Turkey

Turkish Delight and Everything Nice!

Explore the historic churches, mosques and palaces of Istanbul as you learn about the various empires that once ruled Turkey. Navigate through subterranean tunnels and homes that date back to the 7th century B.C in Cappadocia. Bathe in crystal-blue, natural thermal pools at the ‘Cotton Castle’ of Pamukkale and so much more. Turkey has a vast and varied history with awe-inspiring scenery, so come discover all of Turkey’s hidden treasures!

You can click on the album to see pictures from our last trip:  Turkey Photo Album

Day 1 : Istanbul Arrival

Welcome to Turkey! Upon arrival, you will settle into your hotel in Istanbul and then have some free time to walk around and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the former capital of the Ottoman Empire on your own. The Old City is chalked full of wondrous Byzantine and Ottoman churches, palaces, and edifices that will transport you back in time. We suggest dropping by one of the many bazaars and getting lost in the labyrinth of stalls selling spices, fresh produce, and homemade Turkish pastries. To fight off jet lag, go for a cup of Turkey’s famous coffee that’ll put an extra pep in your step!

Included :

  • Activities : Arrival (At your own expense); Free time
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 2 : Istanbul

Today, we will start the day off with a walking tour to see some of the most iconic sites in Istanbul. We’ll stop at the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as The Blue Mosque, which is still an active place of prayer for many Muslims in Istanbul. Its hand painted interior is adorned with various shades of blue and astoundingly intricate patterns. No tour of Istanbul would be complete without a stop at Hagia Sophia, a structure with a tumultuous history which has also been the religious seat of many of the ruling empires. Hagia Sophia has been an Eastern Orthodox church, Roman Catholic cathedral as well as a Greek Orthodox Christian place of worship throughout its existence. Our last stop will be at the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. It is stuffed to the brim with fine jewelry, rugs and trinkets galore. After learning about Istanbul, the rest of the day will be yours to explore the city. If you want some R&R, why not go for a steam and a massage at a Turkish bath? Our tour guide will be able to point you in the direction of the best ones as well as any activities based on your interest.

Included :

  • Activities : Istanbul guided tour; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 3 : Istanbul

This morning we’ll venture out around the city again to see some more of the marvelous sights that Istanbul has to offer. We’ll see Dolmabahce Palace, a magnificent Ottoman palace with elaborate architecture in the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles. We’ll also stop by Chora Church, a stunning church that has been the place of worship for many different religions over the centuries, just like so many of the churches in Istanbul. The sightseeing portion of the tour will end with the unique Bulgarian St. Stephen Church, made entirely of cast iron! After lunch, you can do some shopping at the Spice Bazaar where there are over 80 shops selling spices, sweets, Turkish delight, jewelry, souvenirs and other goodies.

Included :

  • Activities : Istanbul guided tour; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 4 : Cappadocia (Flight duration approximately 1.5 hours)

We’ll have breakfast, get checked out of the hotel and then head out to catch a flight to Cappadocia. On arrival, we’ll get checked in at our boutique cave hotel and have some time to freshen up after the flight. We’ll have lunch together as a group and thereafter, the rest of the afternoon is yours to explore our amazing cave hotel and its beautiful property!

Included :

  • Activities : Cappadocia transfer (air & land); Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Cave hotel

Day 5 : Cappadocia 

We’ll start our morning early with an enchanting flight in our own private hot air balloon at sunrise. Before lifting off, you’ll be offered some light snacks as well as coffee and tea. As you ascend, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the surreal landscape of Cappadocia as you drift above rooftops, pigeon houses carved into unique rock formations and verdant orchards and vineyards as far as the eye can see. This experience is truly like one straight out of a fairy tale! This will be followed by a small celebratory toast with some local champagne. After our magical hot air balloon ride, we’ll head back to the hotel for some breakfast and time to freshen up.

After breakfast, you’ll have some free time to rest after our early morning hot air balloon flight and we’ll then head to the underground city of Kaymakli containing subterranean houses situated among nearly 100 tunnels. Built by the Phyrgians in the 8th – 7th centuries B.C., Kaymakli was discovered by a villager while he was looking for the water which was disappearing from his irrigation system in his field. The floors that are now open to tourists are believed to have sheltered 2,000 people from persecution and looting. Thereafter, we’ll tour the Goreme Open Air Museum with over a dozen cave churches built into the sides of cliffs. These are some of the earliest churches in history.  In the evening, let’s grab dinner together and then go to a whirling dervishes performance in a 12th century Seljuk caravanserai, a roadside inn where caravans could stop for a rest as they traveled along the ancient trade routes.

Included :

  • Activities : Private hot air balloon ride; Kaymakli underground village; Goreme Open Air Museum; Whirling dervishes performance
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Cave hotel

Day 6 : Cappadocia

This morning we’ll head out for an easy hike/walk in the Red Valley where you can appreciate cave churches, ancient rock tombs and stunning rock formations. Our hike will lead us to Cavusin, a former Greek village that once housed Christian clergymen and their churches. Once there, we’ll stop by a local rug cooperative to learn about what makes Turkish rugs unique and how they are made followed by a traditionally Turkish lunch in the nearby village. You’ll have some free time in the afternoon at the hotel and then we’ll pick up some wine and head out to a perfect viewpoint overlooking the Red Valley as the sun sets. 

Included :

  • Activities : Red Valley hike; Cavusin village; Lunch at local family’s house, Free time; Sunset viewing with wine
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Cave hotel

Day 7 : Izmir – Sirince (Flight duration approximately 1.5 hours) 

Today we’ll fly to Izmir and proceed to our accommodation, which is one of the loveliest hotels you’ve ever seen. Its elevated terrace restaurant offers far reaching views of the nearby village as well as a swimming pool where you can take a dip. The hotel’s enchanting cottages are right out of the pages of a fairy tale and the enchanting olive groves and vineyards that surround the property create the perfect tranquil setting. You’ll have the rest of the day to explore the hotel premises and village.

Included :

  • Activities : Izmir/Sirince transfer (air & land); Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 8 : Sirince 

Today you’ll have the first half of the day for some R&R at our hotel. One of the owners of the hotel offers a hands on cooking class if you’re keen on learning how to make some traditional Turkish dishes. Otherwise you can make your way to the nearby village and grab a cup of joe at a historic coffee house or get your fortune read! The choice is yours and the guide will be there to point you in the right direction. In the early afternoon, we’ll then be on our way to Ephesus, an ancient Greek city with a rich history and has been inhabited since 6000 B.C. It served as an important center for Christianity and is said to be where the Virgin Mary spent the last days of her life. Ephesus is also home to the amazing ruins of Celsus Library, a plein air Roman amphitheater, the famed House of Virgin Mary and much more for you to discover!

Included :

  • Activities : Free time; Optional activities (At your own expense); Ephesus & Virgin Mary House
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 9 : Pamukkale (Travel time approximately 4 hours)

After breakfast this morning, we will stop by The City of Love : Aphrodisias on our way to Pamukkale. Here lie the well-preserved ruins of an ancient temple consecrated to the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. Feel the love in Aphrodite’s temple as you imagine what ancient Greek life was like and take in this impressive site which includes what locals say is the largest ancient stadium in the world. Next, we’ll proceed to Pamukkale where you’ll get settled into your hotels and freshen up. Pamukkale is known for its picturesque terraced thermal pools contained in luminous white travertine, also known as “The Cotton Castle”. Here, we’ll take a dip in the mineral-rich pools for an unforgettable sunset swim.

Included :

  • Activities : Aphrodisias; Pamukkale thermal pools; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 10 : Istanbul (Flight duration approximately 1 hour)

This morning we’ll catch an early flight back to Istanbul and upon arrival, you’ll head for the Bosphorus motor-yacht excursion where you’ll cruise the river as you take in Ottoman imperial palaces, traditional Yalis (waterside villas) and shore villages. Enjoy the stunning city lights and the breeze through your hair while sipping your champagne on this private yacht.  The yacht will drop us off right in front of the opulent Beylerbeyi Palace with its majestic and extravagant furnishing.  Here we will take a 45 minute tour of the palace which in our opinion is the most grand of them all and not as crowded making it ideal to truly enjoy the magnificence and opulence of this palace.  After the palace we’ll head back to the hotel and you will have free time to get in some final souvenir shopping, grab your last cup of Turkish coffee, or enjoy one more piece (or 5!) of baklava.

Included :

  • Activities : Istanbul transfer (air & land); Bosphorus cruise on private yacht, Beylerbeyi Palace, Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 11 : Istanbul

Depending on your flight time, you will have free time on your own in Istanbul before catching your flight back home.

Included :

  • Activities : Free time; Departure (At your own expense)
  • Meals : Breakfast

*Itinerary is subject to change.

Regular Season 11-Day Tours

$3,500 Trip Cost (See below for inclusions and exclusions.)

I’m a single traveler. Will I be charged a single supplement?

Accommodation is on a double occupancy basis and if you are traveling on your own, you will be sharing a room with another traveler of the same gender. If there is no one of the same gender with whom to pair you, you WILL be required to pay the single supplement.

If you decide at the booking stage that you want a single room throughout the tour, you can purchase the “single supplement”. The single supplement fee for this trip is $650. If you would like your own room, you can buy the additional supplement at check out.

What is included :

  • 10 nights accommodation (Double occupancy, breakfast included)
  • Local guides
  • Domestic airport transfers
  • Private ground transportation in air-conditioned vehicles
  • 3 flights : Istanbul – Cappadocia / Cappadocia – Izmir / Pamukkale – Istanbul
  • Most activities (As noted in itinerary including sunrise hot air balloon and private Bosphorus yacht cruise)
  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches

What is not included :

  • Most dinners & 3 lunches
  • Optional activities
  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Souvenirs
  • International airport pick-up & drop-off
  • International flight
  • Supplementary insurance
Group Size

Each of our groups have a maximum of 12 travelers plus local guides in Turkey. We try to price our trips very reasonably while taking into consideration the small group sizes as well as the meals and activities that are included.

When tour group sizes increase to 15-30 travelers, the general ambiance of the trip is less authentic and travelers tend to be less able to integrate into a society. Large tour groups also generally have less authentic contact with the locals. The more people in a tour group, the more the group experiences their own culture rather than the one of the country they are visiting.

Small group sizes are beneficial because they tend to allow for easier transport and communication. They are more mobile and can be more easily integrated into a social scene in Turkey. A small group traveler is also less likely to be treated as a tourist ready to be exploited for his/her money. Additionally, small groups are more flexible as travel plans can be more easily changed or altered en route. If the group discovers a special event or festival in Turkey that they would like to attend, and this is not covered by the original tour itinerary; it is possible to change the itinerary. A small group size also means that travelers will receive more individual attention from their tour guide. As a small group, it is easier to come to an agreement and for the tour guide to alter the reservations.

Small groups are low impact in Turkey because they don’t introduce a large number of foreigners to a local scene where they can have adverse impacts on the local society and other travelers. For example, a large tour group can take up all the seats on a local bus or book out an entire restaurant forcing locals and other travelers away from their preferences.

Currency

Turkey uses the Turkish Lira (TRY) and other currencies such as the Euro and US Dollar will sometimes be accepted for legal tender while in Turkey. The most convenient way to handle money is to use a debit card for withdrawals from an ATM and/or to bring US dollars/Euros to exchange.  If you do run out of Lira and only have Euro or USD most stores and restaurants will take it but best to try to have some Lira on you at all time.

If you need to buy Lira on arrival, you can exchange a small amount at the Istanbul airport. If exchanging at the airport, it’s usually best to exchange only a small amount and then seek a better deal elsewhere. *Please note that traveler’s checks are not advised and not widely accepted anymore.

Finding places to exchange currency in large cities in Turkey will be easy enough. However, if you’re heading off to rural areas or the smaller towns or more rural areas, exchanging cash can be more difficult. It’s best to have some Lira on you.

Major card providers are accepted in larger cities and tourist areas in Turkey. If you’re in more remote areas or shopping at smaller, local boutiques, you might find that credit cards are not as readily accepted. If in rural Turkey, you may find that cash is the only acceptable form of payment. It is a good idea to carry some cash on you just in case!

ATMs are common in towns and cities. As a general rule, using ATMs for cash withdrawal is one of the smartest ways to get money. The exchange rates applied are usually fair and they’re convenient to use. However, do make sure you know what fees your home bank charges and watch the machine for the fees added by the ATM operator. If your bank adds a per transaction fee, for example, then taking out larger sums less frequently would be a more sensible way to reduce overall costs. The majority of ATMs offer English language or other language options for the convenience of foreigners.

We suggest bringing or having access to anywhere from $500 – $800 while on the trip, either in cash or on your debit card. WE HIGHLY ADVISE BUDGETING MORE MONEY THAN YOU EXPECT TO SPEND IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Souvenirs

There are plenty of souvenirs to be found in Turkey. There are countless souvenir shops in all of the places we’ll be visiting, especially in Istanbul. You can spend hours browsing for that perfect souvenir. Local craft markets can be found as well. These creations will make a special gift for your loved ones – or yourself! Some examples of unique Turkish souvenirs are hand-woven rugs, spices, pottery, Turkish Delight aka lokum and the list goes on…

A good rule of thumb in responsible traveling is to buy locally. Keep in mind the source of the souvenirs. It is obvious that some are not from Turkey at all, but clearly marked China or some other foreign country.

Communication

If you have a smart phone, it will likely work in Turkey, but coverage may be spotty if not absent in the more rural areas. Be sure to check with your provider to get informed about data and call roaming while abroad. You also may consider contacting your service provider to learn about what kind of international plans they offer for calls, texts, and data.

Wifi 

In general, hotels, restaurants and other public places in just about any tourist area in Turkey offer wifi. Bear in mind that although it’s available, it’s not always as fast as you may be used to. You may have to ask your hotel or restaurant staff for the wifi password (wifi şifre, VEE-fee SHEEF-reh) to connect. Please be aware that at the cave hotel in Cappadocia, the signal in the rooms is hit or miss and the strongest and most stable connection can be accessed in the hotel’s lobby.

What to Bring 

Temperatures in Turkey in the month of May can vary depending on the region, but are generally are warm during the day and cool at night. The month of May has generally little rainfall and cool to warm temperatures with average daily highs in the 60s – 70s°F throughout the month and with the possibility of colder (40s – 50s°F) temperatures at night.

Below are a few things that we suggest bringing to make your trip more comfortable :

  • A positive attitude and open mind
  • Sunscreen
  • Umbrella (this is very useful for shade when touring the Roman ruins)
  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Diarrhea/constipation medicine
  • Motion sickness medicine (if needed)
  • Walking shoes or sneakers with good tread (for hiking in Cappadocia)
  • Warm jacket/coat
  • Cardigan or light jacket
  • For women a scarf
  • Small, across the shoulder day bag or small backpack
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Napkins/roll of toilet paper
  • Small hair dryer (if needed)
  • Flashlight
  • Swimsuit
  • Shampoo/conditioner/soap

Most citizens of Turkey are Muslims, but Turkish society is pretty modern and (in principle) secular, so European dress styles prevail.

Few Turkish women or men wear shorts, sleeveless tops or revealing clothing. A light coverup or cardigan is a good idea for women in case you do decide to wear a short sleeved or sleeveless top. Pretty much any shoes are fine, but remember to bring comfortable walking shoes as you will be on the move quite a bit. Before entering any mosques, you will need to remove your shoes, so keep this in mind when packing footwear.

When visiting mosques, women should wear slacks or a dress or blouse and skirt (at least below the knees), and with the arms and shoulders completely covered either by sleeves or a scarf. The head should be covered by a headscarf. Men should wear long trousers and a sleeved shirt.

A comfortable and securely closable bag is also a good idea if you have a camera or other travel items while out and about on excursions. It is also advisable to avoid flashy, expensive accessories and/or jewelry that are valuable or precious to you.

Turkey’s electrical outlets are Euro plug-type round pin sockets with 220-240 volts (V) and 50 Hz frequency. Be prepared to pack the necessary adapters and converters if you plan on bringing electronic devices.

Laundry

Almost all of the hotels on this trip offer laundry services, if needed.

Safety

Turkey is a safe country in terms of crime, violent and non-violent. The most common crime that occurs is petty crime such as pick pocketing. Those who get their belongings stolen or have had something bad happen to them usually have acted irresponsibly. In most cases of theft, drugs and alcohol are usually involved. If you steer clear of illegal and irresponsible behavior, you will have an unforgettable experience in Turkey!

Water
Most people in Turkey, local and foreign, generally do not drink the tap water, but it is safe to brush you teeth with. Most travelers to Turkey prefer the bottled water which is readily available for a small fee at restaurants, hotels, cafes, food stores, and kiosks.
As in most countries we travel to, we encourage our travelers to be conscious of the world’s growing plastic waste problem. We suggest pooling money together with other travelers in the group to purchase larger bottles or jugs of water and refilling your own personal water bottles from there.

Another thing you can do to help the environment is to put purchased items in your day pack/backpack rather than using the plastic bag that the store provides you. Small things can add up to make a big difference!

Medical Facilities

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey website has a list of doctors and medical facilities in various cities throughout Turkey. In the unlikely case of a medical emergency, you will be directed to a medical facility of good standing.

Tipping

In Turkey, tipping is the norm, but more modest than most Western countries. Most modest restaurants will appreciate 5% ~ 10%. In higher end restaurants, you should tip 10% ~ 15%. If you received exemplary service, you are welcome to tip more.

  • Bellhops/Luggage porters : 2 – 4 LIRA ($0.50 ~ $1 USD) per piece of luggage.
  • Taxi : Round up to the next Lira or more, especially if the service exceeded expectations. (i.e. If the fare is 19.40 Lira, give 20.)
  • Hotel maid : 5 ~ 7 LIRA ($1 ~ $2 USD) a day daily or at the end of your stay in cash on the bedside table or bed.
  • Waiter : 5% ~ 10% of the bill in modest restaurants. 10% ~ 15% of the bill in luxury restaurants.
  • Tour guide : 35 ~ 70 LIRA ($10 ~ $20 USD) per day or more, especially if you feel that your trip was enhanced by the guide’s services.
Arrival

In your pre-departure notes you will receive the name of the hotel in both the local language and English as well as pertinent phone numbers.

Visa

All visitors for tourist purposes need a visa to travel to Turkey. Travelers from Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and the United States must obtain an e-Visa online prior to arrival. For this trip, you’ll need a single-entry visa that will be valid for a stay of up to 90 days. To apply for the visa online, please click on the link below :

Republic of Turkey Electronic Visa Application

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates.

If you are not a citizen of one of the above mentioned countries, please check with the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate for information on visas and travel to Turkey.

Flights

Once you book your flights, please forward your flight information to us.  Your arrival and departure city is Istanbul.

*Please do not book any flights until you receive a confirmation from us which will be sent to you within 1 ~ 2 business days after booking the trip. 

PEAK Season : June to August – Temperatures soar into the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit and the weather is mostly hot and dry. Accommodation prices increase to match the demand from incoming tourists.

SHOULDER Season : April, May and September – Shoulder season is right before and after peak season and is a great time to experience Turkey as you won’t miss out on warmer weather, but will experience less crowds.

LOW Season : October to March – Low season. Temperatures are cold and you can experience heavy snowfall to the East of Turkey. By the coast the winters remain mild.

Istanbul – Old City



Cappadocia Cave Hotel


Sirince (bed & breakfast)


Pamukkale

*All hotels subject to change.

Insurance

We recommend that you purchase trip/travel insurance for your trip. We work with Travelex, which offers travel protection plans to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Otherwise, you are welcome to shop around online for a provider and policy that best suits your needs.

For more information on the recommended plans or to enroll, click on the image below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792. Globe Drifters’ reference location number is 09-0984.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 E7N

Vaccinations

Below is information from the CDC and its recommendations regarding vaccinations for travel to Turkey.

CDC Turkey

Trip Date

May 11
MAY 21, 2019
RESERVE YOUR SPOT
USD $3,500

Price based on double occupancy. Single Supplement can be purchased for an additional $650.


    3 REVIEWS

  1. I am an experienced traveler, but I never thought I was a “tour person.” Which is to say, I never wanted to hop on a bus with 50 strangers and take pictures out of the windows, or get rushed through attractions without any sense of culture or history. Globe Drifters redefined for me what a tour could be in the best possible way.

    My mom and I recently went on the Turkey trip with Jodie. I had started to map out a vacation there a few years ago, but it was a daunting task due to the size of the country and time limitations. Globe Drifters made planning and traveling effortless, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much more fun it was to discover a new country with 11 new friends.

    First of all, the pre-trip communication was excellent. We were given a daily itinerary, a clear list of what we needed to provide the company for internal flights and hotels, a checklist of important items to bring, and reminders to obtain visas, etc. Globe Drifters also set up a private group chat and Facebook page so we could get to know each other, and to ensure we could communicate easily overseas.

    Then, in 3 regions of Turkey over a mere 10 days, we hiked, swam in pools and mineral baths, explored ruins and underground caves, made bread, visited mosques and churches and museums, went boating and hot air ballooning, ate amazing food, straddled 2 continents, and strayed from the beaten path with excellent local guides. There was a good amount of free time as well. Because we were a small group, we really got to know each other and always had people to hang out with. We had enough structure that we had time to see everything, and enough flexibility that we were able to choose between several optional stops and go back to areas we liked. The hotels were thoughtfully chosen, and a couple were downright spectacular.

    I can now say that I am a very enthusiastic “tour person,” at least if Globe Drifters is doing the planning. Thanks from me and my mom for the trip of a lifetime!

  2. I got an email from a meetup group that I haven’t attended in a couple of years saying that the Turkey trip was back on. I read the itinerary, and it just spoke to me like nothing before. I read the reviews and decided to make a phone call to answer some questions. I took a leap of faith and decided to go. Back in January. Got back a week ago and it was one of the most fun and memorable experiences I’ve ever had! Absolutely loved it!!! Jodie was awesome. Knows what she’s doing!! Great and diverse group of fellow travelers! Just so hard to put into words what I experienced on this trip. Going to Thailand in November! Can’t wait!! I know I’ve found my travel niche! Highly recommend Globe Drifters…you will not be disappointed!!

  3. Such an amazing trip! Just have to appreciaiate the whole experience! The people, places, everything! It surpassed my expectations and I can’t wait to go on another adventure! Cheers, Jodie. See you in Thailand in November😁

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