Map of Best of Turkey including Turkey

Coastal cruising to city choosing – get to know a Turkish way of life.

Get your Turkish delights on a 15-day Istanbul round-trip adventure. It’s a mix of ancient ruins and modern cities, Islamic mysticism and Ottoman influence, inland discoveries and coastal cruising, and everything in between. Discover Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about its significance during the First World War, unlock the secrets of the ancient city of Ephesus, admire Oludeniz’s Blue Lagoon from high up on a mountain hike, and swim and snorkel in the Mediterranean on a traditional gulet cruise from Kas. From the winding laneways of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to the to the bizarre landscapes of Cappadocia, take the plunge and discover a new way of experiencing Turkey.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Destination
Turkey
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ERSI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the incredible ancient and modern history of Turkey as you explore thousands of years of history hidden within the remarkable ruins of Ephesus and discover Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events that took place in this area

  • Take in the dizzying diversity of this epic landscape with a visit to the stunning natural hot springs of Pamukkale, a cruise along the picture-perfect Turkish coast over Sunken Cities, and an optional hot-air balloon ride over the fairy-tale land of Cappadocia.

  • Get to know the friendly locals with fruit wine tasting in the serene village of Sirince and a home-cooked dinner at a local cave home in Cappadocia, plus get treated to a Turkish BBQ feast by your local hosts in Kayakoy

  • Pull on your walking shoes and set out on a half-day trek along a section of rugged coastline, following part of the ancient walking trail of the Lycian Way and explore the exotic landscape of Cappadocia on a short hike in the valley.

  • Travel and stay a little differently – and come home with memories to last a lifetime – from taking local buses and trains, to enjoying a traditional gulet (boat) trip, to staying in one of the cave hotels that Cappadocia is famed for.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes a memorable night on a boat cruising the southern coast of Turkey. Cabins and bathroom facilities are shared and not air-conditioned. Our travellers will grab the mattress, blankets and pillows and sleep on the deck under a bed of Mediterranean stars.

  • This trip uses a combination of public and private transport, and all vehicles are modern and have air-conditioning and most are fitted with seat belts. Some journeys can be long in order to maximise the areas visited, but this gives you a chance to interact with the local community and see more of the country. You'll also be pleasantly surprised to find most Turkish buses have wi-fi and serve coffee and cake! Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the bus, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find specifics under ‘Packing’ in the ‘Essential Trip Information’ section.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2022 itinerary
Welcome to Turkey! Your adventure kicks off in Istanbul – the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all called home. There’s a welcome meeting planned at 1 pm, where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. Afterwards, maybe get out and explore the frenetic streets of Turkey's crown-jewel metropolis. Your group leader will take you on a walking tour of the nearby neighbourhoods so you can get your bearings on what’s around. Later on, why not gather together your new pals and seek out some Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Free
  • Istanbul - Whirling Dervish show - TRY400
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (Excluding Harem) - TRY320
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY100
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY100
  • Istanbul - Turkish Hamam (incl. massage) - EUR70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Optional Activities listed are all entry only. Please note there is an Istanbul Museum Pass available for purchase at most Istanbul Museums. This card is valid for 5 days use and costs TL 185. This card is not available for entry at Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern and Galata Tower. For Monday departures we recommend you visit the magnificent Topkapi Palace today as it is closed on Tuesdays.
After breakfast this morning, hit the road enroute to Canakkale – a port city on the southern shore of the Dardanelles. You’ll stop along the way to explore Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events and history embedded in this area. Your guide will take you to ANZAC Cove and major memorial sites like Brighton Beach and ANZAC commemorative Site. You’ll also take in the views across the Dardanelles Strait and the Gallipoli Peninsula. This evening, we’ll spend the night in Canakkale with free time to grab dinner and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gallipoli - Fully guided Gallipoli tour & visit to the Commonwealth graveyards
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 6 hours.
This morning, we’ll drive to Selcuk with a stop in Troy – where history and mythology sit side-by-side – along the way. You’ll wander the ancient city walls with your group leader and even get a chance to enjoy a photo op with a replica Trojan Horse. You’ll learn more about how this place has confounded historians and archaeologists alike before continuing on to Selcuk which will be your base for exploring the nearby ruins of Ephesus tomorrow. In town, on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings – 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. A short distance out of Selcuk is one of the ancient world's Seven Wonders – the Temple of Artemis – although, sadly, only a single column (of 127 originally) remains. It was destroyed in AD401, after being successively damaged by floods, a Greek arsonist seeking notoriety, and the Goths. You’ll arrive in Selcuk with enough time to check in to the guesthouse and then take a leader-led orientation walk around town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Selcuk - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Troy - Archaeological site visit
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's travel time is approximately 7 hours.
This morning, take a private minivan to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus – one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history, which really comes alive with a local guide to enhance your experience. Considering their age, the ruins are in incredible shape, and it’s not difficult to imagine them in their full glory over 2000 years ago, equipped with running water, public toilets, a medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's perhaps the magnificent library that is the most striking. Later you will stop for lunch at a family-run restaurant, where you’ll feast on gozleme made fresh before your eyes. This afternoon, drive out to the nearby picturesque village of Sirince and taste some locally produced fruit wines. This authentic Greek Ottoman village seems to have been overlooked by modern development and the unique local architecture nestled in the hills make for a photographer's dream.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
  • Sirince - Village Visit and Fruit wine tasting
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Archaeological Museum - TRY50
  • Ephesus - Terrace Houses entry - TRY85
  • Selcuk - Meryemana (Mary's House) entrance fee - TRY120
  • Selcuk - Sultankoy Village Carpet Weaving - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
This afternoon there is an opportunity to visit Sultankoy. This small village is dedicated to carpet weaving, and here you can discover all about this traditional art form, from dying the wool to traditional weaving on wooden looms. Regardless if you are in the market for a new rug or not this is an opportunity to support local weavers, enjoy some Turkish hospitality, over a cup of tea of course, and discover the beauty of Turkish Rug Making.
A train ride inland through mountainous landscapes brings you to one of Turkey's most photographed sites – Pamukkale – which literally translates to ‘cotton castle’. Here, natural hot springs with a high calcium content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving the earth bright white; hence the ‘cotton’. Though you won't be able to bathe in these travertines, you can wade through them, and these pools are said to have many healing properties. Take some time to visit the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis and have a dip in what used to be Cleopatra’s old pool. You can also check out the other ruins of the city – Hierapolis is known for its abundance of temples and religious structures, vast necropolis, amphitheatre and strange tombs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis and Travertines National Park
Optional Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Museum - TRY110
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Cleopatra pool - TRY100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s train ride is approximately 3.5 hours plus a short bus ride.
Take a bus ride south – off the tourist trail – to the village of Kayakoy. This small town acts as your base for exploring the Mediterranean coast, including the resort town of Fethiye and the renowned Blue Lagoon. Kayakoy was once a thriving place and now it’s considered a ghost village, as its ancient stone houses were abandoned after their Greek inhabitants left Turkey during the great population exchange of the 1920s. Now protected by the Turkish government, it provides the opportunity to see an untouched, traditional Turkish town in quite an eerie location. One church in the lower area of the village, Kataponagia, is of particular interest due to an interesting room out the back – it was used to collect the bones of the dead. Pay to wander the ruins, enjoy the solitude, or simply chill out with a game of backgammon and sip tea with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kayakoy - Village visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 4.5 hours.
Today, set out on a half-day trek along a section of rugged coastline, following part of the ancient walking trail of the Lycian Way to nearby Oludeniz (approximately 6 kilometres), where you can swim in the Blue Lagoon. You’ll walk up a steep rocky path up the hillside, make your way through forest, and then up a hill with fantastic views out across the Mediterranean. At the final descent into Oludeniz, you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking view of an arching peninsula of white sand beach separating the crystal waters from its lush banks and the town’s trademark panorama. The myriad hues of colour between the waters and pine-forested hills is a sight to behold, and you’ll soon realise why this is one of the most photographed beaches in Turkey. This evening, join your hosts for a Turkish barbecue dinner, relaxing in their garden and enjoying some delicious local food and lively company.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lycian Way - Hike from Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach
  • Kayakoy - Home-cooked Turkish BBQ dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The trek to Oludeniz is rated moderate to difficult, and a good level of fitness is required. The terrain under foot is sometimes slippery and uneven and there are periods of ascent and descent. Good walking shoes are certainly required. If you do have a good level of fitness, this will be an enjoyable and rewarding walk. If you are unsure as to your capability to complete this walk, please discuss with your group leader before undertaking so that other transport arrangements can be made.

Fires over the last few years have caused several temporary closures of sections of the Lycian Way at very short notice. Should this occur a different activity will be arranged.
Make your way the short distance from Kayakoy to Fethiye by dolmus – a Turkish shared taxi. From there, take a public bus to Kas, with some spectacular coastal scenery along the way. The picturesque village of Kas – whitewashed buildings covered in bougainvillea and cobbled streets – is the southernmost of all the Turkish resorts. The best places in town to swim are from the waterfront restaurants that 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 is the chance to explore the handicraft markets, where you can find beautiful handmade wares with a distinctly Turkish flavour. In the evening,a short drive to Kekova and board your gulet (traditional Turkish boat) for tonight on the Turkish coast.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat or hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kas - Leader led orientation walk
  • Kas - Handicraft market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 3 hours.

The varying weather conditions means your cruising itinerary for today and tomorrow is subject to seasonal change. In the warmer months from May to September, you'll be transferred to your gulet in the evening and spend a magical night on the boat under the stars today and enjoy the cruising more tomorrow. For the rest of the year, you'll stay in a hotel in Kas for Day 8&9 while cruising the Turkish coast during the day on Day 9.

Our Turkish Coast Cruise is operated on a traditional Gulet. Whilst the boat does have cabins and en-suite bathrooms, we prefer to treat this adventure like camping at sea. Cabins are used for storing luggage, changing and bathroom facilities only. Sleeping is on deck. A mattress, sheet and blanket are provided and it is up to you to find the best spot on deck and enjoy an evening drifting off to sleep under a starry Mediterranean sky, pretty awesome stuff.
Today, wake up to the shimmering turquoise waters on your gutlet and enjoy a day of fun - swimming, snorkelling, sun bathing, and cruising over the ancient Sunken cities. Disembark in the late afternoon and transfer to the town of Kekova where you'll spend the night in a local guesthouse.
Accommodation
  • Guest House or hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kekova - Turkish Coast Cruising & Sunken Cities
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a short journey today as you continue your exploration of the Turkish Coast. Travel to the jewel in the Turkish Mediterranean – Antalya. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya thanks to cobblestone streets framed by the marina on one side and the Taurus Mountains on the other. Arriving in the afternoon, your leader will introduce you to the delights of the old city with an orientation walk. Visit such sites as the clock tower, Hadrian’s gate and the old Roman Harbour. Kaleici – the old city area that’s now a historical zone and protected from modern development – is home to relics of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman eras. There’s also an opportunity to swim, relax and enjoy stellar views overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean, or to check out the Antalya Museum – one of the best in the country. Tonight, be sure to try some delicious local cuisine with some of your travel crew.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Antalya - Antalya Museum - TRY90
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 3.5 hours.
This morning, take a bus away inland, towards Konya. While it’s a long day of travel, the scenery will keep you entertained as you cross the Toros Mountain range. The city is closely linked with the whirling dervish sect of Islam developed by Celaleddin Rumi – one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Mevlana – ‘our master’ – as he came to be known, believed that music and dance could induce a state of love and divine union, and so devised the whirling sema ritual. In town, you can visit the original Tekke of Mevlana, which holds many relics and is also the final resting place for Rumi. Also, get your bearings on an orientation walk to Aladdin Hill in Konya’s centre. On the side of the hill are the sheltered remains of the palace of the Seljuk Sultans of Rum, while beneath the Alaettin Mosque are artefacts dating back to the Stone Age. Tonight, perhaps enjoy a refreshing tea or try some central Anatolian cuisine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
Optional Activities
  • Konya - Karatay Museum - TRY20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 5.5 hours.
Leave Konya this morning by bus and head to The Cappadocian town of Urgup – with a vibrant, modern downtown area, plenty of boutique hotels built into the surrounding caves, it’s perfectly positioned to springboard us into our Cappadocia explorations tomorrow. The surrounding areas are honeycombed with caves scooped out to make churches and dwellings that are known as fairy chimneys and castles. In times of peace, the people in this region lived on the land, but in times of war or persecution they took to living underground. This is a fascinating place, get prepared see some incredible stuff! This evening, you’ll get to settle in and enjoy a special stay in a cave hotel – accommodation that is specific to this area. Don't forget to pack sturdy walking shoes or boots and a comfortable daypack for exploring the valleys of Cappadocia.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 4 hours.
This morning is an ideal time to discover Cappadocia’s unique landscapes from above – in a hot air balloon! Although this activity isn’t included in your trip, it is a highly recommended optional experience that most travellers opt for to see the wondrous desert scenes at sunrise. This afternoon, take a walk through one of the nearby valleys with your group leader. It could be the Valley of Love where the fairy chimneys, deserted rock cut homes, and churches with frescoes will astound you, or any of the other fantastic scenic routes that your leader knows. There’ll also be some time this afternoon to visit the Open Air in Goreme if you wish. It’s a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings, and one of the earliest centres for religious education. There are at least 10 churches and chapels in the museum area, dating between AD900 and 1200, each one named after a prominent attribute by the local villagers, who were exploring these caves long before there was an entrance fee. This evening you’ll be warmly welcomed into a local cave home. The family will prepare a special home-cooked dinner for your group. Sit down to a feast made with passion, enjoy a friendly chat with your affable host and perhaps top off the night with some Turkish delight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Dinner at Cappadocian Family House
  • Goreme - Valley walk
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Deluxe Flight - EUR300
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight - EUR240
  • Cappadocia - Goreme - Open Air Museum - TRY150
  • Goreme - Underground city - TRY60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Pre-booking is required for hot air balloon in Cappadocia. Please speak to your group leader earlier on in your trip to secure a spot for this popular activity.
Due to local regulations, sunrise hot air balloon excursion times do vary which may result in your excursion beginning just after sunrise. This is subject to the tour provider’s discretion and is not within our control.
You can enjoy a relaxed morning today as we wave the fairy chimneys a fond goodbye around midday and transfer to one of the region’s airports for a flight back to Istanbul. We’ll arrive in the late afternoon with time to enjoy one last group dinner together if you wish. Your leader will be able to recommend the best places to visit this evening and toast to newfound friends and your epic Turkish adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, your epic Turkish adventure comes to an end after breakfast. However, if you wish to spend a few more days checking out the sights of Istanbul, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Private Bus, Public bus, Train, Dolmus, Gulet (boat), Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Guest house (3 nights), Overnight Boat (1 night)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Orientation Walk
  • Gallipoli - Fully guided Gallipoli tour & visit to the Commonwealth graveyards
  • Selcuk - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Troy - Archaeological site visit
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
  • Sirince - Village Visit and Fruit wine tasting
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis and Travertines National Park
  • Kayakoy - Village visit
  • Lycian Way - Hike from Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach
  • Kayakoy - Home-cooked Turkish BBQ dinner
  • Kas - Leader led orientation walk
  • Kas - Handicraft market
  • Kekova - Turkish Coast Cruising & Sunken Cities
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme - Dinner at Cappadocian Family House
  • Goreme - Valley walk

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Best of Turkey trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude days 8 (Overnight Boat) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This trip starts in Istanbul on Day 1 at 1.00 pm. This allows time after the joining meeting to explore Istanbul with your Leader.
3. There is an internal flight on this trip and most internal flights in Turkey have a luggage restriction of 15kg checked and 8kg cabin.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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 Essential Trip Information

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