A trip to The Kackar Mountains, July 2021

Apart from a brief trip, some ten years ago, The Kackar Mountains remained a region that our family had wanted to explore for some time. The weather being so hot in July and August we wanted to spend a few weeks getting away from the oppressive summer sun.

The Kackar Mountains are in Rize province in the far northeast of Turkey. It’s a region that very much retains its cultural character, largely tourist-free, although more and more Turkish tourists, particularly hikers, are starting to discover this little gem. The scenery is stunning and you quickly realise that life is lived at a slow pace and has not changed for locals living here over the years.

We travelled across Turkey by car, train and bus but most tourists will come via plane to Trabzon or Erzurum Airports. After an overnight stop in Erzurum, the largest city in the region, it was a 3-hour bus journey to Yusufeli. This small town is likely to be submerged in the coming years as a huge dam project is taking place. It’s a busy town with locals seemingly scurrying everywhere, perhaps to get their affairs in order before losing their homes to the watery depths!

The dolmus from Yusufeli left at lunchtime and 2 hours later we arrived in Barhar, which is the gateway to the Eastern Kackar. It’s a pretty village where two mountain small mountain rivers merge. The air is fresh and the countryside is magnificent with hills full of pine and poplar trees & wonderful mountain views.

We spent a few days in Bahar did some lovely day hikes, enjoyed the slow pace of life and friendly locals, then caught another local bus to Yaylalar in the heart of the Kackar Mountains. Yaylalar is a village about as far as you can go by road into the mountains. It was a beautiful base for us for 5 days of hiking, exploring and relaxing.

Staying In a big wooden chalet hotel, in a comfortable ensuite room, we had excellent views across the surrounding mountainside. Breakfasts are enormous, with local cheeses being a particular favourite of mine.

The locals are friendly and made us all feel very welcome. Tea is produced locally and the best you are likely to drink in Turkey. There is an abundance of fruit trees including apples, pears, cherry, plums, as well as hazelnuts and walnuts. A short walk from our hotel, along a river valley, revealed lots of wild raspberry bushes. Local women with big wooden baskets were harvesting the fruit, a man was fishing for trout in the river nearby. We walked past a group of picnickers, who offered us their food, before returning to our hotel. The 5 days flew by and we returning to Ankara by bus then the same train. After our trip we all agreed that we definitely wanted to return again.

Summing up I would recommend The Kackar Mountains to anyone who has a little adventure in their soul, who likes to enjoy nature at its most magnificent.  Who is willing experience a rich culture, hearty cuisine and scenery to get really excited about! Go in the summer months when there is only a little snow on the mountains and roads are accessible. If you don’t fancy doing what we did you can fly to Trabzon or Erzurum and take a bus from there.

We can plan your trip to the Kackar Mountains, arrange transfers, accommodation and guides if necessary. Please get in touch with us at info@bespoketurkey.com

For our trip, we found this website helpful:

blog.aidol.asia youngteens.net a-coon.com