Enjoy a gourmet adventure of Turkey from Istanbul to Bodrum, Selcuk and Goreme

Take a culinary journey through Turkey, a country steeped in history and tradition, where east meets west and the ancient bleeds into the modern day. Begin in astonishing Istanbul, eating meze in a traditional meyhane, being awed by the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque and exploring the well-trod passageways of the Grand Bazaar. Soak in seaside flavours in the slow food town of Akyaka, visit the impressive ruins of Ephesus near Selcuk and marvel at the astonishing underground cities of Cappadocia. Spend time with a local Goreme family and learn the secrets behind central Anatolian cuisine in a cooking class. Arrive back in Istanbul, where this adventure into Turkey’s sights, sounds and incredible cuisine comes to an end.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Country
Turkey
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
ERZZ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Istanbul is brimming with delectable dishes, and the options can be dizzying. But your expert local guide will have you headed straight for the best spots

  • On no other Intrepid trip can you taste the tantalising flavours of Akyaka's Wednesday farmers' market, a true local gem in this tiny town dedicated to slow food

  • With hands-on cooking classes, you'll get up close and personal with Turkey's age-old culinary traditions, preparing specialties like manti and tatli

  • Experience the warmth of Turkish hospitality as a local family takes you into their beautiful home nestled in the hills of Ortahisar

  • Taste the renowned home cooking of Nuray and try your hand at Central Anatolian cuisine under her tutelage

Is this trip right for you?

  • If you like real food served to your plate with a dose of famous Turkish Hospitality and you want to experience local food made in local kitchens then this trip is right for you. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please be aware that in many countries dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, simply contact your agent at the time of booking for further information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed!

  • The itinerary includes a long overnight train trip from Izmir to Konya. In your first-class cabin, however, the trip may not feel as long as twelve hours!

Itinerary

Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Turkey. There will be an important welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. 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. A 'kebab crawl' kicks off your food adventure today. Learn to tell your shish from your iskender as you sample this signature Turkish dish in its many varieties. The perfect way to cap it off is with a baklava tasting.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Kebab Crawl
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Head to the celebrated Egyptian Spice Bazaar today. Meet a spice merchant, sit down for a Turkish coffee and savour a typical Turkish sweet. Continue your walking tour around Sultanahmet and Eminonu, taking in some of the most celebrated sites of the city, such as Suleymaniye Mosque and the Hippodrome. The area around Eminonu boasts some delicious street food. Local favourites include barbecued corn, roasted kestane (chestnuts), and of course Turkish delight. Your walking tour concludes at the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar). At this point you'll be able to take some time exploring the narrow alleyways and myriad shops as you please. As night falls, head to a small kitchen in the Capa district, which is also home to an NGO helping displaced families from the Syrian crisis to find their feet. Sit down for a simple meal of Syrian cuisine – maybe moujadara (burgal, green lentils and fried onion), maklube (spiced rice, chicken, and nuts), or fetteh (rice, crispy bread, chicken, and tahini) – proudly prepared by the ladies of the centre. Talk informally with some of the brave individuals who have had to flee their home, as well as with the eclectic group of volunteers from Turkey, Syria, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and beyond, who give up their time to help.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Spice Market and Street Food Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Fly from Istanbul to Dalaman (approximately 1 hour), then take a private shuttle to Akyaka via Gokava. The beautiful and tiny southern-Agean coastal town of Akyaka is part of the international citta-slow movement. Citta-slow towns follow the tenets of the slow food movement at a community and governmental level. They celebrate eco-gastronomy – reliance on locally-grown produce and a commitment to the preservation of regional culinary traditions. Akyaka is also the perfect place to unwind, as it's surrounded by lush forests and overlooked by Sakartepe Mountain, with the Azmak River running through the town. There are some great beaches nearby too. The best place to try the town's excellent seafood and vegetables is at one of the riverside restaurants, where you can sit at a wooden terrace overlooking the water.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Akyaka - Lokanta Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Take a tasting tour through Akyaka's Wednesday market. You'll meet the villagers who come into town each week to sell their wares. Sample local olive oil, spices and regionally grown fruit and vegetables. Next head out to a nearby farm to and learn what life on the land is like in this part of the country (this activity will be seasonal). Enjoy the perfect cup of tea with the local farmers and fresh made Gozleme made just for you in the local village.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Catch a public bus to Selcuk (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive, take the time to wander around this fascinating town. On the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings, including the Isa Bey Mosque and the Grand Fortress. Selcuk is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Temple of Artemis (though sadly only a single pylon remains). This evening you will visit the Sirince, a local village steeped in Greek Ottoman tradition. It's a photographer's dream. Postwar settlers revived the town's wine industry, which makes use of local fruit. Enjoy a tasting and consider buying a bottle to take on a walk up a gentle slope through cobbled streets and alleys to an atmospheric garden cafe. Up here you'll see how manti (Turkish stuffed dumplings) are made. After trying your hand preparing them, feast on a serving for dinner.
Included Activities
  • Selcuk - Manti Cooking Demonstration
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you'll visit Ephesus, one of Turkey's most important ancient sites. Explore this beautifully preserved classical city with your local guide who will bring its colourful 1,500-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, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but the marvellous library might just be the highlight. Continue then to Izmir (approximately 1.5 hours). There will be time for dinner before you board your overnight train to Konya. The train has first-class cabins with twin beds, a fridge and a wash basin. All bedding is provided. The dining car is the perfect place for an evening raki (Turkey's anise-flavoured alcoholic drink) before you retire for the night.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Konya by early morning, then take a private transfer to Goreme (approximately 3 hours). This is your gateway to the fabled fairy-chimneys of Capadoccia. Perhaps stop for a mid-morning snack of Etliekmek, 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 saloon 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. For the next two nights you'll stay in the village of Ortahisar. Here your host Nazim and his family will welcome you into their home, which is nestled in a beautiful valley and has been lovingly converted into a guesthouse.
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Derinkuyu Underground City
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
For early birds, a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape is a highly recommended experience. Please advise your leader if you wish to make a reservation. Wander through the Soganli Valley on a hiking trip, taking in the arid surrounds and towering vistas. Take the chance to stop for lunch at a local restaurant in this beautiful place, savouring fresh local flavours next to the memorable landscapes. Visit one of Cappadoccia’s most famous wineries to learn about the region's 4,000-year-old wine industry. Afterwards, walk through the stunning Red Valley to watch the sun set, enjoying a glass of the local wine. For dinner, perhaps try the local specialty, testi kebab. Your leader will be able to recommend a restaurant dedicated to the perfection of this delicious claypot dish.

Notes: Intrepid only recommends balloon rides by our experienced operators. The cost of the activity can vary depending on the type of flight chosen.
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Sunset Wine Tasting in Cappadoccia Valley
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast, head to a market in nearby Neveshir to learn about the ingredients of the Central Anatolian region. Next, be welcomed into the home of a celebrated local cook. Nuray has won many awards for her regional cooking. Under her tutelage, learn to prepare some classic Central Anatolian dishes (the menu will depend on the season). Sit down and enjoy the results over lunch. For the rest of the afternoon, you are free to visit the excellent Goreme Open Air Museum or indulge in a Turkish hammam (bath). In the evening, perhaps choose to dine in a restaurant set inside a 475-year-old building. The testi kebab is highly recommended.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Tatli (Dessert) demonstration & tasting
  • Goreme - Cooking Class & Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning, wave the fairy chimneys a fond goodbye and transfer to one of the regions airports for a flight back to Istanbul. Depending on flight time and scheduled changes, expect to arrive back into Ataturk Airport between 1pm and 4pm. Your incredible Turkey trip will finish on arrival at the airport and Intrepid Leader will be available to assist you with your onwards travel plans. Transport facilities are available at the Airport including Metro, Local Buses and Taxi to take you anywhere in the great Istanbul area.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Plane, Dolmus, Train, Public Bus, Overnight Train

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Pension (3 Nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Kebab Crawl
  • Istanbul - Spice Market and Street Food Tour
  • Akyaka - Lokanta Dinner
  • Selcuk - Manti Cooking Demonstration
  • Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
  • Cappadocia - Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Goreme - Sunset Wine Tasting in Cappadoccia Valley
  • Goreme - Tatli (Dessert) demonstration & tasting
  • Goreme - Cooking Class & Lunch

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. ISTANBUL AIRPORTS:
If booking an airport arrival transfer please inform us at the time of booking which of Istanbul's two airports you will be arriving at. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore while Ataturk Airport is on the European side and much closer to our hotels.

2. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note the overnight train is excluded from the Single Supplement.

3. FINAL DAY
Please note we fly to Istanbul on the morning of Day 10. Depending on flight time and scheduled changes, expect to arrive back into Ataturk Airport between 1pm and 4pm however this could change. Please ensure you leave enough time for any connections.

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.

Reviews

Our Turkey Real Food Adventure trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Real Food Adventure - Turkey , May 2017

Victor Luk

Real Food Adventure - Turkey , May 2017

Celina Luk