Mount Ararat Climb - Turkey's Fabled Mountain

A fascinating journey to the highest peak in Eastern Turkey





From $2,260 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Far-reaching views across Armenia from the summit of Ararat
  • A challenging and remote summit with technically easy climbing
  • Exploring Istanbul and especially the stunning blue mosque
  • A real adventure travel holiday at final resting place of Noah`s Ark

This walking and climbing holiday, trekking to the summit of Mount Ararat in Turkey, is a true adventure travel experience. Close to Turkey's border with Armenia and unclimbed until the early 19th Century, Mount Ararat (5165m) is the final resting place of Noah's Ark - according to the Old Testament. Whatever its place in history, this extinct volcano provides an unusual and quite challenging walking and mountaineering objective. After a day spent exploring the minarets and markets of Istanbul, we fly east to the bustling frontier town of Dogubeyazit. From here, it is a short approach to Mount Ararat, which we climb over a period of 5 days. Making a pre-dawn start from our high camp, we will be trekking across the easy-angled snow slopes leading to the summit of Mount Ararat. Since the mountain was made accessible to foreign climbers, KE groups have climbed Mount Ararat in each of the last 12 years and made ascents of what is surely one of the world's most enigmatic peaks. This is a short but extremely rewarding walking adventure holiday, trekking in a very different corner of the world.

Is this holiday for you?

This is not a long or sustained trekking holiday. However, the height gain of very nearly 3000 metres  from the village of Eli to Ararat's summit is considerable. Two 5-hour trekking days (separated by an acclimatisation and rest day) take us to our high camp on the mountain. The summit day will be longer, something of the order of 10 hours in total. Underfoot conditions will vary from easy trails through upland meadow to zig-zag paths on volcanic scree. The uppermost slopes of the mountain are snow-covered and present a short, low-angle snow slope. The technical aspect of climbing Mount Ararat is not difficult but a high level of fitness is required. Previous experience of walking in crampons is preferable but not essential for this holiday.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Istanbul. A single transfer from Istanbul Airport is provided.
  • Sightseeing in Istanbul. Visit the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Aya Sofya, and Grand Bazaar.
  • Fly from Istanbul to Van and drive to Dogubeyazit.
  • Drive to the village of Eli (2200m) and trek to Green Camp (3200m).
  • Acclimatisation walk to 3700m and return to Green Camp (3200m).
  • Trek to High Camp (4100m.) with great views of Little Mount Ararat.
  • Climb to the summit of Ararat (5165m). Descend to Green Camp (3200m).
  • Trek to the roadhead and drive to Dogubeyazit.
  • Morning visits to the Ishakpasa Palace and the Noah's Ark Visitor Centre. Afternoon drive to Van.
  • Return flight to Istanbul Airport for onward connections.
Sat 09 Jul - Mon 18 Jul Code TAR /01/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
Sat 20 Aug - Mon 29 Aug Code TAR /02/16/ Adult$2,260 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Istanbul. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements and transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and this trip is showing the 'Guaranteed to Run or Limited' symbol. If your trip is still showing 'Spaces', we will contact you as soon as it has reached the guaranteed status. Return flights should not be booked to depart Istanbul before 1500 on the final day of the holiday.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Istanbul. A single transfer from Istanbul Airport is provided.

    Evening rendezvous at the group hotel in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. KE group package services begin with overnight at the hotel. A single group transfer is provided from Istanbul Airport, timed to meet the preferred group flights.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Sightseeing in Istanbul. Visit the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Aya Sofya, and Grand Bazaar.

    Weather permitting we’ll enjoy breakfast on the roof terrace, overlooking the Sea of Marmara, before spending the day visiting some of Istanbul’s famous sights. Options in this ancient capital of the civilised world are myriad. Morning visits may include: the Blue Mosque, built in traditional Ottoman style in 1606; The Hippodrome, situated near the Mosque and site of the celebrated chariot races of Byzantine times; Aya Sofya (Church of the Divine Wisdom), which until the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century, was considered the most important church in the Christian world. We will also have the chance to visit the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi), which houses over 4000 shops, cafes and small businesses amongst a warren of narrow streets, lanes and alleyways. After lunch, there’s the option to continue sightseeing, either at the fabulous Topkapi Palace Museum or by taking a boat cruise along the Bosphorus. We return tto the hotel for our second night.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Fly from Istanbul to Van and drive to Dogubeyazit.

    We take an internal flight to the eastern city of Van. On arrival, we will meet our transport and make the 3-hour drive to the town of Dogubeyazit. En route, we will stop off to take tea at the Muradiye waterfalls and also pass close to the volcano, Tendurek. We’ll make Dogubeyazit in good time and use the remainder of the day at the hotel checking over our trekking and climbing gear, confirming our permits for the climb and relaxing.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Drive to the village of Eli (2200m) and trek to Green Camp (3200m).

    After an early breakfast, we make the short transfer to the village of Eli (2200m) and begin our trek. With mules or horses to carry our gear, we ascend 1000 metres to reach our first campsite (known locally as Green Camp) at 3200 metres. Here, on a green meadow site, the tents are pitched in the lea of drystone walls. This is around a 5 hour walk and we may be lucky enough to meet nomadic herders in this area.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hours

  • Acclimatisation walk to 3700m and return to Green Camp (3200m).

    Today is set aside for acclimatising to the altitude, with time spent relaxing around camp. We will also take the opportunity to boost our acclimatisation with a 3 to 4 hour hike up the mountain. Depending on the conditions, we may get as high as 3700 metres. We return to spend a second night at Green Camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hours

  • Trek to High Camp (4100m.) with great views of Little Mount Ararat.

    We leave Green Camp and trek onwards up the mountain to reach our high camp at 4200 metres. This camp is essentially a cleared area amongst the basalt boulders. Again, tents receive some protection from the wind by the surrounding crude rock walls. (5 to 6 hours trekking). From this camp, we have good views of the lesser cone of Little Mount Ararat (3896m) which rises up to the south-east, separated from its bigger neighbour by the so-called 'lava plateau'.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hours

  • Climb to the summit of Ararat (5165m). Descend to Green Camp (3200m).

    We make an alpine start at around 3.00 am to get ready and eat some breakfast, aiming to set off at first light. The first part of the climb is across typical volcanic terrain of loose scree and this continues for 900 metres, with some patches of snow. At around 5000 metres, we reach the glaciated area and, depending on conditions, we may need to stop, put on our crampons and rope up. The upper slopes of Ararat are permanently snow-covered but present no significant technical difficulties. On top of Ararat, we can enjoy views across the Eastern ranges of Turkey and across into Armenia and Iran. After time to take in the scenery and enjoy our achievement, we begin our descent, aiming to go all the way down to Green Camp.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 10 hours

  • Trek to the roadhead and drive to Dogubeyazit.

    Trekking out to the roadhead, we meet our transport for the drive back to Dogubeyazit. Overnight at the hotel in Dogubeyazit.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hours

  • Morning visits to the Ishakpasa Palace and the Noah's Ark Visitor Centre. Afternoon drive to Van.

    A day to relax after our climb and enjoy the sights of Dogubeyazt and the surrounding area. Just a short distance east of town is the Ishakpasa Palace a vast palace / fortress of 366 rooms, mixing Ottoman, Persian and Georgian architectural and decorative styles. The Noah’s Ark National Park also lies to the east of Dogubeyazt and in its visitor centre there are displays and documents identifying a nearby earth formation as the remains of the Ark. Time permitting, we may travel yet further out of town to view the impressive giant meteor crater, close to the Iranian Border. After our sightseeing tour we continue to Van where we check into the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Return flight to Istanbul Airport for onward connections.

    After breakfast we transfer to the airport in Van to check in for the internal flight to Istanbul. Arriving at the airport in Istanbul, KE group package services end.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced English-speaking climbing guide
  • A single timed group transfer from Istanbul Airport to the group hotel
  • Internal flights and associated transfers
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All land transport
  • Permit fee for Ararat climb
  • Once on trek a full service including all meals

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers (other than the group transfers)
  • Entrance fees to tourist sites and optional activities
  • Tips for local staff
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

Within the Land Only cost of this holiday, we have arranged for a single timed transfer from Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport to the group hotel on Day 1 of the itinerary. This transfer is timed to meet passengers arriving on the preferred group flight from Heathrow and will normally leave Istanbul airport around 5.45 pm. If your flights do not permit you to take advantage of this transfer, you will need to make separate arrangements. Clients wishing to book independent transfers from Istanbul Airport to the group hotel on Day 1 can do so at an extra cost. Alternatively, taxis are available from the airport and cost approximately £20 per person to the city centre (£30 if arriving late at night) . Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation. All clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. At the end of the holiday the group will fly from Dogubeyazit to Istanbul to connect with international flights. It is important that you do not arrange international flights departing before 1500 on this day to allow sufficient time for connection.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday.

During this trip the group will spend 2 nights in comfortable hotel accommodation in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, 2 nights in Dogubeyazit and 1 night in Van at comfortable tourist class hotels. There will be 4 nights camping during the climb on Mount Ararat. All accommodation is arranged on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. For the 5 hotel nights, single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Istanbul are also available. For Hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

On trek, breakfast options include cereals, fruits, fresh bread, preserves, eggs, salami, feta, olives, melon, breads, dried fruit and nuts, tea and coffee. After breakfast clients will make up their own lunchboxes (provided) using fresh bread sticks and a variety of meats, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumber and olives. There will also be plenty of fruit, biscuits and cake. The evening meal is prepared by our cook and served at the camp table. This meal may be a barbecue of local meats or any of a number of excellent Turkish dishes. Vegetarian food is also available but you must inform us if you require an exclusively vegetarian diet.

All meals are included whilst on trek. In Istanbul there is a wide range of dining options and here it seems sensible to leave the choice of what to eat and the meal budget to you. We have therefore not included meals other than breakfasts while staying in Istanbul. There are also two free days in Dogubeyazit where we have left the choice of lunch with you. In practice this amounts to 3 dinners and 3 lunches that you will be expected to pay directly for. We estimate that you will need to bufget a total of €40 - 60 for these meals.

Approximately £150 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including tips to local staff. This is best carried in the form of cash, which can be exchanged on arrival at the airport. This amount should be sufficient to allow you to pay for the above-mentioned, non-included meals and also allow you to pay reasonable tips to trek staff. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, such as wool or silk rugs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). However, Turkey is not an expensive destination for tourists from the West. A cup of coffee costs the equivalent of 20 pence and a bottle of beer 30 pence. Credit cards can be used in Istanbul and cash can be drawn from ATM's using a credit or debit card. Turkey’s unit of currency is the New Lira.

The cost of the permit for climbing Mount Arrarat is included in the trip prce. Arranging this permit is a reasonably complicated process and to do this we will need your passport details a minimum of 6 weeks prior to departure.

The group will be accompanied by a professional English-speaking mountain guide and on trek will have the services of a trek crew including a cook and baggage animals and their handlers.

Tips do not form part of the wages of local staff but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. It is best if tips are given at the end of the trip by the group as a whole. We recommend that each group member contributes around €20 – 30 to this pool and that tips are then distributed between the guide, drivers and support crew as the group feels is appropriate.

During the trek your bags will be carried by pack animals. The maximum weight of your trek bag during this part of the trip is 15kg. It is possible to leave items that you do not require on the climb at the group hotel in Dogubeyazit.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with a minimum of 2 months remaining validity from the date of entry is required (at least 6 months remaining validity is recommended). Visas are required by US, Canadian, UK and most European passport holders (but not by nationals of France, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Finland or Sweden).

All visitors to Turkey are required to purchase their entry visa via the Turkish Government website prior to travel. You will need an email address and a printer connected to your computer in order to do this. After you have submitted your application you will be sent a verification email. Once you receive the “e-mail address verification message”, you will need to click the “approve” button and then proceed with the payment within 24 hours otherwise your application will time out and you will need to make a new application. Currently, the cost of the e-visa is 20 US Dollars. Payment can only be made with Visa or Mastercard (debit or credit cards). Once payment has been made you will receive a further email with a link to download the e-visa. Please print out and keep your e-Visa with you while entering and exiting Turkey.

Visas are valid for 180 days from the date of application for a stay of up to 90 days.

Note for Clients on Mount Ararat ONLY, we also require that you send us the following information by e-mail or by post at least 4 weeks prior to departure:

Your place of birth

Your Father’s full name

Your Mother’s full name

Please note that Mount Ararat permits will not be issued without these details.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in the case of recent alterations.

Passport validity

You should ensure your passport satisfies the following criteria:

Valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry into Turkey

Valid for at least three months from the date you leave Turkey

Valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiry date of your visa, e-visa or residence permit (visas and e-visas are often issued with 6 months validity so your passport may need to have eight months validity at the time your visa is issued).

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Approach shoes or trekking boots
  • Mountaineering boots rigid enough to fit crampons securely
  • Gaiters
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Trainers or sandals for camp
  • Trekking trousers
  • Waterproof overtrousers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Thermal baselayer shirts
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Warm jacket (down)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat or balaclava
  • Eyewear-Sunglasses
  • Thermal gloves
  • Warmer overgloves or mittens
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)
  • Daypack 40 litres
  • Headtorch with spare battery
  • Basic First Aid Kit - refer to trip notes for details
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Water bottles 1 litre / 1 quart (x2)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Small towel
  • Sleeping bag rated to -10 C
  • Crampons
  • Climbing harness with one screwgate karabiner
  • Ice axe

The following items are optional:

  • Spare laces
  • Camera, media, spare batteries
  • Trekking poles
  • Thermos flask
  • Insect repellant – (DEET)
  • Penknife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold luggage)
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Thermarest (Foam sleeping mats are provided)


We regret that it is not possible to hire equipment through KE for this trip.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

Know before you go

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise. While regular hiking in hill or back country is the best preparation, any regular excersise such as running or swimming is also good for developing better cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country. For this trip it is recommended that you have some practice at walking using crampons. Even if it is not possible to access an area of snow, it is worth getting used to walking with carmpons on slopes of turf.

The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will vary considerably. In Istanbul it can be hot and humid during the summer months with temperatures regularly approaching 30°C / 86°F. In the mountainous areas to the east of the country, the air is drier and the temperature range much greater. Although situated some 1700 metres (5600 feet) higher than Istanbul, temperatures in Dogubeyazit can be quite similar. On Ararat itself temperatures will, of course, decrease as we climb. Typically, we will be trekking at temperatures around 15°C / 59°F. At night at our highest camp, we can expect the temperature to fall to freezing point. In common with many mountain areas, cloud can build during the day resulting in late afternoon rain.

Turkey. Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. The Rough Guide to Turkey. The Explorers of Ararat and the search for Noah’s Ark. BJ Corbin.

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