As the heat of summer wanes the first rains bring forth the Mediterranean's autumn jewels, a rich array of colourful bulbs that reinvigorates the landscape. This is a tour of the bulb-rich south-western Taurus of Turkey. These dramatic mountains rise directly from the azure Mediterranean in places creating one of the most dramatic landscapes in the region and are home to some wonderful bulbs. Our tour explores habitats from the coast to the higher slopes, which still harbour stunning old growth cedar forests. This tour can be combined with our tour of the Peloponnese of southern Greece and both offer not only flora, but also fine historical sights.
Day 1 To Turkey
After arriving at Antalya airport we’ll transfer to our hotel beside the long beach at Cirali. If there is time we will stop at Phaselis on the way to see Cyclamen graecum subsp. anatolicum. Overnight Cirali.
Day 2 Alacadag
One of the regions loveliest bulbs Crocus mathewi grows on stony turf beneath scattered cedars as Cotinus coggygria and Ostrya carpinifolia take on their autumn colours. They mingle with the pure white of Crocus cancellatus subsp. lycicus. Rock outcrops and the theatre at Limyra have the curious aroid Biarum marmariense and Colchicum stevenii that emerge from limestone crevices. Overnight Çırali.
Day 3 Tahtali Dagi
Rising steeply above the Mediterranean are the limestone ramparts of Tahtali Dagi. Taking a back road, we climb high onto its’ flanks into beautiful cedar and juniper forests where the stunning Crocus speciosus can be found in its’ southernmost outpost in Turkey. Nearby are plentiful clumps of Colchicum sanguicolle and wonderful views of the landscape. Giant plane trees are also a feature of today and beneath some of the largest grows the pure white autumn snowdrop Galanthus peshmenii. And some local gardens are swathed in hundreds of these delightful flowers. There is a small chance we find Crocus wattiorum today, but this species typically flowers later. Overnight Çırali.
Day 4 Sinekcibeli & Yesilgol
We drive on along the coast past pinewoods peppered with Cyclamen graecum subsp. anatolicum all the way, stopping at the delightful site at Myra with its exquisite rock-carved tombs, before climbing into the Taurus to where there are localised populations of bright yellow-green Sternbergia clusiana. Both Crocus pallasii and cerise forms of Colchicum sanguicolle can be seen around the calm green waters of Yesilgol at the foot of Ak Dag. Overnight Elmali.
Day 5 Termessos
Today we move on visiting the fascinating historical site of Termessos on our way, where Colchicum baytopiorum is common among the ruins and rocks. The rambling site has some well-preserved parts including the spectacularly positioned amphitheatre and an extensive necropolis. This is one of the best historical sites in Turkey. Then it is on to the seaside resort of Side, where there is also an impressive Roman theatre. Overnight Side.
Day 6 Akseki Road
A rich array of flowers awaits our journey inland rising onto the Anatolian Plateau and through quaint villages and oakwoods. Cyclamen cilicicum laces these woods alongside a mixture of crocuses. At times with Crocus cancellatus subsp. pamphyllicus, elsewhere mingling with both Crocus speciosus and Crocus pallasii subsp. dispathaceus. Hopefully, there will be a both a smattering of the endemic Crocus asumaniae and the sombre purple spathes of Biarum pyrami starting to emerge too. Overnight Side.