Historically rich with its medieval Ottoman period and chronicle of Gallipoli, and fashionably chic with the cosmopolitan buzz of Istanbul and the celebrity getaway of Antalya, Turkey is an unmissable country overflowing with character, where Noah’s Ark (allegedly) landed, Santa Claus originated and Hemingway was inspired. It's a place where the yin and yang of old and new complement each other - contemporary galleries stand next to cathedrals, stylish cafes sit alongside bazaars and trendsetting bars float over turquoise waters. Travel from Istanbul through the very best of Turkey - Gallipoli, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Antalya, and Cappadocia - and discover the people, history, cuisine and landscapes that make this destination such a treasure.

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Countries
Turkey
Themes
Explorer
Code
ERRT
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
662kg pp per trip

Sink your teeth into a Turkish adventure from Istanbul to Urfa


Highlights

  • Explore Istanbul’s buzzing contemporary art scene
  • Better understand the harrowing war zone of Gallipoli
  • Check out Ephesus, one of the greatest Greco-Roman sites in the world
  • Swim in a brilliant blue lagoon at Oludeniz
  • Cruise around turquoise seas and visit Kekova Island
  • Laze in the sun on the pristine white beaches of Antalya
  • Discover the bizarre rock formations of Cappadocia
  • Drive around Mt Nemrut in search of massive stone heads

Itinerary

Be prepared to lose yourself in the multitude of art galleries, sprawling bazaars and chic cafes in the style capital of Turkey. Explore the Old Town and take in the towering Ottoman mosque and grandeur of Byzantine churches. Bargain for dried fruits, nuts and oils at the aromatic Spice Bazaar or relax with a steam, sauna and massage at a traditional Turkish hamam. There’s plenty of time to relax, explore and decipher the difference between a doner, a kebab and a borek.
Better understand the brave comradeship shown by both the Allies and Central Powers during one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. Pay respects to all the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli, visiting the monuments and cemeteries dotted around the Gallipoli coastline.
Wander around the crumbling ruins of Ephesus, an impressive Greco-Roman temple. Check out the towering library of Celsus, which, in its heyday, stored thousands of ancient scrolls, as well as being the tomb for Celsus himself.
Back in Roman days, the hot springs at Pamukkale drew an impressive crowd of ancient celebrities and royals. Largely off-limits for bathing nowadays – even to modern royals – they’re still a sight to behold. Stare up in awe at the gleaming white travertine terraces surrounding the pools and see why Pamukkale has been nicknamed ‘Cotton Castle’.
Head by bus to the blissful sapphire lagoon at Oludeniz. Pack sunnies, sunscreen and swimmers, and spend the day discovering all new shades of blue while taking a dip in this little slice of paradise. Stay overnight in the quaint town of Fethiye and treat yourself to some delicious homemade Turkish lemonade.
Set sail at sunrise and swim, dive and snorkel around the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. Venture to uninhabited Kekova Island and walk up to Simena Castle for a spectacular panoramic view of islands dotted throughout the turquoise water. Laze on the deck of the boat, explore the ocean further or just relax and breathe in the cool sea air.
Often described as the Turkish Riviera, Antalya is a historical goldmine. Amble along the cobblestone paths of the Old Quarter to see mosques, churches and Roman temples. Try Antalya’s signature dish, Piyaz - a zesty bean, vegetable and egg salad.
Be dazzled by the surreal landscape of Goreme, nestled in the heartland of Cappadocia. See churches and dwellings scooped out of soft volcanic rock that stretches upwards in epic columns. Lose track of time at the Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of ancient churches, chapels and rectories. Incredibly, some of these buildings date back to AD900.
Stare into the eyes of the colossal stone heads atop Mt Nemrut (also known as Nemrut Dagi) and have the camera ready for some stunning sunset shots. These creations adorn the tomb of King Antiochus, a warlord and king who lived thousands of years ago.
Experience local life at a homestay in Kahta. Enjoy a feast prepared by our friendly hosts and learn about the local culture. Tonight, curl up on a traditional Urfa mattress or sleep out under the stars.
Journey south to the city of Urfa. Visit the impressive Ataturk Dam, admire the ancient stone carvings at Gobeklitepe and watch the fish frolic in the Urfa Balik Pools. Only look though – local legend also has it that if you catch and eat a fish from here, you’ll go blind.
Jump on board a local bus out to Mardin. Orientate yourself with a walk around the city before visiting the magnificent Deyrulzafaran Monastery. Located off the beaten track, this historical landmark is a real treasure and well worth exploring. Time permitting, we’ll venture over to Sabanci City Museum afterwards.
Fly back to Istanbul and catch up on some last minute sightseeing and shopping. Experience the crazy, colourful nightlife on offer, whether it be raging away at a nightclub, celebrity spotting at an upmarket bar or jamming at a live gig. Alternatively, sit down to a long meal of Turkish delicacies and finish with a glass of the potent, anise-flavoured liquor, raki.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
17 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
Transport
Gulet, Private Bus
Accommodation
Homestay (1 night), Hotel (13 nights), Overnight boat (1 night), Pension (2 nights)
Included activites
  • Boat trip to Kekova 1night all inc
  • Gallipoli Visit
  • Spice Market
  • Valley Walk in Capadoccia

Dates

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Notes

LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
Please note that the maximum check-in baggage allowance for our flight from Urfa to Istanbul on Day 17 is 15kgs per person. A single supplement is available on this trip

Important notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trips 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.

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Reviews

Our Turkey Explored trips score an average of 4.88 out of 5 based on 24 reviews in the last year.

Turkey Explored, March 2015

Turkey Explored, March 2015