Gateway to the Kaçkars                            Population: Less than 100

ayd1The small thermal resort of Ayder in northeastern Turkey is the Göreme of the Kaçkars, a place where walkers arrive to plan their onward treks while the less outdoor minded settle down for a leisurely picnic. It makes a great base for treks amid mountain scenery almost as spectacular as the Himalayas.

As in nearby Uzungöl there has been an attempt to make things more eco-friendly than they were some years ago, and once concrete hotels now have wooden facades so that it all looks suitably alpine and pretty. 

There's not a lot to do in Ayder itself, which won't bother keen walkers.

Others might want to amble down to the Kaplıca to bathe in its piping hot water. Most people go for the meticulously clean and well-run main baths where the water temperature reaches 43 degrees. In high summer you can also use a smaller, older and simpler bathhouse (Eski Kaplıca) right by the river. It's open to women from 9am to 4pm and to men at all other times.

Come over a summer weekend to watch returning Hemşin women in silk poşis (headscarves) dancing to the music of tulum bagpipes in the surrounding meadows. You can also amble around looking at the last few original log-cabin houses with carved corbels supporting their roofs.ayd2Visiting Hemşin women, some of them wearing poşis

Otherwise you'll have to content yourself with shopping at the assorted souvenir stands which mix and match Laz and Hemşin items with gay abandon (Laz culture really belongs to the coastal towns east of Rize). Here's a tip - if you want to buy some of the colourful woollen socks you'll find the most interesting on sale in the hotels, restaurants and baths. 

Dolmuşes wait in the centre of the village to run visitors up to the Kavrun Yaylası and the start of the main walking routes.

Alternatively hop on the dolmuş to Çamlıhemşin where there's slightly (but not much) more going on.


Haşımoğlu Hotel. Tel: 0464-657 2057

Kuşpunı Hotel

Natura Lodge. Tel: 0464-657 2035

Villa de Pelit. Tel: 0464-657 2111

ayd3Ayder homes used to look like thisTransport info

The nearest airport is in Trabzon. Havaş transfer buses run to Ardeşen where you pick up the local dolmuş for the onward journey. 

In summer four minibuses a day leave Rize for Ayder, and there are hourly services for most of the day to Ardeşen and Pazar where you can pick up connections to Rize. In winter public transport virtually dries up, especially midweek.

Day trip destinations




Zil Kalesi

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-292450-into-the-foothills-of-the-kackars-ayder-camlihemsin-and-barhal.html ayd5Corn has always played a big part in the local diet


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