Day 2 To Gembos and Gundogmus.
Early departure for one of Turkey’s finest flower sites, Gembos Yaylasi, stopping on the way sweet-scented White Grape Hyacinth. At Gembos there are thousands of flowering bulbs among the pasture and in the rugged limestone cliffs with Snowdrops, Winter Aconites and Crocuses, the latter freely hybridising into a kaleidoscope many different colours. On our return from this magical place we will stop at other florally rich areas to look at Bee Orchids, Crown Anemones and rare Irises.
Day 3 Side/Aspendos & Termessos;
The first part of the morning will be spent looking around the impressive Roman ruins at Side including the huge amphitheatre where Golden Henbane sprouts from the between the huge blocks of stone. There will be a stop at a special graveyard where a lovely Iris grows unknown from this part of Turkey except here! High in the Gulluk Dag sit the fabulous Termessos, one of Turkeys’ premier ancient sites whose rambling ruins are spread across the mountainside with a marvellously positioned theatre, a gymnasium and extensive necropolis.
Day 4 Tahtali & Yaylakuzdere;
The raw limestone cliffs of Tahtali Dag rise abruptly from sea level to 2375 metres and its slopes are clad in pine and beautiful cedar forests. Among these and in the high pastures are Snowdrops, Cyclamen and Colchicums and jeeps will take us up to 1400 metres past truly immense old Plane Trees that are several centuries-old. We’ll walk much of the way down from the high pasture and then continue by jeep to another superb viewpoint of the mountain at the traditional village of Yaylakuzdere.
Day 5 Kemer Vadisi;
This long valley leads down directly from the hotel forms part of the acclaimed Lycian Way. It contains many interesting orchids, Birthworts, Fritillaries and handsome white Astragalus lusitanicus and using a combination of driving and walking we’ll spend the day exploring this botanically rich area before dropping down to the Mediterranean coast.
Day 6 Chimera & Adrasan Bay;
For many centuries people have known about the burning rocks of Chimera and it is still fascinating to see live flames emerging from among the raw limestone. Anatolian Orchids and huge Spurges grow around along with other interesting plants on the unusual serpentinite rocks. A very pleasant 3km coastal walk runs from near here to Olimpos beach. Beyond lay some great areas for orchids and orange-red wild Tulips, whilst the hills north are home to one of the prettiest flowers in the area Lathyrus belenensis a red and yellow pea that scrambles over the roadside banks.
Day 7 Phaselis & Limyra;
Phaselis is adjacent to our hotel and from the Roman ruins which span a small headland surrounded by pine woods full of deep blue Lupins. The beach has some pretty flowers that specialise in such sandy habitats and from the ruins we’ll walk along the beach and back to our hotel for lunch via another rocky headland covered in Jerusalem Sage and French Lavender. The pine forests between here and Finike are full of Iris unguicularis, whilst lose to Finike itself is the site of Limrya through which run powerful springs or crystal clear water and there is a large population of the impressive purple Arum dioscorides here.
Day 8 Ordubek Yaylasi & Finike
Rising directly above the coastal town Alaca Dag is a 2338 metre high limestone mountain with areas of high pasture and cedar forests. This early in spring the animals have not yet been brought up to graze but there are some lovely flowers with Fritillaries, Corydalis, White Grape Hyacinth and bright blue Chionodoxa. Lower down are some fine old Valonian Oaks, which produce the largest acorns of any species of oak, with huge flamboyant cups. Peculiar-looking Birthworts and purple and green Fritillaries also grow close by.
Day 9 Avlan Golu, Ernez Yaylasi, Sinekcebeli & Kasaba;
Around the north shore of Avlan Golu (a large lake north of Finike) are old growth cedar and juniper forest with areas of scree hope to dwarf Fritillaries and crocuses and nearby Ernez Yaylasi has another very pretty pure yellow Fritillary, white Anemones, orchids and the bicoloured pea Lathyrus digitatus. Magnificent tracts of old juniper and cedar forests stretch across the Taurus Mountains and contain some venerable old trees.
Day 10 Finike to Antalya & home
An early departure from Finike will see us back in Antalya in time for the flight home.