Turkey is a hospitable country with easy camping and great food, and though we found some of the country monotonous and boring, we absolutely loved the whole eastern section (after dropping in from Georgia). Snowy mountains, small quaint villages, and tea breaks whenever you please; what’s there not to love about cycling through eastern Turkey.
Distance: 700km (Hopa to Van, passing through Kars)
Time needed: Two weeks to allow for a few days off in key cities
Highlights: Beautiful fall colors, friendly people, easy camping.
Road surface: Paved
Traffic: Not bad, good shoulder.
Best season: April-October; Completed October 2014.
Water/food availability: Easy, villages everyday.
Solo female: Reasonably good; people will be pretty surprised as its a fairly conservative area but we found the Kurdish region to be the friendliest and kindest region in all of Turkey.
Overall difficulty: Easy/moderate.
Turkey was a really easy country to camp in as there is tons of open land. Unfortunatly we never camped next to rivers or water though, so though it was always easy to find a place to set up, it was never like the beautiful mountainous camping we had taken for granted in other countries.
If you cook for yourself and camp every night, it’s easy to cycle Turkey on 5-10 dollars a day. If you want to eat out and stay in hostels, count on more like 15-30 dollars a day.
Though the news and some of your western friends may try and deter you from entering into this “Kurdish” region, as all travelers know, this region is absolutely wonderful and full of extremely friendly people who will literally stop you in your tracks to offer you tea and bread. We had a wonderful homestay in Van with a lovely family who showed us the best of Turkish hospitality, and couldn’t stop at a gas station to fill up on water without being invited in for tea by the attendant on duty. This eastern region of Turkey will show you the best of Muslim hospitality, and will allow you to see the other side to a place the media likes to focus on.
This was our easiest country as we were always on paved roads, and though there are rolling hills, there aren’t huge passes or climbs. I would highly suggest this country (and especially this region) to anyone just starting out!
None, just start following the road from the Georgian border at Batumi to Hopa, and from there just go south to Van (via Kars, keep to the road closest to the Armenian boarder).
Feel free to comment with your own thoughts, corrections, or updates in order to help others looking to complete this route too.