Days = 14

23 May 2023 - 05 Jun 2023

London-London £2995

Please note, this price is provisional and will  be confirmed by August 2022

* does not apply if you are willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged.


Days 1 & 2

Istanbul to Doğubeyazıt

Days 3 & 4

Ararat’s Hinterland and the Ishak Paşa Palace

Day 5

Tatvan via volcanoes and waterfalls

Day 6

Nemrut Dağı

Days 7 & 8

Tatvan’s Oak Woodlands and transfer to Van

Day 9

Hoşap Castle and Guzeldere Pass

Day 10

Akdamar Island

Day 11

Karabet Pass

Day 12

Bendimahi and Van Kalesi

Day 13

Erçek Gölü

Day 14

Depart from Van



Surrounded by snow-clad mountains beautiful Lake Van lies more than a mile above sea level, and not far to the north is the magnificent 17,000 foot glacier-capped Mt Ararat, Turkey’s highest mountain. Kurdish herders and their families will be shearing their sheep, the women resplendent in their traditional costumes and in an extinct volcano crater the black tented encampments of Bedouin nomads overlook a deep blue lake.

All this provides a marvellous backdrop for a breathtaking show of flowers. Perhaps a million powder-blue Puschkinias bloom all the way up the Karabet Pass and everywhere are meadows covered in a pink haze of Orchids and Primulas. Seven of the world’s most beautiful Iris species can be seen in profusion. The amazingly large and elegant white and deep maroon flowers of Iris iberica elegantissima are only bettered by the inky-blue veined standards and velvety orchid-like falls of rare Iris paradoxa. Deep cerise Merendera kurdica, bright mauve-pink Tulipa humilis, yellow, green, maroon or butterscotch Fritillarias and scarlet Phelypaeas make for an extraordinarily colourful show. Bee-eaters, Rollers and Hoopoes continue the colourful theme - these are some of Van’s commonest birds!

On high passes we shall see Radde’s Accentors and Imperial Eagles whilst by the lake’s shore are flocks of Flamingoes and courting White-headed Ducks. The wonderful clarity of light makes this an excellent holiday for the photographer, not only for the flowers and landscapes but also some fine cultural sites such as the ancient Urartian citadel upon the ‘Rock of Van’, a ‘Tolkienesque’ Kurdish Fortress, and the magical Ishak Paşa Palace, each in a fantastic setting.



Flowers (particularly Irises and other Bulbs), Birds, and superb Landscapes. Also some Archaeological Sites.


Chris Gardner,


No more than three or four miles in any one day, usually much less, and always at a relaxed pace ideally suited to photographers.

Included in the Price

All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals in Turkey. Services of the leaders. Please note: Drinks, tips and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included. There is no visa required for UK citizens.


One leader for a group of up to 8, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 15.


UK return flights are from London Heathrow, Manchester*, Edinburgh* or Birmingham* to Van, via Istanbul. The same routing is also available from most major European Airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available. *These routes may incur a supplement.


Generally warm and sunny. Showers and more prolonged rain are possible and it can be quite cool on the higher passes.

How to Book

Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a  booking form  or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information. Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.

Design & production by Accent Design Group