Depart on an adventure through the magical landscapes of Turkey

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.

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Countries
Turkey
Themes
Explorer
Code
ERKT
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
623kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Feast your eyes on Turkey's most spectacular and surreal sights, from the 'Cotton Castle' of Pamukkale to the psychedelic rockscapes of Cappadocia
  • Enjoy a local lunch while sailing the Kekova islands. Spot underwater cities from above, then spend the afternoon snorkelling
  • Your exploration of Derinkuyu is a walking tour with a twist. This astounding ancient city extends some 60 metres underground
  • Forget about Greece or Italy – bliss out on the beaches of Fethiye. Here are some of the bluest waters you will find
  • Pay your respects to the fallen at Gallipoli, a moving and educational experience regardless of your age or background

Itinerary

Merhaba! Welcome to Turkey. If arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport (IST) you will be met and transferred to your hotel. If arriving at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) airport please make your own way to the hotel (unless you have booked a transfer). There is an important welcome meeting in the evening – check the noticeboard for the exact time. Use any free time today getting acquainted with this eclectic city.
Kick off your adventure with a guided city tour. You'll 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. A visit to the ancient Hippodrome, with its intriguing monuments the Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II, is also included. At around 11.00am we depart by private minivan to Beypazari; located 100km from Ankara Beypazari is a small city with a village feel that reflects the beauty of the Turkish Culture with its historical houses out of Seljuks and Ottoman times (5.5 hours driving time today). We spend the night of day 2 in Beypazari.
Spend your morning visiting the Living Museum of Beypazari . The initiative of Sema Demir a language teacher and an academic on folk culture, this unique Museum offers an interactive experience through re-enactments to its visitors. It has preserved both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Turkey. A pioneer in the country, the museum exhibits traditional life in a setting of authentic Turkish houses built in the style of a century ago. Mid-morning we depart for Cappadocia on a minibus (the journey takes around 4 hours). You'll pass through Tuz Gölü, one of the richest salt lakes in the world and the source of over half of Turkey's total salt production. Stop to visit the 13th-century Agzikarahan Caravanserai, one of many centuries-old stone shelters built along the ancient trade routes to protect nomadic merchants. End the day at your hotel in Goreme. Note: remember to pack sturdy walking shoes or boots and a comfortable day pack today.
If you're ready for an early start this morning, there is the option of a hot-air balloon ride over the strange and stunning landscapes of Cappadocia. Those preferring a more leisurely start to the day can relax into breakfast and then depart for the underground city of Derinkuyu, just a short trip away. Explore these ancient subterranean labyrinths and dwellings, some of them extending as deep as seven levels underground. In the afternoon, discover the handicrafts of the area and visit a carpet workshop for an insight into one of Turkey's most revered traditions. In the evening you have the option of a traditional Turkish bath.


Please note this activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
Today you'll explore the Göreme Open Air Museum, a Christian sancturary of carved houses, churches and monasteries. Explore the many examples of Byzantine art from the post-iconoclastic period. Enter the cave chapels and witness the exquisite colour of the biblical frescoes found within. Then say goodbye to Cappadocia and travel by public bus to Konya, our stop for the night. On arrival you'll take an orientation walk of the town, plus a guided tour of the Mevlana Museum for a fascinating insight into the history of Rumi and the Whirling Dirvishes. Note: as Konya is quite a religious area, it is best to dress to dress conservatively here to show your respect.
This morning after breakfast you'll drive to one of Turkey's true coastal gems, Antalya (approximately 5 hours). Acquaint yourself with Kaleici, the charming old city where your accommodation is located. Your leader will take you to sites such as the Clock Tower, Hadrian's Gate, and the old Roman Harbour where glorious views of the blue Mediterranean are to be found.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Antalya Museum today. Its excellent collection is spread across 13 exhibition halls and an open-air gallery. The beautifully preserved statues in the Hall of Gods, Heracles now among them, are not to be missed. After lunch we continue to the lovely seaside village of Kas, which is pronounced 'karsh' (approximately 4 hours). Its whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvilleas, as well as an ancient Greek theatre, makes this place great for walking around and exploring. Make sure you sample the delicious local cuisine in the fishing village.
Drive to Kekova this morning and board a local boat for a relaxing cruise through a series of peaceful and picturesque islands, all with distinctive rock formations. Keep your eyes peeled for a strange sight: ancient houses submerged in the clear water. You will enjoy a homemade Turkish meal onboard, cooked by our host family. Arrive at the settlement of Ucagiz and the quaint village of Simena, a township of stone houses drenched in colourful flowers. Also sail from large bays to beautiful protected inlets, where there is the chance to take a refreshing dip just off our boat. Return to Kas for the evening.
Head to Kayakoy in the morning. Walk around and take in its strange atmosphere, which owes to an interesting history. Once a ghost village, after Ottoman Greeks left during the population exchange of the 1920s, the town is now protected by the government and exemplifies a quiet and traditional Turkish lifestyle. Check out Kataponagia, a church in the lower area of the village with a back room once used to collect the bones of the dead. Then continue to Fethiye, where you'll have plenty of time to soak up the picture-perfect views by the harbour and perhaps enjoy dinner by the waterfront.
Head to Pamukkale after breakfast. Spend time exploring the strange natural phenomena of this incredible 'cotton castle', with its cascading travertines, lush thermal pools and cream-coloured stalectites. While you can't take a dip in these pools, you can enter the springs of Hierapolis just nearby. There you'll find the ruins of an intriguing Roman city with a theatre, temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica and necropolis. After exploring these extensive ruins you'll return to Pamukkale for the night.
Make an early start for your drive to Selçuk (approximately 4 hours), your base for visiting Ephesus. Though much smaller than Hierapolis, this is one of the best-preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and a beautiful piece of Roman architecture. But first you'll become acquainted with Selçuk on an orientation walk with your leader. This sprawling town is located at the base of the ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill.
Get up early this morning to visit Ephesus, possibly the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world. This may well be the highlight of your trip! Enjoy an in-depth exploration of the 11th-century BC city and religious centre, including the vast amphitheatre, gymnasium, baths, the stunning Library of Celsus and the marble streets once walked by Cleopatra and Mark Antony. You'll learn more about its history along the way, from its founding by Ionian Greeks in the 11th century to its later Roman guise as the Temple of Diana and its status as one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Today is a long day of travel by public bus to Çanakkale. Arrive in the afternoon and take an orientation 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. Or perhaps take a stroll along the waterfront and sample some dondurma – Turkish ice-cream.
Cross the Dardanelles and return to 'Europe' today to visit the Gallipoli Peninsula, a place of enormous significance to Australians and New Zealanders. Turkey's most westerly point may feel serene despite its dark history as a major backdrop of the Great War. You'll 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 Dardenelles and see them in a more sombre light. You'll 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. The night is yours to spend as you please.
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast in Istanbul.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
14 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Transport
Private Bus, Boat, Public bus
Accommodation
Hotel (14 nights)
Included activities
  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul - City Tour
  • Goreme - Carpet shop visit & demonstration
  • Valley Walk in Capadoccia
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
  • Orientation walk Antalya
  • Kaleici
  • Antalya Museum
  • Kayakoy Ghost Village
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
  • Leader-led orientation walk
  • Local Lunch taste of Gozleme
  • Ephesus Archaeological Site
  • Gallipoli Visit

Dates

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Important notes

An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

A single supplement is available on this trip.


PLEASE NOTE: This Itinerary has been permanently changed, and will no longer visit Ankara.
Please trip notes for more details

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Turkey Encompassed trips score an average of 4.79 out of 5 based on 135 reviews in the last year.

Turkey Encompassed , March 2016

Turkey Encompassed , March 2016

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