of similar standard will be used for the last day at the beach.



Food is a mix of Turkish and Mediterranian style, with soft drinks included.



Vegetarians and vegans dishes are available, please ask a consultant when booking.


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

Located at an elevation of 1500m meters above sea level, Akseki has a Mediterranean, warm summer climate The district’s yearly temperature is 13.58ºC (56.44ºF) and it is -1.38% lower than Turkey’s averages. Akseki typically receives about 61.02 millimeters (2.4 inches) of precipitation and has 106.67 rainy days (29.22% of the time) annually.

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

Cameras, phones etc can be charged at the hotel. If using a GoPro please get the permission of the group to be filmed

Packing List

- Soft holdalls and backpacks are preferred in the transfer vehicle.
- 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

8 days / 7 nights / 5 days riding programmes available departing every Saturday, March to December

Departure Dates

2024: Every Saturday to Saturday between 1 March and 15 November

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 8d/7n5double pp1,285
2024 8d/7n5single supplement86
2024 8d/7n5non-rider sharing755
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5double pp1,159
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5single supplement86
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5non-rider sharing755
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 8d/7n5double pp1,499
2024 8d/7n5single supplement99
2024 8d/7n5non-rider sharing879
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5double pp1,349
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5single supplement99
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5non-rider sharing879
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 8d/7n5double pp1,739
2024 8d/7n5single supplement119
2024 8d/7n5non-rider sharing1,019
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5double pp1,569
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5single supplement119
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5non-rider sharing1,019
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 8d/7n5double pp18,065
2024 8d/7n5single supplement1,205
2024 8d/7n5non-rider sharing10,599
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5double pp16,259
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5single supplement1,205
2024 10% Discount Sept and Oct8d/7n5non-rider sharing10,599
Other Activities

For the non riding day, there is plenty to do in the ancient port city of Side. There are markets to explore, narrow cobbled streets, lovely gardens and long white beaches.
The area also has many archaeological ruins of note, such as the well-preserved amphitheatre and the temples of Apollo and Athena, having had a complex history due to it's strategic position.
Side museum is situated in the restored Roman baths where you can discover more about the town's history and view the archaeological relics that have been found nearby.

Wildlife

Southern Turkey is home to many rare plants and animals. The Dilek park is also a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 250 species, including flamingos, pelicans, and eagles.

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):
Antalya (AYT) Airport
Transfer:
2024: €40 per person each way payable onsite, takes 1hr (subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London - Antalya return from £180 pp return
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