Map of Real Turkey  including Turkey

Coastal cruising to city schmoozing – see it all, Turkish style.

You’ll be hard-pressed finding a country that can provide all the goods of a true cultural crusade – ancient ruins to explore, alluring beaches to swim at, local food to indulge in, lively cities to discover, and plenty of time to travel at your own pace. Get the low-down of everything Turkish on this 15-day essentials adventure from Istanbul, through the peaceful Gallipoli peninsula, acclaimed Ephesus, traditional Selcuk, seaside Fethiye, attractive Antalya and the real highlight of quirky Cappadocia. With a coastal cruise, homestay experience and knowledgeable local leaders all thrown in, what’s not to like about tantalising Turkey?

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Destination
Turkey
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
ERYOC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Eat, swim, sunbake, repeat – that’s what will happen when you get cruising along Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline. The choice is yours if you’d like to go exploring, or just relax on deck.

  • Thought all the best Roman ruins were in Italy? Think again! Turkey is home to one of the best-preserved classical of Ephesus – so discover it just like Anthony and Cleopatra did 2000 years ago.

  • Take a group hike from the deserted ghost town of Karakoy over the hills to check out the stunning Blue Lagoon – your group leader will know all the spots to go to get the best vantage points.

  • The weird and wonderful world of Cappadocia might be the most unusual place in Turkey. Learn all about its fairy chimneys and sprawling rock formations from your expert local leaders.

  • The thriving metropolis of Istanbul is where East literally meets West. With the option to extend your stay here, you’ve got the power to continue your Turkish escapade right away!

Is this trip right for you?

  • You’ll get an extra taste of local life on this trip, with most travel done on public buses. There are loads of reasons why this is great, but here are just a few: it minimises our carbon footprint, gives you a real chance to interact with the local community, and these aren’t your regular buses. Most Turkish buses have wi-fi, in-seat entertainment and serve refreshments.

  • Lots of time allocated for optional activities means freedom and flexibility, but it does require a level of independence. Only are few meals are included, so mostly you'll find your own (with plenty of suggestions from your leader of course) – a great way to mingle with locals and discover unexpected delights! This trip puts it in your hands with the options of free time or taking optional tours. Maybe budget a little extra cash for activities that aren’t included.

  • The cobblestone streets, narrow steps and tiny bridges of Turkey are very romantic. They’re also another good reason to pack light and leave the wheeled suitcase at home. Please note that you'll also 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.

  • Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be very high in Turkey (over 40°C), which can make things uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, and drink plenty of water. The weather can be hot in July and August, but keep in mind that this is the best time to enjoy the clear water of the Mediterranean. It also can get quite cool in these destinations, particularly from October to April, so don't forget to pack some extra layers if travelling at this time.

  • While this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to take part in all activities. You’ll need your walking shoes, a hat, some sunscreen, and a daypack to explore some of historical sites. All site tours are guided, but you can wander at your own pace if you prefer.

Itinerary

Kicks off your Turkish adventure in Istanbul – the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and now you – for one night, at least – have called home. You’ve got all of today to explore the capital city before you join up with your travel crew and group leader at an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Until then, maybe get out into the city streets to see the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar and stunning Aya Sofya. Your accommodation is right in the thick of the action, so you won’t have to walk far for your first kebab. After the meeting, why not head out on an optional group dinner – a good introduction to some fabulous Turkish cuisine is in a street-side cafe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY60
  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque Visit - Free
  • Istanbul - Galata Tower - TRY100
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY50
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY60
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Free
  • Istanbul - Chora Church - Free
  • Istanbul - Whirling Dervish show - TRY400
  • 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. If you can't arrange a flight in time, 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).

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 five days’ use and costs TL 185. This card is not available for entry at Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern and Galata Tower.
Today you’ll take a bus to the shores of Gallipoli (approximately 5.5 hours) – a significant peninsula for Australians and New Zealanders. It is a spot of pilgrimage for many to see the now calm waters and peaceful landscape that reside where such brutal battle took place during the First World War. Take in the reverence and serenity of the region, and hear stories of heroism and mateship that shone through the tragedies of war. Continue onwards to Canakkale where you’ll spend the night. This city has young local vibe due to it being a popular university town, so chill on the edge of the Dardanelles with a drink or check out a local band with some of your travel pals.
Accommodation
  • Guest house (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gallipoli - Battlefields Tour
Optional Activities
  • Gallipoli - Boomerang Bar and Two Up - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, there's the option this morning to take an excursion out to the ruins of Troy, where you can explore the ancient walls, climb around the 4500-year-old ruins, check out the Trojan horse statue and gaze across the Troad (the Plains of Troy) towards the Dardanelles and the hills of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Later on, drive down the coast to Ayvalik (approximately 3.5 hours). Head on a leader-led orientation tour to discover a town that’s a fascinating mix of Greek and Turkish cultures. Check out the cobblestone backstreets, beautiful houses and lively cafes. You could also hop on a boat from Ayvalik to Cunda Island, which is filled with Greek Orthodox churches and known for its dairy farming. The town is set around a harbour and looks out to the Aegean Islands, so what better way to kick of the evening then with a drink at a harbour-side bar, eating a local Ayvalik tost – think a Turkish-style toasted sandwich with all the trimmings.
Accommodation
  • Guest house (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Troy - Guided visit - TRY120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning, take a 4-hour journey by local bus to the traditional farming village of Selcuk. Once arrived, take an orientation walk to get your bearings – a town full of history and packed with artefacts and relics that reflect its past as an ancient fortress on. Later you can head out to the nearby ruins of Ephesus and explore the streets once walked by Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. This is one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world. You’ll be amazed by the sophistication of this ancient city, which had running water, public toilets, in-house heating, a medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is also well preserved, but it’s the magnificent library that’s perhaps the coolest structure. Nearby are the remains of the Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Chill out tonight in Selcuk, where you could try some Turkish meze and raki for dinner with some of your travel crew.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY30
  • Ephesus - Terrace Houses entry - TRY55
  • Selcuk - Meryemana (Mary's House) entrance fee - TRY120
  • Selcuk - Raki and Meze Night - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel east inland to Pamukkale (approximately 4 hours), which literally translates to 'cotton castle'. Here, spectacular natural hot springs with a high calcium content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving bright white terraces, or ‘cotton’. It's been used as a spa since the second century BC, and its waters are said to have heaps of healing properties. If you’ve got Cleopatra on the mind after yesterday’s stories, then maybe choose to head out to the ancient city of Hierapolis and take a dip in what used to be her old pool – the transparent water-filled springs sculpted as a gift from Marc to Cleo. You can also check out the other ruins of the city – Hierapolis is known for its abundance of temples and religious structures, and the amphitheatre shouldn’t be missed.
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
Jump on a local bus bound for Fethiye (approximately 3.5 hours). Arrive in time to check out this seriously vibrant harbourside city, and if there’s time, catch a dolmus to Saklikent Gorge or explore the back streets of the Old Town of Fethiye and hunt for a bargain. The best thing is – you’ve got the power to decide. Tonight, enjoy a walk by the harbour with your group, try some local seafood and check out the thriving nightlife scene.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Saklikent National Park - Saklikent Gorge - TRY20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, travel to the eerie ghost town of Kayakoy. Wander through deserted stone houses and through the overgrown countryside, and be sure to watch out for the goats. You’ll be setting off on a hike today, so make sure you’re wearing some good shoes. From Kayakoy, continue by foot over the hills to catch a glimpse of the amazing Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz. Once arrived in town, hang out for a bit, quench your thirst and take a swim in the sparkling Mediterranean before jumping back on a local bus and heading back to Kayakoy for tonight. Chill out and enjoy an included dinner in Koyakoy.
Accommodation
  • Guest house (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lycian Way - Hike from Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach
  • Kayakoy - Ghost Village
Optional Activities
  • Fethiye - Oludeniz Blue Lagoon - TRY10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning take a local bus back to Fethiye and then continue on local bus to Kas (approximately 3 hours), which is right near the southernmost point of Turkey. With its whitewashed buildings covered in bougainvillea and cobbled streets, Kas is one of the most attractive towns on the Turkish Mediterranean Coast. Spend an hour or two lunching and wandering the streets, before you transfer an hour down the road to Kekova. After arrival and settling down, follow your leader on an orientation walk around the town. Then it’s a free night to spend as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Guest house (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get ready for a fascinating day out cruising and exploring off the Turkish coast. Cruise onwards to the sunken Lycian city of Simena, from where remains of a mysterious civilisation can be viewed, as earthquakes sunk this land almost 2500 years ago. Here you can walk up to nearby Simena Castle, swim in crystal-clear waters, or explore Lycian rock-tombs. More swimming, sunbaking, eating and repeating – cruising the Turkish coast is a dream. Get back to Kekova in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day in this idyllic town.
Accommodation
  • Guest house (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kekova - Turkish Coast day sailing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Soak up the last of life as a glamorous boat-dweller with breakfast on board. Then transfer by public bus approximately 3.5 hours to Antalya – the capital of the Turkish Mediterranean. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya due to it charming cobblestone streets, historic Old City, vibrant marina and the Taurus Mountains framing the city. Head around town with your group leader, jump on the old Nostalgic Tram or go to Konyaalti Beach for some more time chilling out beachside. If you are in the mood for some last-minute history, check out some of the best museums in the country, or get theatrical at Aspendos ancient city with a beautiful, intact theatre from Roman times. Tonight, why stake out some food and shisha with your travel crew – Antalya has a thriving nightlife scene, so use it to your advantage.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Antalya - Walking Tour including Nostalgic Tram
Optional Activities
  • Antalya - Antalya Museum - TRY55
  • Antalya - Aspendos Ancient City - TRY60
  • Antalya - Mermerli Beach Kaleici - TRY20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Ready? Let’s adventure – your trip starts bright and early in Antalya at 8 am. Meet your group leader and the rest of your group, then head to the bus station and travel to Goreme in Cappadocia by local bus (approximately 9.5 hours). Once arrived, take a leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings and maybe visit the Ortahisar Castle in the afternoon. Tonight you’ll stay at local host Nazim's house in Ortahisar who has an amazing spot with views over a secluded valley. Your family hosts will treat you to some true Turkish hospitality with home-cooked food – Cappadocia style.
Accommodation
  • Guest house (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Dinner at Cappadoccian Family House
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please see the ‘Joining Point’ instructions in the Essential Trip Information for where to meet today. If you wish to arrive a day or two early, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Please note that accommodation in Cappadocia is on a multi-share basis of the same gender.
Weird rock formations, fairy chimneys and underground cities – Cappadocia is pretty wacky. This morning you have the option of taking an early hot air balloon ride over the landscapes at sunrise. Those who choose to opt in for this optional extra will have a seriously excellent time, getting high above the changing colours below as the sun rises. Later in the morning, head underground and explore some of the 36 underground cities in Cappadocia. These rabbit-warren metropolises were carved into the earth thousands of years ago. Discover the highlights of the region this afternoon, checking out Pigeon Valley and Deverent Valley – your group leader will know all the best places to stop. Later this afternoon, grab some wine and some local cheese and find a perfect vantage point to enjoy the sunset. Afterwards, you might like to check out the nightlife in Goreme, or for something more mystical, hit up a traditional sema performance of whirling dervishes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia -Kaymakli Underground City
  • Cappadocia - Highlights
  • Cappadocia - Wine and Sunset
  • Cappadocia - Pottery demonstration
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Whirling Dervishes - Sema Performance - EUR25
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight - EUR195
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Deluxe Flight - EUR250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s hot-air balloon activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader in Antalya to organise this if it interests you.
Put your boots on and hike the hills and mountains to Goreme. One arrived in Goreme, spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and deciding what to do. You might like to pull up a bean bag at ‘Fat Boys’ or, if you’re muscles are causing you grief, why not try a local hammam for a traditional Turkish spa treatment. Tonight is also yours to choose your own adventure, so get some of your travel crew together and head out for some dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Valley Hiking
Optional Activities
  • Goreme -Hamam Turkish Bath - EUR50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day exploring the Cappadocia area some more. If you like, you can stop by the Goreme Open Air Museum – a medieval wonderland of old rock-cut churches and frescoes. For a very different taste of the diverse landscape around here, you could check out Avanos, or hire a bike and ride through the valleys out to Cavusin. Soganli Valley is another popular spot – it’s a bit of a drive but a great place for some local lunch and churches also with awesome frescoes. Keep in mind that tonight you’ll board an overnight bus bound for Istanbul (approximately 10–12 hours).
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Goreme- Bike Riding - TRY80
  • Cappadocia - Goreme - Open Air Museum - TRY45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive into Istanbul this morning, where you’ll say goodbye to your group leader and travel pals at a centrally located hostel. With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave at any time. That doesn’t mean your Turkish adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to spend more time checking out all Istanbul has to offer, including the Blue Mosque, the huge Grand Bazaar and the flowing Bosphorus, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your group leader will be able to help you with your onward travel after arrival in Istanbul; however, if you wish to book an onward flight connection from Istanbul today, it is advised to book a flight after 1 pm to allow for any bus delays and travel to the airport. For more information, see the ‘Finishing Point’ instructions in the Essential Trip Information.

Meals

12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

Transport

Ferry, local bus, Private Bus, Train, Boat

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Guest house (4 nights), Multi-share guest house/hostel (2 nights), Overnight bus (1 night)

Included activities

  • Gallipoli - Battlefields Tour
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis and Travertines National Park
  • Lycian Way - Hike from Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach
  • Kayakoy - Ghost Village
  • Kekova - Turkish Coast day sailing
  • Antalya - Walking Tour including Nostalgic Tram
  • Goreme - Dinner at Cappadoccian Family House
  • Cappadocia -Kaymakli Underground City
  • Cappadocia - Highlights
  • Cappadocia - Wine and Sunset
  • Cappadocia - Pottery demonstration
  • Cappadocia - Valley Hiking

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Real 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 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Read details here.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip, subject to availability. The single supplement exclude Day 3, 6 and 14.
2. Some accommodation on this tour is is multi shared. Multishare typically includes triple and quad rooms. You may be required to share with group members of same gender. People travelling together may occasionally be separated due to rooming configurations.

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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