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Turkey Encompassed


Experience the stunning sights and tantalising tastes of Turkey on this two-week adventure that takes in all the highlights and then some. Become acquainted with illustrious Istanbul, behold landscapes like no other around Cappadocia and sail the all-too-pretty islands off Kekova. Marvel at the ancient ruins of Ephesus, settle in for a spectacular soaking in Pamukkale’s thermal hot springs and reflect on the tragedies and gallantries that took place along Gallipoli’s windswept peninsula. Brimming with history, bustling with progress and bursting with flavour, Turkey intrigues and delights at every turn of this perfectly paced small group adventure.

15 days, from

$2,704

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ERKT
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Turkey
Accommodation: Hotel (14 nights)
Transportation: Private Bus , Boat
Included Meals:

  • 14 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Spend three nights staying in the incredible region of Cappadocia, explore the caves, chimneys, and honeycombed terrain of this fascinating place.

  • Discover the iconic sites of Gallipoli, Ephesus, and Pamukkale with your locally-based leader by your side to teach you all about the history and culture intertwined here.

  • Be welcomed into a local cave home and treated to a special home-cooked lunch prepared by your host. Tuck into delicious food and friendly conversations and top off your meal with a bite of traditional Turkish delight.

  • Rub shoulders with friendly locals during a relaxing boat cruise through a series of picturesque islands and enjoy another homemade Turkish lunch with your hosts on board.

  • Marvel at Istanbul's most revered sites during a guided walk where you'll discover the 17th century Blue Mosque, and head to the ancient Hippodrome to see intriguing monuments like the Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Istanbul

Hosgeldiniz! Welcome to Turkey. Your adventure kicks off in Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all called home. Meet your leader and fellow travellers at a 6pm welcome meeting and afterward, maybe head out together to seek out some tasty Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe.

Day 2: Beypazari

Kickstart the day with a leisurely guided walk and discover some of Istanbul’s most revered sites. Visit the 17th-century Blue Mosque and learn more about its one-of-a-kind architecture, with its six minarets and 20,000 dazzling handmade Iznik tiles. Next, head to the ancient Hippodrome, with and marvel at the intriguing monuments, like the Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Later this morning, travel by private vehicle to the beautiful rural town of Beypazari. The town's historic houses and welcoming community reflects the essence of Turkish culture. On arrival, enjoy free time to explore the streets of this quaint town.

Day 3: Goreme

Spend your morning visiting the Living Museum of Beypazari, which offers re-enactments and interactive experiences that will serve you a deeper understanding of traditional Turkish folk culture. Afterward, drive onwards to Goreme in Cappadocia. Goreme lies in a beautifully diverse landscape of cones, needles and columns, fashioned by nature from the soft volcanic tuff rock. Its unique, honeycombed terrain consists of a network of caves, scooped out to make churches and dwellings, known as fairy chimneys and castles. In times of peace, the people in this region lived on the land, but in times of war, they took to living underground. With no activities planned for the rest of the day, you’re free to explore this intriguing town at your own pace.

Day 4: Goreme

This morning you have the option to take a hot air balloon flight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch on as the sun illuminates the skyline dotted with balloons. Even if you'd prefer not to take a flight, it's still worth waking up for this truly incredible sight. Later in the morning, head out to the Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex and Christian sanctuary of carved houses, churches and monasteries. The museum was one of the earliest centres for religious education and there are at least ten churches and chapels in the complex, dating between AD900 and 1200. Enter the cave chapels and witness the exquisite colour of the biblical frescoes found within. The Dark Church has a particularly stunning interior, which you may choose to visit at an additional cost. The afternoon is free for you to spend as you wish - perhaps consider a sunset hike, ask your leader for the best places.

Day 5: Goreme

After breakfast this morning, take a walk through the surrounding valleys and discover the fascinating rock formations and fairy chimneys, as well as manmade cave chapels from early Christian times. Be warmly welcomed into the cave home of Nuray, a local woman who will prepare a special home-cooked lunch for your group. Sit down to a feast made with passion, enjoy a friendly chat with your affable host and perhaps top off the meal with some local Turkish delight. Continue your explorations at the red river of Cappadocia – famous for its clay which is still used to make magnificent pieces of art. Meet a local potter and learn about this ancient craft and perhaps take the opportunity to purchase a hand-crafted souvenir. Continue your journey into the valleys of Cappadocia, stopping at Devrent Valley and Pasabag Valley. After a day of exploration, enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 6: Konya

Spend your last morning in Cappadocia exploring the Underground City of Derinkuyu – an ancient metropolis made up of subterranean labyrinths and dwellings, some of them extending as deep as seven levels underground. This afternoon, travel to the city of Konya, where the mystic Sufi practice of 'whirling' originates. On arrival, enjoy an orientation walk of the town followed by a guided tour of the Mevlana Museum, where you’ll get a fascinating insight into the history of Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes.

Day 7: Antalya

This morning, drive across the magnificent Taurus Mountains to reach one of Turkey's true coastal gems, Antalya. Your leader will introduce you to the delights of the Old City with an orientation walk along its cobblestoned streets. Visit the clock tower, Hadrian’s Gate and the old Roman Harbour before venturing into the historical zone of Kaleici – an area within Antalya’s historic centre that’s protected from modern development. This area is home to relics of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman occupations. Afterwards, feel free to swim, relax and enjoy stellar views of the crystal blue Mediterranean.

Day 8: Kas

Today you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the Antalya Museum, home to an excellent collection of Turkey’s archaeological treasures. The beautifully preserved statues in the Hall of Gods, Heracles now among them, are not to be missed. Continue to the seaside village of Kas – its whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvillea, as well as an ancient Greek theatre, make this a great place to explore on foot. If you feel like cooling off with a refreshing dip, why not head to one of the waterfront restaurants which often have their own private water access? For the price of an occasional drink, you get your own deck chair, umbrella and unbeatable views. When the sun goes down there’s the chance to explore the handicraft markets, where you can find beautiful handmade wares with a distinctly Turkish twist. For dinner this evening, make sure you sample the delicious, freshly-caught seafood.

Day 9: Kas

Today you’ll drive to Kekova where you’ll board a local boat and take a relaxing cruise through a series of peaceful and picturesque islands, each with distinctive rock formations – keep your eyes peeled for the ancient houses submerged in the clear water. For lunch, enjoy a homemade Turkish meal onboard before arriving in the settlement of Ucagiz, a township of stone houses draped in colourful flowers. Explore this quaint township before continuing to cruise to beautiful protected inlets – perfect for a refreshing dip just off the boat. Return to Kas for the evening.

Day 10: Pamukkale

Today you'll drive to Pamukkale, best known for its mineral-rich thermal waters that flow spectacularly down a terraced hillside. Take a restorative dip in these thermal hot springs and explore the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis. The city was an important Roman bath centre founded by the King of Pergamon in 190 BC. Your leader will bring history to life and guide you through an ancient temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica, necropolis and an impressive theatre. Tonight, you can enjoy a free evening in Pamukkale.

Day 11: Selcuk

It’s an early start this morning as you make your way to Selcuk, your base for visiting Ephesus. Selcuk itself is culturally rich and retains many Turkish traditions. On the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings – you’ll see the Isa Bey Mosque and the imposing Byzantine citadel of the Grand Fortress. Just below the fortress are the ruins of the Basilica of St John, built over the supposed burial site of the saint. On your way to Selcuk, drive past apple and peach orchards to the quaint village of Sirince, where charming red-roofed houses clamber up the hillside. Drop by a local wine house where you’ll enjoy a tasting of the locally produced fruit wines. Try a sip of kiwi, pear, peach, quince or all of the above! Arrive in Selcuk and take a leader-led orientation walk of the town before an evening at leisure.

Day 12: Selcuk

Today you'll visit Ephesus, one of Turkey's most important ancient sites. Explore this beautifully preserved classical city with your leader, who will bring its colourful 1500-year history to life. Watch in awe as the sophistication of this former metropolis reveals itself: it had running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, and Roman baths. The theatre is well-preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but the marvellous library might just be the highlight. Later you will stop for lunch at a family-run restaurant, where you’ll feast on gozleme – the famous and very popular Turkish pancake – made fresh before your eyes. This afternoon there is an opportunity to visit Sultankoy. This small village is dedicated to carpet weaving, and here you can discover all there is to know about this traditional art form, from dyeing the wool to traditional weaving on wooden looms.

Day 13: Canakkale

This morning, travel to the waterside town of Canakkale. On arrival, join your leader for an orientation walk of this exciting university city perched on the Dardanelles. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. You might like to see the Trojan horse used in the film Troy in 2004, which was later gifted to the city. Canakkale has a great range of dining options – ask your leader for some recommendations. Afterwards, why not take a stroll along the waterfront and sample some dondurma, a type of Turkish ice-cream.

Day 14: Istanbul / Gallipoli

Today you’ll cross the Dardanelles and head to the Gallipoli Peninsula, a place of enormous significance to Australians and New Zealanders. Turkey's most westerly point may feel serene; however, this coastal point was once a major backdrop of the Great War. Visit the beach and cemeteries of Anzac Cove, then head up the hill to pay homage at the Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair memorials. From the Ataturk Memorial you can look down on the blue waters of the Dardanelles and see them in a more sombre light, you'll also find the remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers around this area. After touring the former battlefields, head back to Istanbul where your journey began, arriving late afternoon or early evening. Perhaps join your fellow travellers for a group dinner to celebrate your journey.

Day 15: Istanbul

Your Intrepid trip comes to an end this morning. If you wish to spend some more time in Istanbul, we would be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).