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Highlights of Turkey

from $1,479.00

Visit some of Western civilisation’s most iconic sites in Turkey

  • Reviews 9 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the Highlights of Turkey.

Turkey is one of the most important countries in the development of the western world; over the centuries it has provided a geographical and cultural bridge between Asia and Europe, with ruins and monuments attesting to the rise and fall of many great empires. Starting in Istanbul we travel through the country, visiting ancient cities and UNESCO heritage sites such as Ephesus and Hierapolis, exploring the natural wonders at Pammukale and Cappadocia and taking some time out to relax on the coast. Add to that the memorials of Gallipoli for a journey that showcases the best of this country.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport arrival & departure transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Ancient history and monuments of the Ottoman Empire
  • Visit the Roman city of Ephesus
  • Optional balloon ride over Cappadocia
  • Limestone cascades and thermal springs at Pamukkale
  • 14 nights comfortable hotels, all en suite
  • Travel by air-conditioned vehicle
  1. Day 1 Start Istanbul.

    Those on the group flights arrive in the mid-afternoon and transfer to city centre starting hotel. There is no formal sightseeing planned. Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world, with a history spanning thousands of years. It has been through several incarnations, firstly as Byzantium, then Constantinople and finally Istanbul. The city today is bustling and its streets are crowded with locals busily going about their daily lives. If you arrive early enough, you can wander and absorb the vibrancy of this exciting city that links Europe and Asia.This evening there will be a Welcome Meeting (please check noticeboard for exact time) held in the hotel, where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travel companions.After our group meeting, we take a short walk. Perhaps we can enjoy our first dinner together in one of the lively cobblestone streets of the Sultanahmet area.Accommodation: Golden Horn Istanbul or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Transfer to Canakkale via Gallipoli peninsula.

    This morning following breakfast we will depart for the Gallipoli Peninsula, where we can explore the battlefields of the ANZAC’s. We will then cross the famous Dardenelles arriving in the city of Canakkale in the early afternoon. We can enjoy an orientation walk of the city and some free time to stroll the waterfront in the afternoon.Approx driving time Istanbul to Canakkale 5.5 hours.Accommodation: Anzac Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Visit the ancient city of Troy; head to Aegan coastal town Ayvalik.

    This morning after breakfast we visit the City of Troy, immortalised in Homer’s Iliad. Troy (Truva) was a city that existed over 4.000 years ago and was known as a major ancient civilization. For many years people believed that it was the city mentioned only in the tales and had never truly existed, as the area had become known as Ilium, or New Ilium. Archaeological digs subsequently proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement.We continue this afternoon to the seaside town of Ayvalik; the town centre is surrounded by the archipelago of Ayvalik Islands, which face the nearby Greek island of Lesbos. It was alternatively called Kydonies by the town’s former Greek population. Today a haven for holiday makers and the olive oil capital of Turkey, Ayvalik and nearby Cunda Island, are fine representations of the Greek/Turkish heritage of the Aegean coast. Renowned local produce includes olive oil, seafood and Ayvalik Tost – like a club sandwich but better!Approx driving time Canakkale to Ayvalik 3.5 hoursAccommodation: Elisa Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  4. Day 4 To Bergama; visit the ancient city of Pergamon; afternoon transfer to Selcuk.

    This morning we depart to Bergama, where we can explore the ruins of the ancient city. Pergamum was an ancient Greek city that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC. It was cited in the book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia.This afternoon our journey continues to the town of Selçuk: a sprawling farming town at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Our early evening orientation walk will take in sites such as the Basilica of St John, (entry not included) Isa Bey Mosque (a fine example of early Seljuk Turk architecture), and the last remaining column of the Temple of Artemis. This evening we may have the opportunity to enjoy local meze in the town square and meet the locals.Approx driving time Ayvalik to Selcuk 3 hours.Accommodation: Akay Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  5. Day 5 From Selcuk visit the historic site of Ephesus; head to Pamukkale this afternoon.

    Today we head out to the ancient site of Ephesus, one of the best preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and a great example of Roman architecture. Always an important religious centre, Ephesus was founded by Ionian Greeks in the 11th Century BC and flourished under Roman rule. The Greeks replaced the cult of the Anatolian fertility goddess Cybele with Artemis and built a fabulous temple in her honour. With the arrival of the Romans, it became the Temple of Diana and was one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world. We visit the vast amphitheatre, walk the marble street once trodden by Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and wonderfully restored Library of Celsus.This afternoon our journey continues to our overnight base in Pamukkale.Approx driving times Selcuk to Pamukkale 3 hours.Accommodation: Uyum Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  6. Day 6 Explore the limestone cascades of Pamukkale and the Roman ruins of Hierapolis; afternoon transfer to Fethiye.

    Pamukkale, also known as ’Cotton Castle’, is a truly unique sight. This spectacular natural phenomenon was created by deposits from thermal waters that cascaded down the mountainside over hundreds of years, forming a myriad of pools and terraces. As the water overflows from the pools, dazzling cream-coloured stalactites are formed that, from afar, resemble cotton or snow. The pools are filled with hot spring waters that supposedly have healing properties. Close to Pamukkale are the ruins of Hierapolis, which was founded by the King of Pergamon in 190 BC and by the 2nd Century AD had become an important Roman bath centre. The extensive ruins of Hierapolis are well worth exploring and include a theatre, temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica and necropolis. We spend the morning discovering the travertines and ancient city before continuing to Fethiye on the Mediterranean Coast.Modern Fethiye is located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, the ruins of which can be seen in the city; the Hellenistic theatre is by the main quay. This evening we take a walk along the boat harbour and the lively market square.Approx driving time Pamukkale to Fethiye 4.5hours.Accommodation: Blueberry Boutique Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Depart Fethiye for coastal town Kas.

    This morning we depart from Fethiye and take the coastal highway to the seaside town of Kas. Situated on the Teke Peninsula, Kas was known as Antiphéllos in ancient Lycia and was a member of the Lycian League. Today you can see evidence of Lycian tombs scattered around the town. This afternoon is free to explore this charming coastal town with cobbled streets and lively cafes.Approx. driving time Fethiye to Kas 2.5 hours.Accommodation: Linda Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  8. Day 8 Free day to rest or choose from the many activities available.

    Today is a free day to relax or take advantage of the many activities available on the Turquoise Coast in and around Kas. Options include a boat trip to Kekova and view a sunken city, sea kayaking or trekking on the Lycian way. For more cultural options, take a day tour to Xanthos the first capital of the Lycian Federation, or visit the ancient theatre in Kas.Accommodation: Linda Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  9. Day 9 Transfer to the lively city of Antalya.

    This morning we depart for Antalya, Turkey’s biggest international beach resort. Arriving in the early afternoon, we will visit the ancient Kaleiçi. With its narrow cobbled streets and historic Ottoman era houses, it is the old centre of the city. Restored to retain much of its historical character, the area now houses a plethora of bars, restaurants and shops. History buffs may also want to visit the Antalya Museum this afternoon; ranked third in the country, it is among the leading museums of the world on account of the sculptures from the Roman period and other unique finds.Approx driving time from Kas to Antalya 4 hours.Accommodation: Mia Boutique Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  10. Day 10 Visit the Greco-Roman site of Aspendos, famous for its theatre; afternoon transfer to Konya, home of the whirling dervishes.

    This morning we travel to Konya via the ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos, known for housing the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. With a diameter of 315 ft, the theatre provided seating for 7,000 spectators. After exploring the ancient site, we continue on to Konya, known as ’Iconium’ in Roman times. It was the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to 13th centuries and home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who founded a mystic Sufi order popularly known as the ’Whirling Dervishes’.Approx. driving time Antalya to Konya 5.5 hours.Accommodation: Selcuk Mevlana Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  11. Day 11 To the Cappadocia region; visit the Ilhara Valley and the underground city of Derinkuyu.

    This morning we visit Mevlana’s Mausoleum and the museum housing manuscripts of his works, as well as various artefacts relating to the mystic sect that he founded.We continue on to the fascinating Cappadocia region. Shaped by wind and water, the rock formations, rock hewn churches, cave dwellings and underground cities have to be seen to be believed! This afternoon we will visit the village of Belisirma in the Valley of Ihlara on the slopes of Mount Hasan, one of the volcanoes responsible for the formation of Cappadocia. From here we embark on a wonderful walk along the Melendiz River and experience traditional village life, as we pass through the beautiful Ihlara Valley. There are dozens of Byzantine cave chapels to explore along the way and most of them are decorated with exquisite biblical frescoes. We continue on to the underground city of Derinkuyu, with some dwellings containing rooms spread out over seven levels beneath ground level. Early this evening we arrive in Goreme, our base for the next two nights.Approx. driving time Konya to Cappadocia 5 hoursAccommodation: Ciner Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  12. Day 12 Visit Cappadocia's Open Air Museum and fairy chimneys.

    Cappadocia’s main attraction, the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, is a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings. This morning we explore the rock cut churches of the Museum. Later in the afternoon we drive to the unique Pasabaglari Valley, where multiple fairy chimneys, hewn from the earth and shaped by centuries of erosion, lend a moon-like landscape and atmosphere to the valley. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and a hermit’s shelter are built into one of the fairy chimneys, which appears to have three heads!Accommodation: Ciner Hotel or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  13. Day 13 Transfer to the charming UNESCO listed city of Safranbolu.

    This morning we have an early departure for the charming UNESCO listed city of Safranbolu. Arriving late in the afternoon we will take a walk around this world heritage site. The town has a strong Ottoman heritage with beautiful preserved timber houses and cobblestoned streets.Approx. driving time Cappadocia to Safranbolu 6.5 hoursAccommodation: Akce Konaklari or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  14. Day 14 Explore Safranbolu; transfer to Istanbul.

    Some Turkish delight tasting is on our list today as the town is famous for the Safron-flavoured candy. We will also visit the Kaymakamlar Muze Ev – a typical Safranbolu home which is now a small ethnographic museum. After lunch we will make our way back to Istanbul arriving in time to enjoy a last night group meal together.Approx. driving time Safranbolu to Istanbul 5.5 hoursAccommodation: Golden Horn Istanbul or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  15. Day 15 End Istanbul.

    Our adventure ends after breakfast in Istanbul. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for their flight back to London.

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Where you stay

Hotels

Hotel standards in Turkey can vary however for this trip we have selected a good selection of hotels all with something different to offer, many of which have a pool and some with free WIFI.
In Istanbul we use a hotel conveniently situated near the old quarter whilst our hotel in Antalya is the Kaleci (old city). In some of the smaller locations the hotels have been chosen to make the best of the area; for example our hotel in Pamukkale has thermal pools within the hotel grounds.

Eating and Drinking

All hotels are included on a bed and breakfast basis. All other main meals are not included, and we suggest you allow about USD$500 equivalent to cover them, add more if you include alcoholic or expensive fruit juice drinks with each meal. Your group leader will normally assist in organizing group meals at most stops so that you may benefit from better choice and prices.
Lunches are normally taken in local restaurants, known as lokantas, or organised as a picnic, and evening meals in lokantas in each town or village; such eating places are widespread throughout Turkey, and the variety, price range and choice is usually quite extensive, but obviously less so in some of the smaller towns in Central Anatolia.

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely):
This trip is the most wide-ranging, varied and exploratory of all our Turkish programmes, combining the coastal region, history and landscapes of the interior in a kaleidoscope of contrasts for the true traveller, with lots of sightseeing every day. A fair amount of travelling is involved and there are some long days, but these are generally broken up with sightseeing en route or on arrival.
Although the tour is not physically demanding, it does involve a fair amount of road travel, the total distance covered during the trip is about 3,250km and of course there are plenty of sites en route. Some of the main roads are good and fast, but others are not and there are some bumpy stretches that take us to some of the archaeological sites away from the main road.
Some of the archaeological sites involve walking on rocky and/or steep hillsides, but if you don’t feel up to it on a hot day you can either not take part or wander around at your own pace.
In July and August it will be hot to very hot during the day on the Anatolian plateau but this is normally a dry heat and easier to cope with than humidity. Istanbul and coastal areas can be more humid.

Holders of UK, Austrian, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and US passports require visas. Visa’s must be obtained in advance, passengers need to obtain an e-visa prior to their arrival. This can be done online at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ for approximately US$20. The visa is valid for a stay of up to three months (dependent on passport holder’s nationality). For a longer stay a visa from a Turkish Embassy is required.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

A Comprehensive Tour

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were lots of highlights but the less obvious was the beautiful seaside resort of Kas where I had a day to relax and explore on my own and the lovely Islamic town of Konya. The floodlit mosque was stunning as was watching the sunset at Pamukkale with wine provided by our tour leader!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Emir was a lovely man and very knowledgable about all the gods and extensive history of Turkey as well as being fun.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for 38C+ heat in August, take appropriate clothing for mosque visits, including headscarves for ladies, long trousers for men. Last 2 road journeys are long - ours were 9 hours plus including toilet and lunch stops. Driver is obliged to take at least a 45 minute break for Tachograph reasons so take plenty of music or reading material.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

A varied tour...history,culture,swimming,great food...what more could you want!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots..... The boat trip at Kas to the sunken city .Enough members of our group went so we got a private boat. Ephesus Capadoccia...scenery and underground city Gallipoli Antalya...lovely town Sunsets Whirling dervish ceremony and the Rumi mausoleum in Konya The theatre at Aspendos Others in the group would say the hot air balloon ride.....it is very expensive...195 euros.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Emir was a five star leader.Our group was very varied with some young people as well as a variety of older people with varying levels of energy but Emir tried always to keep everyone happy. He was always patient and was great fun. His English was excellent and his knowledge and love of his country while remaining objective was amazing. He was very stimulating to be with. If he didn’t know the answer to a specific question he researched it.....he was keen to know everything. I have come home determined to read up about Greek gods etc. A real people person.....he seemed to know lots of people on every stop and they all loved to talk to him. He took us every evening for a group meal and that helped us enjoy the Turkish food and order confidently. The driver was such a nice man but not much English.....frustrating not to be able to chat to him. We did learn a bit of Turkish in the end!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t bother to take walking boots...strong trainers are enough. None of us did the Lycian walk although we intended to do it. It was too hot and only a two hour walk so not really worth it. The boat trip was a better option. It is hot in August....take light clothes. There were opportunities to wash clothes. Go early or stay to see Istanbul. Take a head scarf...long shorts were fine. They give you a skirt if it is necessary. Loads of ATMs and change places. All hotels had hairdryers. Take swimming stuff...lots of chances to swim in pools and beaches.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You do need to be able to manage your own luggage at times....not all hotels have lifts so best to travel fairly light. Sometimes the bus can’t drive up to the hotel in the old parts of town. Several restaurants don’t serve alcohol if they are near a mosque....but they have good soft drinks and of course,tea!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Terrific Turkey with the amazing Fatih Develi and Unal

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were very many inspirational moments including our visit to 'tremendos' Aspendos with it's 'stupendos' theatre, the spiritual experience of a performance by Whirling Dervishes of the Sema ceremony and exploring the superb city of Hierapolis which was completely unexpected above the travertines of Pumakkale. But for us, the most inspirational moment was undoubtedly in the peaceful setting of Celaleddin Rumi mausoleum in the Mevlana Museum in Konya.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely superb! He worked so hard to assist each one of us whenever he could and with great wit and humour in order to make our trip as enjoyable as possible. What a gem you have there. It was a great pleasure to meet him and share the journey with him and our fantastic driver - Unal - who was such a gracious traveling companion too. Unal was always there to pick us up on time and handle all our luggage and often went out of his way to assist us. His negotiation of rush hour traffic, especially in Ankara and Istanbul with patience and no little skill was exemplary.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We would probably advise potential travellers on this trip to extend their stay in Istanbul by a day before or after the tour, though we did get to see some of the many places of interest in this great city.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I could go on and on about all the incredible experiences we had on this trip - I could not recommend it highly enough. Best to go and do it for yourself - you won't be dissappointed.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Amazing country

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent knowledge and very good English, very professional.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t expect great hotels and be prepared to carry/drag cases around now and then.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have been prepared to pay a little more for better hotels.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

A great trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Galipoli and gaining a greater understanding of the battles fought there. Generally getting a sense of the ancient history of this part of the world Experiencing the power of nature at Cappadocia.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Ali was excellent! He’s knowledgeable, organized, personable and has a brilliant sense of humour. He’s also wonderful at managing a diverse group - although we regularly told him we were his best group ever.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To understand the pace and how that, more than anything else will be challenging. I would also suggest that walking poles could be offered as a suggestion in the trip notes for anyone who may need than. This is relevant for only a few days.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was invaluable in teaching me how to determine which types of trips to book in the future.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
October 12, 2019
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$1,749.00
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April 25, 2020
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September 5, 2020
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October 9, 2019
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