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Flowers of The Pontic Alps

Dates & Prices


Dates: 1 – 10 July 2017 Guaranteed departure!

Price: £1,495

Single Room Supplement: £150

Deposit: £150 per person

Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, printed & bound holiday report

Not Included: International & internal flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to a wildlife charity

Leader(s): Yiannis Christofides & Yasemin Konuralp

Group Size & Travel: Minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 2 leaders.

Grade: Walks are short and not strenuous, however boots are recommended at all times

Holiday Highlights

  • Stunning scenery & a variety of habitats such as Mediterranean, Alpine and semi-desert – home to an extraordinary diversity of flowers, insects and other wildlife!
  • Led by a superb team of Dr Yiannis Christofides & local botanical expert & author Yasemin Konuralp
  • Wonderful plants such as Lilium monadelphum var.armenum, Lilium ponticum, Prometheum pilosum,  Geranium ponticum, Phlomis tuberosa, Sephellus appendicigerus, Geranium lazicum & endemic Campanulas
  • Red-fronted Serin, Rosefinch, Snow Finches, Horned Lark, Bee-eaters, Red-backed Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear
  • Many butterflies such as Fiery & Purple-shot Coppers, Hewitson’s Ringlet, Apollo & Syrian Grayling
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery

A fantastic 10 day botanical tour in northern Turkey! Join our expert guide Yiannis Christofides and local botanist Yasemin Konuralp in the Pontic Alps for its beautiful scenery and exceptional flora!


A fantastic 10 day botanical tour in northern Turkey! Join our expert guide Yiannis Christofides and local botanist Yasemin Konuralp in the Pontic Alps for its beautiful scenery and exceptional flora!

New for 2017 a fantastic botanical tour in northern Turkey! Join our expert guide Yiannis Christofides and local botanist Yasemin Konuralp in the Pontic Alps for its beautiful scenery and exceptional flora!

The Pontic Alps  are  a mountain range in northern Turkey, extending along the Black Sea from west to east for approximately 1,000 km.  They are really an extension of the Caucasus with similar flora and fauna. The area has been  home to Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Laz and Ottomans, occupied by Persians,  Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans and this reflected in the historical remains and culture of the region.

A range of different habitats will be explored, from the northern facing slopes which are  humid and wet to the  dry, Mediterranean steppe and semi-desert areas  that  prevail in the west and south.

We shall visit a number of alpine and iconic high passes, at altitudes of up to 2800 meters, to explore the exceptionally rich   alpine meadows with many endemic species of Campanulas.

The forests hold a number of Rhododendron species, such as the richly scented R. luteum, growing with Liliums, endemic to this part of the world. We expect to see tall yellow Pedicularis, richly coloured Melampyrum arvense blend with blue Aquilegia olympica and spikes of Campanula and Digitalis.

Rocky outcrops are interesting areas with speciality plants such as the many species of Sedum, including the spectacular S. pilosum and S. sempervivoides.

Many species of  beautiful Geraniums are to be seen here, such as Geranium psilostemon, G. cinereum and G. ibericum. The area is the world centre of diversity of Campanulas and we shall encounter many beautiful species during out travels. Other plants to be enjoyed include the eastern species of Traunsteinera sphaerica, Primulas,  Gentians and Digitalis.

Meadows lower down are home to the bright red Lathyrus rotundifolius, the Persian everlasting pea,  Morina persica, and pink Phlomis tuberosa, the giant Cephalaria gigantea, bright pink Silene armeria, Papaver lateritum and Papaver orientale.

Ortolan buntings, Rock Sparrows, Rosefinch, Red-fronted Serin, Snow Finch, Little Ringed Plover, Water Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, Radde’s Accentor, Horned Lark,  Quail, Rock Dove, Common Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Olivaceous Warbler, Nuthatch, Red-backed Shrike,  Bee-eater, Black-eared Wheatear Lammergeier, Black (Cinereous) Vulture,  are on our list of birds to be seen.

The area is also very rich in butterflies and we expect to see a considerable number of species during the week, including Marbled White, Apollo, Spotted and Heath Fritillary, Lesser Lattice Brown,  Blues, Fiery Copper,  Ringlets and Graylings.

Accompanying us will be Yasemin Konuralp, who has over 20 years experience in guiding tours in Turkey. During that time she has built up considerable knowledge about the endemic wildflowers of the country. Her knowledge and impressive portfolio of photos has culminated into a Wildflowers of Turkey field guide, published in 2013.

We hope to welcome you on what promises to be a truly memorable tour!

Day 1: Arrival. We meet at Trabzon airport and will either transfer to our hotel in Maçka or overnight first in Trabzon (depending on flight arrival times).

Day 2: Maçka. We drive from Trabzon to Maçka, our base for the next two days, stopping en route to explore the different habitats. Our hotel is located in a spruce forest, home to tall Pedicularis condensata, stately Lilium monadelphum ssp. szovitsianum, Lilium ciliatum and showy, delicate Geranium species. We should be in time to see the last flowers of Rhododendron luteum and R. ponticum.

Day 3: Maçka. We will venture higher today, to an alpine pasture with orchids such as the eastern species of Traunsteineria sphaerica, Geranium ibericum, Geranium psilostemonAstrantia maxima. Butterflies such as Lycaena thetis, the Fiery Copper, Marbled White, Caucasian ringlets should be on the wing.

Day 4: Maçka – Gümüşhane. Today we’ll be botanizing areas between 1200-1700 m. First we’ll drive up to Zigana pass. Botanizing on the Alpine pastures (yayla) before descending to Gumushane where we will stay 3 nights. Move on to a rocky outcrop to look for Prometheum (Sedum ) pilosum  and Campanula aucheri whilst keeping an eye out for Red-fronted Serins and endemic butterflies such as Hewitson’s Ringlet.Birds for the day include Horned Lark, Common Redstart, Linnet & Red-fronted Serin.

Day 5: Gümüşhane. Today we’ll be botanizing areas between 2000-2400 m. We begin with a drive to Karagol Dag, Artabel. The habitat is initially dry with  Centaurea solstitialis, Dianthus crinitus, Papaver triniifolium, Sideritis montanum, Consolida armeniacum. As we ascend we begin to see colourful  meadows full of Melampyrum arvenseCoronilla varia,  blue Vicia angustifolia.  Higher up still we reach the alpine meadows and begin our search for Red-fronted Serins and Rosefinches.  The rocky areas hold Campanula betulifolia, Daphne oleoides, Stachys lavandulifolia, Allium schoenoprasum, Gentiana asclepiadea, Geum coccineum and we might possibly see the last flowers of Paeonia. On the way down we shall look for the impressive flowers of Papaver pseudo-orientale and of Eryngium giganteum. Birds for the day include: Rock Nuthatch, White Wagtail, Radde’s Accentor, Black Redstart, Raven, Linnet, red-fronted Serin, Common Rosefinch & Ortolan Bunting.

Day 6: Gümüşhane. Today we’ll travel from Gumushane to Yagmurdere, stopping on the way to sample the plants of this very different habitat, up to a maximum of 2300m. We shall look for different species of Sedums and Campanulas on the rocks, Rosularia sempervivum subsp. pestalozzae, Campanula betulifolia, Sedum acre in the crevices of the rocks, Gladiolus kotschyanus, Ornithogalum ortophyllum, Thymus longicaulis, Sedum telephium, Asyneuma lobelioides, Campanula stevenii. We shall then ascend higher up to find Erigeron caucasicus subp. caucasicus and Geranium ponticum  and to look for snow finches.  Return the same way, stopping for plants.  Birds for the day include Hoopoe, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Dipper, Mistle Thrush, Quail, Common Sandpiper, White wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Black Redstart, Wheatear & Whinchat.

Day 7: Gümüşhane  – Bayburt. Today we’ll be botanizing areas between 160-2400 m. We start with a drive to Kop mountain, botanizing on the way and Kop mountain pass. Many field flowers today such as Morina persica, pink Phlomis  tuberosa, Centaurea sessilis, Campanula  conferta, Asyneuma amplexicaule, Salvia nemorosa, Lallemantia canescens, Prometheum sempervivoides, Campanula glomerata ssp. hispida. Birds for the day include Quail, Rock Dove, Common Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Olivaceous Warbler, Nuthatch, Red-backed Shrike, Magpie, Goldfinch, Common Rosefinch, Ortolan Bunting, Bee-eater & Black-eared Wheatear.

Day 8: Bayburtİkizdere. Drive up to OVIT mt via İspir, at 2640 meters with snow still lying on the higher peaks. We expect to see tall Primula longipes and possibly P. auriculata flowering by the stream. The slopes are awash with Stachys macrantha, Psephellus appendicigerus (Centaurea appendicigera), Rhynchocorys stricta, Sempervivum minus, Coronilla orientalis, Geranium cinereum, Campanula tridentata, all contributing to an amazing carpet of colours. Birds to be seen include Little Ringed Plover, Water Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, Lammergeier, Black (Cinereous) Vulture & Snow Finch.

Day 9: İkizdere. Drive to CIMIL yayla for botanizing up to around 2050m.  Fine selection of plants today with Gentianella caucasica, Gentiana nivalis, Arnebia pulchra, Pedicularis wilhelmsiana and nordmanniana, Symphytum sylvaticum, Cicerbita boissieri, Doronicum balansae, Epigae gaultherioides, Alchemilla transcaucasica.

Day 10: Departure. After breakfast we’ll transfer to Trabzon airport for the end of the tour.

New holiday for 2016 so testimonials will follow later

New holiday for 2016 so reports will follow later

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Telephone from inside UK: 01473 254658 (Mon - Sat 9am - 6pm)

Telephone from outside UK: 0044 1473 254658 (Mon - Sat 9am - 6pm)