Turkish Volcano Trek


Culture | Activity

Stunning eastern peaks including Mount Ararat

Dates & Prices


Climb some of the most spectacular peaks of Eastern Turkey - Nemrut Lake Crater, Mt. Suphan and Mt. Ararat. This spectacular trek will give you a feel, not only for the stunning scenery of Eastern Turkey but also an insight into how people live in this part of the world and a chance to experience the warmth and hospitality of the people. Cruise across a lake to visit the spectacular Armenian church on Akdamar island. Visit the stunning waterfall and drink in the sunset at the incredible Ishak Pasha Palace.

NOTE: Deadline for booking is a full 5 weeks prior to the departure date to ensure permits can be arranged on time.


  • Visit Akdamer church on Akdamar island
  • Scale Mt. Suphan and Mt. Ararat
  • A short cruise on Lake Van
  • Stop for tea at the stunning Murradiye Waterfalls
  • Experience a sunset at Ishak Pasha Palace

Places Visited

Van - ​Akdamar Island - Mount Suphan - Nemrut Crater Lake - Lake Van - Muradiye Waterfall - Doğubayazit - Mount Ararat - Ishak Pasa Palace

What's Included

All internal flights and transfers
Breakfast and most meals (refer to itinerary)
All accommodation
All entrances mentioned on itinerary
All hot drinks on the mountains. (Tea, Coffee...etc)
Mules / horse support for duffle bags on Ararat (max 20 kg per person)
Tents (one tent per each 2 persons)
Sleeping mattresses Group technical safety equipment (ice-screws, ropes, medical kit) etc.
Leaders and mountain guiding (English)
Permit to climb Ararat
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Van

Fly from Istanbul to Van. You will be greeted by your guide on arrival at VAN airport, from where you will visit the beautiful Van castle. After sampling some fine Turkish kebabs for lunch you will visit Akdamar Island, taking a short boat cruise to visit the ancient 10th century Armenian Church, the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross on the island. The church was built by Bishop Manuel under King Gagik I in the 10th Century. Drive to a campsite near the Nemrut Crater Lake. Dinner and overnight in the beautiful nature.

Meal plan: Lunch & dinner

Van today is a young vibrant university town but the history of the region goes back more than 7 millennia, and the town itself was the Urartian capital as early as the 9th Century BC. 

Van Castle, outside of the modern town, is a vast sprawling Urartian structure dating from the 9th to 7th Centuries BC that affords excellent views of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Don’t miss the perfectly-preserved 5th Century trilingual (Old Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite) inscription from Xerxes the Great, the only Achaemenid royal inscription located outside of Iran. The town of Van is also famous throughout Turkey for its kebabs.

Akdamar Island is a small island 3km from the Shore of Lake Van, most famous for the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross (a.k.a. Akdamar Kilisesi). The unique importance of the building comes from the extensive array of bas-relief carvings, of biblical scenes predominantly, that adorn its external walls. Due to the contentious history between Turkey and Armenia the site has been the site of vandalism in the past and its restoration was never short on controversy. But the outcome is spectacular. Besides the marvellous views of the church, the island, the lake and the mountains beyond, there are ruins of an Armenian monastery which once served the church.

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Day 2 : Nemrut Crater Lake

After breakfast, we will pass to the west side of the Crater Lake before starting a 4 hour trek. After rejoining the driver and vehicle you will be transferred to Mt Suphan for dinner & overnight in camp at 2750m / 9025 ft.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 3 : Mount Suphan

With an early start after breakfast, we hike up to the summit of Mount Suphan (4058 m / 13315 ft.) - with a great panoramic view of Van Lake. We descend back to camp for dinner and overnight. Average hiking time: 8 hours.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Lake Van, Turkey's largest lake, is flanked by the snowy peaks of the volcanoes of Mount Suphan and Mount Nemrut. The beautiful azure waters of the lake are highly alkaline and drilling at the bottom of the lake by German palaeontologists has revealed climate data covering almost 15,000 years despite only penetrating the first few metres of sediment. It is believed the sediment may hold climate data from the last 800,000 years!

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Day 4 : Dogubeyazit

After breakfast we drive to Dogubeyazit (average drive time: 3 hours). On the way we stop by the stunning Murradiye waterfalls and enjoy the view while enjoying a Turkish tea. After lunch, you will check into the hotel while permits are sorted and participant's equipment is checked. Rest of the afternoon free. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 5 : Eli village region

Transfer to former Eli village region at 2200m / 7250 ft to start the climb of Mount Ararat. We then load the duffle bags on the horses and start the four hour trek to the Green Camp at 3300m / 10850 ft. Dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 6 : Rest day

Rest at camp. Acclimatization hikes up to 4000m / 13150ft for 4-5 hours. Dinner and overnight at Green Camp.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 7 : 2nd camp

After breakfast, hike up from Green camp to the 2nd camp at 4150m / 13615 ft. (2-3 hours). Rest of the day free to relax or do some further acclimatisation walks. Dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 8 : Summit day

Summit day. Early wake up call at 3:30am and start for the summit at 4:30 after a hearty breakfast. You will reach the summit after 5-6 hrs of good hiking. The summit is at 5137 m / 16854 ft. It will take 2-3 hours to descend back to the camp site at 4150m / 13615 ft. Dinner and overnight in the 2nd camp.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 9 : Dogubeyazit

Descend all the way down to the village road to reach the minibus for the transfer to hotel in Dogubeyazit before lunch time. After lunch, we will see a demonstration showcasing the very best of local handcrafts and handmade carpets. You will then visit the ancient and stunning Ishak Pasha Palace and experience the beauty of the scene as the sun sets. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The construction of Ishak Pasa Palace, a splendid 18th Century Ottoman complex, was started in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasa, the bey of Beyazit province. A hundred years later, in 1784, his grandson Ishak Paşa completed the gargantuan task of its construction. The results are spectacular. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history. The beautiful stone complex contains a mosque, a library, a bath house, dining quarters and a harem, where the women used to live. Many of the stone carvings are simply exquisite, and the location, looking out over Mount Ararat (Turkey's highest peak, standing at 5,137m) and the Armenian plateau, is simply breathtaking.

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Day 10 : Van - Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Van airport for onward flight.

Meal plan: Breakfast


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I had a lovely time in Turkey. Both of the tours that were part of the package were fabulous, both tour guides were very knowledgeable and made the trips very interesting providing plenty of information, and the places where we went for lunches as part of the trip were superb. David McGuinness is a credit to Travel the Unknown, he goes that `extra mile` to keep customer happy. I`d like to say a huge `thank you` for all the help you gave me organising and planning my trip. I certainly will recommend anyone to use you for planning their `unknown` destination holiday. The emails, telephone calls were all spot on, well done :-) :-)

Jane Kimberley , The Magic of Cappadocia, Turkey

This was a very exciting itinerary including fantastic historic and prehistoric site visits, as well as visits to wonderful towns, restaurants and markets. The attentiveness of the guide ensured that everything went smoothly, even in very out-of-the way places. It was possible to fall in love with the drama of the landscape, the character of the architecture, the colour, sights and sounds of the towns, the friendliness and honesty of the people - and I did!

Jane Neild , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

Charming people organising the trip and acting as guides. An inspirational visit taking us to out of the way places we would never have had the chance to visit. The personal touch Travel the Unknown brings sets them apart.

Caroline & Peter , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

This trip was an amazing and very exhilarating experience. We had high hopes of Gobekli Tepe, which were totally fulfilled- it is utterly amazing, but we had not anticipated some of the other gems to be so exceptional as well. We were a small group, which made the trip very personal. Altogether it was a marvellous week, helped by having a caring guide and an excellent driver.

Joy Lawley , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

We greatly enjoyed visiting the ancient sites of Western Turkey with an experienced guide and seeing the remains of so many different periods and cultures. The scenery was spectacular and we felt that the tour gave us a wonderful introduction to the country.

Michael Wilson , Archaeology of Western Turkey, Turkey

A great way to travel to some of the more remote and interesting places in the world. It was a very interesting area and we saw a lot that we would never have managed on our own. I would recommend the holiday to others.

Marion McCallum , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

Arda, our local guide was absolutely the best. Always a smile, always running (literally) to fulfill every request, treating every member as his personal responsibility, and going way way above and beyond to assist and accommodate. He is a so remarkably knowledgeable, and seemingly found no question beyond his ability to answer & explain. And his English is impeccable. KEEP HIM!!! Very special individual. Andrew is an incredible guide, with such a wealth of information and passion for his subjects. He never tired and made the trip fascinating and exciting due to the perspectives and explanations he shared continuously based upon years of research. Felt very fortunate to be in his presence for 2 weeks in such places that we were able to visit. Same for Hugh. And Hugh`s constant humour was delightful. These two balance each other well, and make a great team

Peggy Roberts , Tailormade Turkey

We covered many miles and saw some fantastic sites and sights. The special access that our tour leader provided really enhanced the experience for me - I`ll certainly never forget tracking down an inscription in Van with his help - and to see Gobekli Tepe and Nemrut Dag on the same day was marvelous. At the end of the trip, the Zeugma Mosaic Museum was a wonderful surprise - the best mosaics I`ve ever seen, in a truly world-class setting.

Jim Cleary , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

Travel the Unknown provide good friendly advice and information before travel. They are very approachable and helpful. The accommodation is of a high standard as are the meals. Local guides are knowledgeable and anxious to ensure that travellers have a good and rounded experience.

Anthony Twohig , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

I would not hesitate in using Travel the Unknown for any future journeys to off the beaten track destinations.

Andrea Selfridge , Tailormade Turkey

I went on this trip rather than all the other interesting possibilities in the world because I wanted to go to Gobekli Tepe. Being there was all I could have hoped for. It was a stunning experience and I was moved to tears. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Regarding the food, the olives were the best I`ve ever tasted. And the yoghurt is fabulous. Also the cheese and pistachios and apricots. Oh yes, and the watermelon : ) Thanks to David too for being so patient with my endless questions

Cynthia Bishop , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey
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