Turkey

Istanbul, not Constantinople!

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!

Day 1 : Istanbul Arrival

Welcome to Turkey! Upon arrival, you’ll settle into your hotel in Istanbul followed by 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 get lost in a 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 : Airport arrival transfer; 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. Another stop will be the Basilica Cistern, the basement of an ancient basilica that also doubled as a water storage tank. This oddity’s labyrinth of symmetrical columns will leave you in a daze. Next up is Topkapi Palace with its extensive grounds and many courtyards. It is a real work of art and an architectural marvel with its courtyards and harem quarters. 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 was the Roman Empire’s first Christian cathedral and it has also been an Eastern Orthodox church and Roman Catholic cathedral as well as a Greek Orthodox Christian place of worship throughout its existence.

After the tour, let’s stop for lunch at a local eatery that boasts great views of Hagia Sophia for some local specialties. The rest of the day will be yours to explore Istanbul. 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
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 3 : Istanbul

This morning we’ll venture into 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 the the 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. We’ll wrap up the tour with lunch at a restaurant adjacent to Chora Church. After lunch, we will 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
  • Accommodation : Hotel

Day 4 : Cappadocia (Flight duration approximately 1.5 hours)

Breakfast will be early this morning and we’ll 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. 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. After a short visit to the cave churches of Goreme, we’ll stop at the home of a local family for a cup of tea or coffee and to learn more about village life in Turkey. We’ll then travel to the former Greek village of Mustafapasa for a quick stroll and have a delicious homemade Turkish meal.

Included :

  • Activities : Cappadocia transfer (air & land); Goreme Open Air Museum; Mustafapasa; Tea/Coffee with local family; 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, we’ll visit the picturesque valleys of Cappadocia to walk leisurely among the chimney-like rock formations. Then onwards for a delicious lunch after which we’ll visit the underground city of Kaymakli with its subterranean houses situated among nearly 100 tunnels and 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.

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; Cappadocia chimney valleys; Kaymakli underground village; Whirling dervishes performance
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Cave hotel

Day 6 : Cappadocia

This morning we’ll head out for an easy hike in the Red Valley where you can appreciate cave churches, ancient rock tombs and stunning rock formations. From there, we’ll have lunch in Cavusin, a former Greek village that once housed Christian clergymen and churches of the Christian clergyman. You’ll have some time to explore this quaint village and then stop by a local winery to pick up some wine and hors d’oeuvres for a glass of wine at sunset overlooking another one of the many beautiful valleys of the region. 

Included :

  • Activities : Red Valley hike; Cavusin village; Local winery; Sunset viewing with wine; Free time
  • Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
  • Accommodation : Cave hotel

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

Today we’ll fly to Izmir and proceed directly to Ephesus, an ancient Greek city with a rich history and which 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! After our time in Ephesus, we’ll head to the hotel in Sirince to get checked in after which you’ll have the rest of the day to unwind.

Included :

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

Day 8 : Sirince 

Today you’ll have some R&R at 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. 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.

Included :

  • Activities : Free time; Optional activities (At your own expense)
  • Meals : Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Boutique hotel

Day 9 : Pamukkale (Travel time approximately 4 hours)

Today we will stop by The City of Love : Aphrodisias. 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 dip.

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 have the whole day at your leisure. If you’re up for it, try 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 while sipping your champagne on this river cruise. Otherwise you’ll have the 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 (Optional & at your own expense); 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; Airport departure transfer
  • Meals : Breakfast

*Itinerary is subject to change.

Regular Season 11-Day Tours

$3,200 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 $700. 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
  • International airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Private ground transportation in air-conditioned vehicles
  • 3 flights : Istanbul – Cappadocia / Cappadocia – Izmir / Pamukkale – Istanbul
  • Most activities (As noted in itinerary)
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches

What is not included :

  • Most dinners & lunches
  • Optional activities
  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Souvenirs
  • International flight
  • Supplementary insurance
Group Size

Each of our groups have a maximum of 12 travelers plus a local guide 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 and other currencies will not be accepted for legal tender. The most convenient way to handle money is to use a debit card for withdrawals from an ATM and/or to bring US dollars to exchange.

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!

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 access their system.

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
  • 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 a multiple-entry 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 paying your deposit. 

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 strongly 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.

Vaccinations

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

CDC Turkey

Trip Date

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USD $3200

Price based on double occupancy. Single Supplement can be purchased for an additional $700.


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