Mecca Trail news



Join our dream to Mecca

Marcel Schuurmans and Johan van der Berg, Mecca trail pioneers in Türkiye.

Marcel Schuurmans and Johan van der Berg walked the part from Konya to Antakya in May and June and explored the different hiking possibilities and accommodation options available on the route. 

Creating route awareness was also one of the main objectives that Marcel and Johan wanted to create while walking. 


We can say that they have succeeded in creating awareness, as while cycling we have seen many people they met in May and June. 

Marcel Schuurmans and Johan van den Berg, The Syrian Way

Read the Jerusalem blog

Sufi Trail and Mecca Trail sharing resources

Sufi Trail and Mecca Trail share some parts of the marked hiking and bicycle trails.

Sufi Trail in development since 2016 shares parts of the route with Mecca trail. The Ancient Mecca route from Istanbul onwards is one of the most well-documented routes in Türkiye. Sufi Trail follows mostly the Mecca route, but diverts because of the particularities related to the Mevlevi Sufi’s in Türkiye. 

Sufi trail’s early development helps Mecca trail with a swift out roll from Istanbul to Konya. 

We can now advise pilgrims who want to walk or cycle to Mecca with good advice on how to walk from Istanbul to Konya and to a lesser extent from Konya to Antakya near the Syrian border. 

For cyclists, we have now good advice with GPX/KML files included from Istanbul to Antakya. 


Pioneers crew marks the Mecca Trail

Bicycle route from Istanbul to Antakya near the Syrian border

After a successful gathering in Yalova, we got together with the Mecca crew to mark the cycle route from Yalova to Antakya. 

Odile Keulers secretary of the Sultans Trail is now a pensioner and has time to do some fun work, like placing 1000 stickers on the road to Mecca. Mehmet Kahraman is our solid pioneer who you really want to have in the team as he is the one and only, dog whisperer. Together with us, Iris and Sedat trail makers we set off on our bicycles with indeed more than 1000 stickers and a Sufi Trail flag. Sufi Trail foundation is the supporting party for this expedition to the Syrian border. We also use most of the already laid out paths to Konya, with some slight differences to stick to the theme of the ancient road to Mecca.

We also have a set of equipment with us to record our adventures, two GO Pro’s and a laptop to keep the work from home going, for us the trails are slowly becoming home now. Mehmet has a nickname, Teletubby as he records with the GoPro on the helmet, easy to spot, and it looks like a big antenna. The first start of the trail is rather hilly, we walk bits and pieces and Mehmet has taken care of the nuts for the necessary breaks. We also are distracted by the most delicious figs, and ripe walnuts. What a joy it is to cycle on the Sufi and now also Mecca Trail. One more reason to be glad Mehmet is there, as he has the best ripe fruit-picking skills. Enthusiastic, but a little tired, we arrived at our friend's place, Ilica pension, near the natural water springs. Yunus Emre makes the most delicious breakfast for us and off we go to Iznik. 

Iznik is famous for the hand-painted tiles and of course the first council that was held there. The day we arrive there are the world nomad games 2022 so no place for happy campers. Luckily, we were saved by the hospitality of our friends from the Iznik Zeytin Evi, only 4 km from Iznik, so easy to reach for a cyclist. We set camp and enjoy an abundance of delicious organic breakfast in Zeytin Evi. The days on the Sufi Trail are easy with all the good care of our friends and I must say the food has never tasted so good, possibly after exercise you taste better but also the quality of the food in this area is something else.

After the olive trees, fruit orchards and again some mountains we pass our dear friends in Osmaneli and test a Mecca Trail track over ILGN, with success. The rain makes it hard to travel slowly, and we have to divert to the highway as the dirt roads get too muddy. This way we are rather quick in Konya and get ready for the most exciting part of this pioneering Mecca route, the road we don’t know yet. I love it when it’s unknown and yet again it’s proven to be the best. As we don’t have Mecca Trail connections and friends on the route, we make new friends daily. Also, we camp more than usual and have slept with the smell of chickens in the chicken district of Beyza, it really is everywhere around Adana and with the sound of a chirping cricket. 

Mehmet had to really show his dog whisper skills this time as we cycled in some deserted areas with just shepherds and big watchdogs. Nature, culture and people were absolutely amazing we got help, and the freshest and most exotic food, and we got more and more strong and fit after climbing the Taurus mountains. It’s almost as if the mountains give you straight, the love, food and nature really nourish your body, soul and emotions. I can still taste the tomatoes we got from the people of Seydifakılı and I discovered if you get a tomato like that it can serve as a meal. This is also the day that the Mecca Trail touches the Rumi Trail. It was nice to see our marking was still there from the year before when we pioneered the Rumi Trail from Imranlı towards Konya. We have a great and strong team and were spoiled with nice experiences and more help and love than we can write about. To top it off, we dived into human history in the amazing treasures Antakya still has preserved. For miracles, we also had a last treat, we met our dear friends Marian and Aslinur Brehmer in the oldest cave church st. Pierre. It is really true all life is guided. Hope we do have a nice guidebook to hand over any time soon. 

Like to read our blogs on polarsteps: Sedat Cakir's 
Iris Bezuijen

Meet the team

Konrad Weberling and Audrey Pouillon in Jerusalem
~4000 Kilometres in  ~6 Months

We call Konrad and Audrey our kids, as we developed a loving friendship over WhatsApp during their hike on the Sufi Trail Later on their way to Jerusalem we had the most pleasant surprises as Konrad is carrying Sufi for life as a tattoo! A token of the love and love never ends. 

read their Sufi story

Christian pilgrims on their way to Al-Quds (Jerusalem)


In recent years, there has been a growing number of Christian pilgrims walking towards Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in Türkiye. In the past, most of them were using a route from Konya to the Mediterranean over the Taurus mountains but in the last 2 years, we see a shift to the ancient Mecca route as these routes give a more logical connection to Adana and to Antakya. 

We, as Mecca trail volunteers, are very happy to see our Christian fellow pilgrims on the Mecca trail. We hope this will help to understand each other much better, with immersing ourselves directly into the life of locals and pilgrims.

read their blog

What’s next?

We are now finished with the initial phase in Türkiye and want to explore the possibilities in Syria. We don’t know yet how. The border crossings between Türkiye and Syria are closed and for us it seems that there are no possibilities to cross the Turkish/Syrian border by bicycle. 

If we can cross the border with Syria, we are looking for possibilities to continue with Jordanian part of the Mecca trail and return later to Syria for further exploration. 

We hope and pray for Syria and for Syrian people to have a safe future without war and with much prosperity. A hiking and cycling route through a country contributes to peace and economic development on a local level.

We think Mecca trail can provide this opportunity as it will connect Antakya to Aleppo and Damascus. At the Jordanian side, it will connect Damascus to Amman. 

Slow travel contributes to the well-being of local people more than mass tourism. 

Our hope is pinned on the opening of the borders and easing of visa formalities for Syria. 

Stichting Sufi Trail - Hagestraat 10 - 2011 CV Haarlem - Holland

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