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Turkey (Türkiye) is a richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste, scenery from beaches to mountains, and the iconic city of İstanbul.

Experience gorgeous countryside, rich history, amazing food, and friendly locals on this Highlights of Türkiye Tour. When you set foot in Türkiye, you are following in the wake of some remarkable historical figures. Byzantine Christians cut cave churches into Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys, and Ottoman sultans luxuriated in İstanbul’s Topkapı Palace, ruling an empire that stretched from Budapest to Baghdad. At other points in history, Romans coursed down the Curetes Way at Ephesus (Efes), medieval Armenians built Ani’s churches, and whirling dervishes gyrated with Sufi mysticism.

This Highlights of Turkey Tour will not fail to impress even the most well-travelled individuals.

Contact us for custom tour details! Please note that this is a Sample Itinerary and can be altered to best suit your travel needs.

Highlights

  • Exploring the bustling streets of one of the most vibrant cities in the world, Istanbul
  • Meeting with friendly locals and learning about their unique way of life
  • Visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Kusadasi, and Ephesus
  • Wandering through the amazing markets and bazaars of Istanbul
  • Hiking around some of the otherworldly formations around Cappadocia
  • Enjoying amazing Turkish cuisine and regional specialties


STARTS AT

$2995

USD per Person

THIS IS A CUSTOMIZABLE ITINERARY FOR GROUPS OF ALL SIZES.
DATES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

Hagia Sofia - Tailor made Turkey Tour

DAY 1: WELCOME TO ISTANBUL, TÜRKIYE

Upon arrival at the Istanbul Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel on a comfortable A/C vehicle.

Istanbul is a treasure chest of East and West and a unique destination, which served as the capital of empires, religions, cultures and cuisine. It is one of the very few existing cities of the world that contributed to any existing cultures and peoples for thousands of years. Bringing together elements from Byzantine, Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Turkish civilizations, a visit to Istanbul is like walking through a time tunnel where history and tradition live alongside in perfect harmony.

Rest and refresh at your hotel.

Meals: -/-/-
Overnight: Istanbul, Hotel Pera Palace or similar

Turkey Cultural Tour

DAY 2: ISTANBUL – CITY TOUR

Enjoy the buffet breakfast of your hotel with a wide variety of pies, pastries, bread, black and green olives, homemade jams, fresh season fruits, and raw vegetables. This could be your favourite breakfast ever! Then we will start our tour with a professional tour guide. First, you will visit the Hippodrome, which was once the social center of Constantinople (the Byzantine name of the city). Built by the Romans in the 3rd Century AD, only fragments are left of what was once a grand stadium that held 100,000 spectators for public meetings and important events, including chariot races, coronations, political discussions, and executions. Later, you will continue your tour with a visit to the Blue Mosque, one of the most important temples of worship in the world. It is named for the blue Iznik tilework that decorates its interior and its dome can be seen from all over the Sultanahmet district.

Next, visit the extraordinary Imperial residence of 25 Ottoman Sultans – the Topkapi Palace.  Here you will be able to step back into time as you explore 500 years of Ottoman history. The Topkapi Palace complex will be regarded as a multi-ethnic construction with influences from Central Asia, Asia Minor, Persia, and Mesopotamia.

We complete the day visiting the enormous mass of Hagia Sophia, which was built by Emperor Justinian and inaugurated in 537 AD. For over nine centuries, it was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it remains the world’s 4th largest church. It contains some of the finest mosaics to have survived from the Byzantine period, including a haunting Virgin and Child in the Eastern apse.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: Istanbul, Hotel Pera Palace or similar

Istanbul Market Tour

DAY 3: ISTANBUL MARKETS & BAZAARS

Breakfast and enjoy another full-day tour including a visit to the famous Old Spice Market where you can find a vast diversity of spices, sacks of henna, many varieties of oils and herbs, and of course the world’s very best Turkish delight. Outside of the Bazaar, you’ll find the food market where you will be amazed with the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, the olive section, and the bean area. Then enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus. Your leisurely exploration of this historic waterway between Europe and Asia is delightfully relaxing. Continue with Cistern Basilica, the hidden Byzantine beauty of Istanbul just across the St Sophia. The 4th-century Basilica and a small cistern were transformed into a huge cistern in 6th century. Meanwhile, the level of the ground had changed dramatically because of the destructions in the area. It is a great atmospheric place with 360 columns. That is why it is called also Subterranean Palace. The water shortage problem in the town directed Romans to have many open-air and covered cisterns. This one is the largest roofed cistern in the town.

We will complete our tour at the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar’s first phase of construction began in 1455 under Mehmet the Conqueror, but it was added to many times over the centuries. The end result is an enormous labyrinth of covered streets lined with thousands of shops selling, for example, hand-woven carpets and kilims, gold and silver jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, leather goods, fine antiques and illuminated manuscripts.

We recommend dinner along Istanbul’s most famous street, pedestrianized Istiklal Caddesi.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: Istanbul, Hotel Pera Palace or similar
 

Blue Mosque - Tailor made Turkey Tour

DAY 4: ISTANBUL FOODIE WALKING TOUR

Breakfast at your hotel.

This morning, get ready for a full-day foodie walk. Our walk begins at Istanbul’s coolest hip neighbourhood Karakoy.  Karakoy today is a dynamic neighbourhood, to say the least. What used to be the main port of the Ottoman Empire and a site for local hardware stores is transforming slowly but surely into a hub of food, culture, and shopping.

The opening of the nearby Istanbul Modern Museum in 2004 sparked a renaissance that has gained momentum in the past couple of years. Now, hardware stores rub shoulders with galleries, restaurants, and boutiques, creating a dynamic blend of urban grit and glitter.
We will visit a café where Baklava (the most favourable of all Turkish deserts) is made by connoisseurs or masters sticking to the original formula and using one hundred percent natural ingredients. After savouring very fresh Baklava, we will continue to discover the streets of Karaköy stopping for tastings along the way. We will then take a ferry ride to the other side of the river that separates the European and Asian parts of Istanbul to explore the famous open-air street market of Kadikoy. Indulge yourself in the huge variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, with plenty to discover. Feel the real bazaar shopping experience with the fishmongers, bakers, butchers, and grocers singing out to attract you to their stall. Take your time and explore the many pastry shops, Turkish delight and deli stores, and aromatic spice stands.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

After a leisurely coffee/tea break we will hop on the nostalgic tram to go to Moda an old, quiet, cosmopolitan Istanbul neighbourhood. Moda is known as the most beautiful district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Hop back on the tram to the pier to take our ferry back to the European side.

Meals: B/L/-
Overnight: Istanbul, Hotel Pera Palace or similar

Cappadocia - Highlights of Turkey Tour

DAY 5: FLY TO CAPPADOCIA

Morning meeting with the guide at the hotel reception for airport pick-up service for boarding in a flight bound for Cappadocia. On arrival continue to our awaiting comfortable vehicle and drive to the land of wonders that is Cappadocia. Cappadocia has an interesting and remarkable topography and a dream-like landscape, complete with beautiful villages and houses carved from soft volcanic ash, underground cities and frescoed churches. The so-called fairy chimneys and troglodyte dwellings will take you to another world and will guarantee an unforgettable impression.

In Cappadocia we will focus on the very particular culture and foods of Anatolia.
After walking through a local farmers market you will proceed to a village where you will be cooking lunch in a village home with a local family. They will show you how to make manti, a traditional dish whose heritage stretches back in to the Central Asian origins of modern Turkey. You will taste what you have cooked for lunch.,

After lunch, we will introduce you to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia visit the amazing underground city of Kaymakli. Signs of an early troglodyte lifestyle are evident in the communal kitchens blackened by smoke, stables, and storage spaces carved into the rocks as need arose. The maze of living quarters hundreds of feet below ground is startling proof that tens of thousands of people existed deep within the earth.
and
Later, you will see the Pigeon Valley, where for centuries the locals used to keep pigeons in niches carved in the rock for their valuable fertilizing manure.

Our last stop is Uchisar, an extraordinary rock formation towering above the landscape and visible for miles around. This rock, riddled with windows and tunnels, was once used as a fortification and offers a magnificent panoramic view of Cappadocia and Mt. Erciyes in the distance.

Before check-in at our hotel, we will stop at a winery. This is the biggest and oldest winery (since 1943) in Cappadocia. We will tour the winery while tasting its local wines. The Okuzgozu- Bogazkere combinations (grapes native to Turkey) are quite promising. The family-operated winery is located underground, carved in natural rock. This natural cellar also provides excellent storage conditions for the wine.
Check in to your unique cave hotel in Cappadocia – a popular area famous with its cone-shaped geological formations.

Meals: B/L/-

Overnight : Cappadocia, Hotel Elika Cave Suites or similar

Optional Evening Program: On this day we suggest the Turkish Night, a beautiful show of traditional Turkish dances and dinner with unlimited alcoholic beverages.,

Hot Air Balloons - Turkey Cultural Tour

DAY 6: CAPPADOCIA 

Optional Early Morning Balloon Program: 
Early departure transfer from the hotel to the take-off field where the balloon has been prepared by fully trained staff. Following the safety briefing from the pilot, the balloon takes off and we expect to be airborne approximately 15 minutes before sunrise. 45 minutes of flying includes low-level flight, following the landscape contours of Cappadocia, and flying high enough to enjoy the topography from above. Soft drinks and cake at the landing. Drive back to the hotel for breakfast.

Our full-day sight-seeing will start with the rock formations beyond belief in Dervent Valley; then visit Zelve Valley, the oldest example of Cappadocian architecture, with elaborate shelters carved into the rock by the earliest monastic settlers. Nearby Pasabag, also known as Monk’s Valley, has amazing examples of hermitages hollowed out of volcanic rock formations.

We will visit the village of Avanos which is situated on the banks of the river Kızıl Irmak, the largest river in Turkey. The city is known mainly for the millenarian handmade confections of tapestry and red clay pottery, extracted from the banks of Kızıl Irmak. We will stop for lunch and then visit a ceramic cooperative, where it will be possible to know the entire production process of the famous Turkish ceramics.
Then, you will visit the Goreme Open-Air Museum where icons and other figurative representations were prohibited. The 11th century represents the “golden age” of religious art in Goreme. Then, you will visit the Goreme Valley, which has been occupied since the dawn of history. It is the valley of the churches. The wonderful and primitive 11th and 12th century frescoes cover the walls of these churches. The oldest churches in the area date back to the 6th century. Among the 356 churches, the most important ones are Yılanlı Kilise, The Elmalı Kilise, and The Tokalı Kilise.

Before going back to the hotel, there may be an optional stop to see an art and handicraft center of Cappadocia and see craftspeople possibly including a traditional rug workshop.

Optional tour for the evening: You will get a chance to see a ceremony performed by the Whirling Dervishes. This order was founded by a Sufi mystic who believed that music and dance can induce an ecstatic state liberating one’s soul from the stress and suffering of daily life. The ceremony consists of five parts including prayers, greetings, and musical improvisations. Its culmination is the whirling, which symbolizes the spiritual accent to divine harmony.

Meals: B/L/-
Overnight : Cappadocia, Hotel Elika Cave Suites or similar
 

Ephesus Archaeological site - Highlights of Turkey Tour

DAY 7: FLY TO IZMIR TO KUSADASI

This morning your guide, private driver, and vehicle will pick you up at your hotel and will escort you to Kayseri Airport for your flight to Izmir (On certain days of the week when there is no direct flight, the group will fly to Izmir via Istanbul).

Izmir, ancient Symirna is the third largest city bordering the Aegean Sea. This port city was, in Ottoman times, a melting pot that included Greeks, Armenians, Jews, French, and Italians. In Izmir we visit the Roman Agora, the open-air museum of Izmir which was used as a square-shaped marketplace during the Roman rule of the city followed by the visit of the antique Bazaar one of the most crowded corners where one can taste a great variety of delicious street and local food. Nearby is the Clock tower, the symbol of the city located in the heart of town, in Konak Square.

Continue to Kusadasi, the largest Turkish port.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight : Kusadasi, Hotel La Vista or similar

Ephesus Archaeological site - Highlights of Turkey Tour

DAY 8: EXPLORING EPHESUS

Today we will explore the ancient city of Ephesus – the Unesco World Heritage site. Its renowned ruins are among the most extensive in the world. In its heyday,  Ephesus rivaled Rome in its splendour.

Visit the Gymnasium, Odeon, Prytaneion, Nymphaion, Domitian Temple, Thermal Baths, Octagon House, Celsus Library, Agora, Serapeum, Arcade, and Double Church. The Temple of Artemis is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Explore The Terrace houses situated on the slopes of Mt. Coressus. The houses, occupied from the 1st to 7th centuries AD, offer a fascinating look at family life during the Roman period. The houses were abandoned after Arab raids during the 7th century and slowly fell into decay. They were preserved over time by soil from landslides.

Buffet-style lunch will be served at Bizimev Hanimeli, a family-owned restaurant famous for their huge varieties of homemade dishes. The famous chef Hatice has a cookbook with lovely recipes she has developed over time and has been serving for over 20 years.

After lunch enjoy the Archaeological Museum in Selcuk, this recently renovated museum of Ephesus contains artifacts from the ancient city, including scales, jewelry, and cosmetic boxes as well as coins, funerary goods and ancient statuary.

Meals: B/L/-
Overnight: Kusadasi, Hotel La Vista or similar
 

Pomegranates on a Market Tour- Highlights of Turkey Tour

DAY 9: LOCAL VILLAGE VISIT

After a delicious breakfast we will drive to the village of Tire to walk through its lively traditional open-air bazaar held once a week (Tuesdays) ** The village may change according to the bazaar setup day.

The bazaar is rich both in food products and traditional handcrafts. Enjoy a light lunch of gozleme (Gozleme is hand-rolled dough that is stuffed with spinach or potato cooked over a griddle) accompanied by fresh fruit juice and Turkish tea in the bazaar prepared by village women. Then we will stop at another village where you will watch evil eye production.

Meals: B/L/-
Overnight: Kusadasi, Hotel La Vista or similar
 

Ephesus Archaeological site - Highlights of Turkey Tour

DAY 10: PRIENE, MILETUS & DIDYMA

Breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy a full-day tour with your expert guide, private driver, and vehicle. Visit the ruins of Priene, Miletus, and Didyma (all very close to one another).

The Ionian ruins of Priene are magnificently situated on the southeastern slope of Mount Mycale. Priene was the world’s first designed city and the first example of the grid in city planning. Miletus, nearby, is a once-great port city – in fact, it was the greatest of all the Greek cities in Asia Minor. Its control extended over many overseas colonies. Don’t miss its magnificent theatre as well.

Past Miletus are the ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma – considered by many to be the most impressive singular monument on the Aegean coast. Didyma is also famous for its giant carved Head of Medusa, one of the three biggest temples in the world.

Enjoy your farewell dinner at a seaside restaurant.

Meals: B/L/-
Overnight: Kusadasi, Hotel La Vista or similar

Nicola in Cappadocia - Custom Turkey Tour

DAY 11: DEPARTURE DAY

In the morning we will drive one hour and a half to Izmir airport to take a short flight to Istanbul connecting with our outgoing flight.

End of our services.

Contact us for custom tour details! Please note that this is a Sample Turkey Itinerary and can be altered to best suit your travel needs. 

  • 10 nights accommodation (4 / 5 star hotels)
  • Private transfers and transportation
  • All activities/entrance fees/culinary programmes, etc as per itinerary
  • Domestic flights – to Cappadocia to Izmir to Istanbul
  • Local guides with English-speaking guides for excursions
  • All meals as mentioned (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • All taxes

Tour Exclusions

  • International Flights & Domestic Flights (can be arranged through us nicola@finisterra.ca)
  • Mandatory travel medical insurance and optional cancellation insurance (can be arranged through us nicola@finisterra.ca)
  • Beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of personal nature
  • Services and entrances not mentioned above
  • Passport, COVID Tests, and visa fees
  • Tips/Gratuities for housekeeping, service staff, drivers, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTES

PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change. Although we always do our best to stick to the itinerary, due to the ever-changing nature of Mother Nature, activities, hotels, and visits are subject to change due to forces beyond our control.

FLIGHTS: Please do not purchase your flights until this tour is confirmed.

PASSPORTS: Must be valid for at least 6 months upon return date to your home country. Proper documentation is the responsibility of each traveller.

VISAS & VACCINATIONS: Responsibility of the traveller. Most visitors require a VISA when visiting Turkey. It is the TRAVELLER’S responsibility to check on entrance requirements.

Date: Custom Departure available upon request

Prices from: $2995 USD per participant based on Double / Twin accommodation
*Please note, the hotels and routing of this tour can be altered to best suit your needs. Pricing is based on 2 travellers.

Travel Insurance

Cancellation, Travel, Flight, and Health insurance are required and are the responsibility of the participant to research and secure the appropriate coverage. Click HERE for a Travel Insurance Quote or please email nicola@finisterra.ca for a quote.

Check with your local travel agent /insurance provider/health plan for advice about traveling overseas.

Waiver Form

All participants will be required to sign a Waiver Form prior to departure.

Please note that these are just sample hotels and all accommodation is subject to change. We can upgrade hotels for an additional fee.

ISTANBUL – Pera Pera Palace hotel

CAPPADOCIA – Elika Suites Cave Hotel

KUSADASI – La Vista Hotel


Please note ALL ACCOMMODATION IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Hotels will be confirmed 30 days prior to departure.

Pre and Post Tour Accommodation: If you require accommodation before or after your tour we can arrange this for you.

Are you all ready for your next adventure?

Even though we wish you a flawless trip, things can happen, especially nowadays. Make sure you are prepared with a Travel Insurance policy that is right for you. Finisterra recommends Manulife Insurance or John Hancock Please feel free to ask us about Covid-19 Insurance Coverage, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance, Travel Medical Insurance, or any other questions you may have.

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WHY TRAVEL WITH US?

At Finisterra Travel we help you discover, push personal boundaries, and explore the unknown.

We are super passionate about sustainable, transformational, and adventure travel. Definitely not “armchair travellers”, we have firsthand experience of where you’ll be heading.No one wants to feel like a tourist which is why when we plan a custom travel experience for you, we strive to make your adventure as authentic as possible. We offer an array of Small Group Adventures & Custom Trips, and have something for every type of traveller.

Our unique itineraries are designed to best showcase some of our favourite destinations around Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, and Europe. All itineraries are fully-customizable.Not your typical online travel agency, nor are we quite a tour operator, we are international travel designers with a flair for unique experiences. We’d love to hear from you!


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