Premium Turkey & the Caucasus

Trip Code: ERPCC

Why we love it

Get to the heart of Turkey and the Caucasus’s with experienced local leaders – enjoy guided city tours, stroll the ancient streets of Ephesus, learn the secrets of Troy, marvel at Baku’s diverse architecture, explore Tbilisi’s winding narrow streets, and uncover the history of ancient Yerevan., Enjoy Feature Stays in Cappadocia, with elegantly decorated rooms carved from stone, and at the foot of the Tsiv-Gombori mountains, with unforgettable views of the Alazani Valley., Uncover the real Turkey during Exclusive Experiences, including a cooking class with a celebrated chef, visit to an empowering carpet weaving cooperative, cruise around the southern coast, and traditional dinner at a local’s home in Cappadocia, Visit the Tserovani Refugee Settlement in Georgia during an Exclusive Experience, where you will visit a jewellery making workshop aimed at providing employment to displaced women within the camp, create a piece yourself and learn about the issues surrounding long-term displacement., Marvel at ancient wonders and otherworldly sights, from the Cotton Castle of Pamukkale and psychedelic rockscapes of Cappadocia to the open-air archaeological museum of Qobustan in Azerbaijan and the magnificent cave town of Vardzia in Georgia.

Is this trip right for me?

There are a couple of long drives on this trip, in particular on Days 6, 18, 20 and 26. These journeys are by private vehicle and although they may be a little tiring, they're a great chance to sit back and enjoy the passing scenery and chat to your fellow travellers.

Some activities in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, are weather and road condition dependent. For example, the trip to the high Caucasus around Kazbegi. Your leader will keep you up to date on any necessary itinerary changes due to local conditions.

Important information

1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. There are a limited number of single supplements available per trip departure. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 
3. Due to current border crossing restrictions for different Caucasus nationalities, your Trip Leader may be from nearby Ukraine or Russia. Your leader will have in-depth knowledge and extensive travel experience throughout the Caucasus. Local guides from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are represented throughout the itinerary to ensure you receive a diverse and uniquely local range of perspectives.
4. Due to current Covid regulations, all the Azerbaijani land borders are closed, so the border crossing from Baku to Tbilisi on Day 5 will be via flight. The itinerary may be slightly re-arranged to accommodate this, and an additional PCR test will be required.
5. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.
6. The Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Baku from April 27 - 30, 2023. During this period, streets may be closed and traffic may be heavy.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Help will be on hand in most locations, but there may be times you need to handle your own luggage, for example in airports and train stations.

A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, jacket, etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below is a link to our ultimate packing list, a guide to get you started:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Physical rating

3

Joining your group

Fer Hotel, Mollafenari, Türbedar Sk. No: 12, Istanbul, 34120, TURKEY

Joining instructions

An airport arrival transfer is included. Please advise your flight arrival details, including which airport in Istanbul, at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre trip accommodation booked through Intrepid.

There are two international airports servicing Istanbul. Istanbul Airport (IST) is 50kms/30miles northwest of central Istanbul, on the European side. Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is 50kms/30miles southeast of central Istanbul, on the Asian side. From either airport you can take a metered taxi to the joining point hotel. The taxi fare will cost approx. TRY150-200.

Arriving at Istanbul Airport (IST)
If you have advised your flight arrival details, you will be met at Istanbul Airport (IST) outside the Arrivals Hall, at Gate 13, by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. This is the only gate to exit the airport.

Arriving at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)
If you have advised your flight arrival details, you will be met at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) outside the airport, at Column 13, by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign.

Finishing your trip

Ani Plaza Hotel, 19 Sayat-Nova Ave, Yerevan, ARMENIA, Phone: +374 10589500

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 27

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 8

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

While we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please speak with your booking agent so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met.

Climate & seasonal information

Turkey is a large country split into seven regions. As a rule of thumb the Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have typical Mediterranean climates with hot summers and mild, wet winters. In the east it is more mountainous with warm summers and very cold, snowy winters. Central Turkey (Cappadocia), has low rainfall, very dry, hot summers and very cold winters. Istanbul and coastal centres can experience very high humidity.

Winter (November to March) can be very cold. Not all of our hotels have heating so consider bringing thermals, a scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period. Summer (June to August) can be very hot. Not all of our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do it's not always functioning. Please consider the seasons when planning your trip.

RAMADAN
The important month of Ramadan will be in progress 22 March - 20 April 2023 and 10 March to 08 April 2024, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.

WEATHER
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit the Caucasus. Summers (especially July and August) can be very hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius. This is a great time to escape to the coast or the mountains to cool off. Winters can be very cold, although the country rarely freezes over. Power supplies are frequently interrupted however so don’t rely on heating. This is a beautiful, fertile region so bring an umbrella and expect rain at any time of year!

HIGH ALTITUDE ROAD CLOSURES
There is a chance of potential changes to the itinerary due to heavy rain, flooding and snow at higher altitudes, which often affect roads and bridges, making travel difficult or impossible (particularly in remote areas).

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8024 4679 540

Intrepid's Local Operator: +905373843684

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation


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