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
Destination
Turkey
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
ERKT
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • 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 in Antalya. 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

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip covers a lot in two weeks, so there are some long travel days (especially Day 6 and Day 13). All travel is in comfortable air-conditioned private buses; stops are frequent and the scenery is superb. We believe this is the best way to really see a country like Turkey and experience the diverse landscapes.

  • You will need sturdy walking shoes, a hat, some sunscreen and a day pack to explore some of the historical sites. All site tours are guided but you can wander at your own pace if your prefer.

  • Anzac Cove can get quite cool in the months of April and October. Bring a wind-proof jacket if you can.

  • The weather can be warmer in July and August, but this is the best time to enjoy the clear waters of the Mediterranean, and our activities will be timed to miss the heat of the day.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Welcome to Turkey. This adventures kicks off in Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have called home.  . You have the whole day free to explore the capital until a Welcome Meeting at 6pm – make sure you have all your important documents and details for your leader. Double check with the hotel reception or the noticeboard for meeting confirmations. Until then, maybe get out and explore the frenetic streets of Turkey's crown-jewel metropolis. After the meeting, maybe gather together your new friends and seek out some Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early, so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please contact the hotel reception. For Monday departures we recommend you visit the magnificent opulence of Topkapi Palace on Day 1 as it is closed on Tuesday.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY25
  • Istanbul - Galata Tower - TRY25
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY30
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY35
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - TRY60
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace - TRY65
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (Entry) (Excluding Harem) - TRY60
  • Istanbul - Urban Adventures - Istanbul Conquered - EUR95
  • Istanbul - Great Palace Mosaic Museum - TRY20
  • Istanbul - Chora Church - TRY45
  • Istanbul - Dolmabahce Palace (Excluding Harem) - TRY60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer may be included on this departure, please check with your booking agent, and refer to joining instructions in our essential trip information (that's this document)

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 185 TL. This card is not available for entry at Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern and Galata Tower.
Kick off your adventure with a leisurely walk this morning to discover some of the hidden charms of Istanbul. 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 11am you'll take a private minivan to the beautiful rural town of Beypazari. Around 100 kilometres 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. You'll spend the night here in Beypazari.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 5.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend your morning visiting the Living Museum of Beypazari. The initiative of Sema Demir, a language teacher and academic on folk culture, this unique Museum has re-enactments that offer an interactive experience through the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Turkey. A pioneer in the country, the museum shows traditional life in the setting of authentic Turkish houses, built in the style of a century ago. Mid-morning, you'll depart for Cappadocia on a minibus (approximately 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. The town of Goreme lies in a fantastic region of cones, needles and columns, fashioned by nature from the soft volcanic tuff rock. It's 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. End the day at your hotel in Goreme.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 4 hours.

Remember to pack sturdy walking shoes or boots and a comfortable day pack today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Beypazari - Yasayan Muze (Living Museum of Beypazari)
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Whirling Dervishes - Sema Performance - EUR25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. 

Today you'll explore the Göreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex and Christian sancturary of carved houses, churches and monasteries. 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, with each one named after a prominent attribute by the local villagers. 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. Later in the morning take a guided tour of the UNESCO listed Goreme Open Air Museum.   

Enjoy a free afternoon;  perhaps consider a sunset hike, ask your leader for the best places.
 

Notes: The balloon trip can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breafast this morning head out for a valley walk. it could be red, rose or love, each Leader has their favourite, which ever one it is you are sure to see fascinating rock formations such as cones, peaks and fairy chimneys, as well as manmade cave chapels from early Christian times.

Later in the afternoon visit the red river of Cappadocia famous for its clay which is still used to make magnificent pieces of Art, learn about this ancient craft today when we visit a local potter. Venture further and discover fascinating sites in the valleys of Cappadocia, stop at Pasabag (Monks Valley) and Devrent valley (imaginary valley) both with unique fairy chimneys.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Pottery Demonstration
  • Cappadocia - Devrent Valley
  • Cappadocia - Highlights
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning after breakfast say goodbye to Cappadocia but before we leave we have one last stop at the Underground City of Derinkuyu Explore these ancient subterranean labyrinths and dwellings, some of them extending as deep as seven levels underground, with narrow passages connecting the floors like hamster tunnels.

Later in the afternoon arrive to Konya, an ancient city important in Roman times, and where the mystic Sufi practice of 'whirling' originates. 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 Dervishes.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 4 hours.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning after breakfast you'll drive across the magnificant Toros Mountains to one of Turkey's true coastal gems, Antalya, the jewel in the Turkish Mediterranean. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya thanks to cobblestone streets, the old city, the marina, and the Taurus Mountains in the distance. 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 occupation. Swim, relax and enjoy stellar views overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 5.5 hours.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Antalya - Orientation Walk
  • Antalya - Kaleici visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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, continue to the lovely seaside village of Kas, which is pronounced 'karsh'  Its whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvilleas, as well as an ancient Greek theatre, makes this place great for walking around and exploring. 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. Make sure you sample the delicious local cuisine in the fishing village.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 4 hours
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Antalya - Antalya Museum
  • Kas - Leader led orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 the boat. Return to Kas for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Head to Pamukkale after breakfast and visit one of Turkey's most photographed sights.

Today we have a very special lunch stop at a local home not only will we enjoy home cooked food, we will learn how local women are changing the face of tourism in Turkey and discovering how they can use their skills;  like preparing fantastic food to support their families.

Arrive in Pamkukale after lunch ready to explore.  Pamukkale, which literally translates to “cotton castle”, is home to spectacular natural hot springs of high calcium bicarbonate content, which cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving bright white deposit terraces (the ‘cotton’). It's been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC. Though you won't be able to bathe in these travertines, you can take a walk through them (after removing your shoes), and these pools are said to fix up any circulation and digestion problems. Take some time to visit the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis and take a dip in what used to be Cleopatras’s old pool – the transparent water-filled pool, sculpted as a gift from Marc to Cleo, is stunning. You can also check out the other ruins of the city – Hierapolis is known for its abundance of temples and religious structures, vast necropolis and strange tombs, and the amphitheatre shouldn’t be missed. After exploring these extensive ruins, you'll return to Pamukkale for the night.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 5.5 hours



Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
Optional Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Cleopatra pool - TRY50
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Museum - TRY7
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Make an early start for your drive to Selçuk your base for visiting Ephesus. Selcuk itself is culturally rich and retains many Turkish traditions, and its relatively undisturbed nature means this is an opportunity to experience the ‘real’ Turkey. 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. Also just 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. The Temple of Artemis was unfortunately destroyed in AD 401, 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 of the town.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 4 hours
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seluck - Orientation Walk
  • Sirince - Wine Tasting
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Isa Bey Camii - Free
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, visit the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus; one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world and Turkey's premier tourist site. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history, which really comes alive with a local guide to enhance the experience. Considering their age, the ruins are in incredible shape, and it’s not difficult to image them in their full glory 2,000 years ago. You will be awed by the sophistication of this ancient city, which had running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's perhaps the magnificent library that takes most people's breath away. Also not to be missed are the tomb of the Seven Sleepers, Marble Street, and the Church of the Virgin Mary. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - archaeological site
  • Selcuk- Local Lunch taste of Gozleme
Optional Activities
  • Ephesus - Terrace Houses Entry - TRY30
  • Selcuk - Meryemana (Mary's House) entrance fee - TRY25
  • Selcuk - Archaeological Museum - TRY15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel  to the waterside town of 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. The city has a great range of dining and nightlife option, or perhaps you'd like to simply take a stroll along the waterfront and
sample some dondurma – Turkish ice-cream.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 5.5 hours
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately - 5 hours 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gallipoli - guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast in Istanbul.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 3 lunches

Transport

Private Bus, Boat

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul - City Tour
  • Beypazari - Yasayan Muze (Living Museum of Beypazari)
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
  • Cappadocia - Pottery Demonstration
  • Cappadocia - Devrent Valley
  • Cappadocia - Highlights
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
  • Antalya - Orientation Walk
  • Antalya - Kaleici visit
  • Antalya - Antalya Museum
  • Kas - Leader led orientation walk
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
  • Seluck - Orientation Walk
  • Sirince - Wine Tasting
  • Ephesus - archaeological site
  • Selcuk- Local Lunch taste of Gozleme
  • Gallipoli - guided tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. Please note: single supplement rooms are smaller than double or twin rooms.

Departure Code ERKT200412 includes ANZAC Day commemorations on the 24th and 25th of April 2020, please see your booking agent for further details.  If you have booked this departure please check for updates as released one month prior to departure.

TURKEY
We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Turkey before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

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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