Coastal cruising and chimney viewing, from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Travel from Istanbul through the very best of Turkey – Gallipoli, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Antalya, Cappadocia and Mount Nemrut – and discover the people, cultures, cuisine and landscapes that make this country such a treasure. Historically rich with its medieval Ottoman period and chronicle of Gallipoli, and fashionably chic with the cosmopolitan buzz of Istanbul and celebrity getaway of Antalya, Turkey is an unmissable country that overflows with character. Pay your respects in Gallipoli, hike into the Valley of Love in Cappadocia, cruise the south coast on a traditional gulet and understand why Istanbul is considered the centre of the world. Take 18 days with Lonely Planet and Intrepid to get the absolute best out of this intriguing nation.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Destination
Turkey
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
ERRTC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Explore the continent-straddling metropolis of Istanbul, and step back in time to when it was Constantinople with the backstreets of the Grand Bazaar and at the Hagia Sophia.

  • Reflect on battles fought and lives lost with a moving visit to the Gallipoli Peninsula, a serene stretch of coastline where it's now hard to picture the horrors of war.

  • Spend two days exploring the cliffside waterfalls, cobblestone alleyways and ancient ruins of Antalya, a city on the Mediterranean Coast.

  • Discover a lesser-seen side of Turkey, taking the backroads from Cappadocia to the Eastern province of Malatya to experience local life and local flavours.

  • Enjoy a homestay experience in Kahta, helping out in the fields or the kitchen, cooking with the family and enjoying village life.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a Lonely Planet Experience powered by Intrepid, made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local leader and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary has a mix of included activities and free time when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to partake in.

  • Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be very high in July and August, though the east will be cooler than the city. The weather can be hot in July and August, but this is also the best time to enjoy the clear water of the Mediterranean – don’t forget your swim gear.

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

  • The included Southern Coast Cruising overnight excursion is on board a traditional boat called a gulet. Sleeping arrangements will be multi-share: the group will sleep on the deck of the gulet where you can stargaze and fall asleep to the sounds of the gently lapping Mediterranean. All bedding is provided. The gulet has shared bathroom facilities. You'll perfect the beach-style hairdo, as there is limited fresh water for rinsing off saltwater.

  • The included homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness every day rural life and includes a home-cooked dinner. Facilities are simple and no frills, with a mattress on the floor. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy the simple life.

  • Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. Both men and women are required to dress very conservatively during the village homestay. Women are required to wear an ankle-length skirt and men must wear ankle-length trousers. Alcohol will not be available for purchase or consumption here.

Itinerary

Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul, a bustling mega-city with a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored. Your Lonely Planet Experience begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you will meet your leader and fellow travellers. After the meeting, you might want to head out as a group to grab dinner and get to know each other.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Spice Market - Free
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - TRY100
  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern - TRY30
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY25
  • Istanbul - Galata Tower - TRY35
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY50
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (Excluding Harem) - TRY72
  • Istanbul - Turkish Hamam (incl. massage) - TRY310
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.
The prices listed for optional activities cover entry fees only and do not include any transport fees. Prices are subject to change.
Meet your local guide early this morning for a guided tour of Sultanahmet AKA the Old City, formerly Constantinople, to see Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome and the Grand Bazaar. Enjoy free time for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Maybe visit the jaw-dropping Hagia Sofia, said to have changed the history of architecture. Or maybe enjoy a steam session at a traditional hamam (public bath). Your tour leader knows all the best places, so they can recommend some great options for places to eat.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head for the shores of Gallipoli, the site of the ANZAC landings one of the most disastrous Allied campaigns of WWI. Visit the battlefields of Nek and Lone Pine and encounter remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. Hear stories of the heroism and camaraderie that unfolded among the tragedies and take the time to read moving inscriptions etched onto a sea of gravestones. There will also be the option to visit the Kabatepe Museum, which includes interactive presentations of the battle, as well as numerous relics from the campaign. Then, take the short ferry ride from Europe to Asia across the Dardanelles to Canakkale, a charming traditional fishing town that has a great range of dinner and nightlife options, not to mention medieval ruins to explore.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gallipoli - guided visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Total travel time today is approximately 5.5 hours.
After breakfast, take a local bus to the traditional farming village of Selcuk. Take a guided walk around the town and the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill in the afternoon. See the 14th-century Isa Bey Mosque, the imposing the Grand Fortress and the ruins of the Basilica of St John. According to Christian lore, St John came to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary from Jerusalem and lived here until his death sometime around AD 100. The basilica stands over his alleged burial site. Your evening is free.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Troy - Guided visit - TRY120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, choose whether you would like to take a guided tour of Ephesus with your tour leader or strike out on your own via a dolmus (local bus). One of the best-preserved Greco Roman cities in the world, Ephesus once had running water, public toilets, in-house heating, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. In the afternoon, you can choose to join an optional excursion to Sirince to taste some local wines.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ephesus - archaeological site - TRY100
  • Ephesus - Terrace Houses Entry - TRY45
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY25
  • Selcuk - Meryemana (Mary's House) entrance fee - TRY45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Prices listed for optional activities listed include entry fees only and exclude any transport costs.
Take a train inland to one of Turkey's most photographed sites, Pamukkale, which literally translates to ‘cotton castle’. Here spectacular natural hot springs with high calcium bicarbonate content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving white terraces (the ‘cotton’). It's been used as a spa since the 200 BC. Though you won't be able to bathe in these travertines, you can take a walk through them (after removing your shoes). You can choose to take an optional excursion to the ancient city of Hierapolis in the afternoon – speak to your leader for more information.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Cleopatra pool - TRY50
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park - TRY85
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Prices listed for optional activities listed include entry fees only and exclude any transport costs.
Take a local bus to Oludeniz and enjoy some time at the three-kilometre-long beach. Please note you will need to pay a small fee if you want to access the Blue Lagoon. Later, transfer to the quaint town of Fethiye. If conditions allow, it is possible to take an optional excursion to Kayakoy ghost village, an abandoned town that is both eerie and beautiful. This evening, enjoy a walk by the harbour and look up to see massive Lycian rock tombs cut from the cliffside.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Fethiye - Oludeniz Blue Lagoon - TRY8
  • Kayakoy- Ghost Village - TRY10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Travel time today is approximately 4 hours. Prices listed for optional activities listed include entry fees only and exclude any transport costs.
This morning take a local bus to Ucagiz. Board a boat for a memorable voyage along the Turquoise Coast, viewing some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world. Cruise to the sunken cities around Kekova Island, where ancient remains can be viewed just below the water’s surface, and take a walk to Simena Castle, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding bays and islands. Spend your time on the boat swimming in the Med, relaxing and exploring the natural and historical sites along the way.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kas - Overnight Boat trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Travel time today is approximately 4 hours.
The overnight cruising excursion takes place on a traditional boat called a 'gulet'. Sleeping arrangements are multishare and open-air. Bathroom facilities are shared. All bedding is provided. The gulet has shared bathroom facilities, with limited fresh water for washing.
Disembark the boat in Ucagiz this morning after breakfast and continue to Antalya, your base for the next two nights. Enjoy free time on arrival to explore at your own pace.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Antalya - Antalya Museum - TRY45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Travel time today is approximately 3 hours.
Enjoy a free day to explore at your own pace. There are a number of optional excursions to choose from if you want a little guidance. For those after a nature fix, Duden Waterfalls is a lovely spot to relax. If you’re interested in visiting historical sites, there are optional excursions to Termessos, Aspendos or Side to choose from. Alternatively, stay in Antalya and soak up the charms of this seaside town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Antalya - Aspendos Ancient City - TRY50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Prices listed for optional activities listed include entry fees only and exclude any transport costs.
This morning take a local bus inland to Konya, a traditional Turkish city where mainstream tourism is yet to arrive. The city is closely linked with the Whirling Dervish sect of Islam developed by in the 13th century by Rumi (or Mevlana). Get your bearings on an orientation walk with your leader and enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the many tea gardens. Later this evening, maybe join your group for some central Anatolian cuisine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Travel time today is approximately 5.5 hours.
This morning after breakfast, travel by local bus to Goreme, Cappadocia, a city made from the soft volcanic rock of the region. On arrival stretch your legs with an orientation walk with your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Valley Walk
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Whirling dervish performance - EUR25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Travel time today is approximately 3.5 hours.
If you are interested in an optional hot air balloon ride, please speak to your trip leader on Day 1. The cost of this activity varies depending on what type of flight you choose. This activity can only be booked locally.
Today is free for you to explore Goreme and surrounds, including the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex is composed of churches, rectories and dwellings carved from the earth. Perhaps explore one of the region’s underground cities, the largest of which are almost ten levels deep with narrow passages connecting the floors like hamster tunnels. If you’re a hiker, you may like to walk the valleys of Red, Rose, or Love. Your leader is available help you organise your day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cappadocia - Goreme - Open Air Museum - TRY45
  • Cappadocia - Derinkuyu Underground City - TRY50
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight - EUR195
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Deluxe Flight - EUR250
  • Cappadocia -Kaymakli Underground City - TRY35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Prices listed for optional activities listed include entry fees only and exclude any transport costs.
It is possible to organise a group tour of the region that includes multiple sites, please speak to your leader for more information.
Gunaydin! Your Lonely Planet Experience continues bright and early at 8.30 am with another welcome meeting in Cappadocia. With the formalities out of the way, hop on a private bus to Darende. On the way, stop for a short walk to Gunpinar Waterfall. Arrive in Darende in the afternoon. Best known as the resting place of the contemplative Sufi Seyyid Hamid-i Veli (1331–1412), Darende was once a thriving Silk Road centre and it still a cultural hub. Explore the town centre on an orientation walk and visit the 300-year-old bazaar, where local women sit working on embroidery and other needlework. There’s also the chance to sample the area’s famous dried apricot in a local shop. Afterwards, settle in for a relaxing night in Darende.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and to meet new travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Head to the Kahta region for a unique homestay experience in a small village. Spend the afternoon playing a game of football, walking in the fields and experiencing the simple pleasures of village life. It’s possible that you may even get to pick the vegetables for your dinner! Learn about the local culture and enjoy a feast prepared by your host family. You can choose to curl up on a mattress or bunk under the stars.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Travelling time today: approximately 3 hours.

Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. People of all genders are required to dress very conservatively during the village homestay, including ankle-length skirts or trousers. Alcohol will not be available for purchase or consumption here.
This morning, visit the Karakus Tumulus – a monumental tomb that King Mithradates II of the Commagene civilisation built for his mother. A handful of colossal columns remain to mark the burial place; the Romans dismantled most, with the limestone blocks used to construct the nearby Cendere Bridge. This is one of the world’s oldest bridges still in use, spanning an impressive 122 metres. Arrive in the village of Khata in the afternoon, then make the journey up to the top of Mt Nemrut. See the ruins of Arsameia – a holy burial area built by King Antiochus I in memory of his father almost 2500 years ago. At the top of the mountain, Antiochus I also constructed a tomb-sanctuary for himself and surrounded it with statues of various gods and ancestors. The size and magnitude of the colossal stone heads is stunning, and the views from the summit are sublime, especially as the sun begins to set.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Nemrut - Mt Nemrut guided visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Travel time today: approximately 3 hours.

Travellers with a reasonable level of fitness will be able to summit Mt Nemrut. The final 500-metre ascent (approximately 20 minutes) can be rocky and uneven so we recommend packing footwear suitable for hiking.

It can be very windy and cold here, even in summer, to pack layers of warm clothing. Between April and late October there may be snow and ice.
Depart early this morning for the south-eastern city of Adiyaman, where you’ll board a 2-hour flight to Istanbul. Land and take the local metro and tram to tonight’s hotel in Sultanahmet. This afternoon, your tour leader will introduce you to the lively Taksim district, the beating heart of modern Istanbul. Walk across the Golden Horn in view of the medieval Galata Tower. Board one of the world’s oldest funicular railways, operating since 1875, for the short journey 500 metres to Taksim. Alight at Istiklal Caddesi, arguably the city’s most popular strolling, shopping and snacking street, and take a walk among the local people who call this city home. Try an islak burger (a burger drenched in sauce) and visit a hidden local coffee house. Maybe stay with your travel companions for an optional celebratory dinner and take advantage of the late-night entertainment.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Travel time today: approximately 5 hours (including transfers and flight).
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation any time after breakfast. If you plan to stay on to see all Istanbul has to offer – which is highly recommended – we are happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability). Please enquire at the time of booking to see if this is an option.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

16 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Public bus, Private vehicle, Train, Gulet, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Pension (3 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Boat (1 night)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
  • Gallipoli - guided visit
  • Kas - Overnight Boat trip
  • Cappadocia - Valley Walk
  • Mt Nemrut - Mt Nemrut guided visit

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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

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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 excludes Day 8 (Boat) and Day 15 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

INTERNAL FLIGHTS
On Day 17 there is an included internal flight from Adiyaman to Istanbul. The maximum check-in baggage allowance is 15 kg per person plus 8 kg hand luggage, please discuss storing any excess luggage our our starting point hotel with your group leader.

COMBINATION TRIP – COMPOSITION CHANGE
This is a combination trip and the composition of your group may change throughout your trip.

SAFETY
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

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