Road Cycling in Turkey with Backroads
- Experience the crossroads of East and West
- Rides through pine-dappled hills, olive groves, craggy outcrops, sunny beaches and friendly villages
- The ancient ruins of Knidos
- Break bread with a Turkish family at their traditional home
- Sail the Mediterranean in traditional wooden gulets, dropping anchor to swim, snorkel and slumber
Pedaling, Yachting & Swimming Along the Mediterranean
We've all said it. "I need a vacation after my vacation." Great getaways do more than just remove you from the day-to-day, they recharge and rejuvenate you. That's our adventure in Turkey. Spend days exploring the warm, friendly Turkish coastline and split your nights between spectacular hotels like Mehmet Ali Aga Mansion and serenely floating on the Mediterranean in a Turkish gulet. Pedal past pine forests and olive groves then pass evenings stargazing and enjoying small plates of almonds, honey and fresh cheeses. It's a vacation on your vacation. You've earned it.
- All lodgings
- All meals included except 1 lunch, when you'll have the opportunity to sample local fare on your own
- Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
- Snacks and beverages between meals
- Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
- Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
- Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
- Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other attractions as noted
- All gratuities at hotels and restaurants on Inn Trips
- On Biking and Multi-Sport trips use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
- Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoening as described
- Park and other entry fees
- Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel
- Select coach transfers
- Baggage transfers and porterage
- Backroads water bottle
- Alcoholic beverages (Backroads provides wine at select events)
- Gratuities for Trip Leaders
- Personal expenses
Day by Day Itinerary
Meet your Backroads Trip Leaders (the folks wearing Backroads T-shirts) at 8:30 a.m. at The Marmara Bodrum in Bodrum, Turkey. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and have your rain gear handy.
Shuttle to Outskirts of Bodrum 30 Minutes
Bodrum Route 25 Miles (3,040-foot elevation gain)
Shorter Option: 15 Miles with Shuttle (2,340-foot elevation gain)
Hosgeldiniz—welcome to Turkey! After meeting we shuttle into the countryside, where your leaders fit your bike and give a brief talk on biking techniques and safety. Your first ride gives you a taste of quintessential Turkey: a tableau of pine-dappled hills, olive groves, craggy outcrops and popular local beaches. Cheerful greetings of merhaba! (hello!) fill the air as you pedal through the occasional village, while the sight of white-domed cisterns, donkeys laden with firewood, and women dressed in traditional head scarves and salvar (baggy trousers) make bustling Bodrum seem worlds away. You’ll get used to the hills in no time, but know that the shuttle is always nearby if you need a boost!
Climb steeply for sweeping views of farmland before leveling off for a breezy finish to the beach. The Aegean Sea may beckon you for a quick dip before lunch. After cooling off, sit down to a picnic spread of traditional Turkish specialties. Then hop back on your bike for the ride to the Marmara, or get a lift in the shuttle. This evening we gather around the pool for a trip orientation and a glass of wine, followed by dinner at Kocadon, one of Turkey’s finest restaurants. If the weather’s nice, we’ll enjoy our meal in the courtyard beneath banana trees.
Lodging: The Marmara Bodrum
Ferry to Datça Peninsula 2½ Hours
Datça Peninsula Route 20 Miles (1,620-foot elevation gain)
Shorter Option: 15 Miles with Shuttle (1,170-foot elevation gain)
This morning we leave Bodrum for the peace and slower pace of the Datça countryside. We ferry across the Aegean Sea to the Datça Peninsula, a long rugged promontory facing the Greek island of Kos. After disembarking, bike along the peninsula past fields of tomatoes, melons and other vegetable and fruit farms, as well as olive and almond orchards. Even though Turkey imports food, it doesn’t need to—the nation produces enough food to feed its entire population. Tracing rural roads, make your way to the sea and continue alongside Aegean waters.
After lunch in the village of Eski Datça, return to your bike and pedal to beautiful Mehmet Ali Aga Mansion, our home for the next two nights. You’re welcomed with refreshing lemonade and have the rest of the afternoon to swim, stroll around town or relax under a palm tree. This evening we tour the historic property before heading to the hotel’s restaurant.
Lodging: Mehmet Ali Aga Mansion
Ancient Knidos Ride 25 Miles with Shuttle (2,570-foot elevation gain)
Shorter Option: Palamut Bükü 16 Miles with Shuttle (1,800-foot elevation gain)
Longer Option: Extreme Loop 45 Miles (5,350-foot elevation gain)
Ancient Knidos Self-Guided Walk 0.6 Miles
A magnificent landscape offering mountain and sea views awaits on today’s challenging ride up the Datça Peninsula’s rugged spine. Sweeping vistas and rocky hills dotted with almond and olive trees make the tough climb worthwhile, but the ride along the breathtaking rolling coastline to the village of Palamut Bükü is your true reward. Go for a well-deserved swim in the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean before enjoying a feast of barbecued fish at a beachfront café. Afterward, shuttle or bike to the tip of the peninsula and spend time exploring the ruins of Knidos, a prosperous port city and the headquarters of the Dorian Greeks during the 7th century b.c. Knidos is most famous as the former site of the cult statue of Aphrodite, created by the great Athenian sculptor Praxiteles. (The statue, which no longer exists, is thought to have been the first large-scale freestanding sculpture of a nude female.) If you’re in search of extra miles, you’ll find them on the longer option, and we’ll see you at back at the hotel.
Tonight we head to the Datça marina for dinner at one of Backroads’ favorite restaurants, where owner Atilla welcomes us like family!
Lodging: Mehmet Ali Aga Mansion
Shuttle to Bozburun Peninsula 2 Hours Round-Trip
Bozburun Peninsula Route 22 Miles (1,280-foot elevation gain)
Longer Option: Selimiye 30 Miles (1,850-foot elevation gain)
Leaving the Datça Peninsula, we shuttle up and over an impressive pass with stunning snapshots of the Aegean and Mediterranean. At the base, grab your bike and spin along the many inlets marking the rocky shoreline of the Bozburun Peninsula. As you veer away from the beach, you’ll enter a forest cloaking the hilly coastal range. Enjoy the shaded route to Turgutkoy, a center for carpet weaving. If you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to purchase a rug, you’ll get your chance after lunch, when we’re invited into the Turkish Carpet Cooperative for a carpet-weaving demonstration. The selection and quality here is exceptional!
After our visit, we shuttle to Marmaris, where we board a boat and begin the seafaring portion of our trip. With cozy private cabins, spacious sundecks, al fresco dining, and a friendly and experienced Turkish crew, the gulet will no doubt be a highlight of your trip. During the next three days, you’ll have opportunities to read, reflect, relax and attend afternoon tea on the deck, or you can choose more active pursuits, such as kayaking or snorkeling.
We cruise to secluded Ekincek Bay, arriving for our first evening under the stars.
Lodging: Turkish Gulet
Cruising on the Mediterranean
Boat Shuttle to Dalyan 2½ Hours Round-Trip
Dalyan Loop 24 Miles (1,080-foot elevation gain)
Shorter Option: Dalyan Countryside 15 Miles with Shuttle (740-foot elevation gain)
Longer Option: Tortoise Road 34 Miles (1,310-foot elevation gain)
Kaunos Ruins Visit 1½ Hours
Trading the gulet for smaller boats, we motor to Dalyan, a town with shallow reed-lined river channels. Spend the day on the boat, meandering around Dalyan, or on a final bike ride through the scenic countryside. Be ready with a high-five for the schoolchildren you’ll encounter along the way! As you pass fields of cotton, sesame and tomatoes, and groves of fig and olive trees, keep an eye out for Lycian tombs scattered on the hillsides.
You’re on your own for lunch in Dalyan and there are several riverside cafés offering pide (Turkish pizza), gozleme (Turkish crepe), fish, calamari and eggplant. You’re welcome to take a shuttle boat back to the gulet after lunch.
In the afternoon we visit Kaunos, which dates back to the 10th century b.c. The ancient city ruins come into view as we approach from the water, navigating the narrow estuaries in fishing boats. Notice the tombs, extraordinary examples of Lycian funerary architecture, remarkable in their beauty and the quality of the stonemasonry. We walk around the site, which includes an impressive Greek theater, well-preserved Roman bath and a Byzantine church. From here we hop aboard a shuttle boat, settling in for the hour-long trip back to the gulet. Upon our return, enjoy afternoon tea or perhaps a swim.
Later we dine al fresco on dishes whipped up from fresh local ingredients, including lots of veggies and olive oil. (Did you know that Turkey’s the world’s fifth largest producer of olive oil?)
Lodging: Turkish Gulet
Optional Cleopatra’s Bay Hike 3.1 Miles (660-foot elevation gain)
Cruising on the Mediterranean
Resuming our leisurely exploration of the coast, we anchor and head out on a hike to Cleopatra’s Bay, where the alleged ruins of Cleopatra’s bath are submerged. We then walk to the home of a nomadic family that has inhabited these lands for hundreds of years. Our visit with the family provides a unique opportunity for an insider’s view of life in Turkey’s remote high valleys. Returning to Cleopatra Bay for lunch, we cruise toward Goçek Bay, arriving in time for afternoon tea.
At this evening’s farewell dinner, we raise a glass to new friends and an unforgettable experience along the Turquoise Coast.
Lodging: Turkish Gulet
Shuttle to Dalaman International Airport 30 Minutes
If you’re departing on the Turkish Airlines flight from Dalaman to Istanbul this morning, Backroads provides a morning shuttle to the airport. If you’re booked on a later flight or extending your stay, your Backroads leaders can help arrange transportation to your next destination.
About The Operator:
Every Backroads vacation is a one-of-a-kind adventure, where serendipity is supported - often invisibly - by a well choreographed backstage effort. After 30 years of practice, we've perfected the craft of creating and delivering world-class experiences and service, both hallmarks of a carefree Backroads vacation.
We ease your trip preparation with little extras, from a recommended packing list to lodging suggestions for before and after your trip. During your vacation, we make sure your luggage is waiting in your room, you have a cool drink or a lift when you desire them, and travel logistics are handled so you can focus on fun and relaxation.
Anticipating and responding to your needs - that is our commitment!Worldwide Presence
The Best Routes
All Backroads itineraries have been carefully researched by our team of 23 Trip Specialists and 9 Regional Managers to ensure you experience the very best way to explore the region. And before your trip, the routes are once again tested by our Trip Leaders-each and every season.
Seven Days of Service
Your Backroads Trip Consultants are available 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, to answer your questions.
We've designed our trips with plenty of options that let you personalize each day and make the most of your vacation. And on each day of the trip (or the night before if you're heading out early), you'll receive a Daily Snapshot that gives you all of the important information you need so that you have control of your precious time.
Bikes & Accessories
All Biking and Multisport Trips include use of a fully equipped, custom-designed Backroads Titanium bike. Choose either upright or drop handlebars. Backroads is also unique among travel companies in manufacturing our own line of custom-designed kids' bikes. For the younger ones we offer the Burley d'Lite trailer and Burley Piccolo trailercycle.
A Choice of Lodging
We're the only company that distinguishes between Premiere Inns and Casual Inns, making it easy for you to choose a trip that suits your personal style. We provide an honest assessment of each hotel giving you an assurance of quality you can trust.
Backroads has been taking responsible travel seriously since our first trip over 30 years ago. While traveling on two feet or two wheels is the ultimate minimal-impact approach to traveling, we recognize that any travel has an impact and so we do everything we can to make the impact as light and as positive as possible.
When you're out exploring, you may welcome some time to yourself, but when needed, we are there. We pioneered on-trip vehicle support and we continue to perfect it. Read more about On-Trip Support.
Local experts team up with your Backroads leaders, offering firsthand perspectives to enhance your overall experience. From explorations of historic and cultural sites, to culinary adventures showcasing traditional cuisine, to visits with special friends we've made over the years, we take you into the heart of a region with an immediacy and authenticity you'll never forget.
One of the biggest benefits of traveling with Backroads is the wonderful folks you travel with-adventurers who appreciate the Backroads level of quality, pursue new experiences with a passion and take their fun as seriously as they take their work. "People less interested in impressing each other than in having a good time," is how Departures magazine captured the spirit of our guests. Join us-and travel in terrific company.
Nobody knows families like Backroads. From our designated Kid Coordinators to extra vehicle support to custom-designed kids' bikes (a Backroads exclusive), we've considered all angles important to families. Each family trip balances quality time together and apart, with welcome opportunities for everyone to take a break and recharge-something that's virtually impossible to achieve when you vacation on your own.
Your Trip is Guaranteed
At Backroads we're so committed to providing you with an extraordinary experience that we guarantee the quality of your trip. We value our relationship with you, our guest, and want it to be mutually rewarding and long-term.
Our Leaders Make the Trip
You'll find Backroads Trip Leaders to be the best you've ever traveled with. That's not an idle claim-it's backed by the most rigorous recruiting, hiring, training and guest satisfaction programs in the business. View the full scoop on our leaders and why you'll love them.