We cross the Turkish border in Sarpi. The offices are quite big, it looks like an airport… The passengers of the vehicles need to go to a separate building to get the stamps on their passports and go through a security portal. In the meantime, the drivers go through the usual steps: check of the vehicle documents and passport. We don’t need to get an insurance as Turkey was already included in our French insurance. This crossing was easy for us but not for our friends Maika and Christoph. Turkey doesn’t allow a vehicle to enter the country if the nationality of the owner is different of the licence plate. Therefore, being German, they can’t cross the Turkish border with their van from Kazakhstan, which means they need to go through the Black Sea by ferry to go back to Germany.
After this sad separation, we stop by the Turkish mountains nearby the Firtina river for our first night in Turkey. The area is quite nice and famous for rafting. We then head to the National Park of Cappadocia. Nothing special on the road. But 10 kms before to arrive to the Göreme village, the scenery is changing completely. The large plains are replaced by a rocky landscape. The surroundings are beautiful with unusual rock shapes and great colours. Great to hike in the (free) National Park. Plus, it’s worth it to wake up at 5am to enjoy the sunrise with the hundreds of hot air balloons flying every morning. The Göreme village is very famous for this and it was unbelievable to see so many balloons in the sky. Then we go back on the road and go towards the South-West. We visit the nice troglodyte village of Uchisar and the impressive underground city of Deribkuyu.
We cross Konya, a city focused on the sufism and their whirling derviches before to go alongside the Southern coast of the country where we see again the Mediterranean Sea after months on the road. However, from this point, the heat is oppressive. The high temperature being around more than 35°C, we decide to ride early in the morning to give some rest to our engines during the afternoon.
Going alongside the Mediterranean coast is the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful hidden coves. The water is transparent with beautiful turquoise nuances. Perfect for wild camping in a peaceful and glorious surroundings. We enjoy the Butterfly Valley early in the morning before the crowds. During 1 km, we climbed and hiked to go down in the valley but it was worth it!
We also visit many ruins of ancient Roman and Greek cities on our way such as the ones of Sagalassos, Patara, Efes and Trojan. Beautiful cities with great theatres and wide main avenues with nice decorated columns.
We reach the strait of Dardanelles in Çanakkale and cross it by ferry in only 15 minutes. It costs 2,50€ and bookings are not required. We arrive in Kilitbahir, a nice village to discover with a nice castle. We enjoy a last time a nice cove after Alçıtepe at the tip of the peninsula before to ride along the Dardanelles and reach the Greek border in Ipsala.
The roads are in very good conditions in Turkey. The price of the petrol is now getting closer to European piece (around 1,15€ per litre). However, we have been stopped many times by the police for checking our paperwork due to terrorism alerts at the moment of our visit. Wild camping spots are quite easy to find in Turkey and it’s great to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea for a morning swim.