Vira Natura

Mediterranean Plants and Gardens Tour for Autumn Jewels of the Taurus - SW Turkey

20-27 October 2024
From €1,920.00 per person

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. 


Day 1     Arrival into Dalaman (20 October)

Flights arrive into Dalaman and we’ll transfer to our hotel in Kalkan.

Day 2     Asas Dagi & Simena (21 October)

Our first day begins with a trip out to Simena where we’ll see some huge sarcophaguses perched above the blue sea and convoluted rocky coast and bays. Colchicum stevenii is common growing in the limestone rocks and Prospero autumnalis will be seen almost everywhere we go. Driving back towards Kalkan, we detour into the hills and reach an area of Cedar of Lebanon where we should find the lovely purple-throated Crocus mathewi, as well as the large chequered stars of Colchicum variegatum, maybe diminutive Sternbergia colchiciflora too.  A short walk into the cedar woods brings us to an area with wild Sternbergia clusiana. The final location for the day will be Xanthos, the former capital of Lycia and a wonderful site to explore with several monumental sarcophaguses on pedestals, a theatre and other features. One the rocks and around parts of the site is a large population of Sternbergia lutea together with Cyclamen graecum. Overnight Kalkan.  

Day 3     Sinekcibeli Pass, Yesilgol and Ordubek (22 October)

The road snakes up through some fine patches of Quercus macrolepis woodland and many of the trees will have their characteristic big acorn cups. A little higher and we enter a small village where Sternbergia clusiana grows alongside Colchicum boissieri. The forest then transitions to extensive areas of Cedar of Lebanon with spectacular views across to Ak Dagi. Below the main summit, the lovely Yesil Gol lake sits and around this we might find the deep pink form of Colchicum sanguicolle. On the opposite side of the valley are areas of old growth Juniperus excelsa woods and here we see Crocus pallasii. Moving on the route travels around Avlan Lake and starts to descend to the Mediterranean, but we will detour a short way into another area of cedars to see Colchicum boissieri. We finish down at the coast and overnight in the pleasant low-key village of Cirali. 

Day 4     Alacadag & Limyra (23 October)

Another chance to see the lovely Crocus mathewi today and it is common on the high yayla (pasture) at Alacadag. Rocky areas have the unusual Biarum marmarisense and then an unmade road passes through large areas of strawberry tree woods and into cedars and up into an area with large Acer hyrcanum, which will be colouring up nicely for autumn alongside Cotinus coggygria. Crocus mathewi grows here together with white C. cancellatus subsp. lycius. Returning to the lowlands we’ll complete the day at Limyra, a walled site with large spring rushing through it. Colchicum stevenii grows on nearby rocks. Overnight Cirali. 

Day 5     Tahtali Dagi & Phaselis (24 October)

Clearly visible from Cirali, the 2265-metre coastal peak of Tahtali Dagi is a botanical hotspot with over 900 species recorded. In the valleys below we will see the lovely crisp white Galanthus peshmenii growing near huge plane trees. Higher on the flanks of the mountain is the most southerly location of Crocus speciosus, a particularly fine species and we’ll see these flowering among groves of cedars and ideal place for lunch. Back down at sea level we’ll finish at the historical site of Phaselis, which not only has interesting ruins but a large population of Cyclamen graecum susbp. anatolicum too. Diminutive Muscari parviflora can be found with some careful searching. Overnight Cirali.

Day 6     Termessos (25 October)

Cylcamen graecum is also very common at Cirali and we’ll look at the large numbers growing here before departing for one of the most fascinating historical sites in the region; Termessos. This is an untamed site that sprawls through Mediterranean oak woods and is ripe for exploring. There is a spectacularly positioned theatre, many immense sarcophaguses, various temples, a hamam and more. It also supports a large population of pretty Cochicum baytopiorum. After lunch at Termessos we will continue onto the seaside town of Side, a place also graced with extensive Roman ruins. Overnight in Side.

Day 7     Akseki Road (26 October) 

Our final day will see us driving inland onto the Anatolian Plateau to where the ragged limestone is peppered with pretty Cyclamen cilicicum. Rocky slopes have Crocus cancellatus subsp. pamphylicus and C. asumaniae and further on among the many Quercus cerris woodlands are Crocus speciosus and C. pallasii subsp. dispathaceus. Autumn colours will be further advanced here and the Pistaccia terebrinthus and oaks put on a colourful show, joined by maples, all offset by the steely grey of cedars and Abies cilicica, a native fir that grows in large stands together with big-fruited Juniperus drupacea. A final night will be had beside the warm Mediterranean. Overnight in Side. 

Day 8     Flights (from Antalya 27 October)

Depending on flight times guests may be able to look around the Temple of Apollo and theatre at Side.

Extension to see more antiquities:

Day 8   Aspendos & Perge (27 October)

Two large sites, the first with a restored and very large theatre as well as various other buildings all hewn from conglomerate rocks to give a quite different texture to their appearance. Perge is closer to Antalya and is a large flat site with long colonnaded walkways, theatre, hippodrome and more. Overnight Antalya. 

Day 9   Sagalassos (28 October)

Driving inland through fine landscapes swathed in pines we arrive at Sagalassos, a Pisidian site with magnificent theatre, agora and more. The views are stunning all around. Overnight Antalya. 

Day 10 Antalya Museum & Kaleci (29 October) 

A final day to relax and explore in the city with a visit to the excellent museum and a chance ot wander the streets of Kaleci in the old quarter. Overnight Antalya.

Day 11 Flights (30 October)


20 - 27 October 2024 


Per person (twin share): 1920 Euros (1650 GBP)

Single Supplement 375 Euros (325 GBP)

Deposit: 290 Euros (250 GBP)

Cultural extension:

27-30 October 2024 


Per person (twin share): 895 Euros (770 GBP)

Single Supplement 375 Euros (325 GBP)

Deposit: 135 Euros (115 GBP)



  • Accommodation
  • All food
  • Ground transport
  • Guide services
Not included:
  • International Flights
  • Visas if needed
  • Travel/Medical Insurance
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses


*Minimum number of participants 10, maximum 26.  


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