Map of Turkey Highlights including Turkey

Hit the hotspots of Turkey, from cosmopolitan Istanbul to the whimsical Cappadocia.

This journey packs a mighty punch in just eight days. Start in Istanbul and marvel at the Blue Mosque before navigating the warrens of the Grand Bazaar. Then, discover Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events that took place in this area. Travel to the Aegean Sea to soak up sun, salt and history in Kusadasi with a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. Catch the overnight train to Central Anatolia and the fairytale landscape of Cappadocia, where hot air balloons dot the skyline and dwellings are cut into the cliffs, then finish back in Istanbul, the long-lived metropolis where East meets West.

Up to 25% Off* 2023 Adventures

Act now and grab your spot before it's too late with up to 25% off* 2023 adventures - sale ends 13 February!

Terms & Conditions

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Destination
Turkey
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ERSK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • This short but sweet trip packs a punch with visits to Istanbul, Canakkale, Cappadocia and Ephesus while still leaving plenty of time to relax.

  • Discover the incredible ancient and modern history of Turkey as you explore thousands of years of history hidden within the remarkable ruins of Ephesus and discover Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events that took place in this area.

  • Taste local fruit wines in one of the best-preserved Greek Ottoman villages in the country. Get to know the friendly locals with a Gozleme making demonstration and a home-made lunch at a local family in Cappadocia.

  • Travel and stay a little differently – and come home with memories to last a lifetime – from taking local buses and trains, to staying in one of the cave hotels that Cappadocia is famed for.

  • Discover the back streets and vibrant local markets of Istanbul with your expert guide, find hidden hotspots and local hangouts that you won’t find in the guidebooks.

Is this trip right for you?

  • You will need to carry your bags on and off local trams and trains during this trip. The distances aren't far, and it's possible to do this with a wheelie bag – but be aware of cobblestone streets.

  • This trip uses a combination of public and private transport, and all vehicles are modern and have air-conditioning and most are fitted with seat belts. Some journeys can be long in order to maximise the areas visited, but this gives you a chance to interact with the local community and see more of the country and you'll have plenty chances to stop on the way to stretch your legs.

Itinerary

Welcome to Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all once called home. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1 pm, followed by a guided tour of the Old City with your expert leader. Visit the scene of many a chariot race in the ancient hippodrome, check out the Blue Mosque, take a walk past the wares of the Grand Bazaar and marvel at the architectural masterpiece that is Suleymaniye Cami. If you're not too exhausted after all the exploring, join your new friends for dinner and bask in the beauty of a real Turkish kebab. While you might be familiar with the shaved meats and pita bread sensation that you may have come across at 2 am, nothing beats the kind they wrap up in Istanbul.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Old City Walking Tour (Half Day)
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY50
  • Istanbul - Galata Tower - TRY175
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY100
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY100
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Free
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (entrance fee) - TRY285
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.
After breakfast this morning, hit the road enroute to Canakkale – a port city on the southern shore of the Dardanelles. You’ll stop along the way to explore Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events and history embedded in this area. Your guide will take you to ANZAC Cove and major memorial sites like Brighton Beach and ANZAC commemorative Site. You’ll also take in the views across the Dardanelles Strait and the Gallipoli Peninsula. This evening, we’ll spend the night in Canakkale with free time to grab dinner and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gallipoli - Fully guided Gallipoli tour & visit to the Commonwealth graveyards
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 6 hours.
This morning, we’ll drive to Selcuk with a stop in Troy – where history and mythology sit side-by-side – along the way. You’ll wander the ancient city walls with your group leader and even get a chance to enjoy a photo op with a replica Trojan Horse. You’ll learn more about how this place has confounded historians and archaeologists alike before continuing on to Selcuk. In town, on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings – you’ll visit the Isa Bey Mosque, a beautiful example of 14th-century Seljuk Turkish architecture, and the imposing Byzantine citadel of the Grand Fortress.Then drive out to the nearby picturesque village of Sirince and taste some locally produced fruit wines. This authentic Greek Ottoman village seems to have been overlooked by modern development and the unique local architecture nestled in the hills make for a photographer's dream. Continue onto the seaside Kusadasi and enjoy a breezy evening here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sirince - Village visit and fruit wine tasting
  • Troy - Archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Isa Bey Camii
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's total driving time will be approximately 7 hours.
This morning, take a private minivan to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus – one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history, which really comes alive with a local guide to enhance your experience. Considering their age, the ruins are in incredible shape, and it’s not difficult to imagine them in their full glory over 2000 years ago, equipped with running water, public toilets, a medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's perhaps the magnificent library that is the most striking. Later you will stop for lunch at a family-run restaurant, where you’ll feast on gozleme made fresh before your eyes. Then, head back to Kusadasi for a relaxed afternoon - you could take to the Aegean and explore the coastline on a gulet, a traditional wooden Turkish vessel, or there are plenty of beaches in town to relax on. Get ready for transfer to Izmir in the early evening - an overnight train, will be waiting to transport you through the night to the central Anatolian city of Konya.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Artemis Temple Visit
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Sultankoy Village Carpet Weaving - Free
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY50
  • Ephesus - Terrace Houses entry - TRY85
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Archaeological Museum - TRY50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Overnight travel this evening on the Mavi Konya: sleeping couchettes are two-berth and have excellent facilities including a washbasin, small fridge and plenty of luggage storage. Fresh bedding is supplied but you are required to make your own bed. Western-style toilets are located in each carriage, but we recommend bringing additional toilet paper. There is a dining car for breakfast in the morning and if you get hungry during the evening. You can even enjoy a local beer over a game of backgammon.
Wake up in Konya, a traditional Turkish city that's closely linked with the whirling dervish sect of Islam developed in the 13th century by Celaleddin Rumi, considered one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Take an opportunity to visit the Mevlana Museum and stretch your legs in town before hitting the road to Cappadocia. Keep an eye out for the fairy chimneys, the hallmarks of Cappadocia's otherworldly landscape, as you drive across the Anatolian plains. Stop enroute at one of the underground cities that once provided a safe haven in times of war or persecution. Arrive in the Cappadocian town of Ugrup in the late afternoon and take a sunset valley walk before settling in for the evening. This evening, you'll be treated to a stay in a local cave hotel that Cappadocia is famous for here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today's driving time is about 3 hours.
This morning you have the option to take a hot air balloon flight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience during which the sun illuminates a skyline dotted with balloons. Even if you'd prefer not to take a flight, it's still worth waking up for this truly incredible sight. Later this morning, enjoy a guided walk through one of the nearby valleys, possibly the Valley of Love, which features fairy chimneys, deserted rock-cut homes and churches. Your leader will know a number of fantastic scenic routes, and a good walk is by far the best way to experience this unique environment. In your free time today, maybe visit the UNESCO-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings cut into the soft cliff face. You could also hire a bicycle and ride to Avanos to check out the Red River or relax in a Turkish bath. This evening you’ll be warmly welcomed into a local cave home where the family will prepare a special home-cooked dinner for you and your group. Sit down to a feast made with passion, enjoy a friendly chat with your affable host and perhaps top off the night with some Turkish delight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Valley walk
  • Cappadocia - Dinner at Local Family Home
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight - EUR240
  • Cappadocia - Goreme Open Air Museum - TRY100
  • Goreme - Whirling Dervishes - Sema Performance - EUR25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey is a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape to see this otherworldly scene at sunrise. Those who are interested in this optional extra will have a truly awe-inspiring experience. The cost of this activity varies depending on what type of flight you choose. This activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.

Due to local regulations, sunrise hot air balloon excursion times do vary which may result in your excursion beginning just after sunrise. This is subject to the tour provider’s discretion and is not within our control.
Wave goodbye to Cappadocia and transfer to the airport for a flight back to Istanbul (expect to arrive between 1 pm and 4 pm), then grab your bags and jump on the metro as the group heads to the Sultanahmet District for the final evening of the trip. Meet up with your travel buds in the evening and take a stroll across the Galata Bridge to one of the city's trendiest neighbourhoods, a place of contradictions where tool-selling tradesman share space with chic cafes and galleries – this is the place to be seen. Perhaps, try a local favourite, balik ekmek (fish sandwich), for dinner, then cleanse the palate with a baklava. Maybe check out a few of the bars, or simply enjoy a farewell cay (Turkish tea) overlooking the Bosphorus.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Turkey adventure comes to an end after breakfast today, and there are no activities planned. However, if you'd like to spend more time in Istanbul, we’re happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private Bus, Public bus, Overnight Train, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), overnight train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Old City Walking Tour (Half Day)
  • Gallipoli - Fully guided Gallipoli tour & visit to the Commonwealth graveyards
  • Sirince - Village visit and fruit wine tasting
  • Troy - Archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Isa Bey Camii
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Artemis Temple Visit
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
  • Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City
  • Cappadocia - Valley walk
  • Cappadocia - Dinner at Local Family Home

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

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

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. This trip starts in Istanbul on Day 1 at 1 pm. This allows time after the welcome meeting to explore Istanbul.
2. There are internal flights on this trip and most internal flights in Turkey have a luggage restriction of 15kg checked and 8kg cabin.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 5 (Overnight train) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

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

Reviews