The story behind………

The name of our website “alphikes” refers to our beginnings in the travel business, mountaineering in the Austrian Alps. In 2005 we emigrated from Austria to Turkey and we soon found the love of the mountains again, because there are so many beautiful mountain landscapes in Turkey, whether it is the 1500 km long Taurus Mountain range or the wild Kaçkar Mountains at the Black Sea.  Now many of our tours with guests take us in the Turkish mountains. So the name is program!

About us

We are a Turkish travel agency offering trekking, hiking, cooking & cultural travel in Turkey.

What makes us special:

  • Group tours without a group. In this travel category you only travel with whomever you want, with your partner, family, friends. Accompanied by an experienced guide and a private driver with a comfortable minibus.
  • With insiders and professionals on the go. Vira Natura Tours is a local travel agency. We live all year in Turkey and design & guide all tours ourselves. Expertise of our guides ranges from a qualified Austrian mountain guide, a botanist and a zoologists to a renowned nature photographer and the chef of one of the leading home cooking style restaurants in the Antalya region. This is how you get unforgettable insights into the nature and culture of Turkey.
  • Authentic travel tours such as trekking in the style of the Turkish Yörüks (nomads) or a gourmet cooking class with chef Sibel combined with hiking.
  • Each request will be answered with comprehensive advice and a customized offer.

 The Team

Sibel Hatapoglu Kollinsky

Sibel Hatapoglu Kollinsky has lived for 15 years in Austria, worked there in several social projects as founder and employee. In her projects she has always seen herself as a bridge between cultures.

Cooking and travel are her passion and she  has managed to combine both passions sensual: In her restaurant in the small mountain village of Beycik she offers “fine” cooking classes and leads groups through the magnificent mountain scenery of the Lycian Mountain Trail. Always with an eye on herbs and other natural flavors.

Her newest project in 2015 will be culture trips for parents and children to her home town Istanbul, where she will combine classic sightseeing programs with very special events, like the Istanbul Art Biennial of Children and Youth and children painting courses with artist Fulya Çetin

Christian Kollinsky

Born 1965, qualified with an MSc in Biology at Innsbruck University, Christian spent some time at Oxford University where he had a research assistantship in the Wildlife Conservation Unit. Returning to Austria he completed his training as an Mountain Hiking Guide and led tours worldwide.

He also worked some time as an instructor in biology at the Mountain Guide Training School. Christian  lives with his Turkish wife, Sibel, and three children in Beycik, a small Turkish mountain village at the foot of Tahtalı (Mount Olympos) in the Antalya region. Together with Andrew and Fay Wichelowski he initiated the hiking area Beycik – Alp with more than 150 km waymarked old sheperd trails in 2012.

Christian speaks excellent English and German and has a good understanding in Turkish. His love and enthusiasm for flora and fauna add greatly to any walk with him.

In 2015 Christian will organize daily hikes and donkey tours in the surrounding of Beycik and guide nomad and trekking tours with donkeys and mules along the Lycian Way and in the Kaçkar Mountains.

Christopher Gardner

Christopher Martin Gardner (born 1967), is a plant world all-rounder, naturalist and semi-professional photographer.

Originally from Essex, England, he gained a BSc in Horticulture from Reading University, England and spent fifteen years as a professional horticulturist and garden designer.  In 1998 he co-authored the bestselling book ‘The Plant Hunters’. However, a lifelong birdwatcher and naturalist his fascination with travel brought him into contact with the wildlife, flora and cultures of many exotic countries and in 1999 he began guiding botanical and wildlife tours.

Horticulture has now taken a back seat and he guides and arranges botanical tours throughout Turkey, near and Central Asia, China, Chile, Morocco, Borneo and many other countries, having led over a hundred tours.  At the same time his photographic interest and ability has grown immensely leading to the publication with his wife Basak Gardner of ‘The Flowers of the Silk Road’ (May 2014) a collection of 530 species of beautiful flowers from Turkey to China.

Basak Guner

Basak Güner (born 1979), qualified with an MSc in Botanical Taxonomy at İstanbul University.

Always fascinated by flowers  she worked at the Nezahat Gökyigit Botanic Garden in Istanbul and then in 2004 she started leading botanical tours in Turkey and then many other countries.

Basak is also a good botanical artist and has painted flowers in Turkey, Chile and Colombia. She has also studied publishing and in 2014 designed ‘The Flowers of the Silk Road’ a major photograhic book with her husband Chris and is now very much involved with the design of the revised ‘Illustrated Flora of Turkey’ an exciting new ten year project.

She speaks fluent English and Turkish and moved to Beycik in 2010.

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