Dates & Prices


Dates: 15th – 23rd July 2024

Price: £1,995 Places available

Single Room Supplement: £195

Deposit: £150 per person

Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, entry fees, holiday report & a donation to Butterfly Conservation

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

Conservation Donation: Butterfly Conservation

Leader(s): Ben Greenaway & Yasemin Konuralp

Group Size: Minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 1-2 leaders

Grade: The trip is in remote, rugged mountains and requires a moderate level of fitness in order to see all the amazing butterflies. Although many days are easy walking down rough tracks and roads, where butterflies are seen easily along the edges, there are some steep and rough areas in the mountains. One of the hotels is also up some steep uneven steps.

Holiday Highlights

  • Stunning landscapes of imposing mountains, alpine & subalpine meadows, woodland, rivers & Mediterranean habitats – home to an extraordinary diversity of flowers, insects and other wildlife!
  • 200+ butterfly species have been recorded in the region – more than half of Turkeys impressive total number of around 380!
  • 120 – 140 species usually seen
  • 45 endemic butterfly species & 21 near endemics make Turkey a very special place
  • Rich flora with 2,500 species of plants, 300 of which are found exclusively in Turkey and 160 found only in the Kaçkar Mountains
  • 11 day tour to ensure plenty of time to enjoy locations & wildlife without rushing around
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation

After several tremendously successful years we’re going back in 2024 for our unique & exclusive tour exploring the Kaçkar Mountains in northeast Turkey for a wonderful array of butterflies, flowers, and other wildlife!


Join us for an exploration of the Kaçkar Mountains! Vastly experienced and knowledgeable local guide & expert on the regions flora Yasemin Konuralp will accompany us to assist in discovering some of the areas best butterfly and wildlife treasures!

The Kaçkar mountains rise steeply from Turkey’s Black Sea coast and are an extension of the Caucasus mountains which are considered by the World Wild Fund for Nature and by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot. The Çoruh valley lies at the very  heart of the Kaçkar.  Steep-sided valleys, alpine meadows, river-side vegetation, Mediterranean habitats, all contribute to a diversity of habitats that account for the formidable list of more than 140 butterflies that reside in the area – we regularly record 120-140 species on the this tour.

During our 11 day holiday we will sample all the different habitats of the Çoruh valley to look for the regions butterflies. A wealth of Lycaenids that include Little Tiger Blue, Odd-spot Blue, Bavius Blue, Bosnian Blue, Large Blue, Aedon Blue, Meleager’s Blue, Silver-studded blue, False Chalk-hill Blue, Checkered Blue as well as Lesser Fiery Copper, Turkish Fiery Copper, Balkan Copper, Ilex Hairstreak, White-Letter Hairstreak, and Gerhard’s Black Hairstreak. Other local or beautiful species include Orange Hermit, White-bordered Grayling, Geyer’s Tawny Rockbrown, Russian Heath, Lederer’s Heath, Small Bath White, Balkan Marbled White, Scarce Swallowtail, Caucasian Spotted Fritillary, Silver-Washed Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, False Heath Fritillary, Queen of Spain, Apollo, Ionian Emperor and a wealth of exotic skippers!

Turkish flora is incredibly rich, with 11466 species, 3650 of which are endemic. This diversity stems principally from country`s geographical position, sandwiched between the steps of Central Asia, the deserts of Syria, the cold afforested mountains of Central Europe, and the Mediterranean to the west. The unspoilt area we’ll visit is very rich botanically, with many species of Campanula, Gentians, CentaureaDianthusSilene, Digitalis exotic Acantholimon, beautiful Papaver and many others.

The many habitats of the Kackar support a good range of birds. The lower valleys host Blue Rock Thrush and Bee-eaters while streams support Grey and White Wagtails, Dippers and Common Sandpipers. Forests and Mountain hillsides are home to Tree Pipits, Rosefinches, Redstarts, Chukar, Red-Backed Shrikes, Red-Fronted Serins, Ring Ouzels, Ortolan Buntings, Rock Thrushes, Short-toed Treecreeper and several species of Woodpecker. Birds of prey such as Buzzards, Honey-Buzzards, Long-legged Buzzard, and Golden Eagles may be seen soaring over the valleys. There are also many lovely day-flying moths such as Nine-spotted Moth as well as spectacular crickets and grasshoppers in the upper valleys.

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, which has culminated into a Wildflowers of Turkey field guide, published in 2013.

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

Day 0:  Overnight flight to Istanbul (mainly applies to UK travellers)

Day 1: July 15, 2024 (Monday)

Arrival at Erzurum airport early morning. We will take a short drive to our hotel on the slopes of Mount Palandoken. Many of the group have travelled through the night so we will stay close to our base today and explore the very rich steppe and mountain steppe habitat on our doorstep. These flowery hillsides will deliver an excellent range of species and we particularly hope to find Eastern Orange Tip Anthocharis damone, Menetries’ Clouded Yellow Colias thisoa, Balkan Copper Lycaena candens, Lesser Fiery Copper Lycaena thersamon, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Pontic Blue Polyommatus coelestina, False Chalkhill Blue Polyommastus corydonius, Cardinal Argynnis pandora, Niobe Fritillary Argynnis niobe, Twin-spot Fritillary Brenthis hecate, Balkan Marbled White Melanargia larissa, Yellow-banded Skipper Pyrgus sidae, Persian Skipper Spialia phlomidis and Aegean Skipper Pyrgus melotis. Overnight in Erzurum.

Day 2: July 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Transfer to Barhal in the Coruh Valley, stopping on the way to look for butterflies. We shall pass through different habitats, initially dry and becoming greener as we move up the valley, each with its different butterfly species. We shall make several stops and look for Little Tiger Blue Tarucus balkanicus, Grass Jewel Chilades trochylus, Hopffer’s Blue Polyommatus hopferii, Poseidon Blue Polyommatus poseidon, Fiery Copper Lycaena thetis, Turkish Fiery Copper Lycaena ochimus, White-bordered Grayling, Hipparchia parisatis, Freyer’s Grayling Hipparchia fatua, Eastern Grayling Hiapparchia pellucida, Amasian Satyr Satyrus amasinus, Nettle-Tree butterfly, Libythea celtis, Ionian Emperor Thaleropis ionia, Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius and another of the specialities of the region, the Orange Hermit Chazara bischoffii. The dry terrain at the beginning of the valley hosts plants typical of this habitat such as Dianthus orientalis, with its characteristic propeller-shaped petals, Andrachne telephioides, the food plant of the Grass Jewel and Paliurus spina-christi, the food plant of the Little Tiger Blue. Overnight in Barhal village.

Day 3: July 17, 2024 (Wednesday)

Today we will climb high up the Bicakcilar Valley. We will adjust our altitude according to the state of the season, with the option of climbing to 2500m if necessary. We hope to find spectacular congregations of mud-puddling butterflies and will spend the whole day stopping at various altitudes to explore the area. Target species for today include Eastern Orange Tip Anthocaris damone, Balkan Clouded Yellow Colias caucasica, Powdered Brimstone Gonepteryx farinosa, Eastern Baton Blue Pseudophilotes vicrama, Anatolian Zephyr Blue Plebejus modicus, Blue Argus Aricia crassipunctus, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Turquoise Blue Polyommatus dorylas, Eros Blue Polyommatus eros, Iphegenia Blue Polyommatus iphigenia, Turkish Blue Polyommatus turcicus, Large Blue Phengaris arion, Ionian Emperor, Thaleropis ionia, Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta, Camberwell Beauty Nymphalis antiopa, Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalids polychloros, Grey Asian Grayling Pseudochazara geyeri and Eastern Rock Grayling Hipparchia syriaca. Overnight in Barhal village.  

Day 4: July 18, 2024 (Thursday)

We will spend the day exploring the Pishankara Valley. We will not travel far from our base, so naturally many of the target species will be the same as the previous day. This is another beautiful valley and spending the day here gives us a second chance to find any species that we may have missed on the previous day. Again here we hope to find spectacular congregations of mud-puddling butterflies. We have found this valley to be particularly productive for Camberwell Beauty Nymphalis antiopa, with both adults and immature stages being found. Nettle Tree Butterfly Libythea celtis can also be particularly numerous here and the lush river banks lined with Dwarf Elder can be a magnet for fritillaries, with Silver-washed Argynnis paphia, High Brown Argynnis adippe, Marbled Brenthis daphne, Heath Melitaea athalia, False Heath Melitaea diamina and Pearl-bordered Clossiana euphrosyne being very common. The Çoruh River is home to two special Campanulas, Campanula troegerae and the similar looking but very rare Campanula choruhensis.  Both are large-flowered beautiful species growing on the vertical walls of the gorge and we shall look for both. A number of Salvia species such as S. nemorosa and S. verticillata are common along the roadsides. Overnight in Barhal village.

Day 5: July 19, 2024 (Friday)

Transfer to Olgunlar, stopping along the way at points of interest. Possible species for today include Apollo Parnassius apollo, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Damon Blue Polyommatus damon, Turkish Blue Polyommatus turcicus, Iphigenia Blue Polyommatus Iphigenia, Ripart’s Anomalous Blue Polyommatus ripartii, Persian Anomalous Blue Polyommatus demavendi, Eastern Baton Blue Pseudophilotes vicrama, False Chalk-hill Blue Polyommatus corydonius, Mountain argus Plebejus artaxerxes, Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta, Caucasian Spotted Fritillary Melitaea interrupta, Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia, False Grayling Arethusana arethusa, Eastern Rock Grayling Hipparchia syriaca, Grey Asian Grayling Pseudochazara geyeri, Great Banded Grayling Brintesia circe and Tufted Marbled Skipper Carcharodus flocciferus. Overnight in Olgunlar at the foot of Altiparmak mountains.

Day 6 & 7: July 20-21, 2024 (Saturday -Sunday)

Over these two days we will explore the area around our new base. The Hastaf Valley is found between the towering peaks of the Gungormez range to the south and the Kackar range to the north. We will spend one day climbing higher up the Hastaf Valley, travelling gently from 2100m to 2900m, and on the second day we will drive to another valley close by. Likely butterfly species for the two days include Apollo Parnassius apollo, Small Bath White Pontia chlorodice, Purple-shot Copper Lycaena alciphron, Balkan Copper Lycaena candens, Idas Blue Plebejus idas, Pontic Blue Polyommatus coelestinus, Anatolian Zephyr Blue Plebejus modicus, Bosnian Blue Plebejus dardanus, Aedon Blue Polyommatus aedon, Iphigenia Blue Polyommatus iphigenia, Dark Green Fritillary Speyeria aglaja, Twin-spot Fritillary Brenthis hecate, Caucasian Fritillary Boloria caucasica, Russian Heath Coenonympha leander, Lederer’s Heath Coenonympha symphita, Alpine Ringlet Erebia melancholica, Caucasian Ringlet Erebia graucasica and Hewitson’s Ringlet Erebia hewitsonii. We will also spend time appreciating the stunning flora and hope for the scarlet Papaver orientalis, the yellow P. lateritium, Gentiana septemfida, Melampyrum arvense, Campanulas and Geraniums. Overnight in Olgunlar at the foot of Altiparmak mountains.

Day 8: July 22, 2024 (Monday)

After having breakfast we’ll leave our pension. Today we can spend time exploring sites around Mount Palandoken or travel a little further afield to explore areas around Gungormez. This extra day in familiar surroundings provides us with an excellent opportunity to respond to the season and gives us the option to revisit sites that may now (ten days on from our first visit), host freshly emerged target species. Overnight in Erzurum.

Day 9: July 23, 2024 (Tuesday)

Transfer to Erzurum airport and the tour ends. Included breakfast.

New holiday so testimonials will follow later