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Turkey Real Food Adventure


Get up close and personal with Turkey's age-old culinary traditions on this authentic food adventure. From ancient recipes with modern twists to Asian-inspired feasts with European influences, take a tongue-tingling journey beyond the cookbook and discover the secrets behind delicious Turkish dishes. Enjoy a cooking class in the caves of Cappadocia, learn from a celebrated local chef in Selcuk, and explore the impressive ruins of Ephesus. Whether you’re wandering through the passageways of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar or flying high in a balloon above the fairy chimneys of Goreme, embark on an experience that goes above and beyond what you think you know about Turkish cuisine.

11 days, from

$2,665

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ERZT
Style: Original
Theme: Food

Details

Countries Visited:  Turkey
Accommodation: Hotel (9 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Transportation: Plane , Private Vehicle , Overnight Train
Included Meals:

  • 10 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 4 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Discover the secrets behind Turkish dishes during a cooking class with a celebrated local chef in Selcuk, and learn how to make central Anatolian dishes with a local chef in her cave home.

  • Meet the people behind the dishes, from the market vendors serving up sizzling street food in Izmir and Istanbul, to the owners of a local olive farm in a rural village.

  • Explore bustling Istanbul, walk among the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, hear the wartime stories of Gallipoli and wander through the ancient ruins of Ephesus.

  • Taste the country’s most cherished dishes, from iconic kebabs and world-famous Turkish delight to local favourites like baklava, pide, gozleme and fish sandwiches.

  • Get to know the artisans behind local crafts when you visit a social enterprise that trains local women in carpet weaving, and visit a family-run pottery studio that’s been in business for six generations.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, CYDD (Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği). Donations help them provide scholarships and educational programs for economically disadvantaged youth in Turkey.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Istanbul

Hosgeldiniz! Welcome to Turkey. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so when you explore the streets, you'll see a great clash of east and west that’s represented not only in its architecture, but in its delicious cuisine. Your adventure kicks off at 6pm today with an important welcome meeting, however if you arrive early, feel free to go out and explore what this captivating city has to offer. Following the meeting, head out for your first taste of Turkey with a classic – a kebab. While you might be familiar with the shaved meats and pita bread sensation, nothing beats the kind they wrap up in Istanbul. The eggplant kebab is also a winner if you fancy something vegetarian tonight.

Day 2: Istanbul

Start the day by heading to the celebrated Egyptian Spice Bazaar on a guided walking tour. Meet a spice merchant, sit down for a Turkish coffee and savour a typical Turkish sweet. Continue your tour around Sultanahmet and Eminonu, taking in some of the most celebrated sites of the city, such as Hagia Sophia Mosque and the Hippodrome. The area around Eminonu boasts some delicious street food, and local favourites include barbecued corn, roasted kestane (chestnuts), and of course lokum, which you may know better as Turkish Delight. In the afternoon, jump on a ferry and in just 20 minutes you’ll arrive on the Asian side of the city in the vibrant neighbourhood of Kadikoy. Hit the sarkuteri (delicatessen) to sample some olives, pastirma (seasoned cured beef) and a variety of delicious pickles. Your evening is free to spend as you wish.

Day 3: Canakkale

This morning, travel to the waterside town of Canakkale, visiting the Gallipoli battlefields en route, a place of enormous significance to Australians and New Zealanders. Turkey's most westerly point may feel serene, but this coastal point was once a major backdrop of World War I. After touring the former battlefields, continue to Canakkale and join your leader for an orientation walk of this exciting university city perched on the Dardanelles. During the walk you'll stop to sample locally made cheeses and jams. Canakkale has a great range of dining options – ask your leader for some recommendations. You may like to round out your day with a stroll along the waterfront with a dondurma, a type of Turkish ice-cream.

Day 4: Selcuk

This morning, we’ll begin our journey to Selcuk. Our first stop is Adatepe Village to see the Altar of Zeus. The altar was dedicated by King Eumenes II to Zeus and Athena Nikephoros, and its construction probably took place between 181 and 159 B.C. Travel onwards to an authentic Turkish village famed for its olive oil products. Hear the story of the regional olives, sample some of the products and wander this beautiful town. For lunch we visit a restaurant that is owned by a local woman who left the corporate world behind to become an award-winning olive & olive oil producer and restaurant owner. After lunch, we’ll drive approx. 3 hrs to Selcuk where the evening is free to spend as you wish.

Day 5: Selcuk

Today is a full day. This morning you will 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. From ancient ruins to ancient traditions, next up you’ll be treated to a carpet weaving demonstration and learn about the art of traditional carpet weaving from local social enterprise; Sultanköy. Turkish carpet weaving dates back to the early Neolithic age. Sultanköy provides local women with employment while protecting and developing the ancient tradition. Later, 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 the above! Next, you’re in for an extraordinary treat - meet a local chef (who has appeared on the BBC!) for a Turkish cooking class, using olive oil produced on site as well as herbs and vegetables picked fresh from the garden. If you’re just eating Turkish food in restaurants, you’re only getting half the story. Learn how to make a range of small mezze dishes using seasonal ingredients. Enjoy the fruits of your labour as this evening’s dinner will be the mouth-watering mezze plates you’ve made together.

Day 6: Overnight train to Goreme

After breakfast, join your leader for an orientation walk around Selcuk. You’ll see the Isa Bey Mosque, a beautiful example of 14th-century Seljuk Turkish architecture, and the imposing Byzantine citadel of the Grand Fortress. Just below the fortress are the ruins of the Basilica of St John, built by Justinian I in the sixth century. Late morning, drive to Izmir (1hr) where your leader will show you around the city, visiting the clock tower, Hisar Mosque and Kemeraltı Bazaar. While in the bazaar you will have the opportunity to try some local treats such as kumru (a favourite local sandwich), boyoz (an Izmir tahini pastry specialty) and gevrek (a chewy bread dipped in honey, water, and sesame seeds). You'll have free time to explore and eat your way around Izmir, before meeting the group and heading to the train station. Your train will depart Izmir in the evening, transporting you through the night to the central Anatolian city of Konya.

Day 7: Goreme

Arrive in Konya by early morning, then take a private transfer to Goreme. This is your gateway to the fabled fairy-chimneys of Capadoccia. Perhaps stop for a mid-morning snack of etli ekmek, a larger local variation of the traditional Turkish lahmacun: flat bread baked with ground meat, tomato, peppers and onion. Stop in at Derinkuyu, the astounding old subterranean city that goes as deep as 60 metres underground. It used to have wine and oil presses, cellars, refectories, stables and chapels, not to mention some 20,000 residents. For lunch perhaps hit a local pide restaurant for Turkey's answer to the Italian pizza, enjoy toppings like grilled lamb, black pepper, tender spinach, fresh egg and Turkey’s famed peynir cheese made from sheep’s milk. 

Day 8: Goreme

This morning you have the option to take a hot air balloon flight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience during which the sun illuminates a 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 this morning, wander through the Soganli Valley on a morning walk (approximately 1 hour), taking in the arid surrounds and towering vistas. Next up is a stop in Mustafapasa, a village with strong Greek Orthodox roots. Take a break at a coffeehouse to see the beans being roasted and sample the fresh results. Onwards to lunch to try a local specialty - testi kebab. Also known as pottery kebab, meat and vegetables are cooked in a clay pot for several hours, before being cracked open in front of you. This afternoon, visit one of Cappadoccia’s most famous wineries to learn about the region's 4000-year-old wine industry. Afterwards, walk through the stunning Red Valley (approximately 1.5 hours) as the sun sets, enjoying a glass of the local wine.

Day 9: Goreme

This morning you will visit a family-run pottery studio that has been in the business for six generations. Speak with a local artist who will explain the history and techniques of traditional Turkish ceramics. Discover the rich local clay and watch how it is molded into exquisite pieces. Enjoy free time before an evening cooking class. You'll be warmly welcomed into the cave home of Nuray, a brilliant home cook. Under her tutelage, learn to prepare classic central Anatolian dishes. The exact menu will vary to showcase the best of local seasonal produce. Enjoy your flavoursome creations over dinner.

Day 10: Istanbul

This morning, wave the fairy chimneys a fond goodbye and transfer to one of the region's airports for a flight back to Istanbul. After checking into your hotel, enjoy free time before joining your group for a classic Istanbul meal - balik ekmek, the casual but delicious fish sandwich, bought and eaten alongside the Bosphorus.

Day 11: 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).