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TNN’s Turkey Tour

October 11 - October 21, 2023

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia and with a culture that’s a mix of both, Turkey is a country with a long history. From the bustling metropolis of Istanbul to the wide-open landscapes of Cappadocia, from ancient Greek ruins to the relaxing beaches of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, this tour will give you a sample of this country’s rich culture, food, and landscapes.

Turkey is all around a fascinating country to explore. From 10,000-year-old Neolithic villages to the powerful Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, each civilization has left its unique mark here.

This itinerary is designed to showcase Turkey’s rich and varied culture, visiting places travelers don’t always see. We’ll explore transcontinental Istanbul with its vibrant markets and magnificent mosques, discover the distinctive fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, learn how to make traditional red clay pottery, tour the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, dine on bygone Turkish dishes, and even relax on the beach.

Using our local connections and deep experience, you’ll get off the beaten path and explore places and interact with locals in a way no other tour operator can provide while still hitting the highlights. You’ll meet and dine with locals, gain insights into the food and culture of the country through guided tours, explore non-touristy neighborhoods, and walk away with a deeper understanding of this magnetic place.

If you’re the kind of traveler who wants a deeper, more authentic travel experience – not a tour that just shows you pretty buildings, then our tour is for you.

Options

Twin Share Room, Single Room

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To reserve your spot on a tour, a 40% deposit is required. This deposit is 100% refundable for 30 days. See our terms and conditions for more on our refund policy.

Tour Itinerary

You can arrive any time today. Our guide will be around to welcome you and answer any questions that you have. We’ll meet for an orientation meeting in the early evening before taking you to one of our favorite spots in Istanbul for a welcome dinner.

We’ll kick off the tour with a walking tour of Sultanahmet. This neighborhood is the heart of Istanbul and home to the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern, all of which we will also visit. In the afternoon, we’ll take a walking tour of the 17th-century Spice Market. We’ll end the day with a traditional dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants.

We’ll start our second day in Istanbul with a walking tour of the famous Grand Bazaar. Dating back to the 15th century, this is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Afterwards, we’ll visit the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, which is located on a hilltop that overlooks the city. In the evening, we’ll take a ferry to the hip district of Kadikoy on the Asian side of the city. Once there, we’ll wander through the local markets and have dinner at a famous restaurant serving forgotten traditional Turkish dishes before taking a sunset ferry back to our hotel.

Today, we’ll start with a morning walk through the old Jewish, Roma, and Armenian neighborhood of Balat. Afterwards, we’ll visit Galata, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, where we’ll do a baklava tasting at the best baklava shop in the city. On our last night in Istanbul, you’ll have the option to join the group for dinner or head off on your own.

We’ll begin the day with a 1.5-hour morning flight to the Cappadocia region. To get oriented, we’ll first take a panoramic tour of South Cappadocia. In the evening, we’ll take a sunset walk through the village and share an optional group dinner.

Today, we’ll visit the impressive UNESCO site of Goreme, an open-air museum of monasteries and churches cut into the volcanic rock. Afterwards, we’ll visit Ortahisar Castle and Fairy Chimney Valley, home to extraordinary natural rock formations created from volcanic ash over millions of years. In the afternoon, we’ll learn how to make traditional red clay pottery in a special workshop we’ve arranged. In the evening, you can join us for an optional group dinner or wander on your own!

This morning, you have the option to start the day with a hot air balloon ride at sunrise (not included, approximately $175 USD). In the late morning, the entire group will meet for a tour of the region where we’ll visit Uchisar Castle and tour the Kaymakli Underground City, a massive complex of caves where thousands of people have lived for centuries. On our way back, we’ll stop at Pigeon Valley for some incredible views and end the day with an optional group dinner.

We’ll start the day with a 1.5-hour morning flight to the city of Izmir. We’ll take a quick walking tour to see the city and then make our way to the coastal town of Kusadasi. Once there, we’ll take a walking tour to get oriented and end the day with a home cooked dinner with some of our local friends.

Today, we’ll take a day trip to the famous historical site of Ephesus, the ruins of an ancient Greek city dating back to 133 BC. We’ll spend the full day touring this incredible site, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Returning to Kusadasi in the late afternoon, you’ll have the rest of the day and evening to yourself.

Today is a free day where you can unwind and soak up your last full day in Turkey. Choose from relaxing on the beach, having a traditional hammam spa experience, or taking an excursion to Pamukkale. Our guide will help you choose and book anything you need. Tonight, we’ll all meet back in Kusadasi for our last dinner together as a group.

On our last day, we’ll take an early morning flight from Izmir to Istanbul (approximately a 1-hour flight). You’ll then transfer to your departing flights home (departing flights must be at 3pm or later).

Tour Essentials

Accommodation

Accommodation are 2 or 3 star hotels. All the rooms come with en suite bathrooms. If you book a twin share room and are traveling solo, you’ll be paired with someone of the same gender.

Transport

During the trip, we’ll travel in private vans and planes in between destinations as well as public transportation while in major cities.

Meals

Daily breakfast, two lunches, and five dinners are included. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice. Alcohol is not included.

Sustainability

We aim to offer as sustainable an experience as we can. The tap water is safe to drink so we encourage you to bring a water bottle. Trash is recycled whenever possible and we avoid mass tourism activities that cause harm to the environment and/or do not benefit local communities.

Small Groups

This tour requires a minimum of 10 participants and has a maximum of 15 participants in order to ensure the best small group tour experience. With such a small group, you’ll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people.

Expert guides

Your tour will be led by a licensed and local expert guide. Our guides are always on hand, every day of the trip, to provide additional information, create spontaneous activities, join the group for non-included activities and meals, and to ensure that the trip is as memorable, fun, and informative as possible.

What's Included

What’s Included

  • Accommodation
  • Internal flights (Istanbul to Cappadocia to Izmir to Istanbul)
  • Transportation listed above with a private driver
  • All meals listed above
  • All activities and entrance fees listed above
  • Airport transfers
  • Local guides during activities
  • Tour Leader throughout the trip

What’s Not Included

  • Flights to/from Turkey
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Meals and activities not mentioned
  • Travel insurance (which is required)
  • Optional activities not listed

FAQ

What are your COVID policies?
This tour is currently open to all travelers. We will closely monitor any new policies and comply with any new restrictions or requirements needed. If the rules change, we’ll let you know.

What about COVID testing?
Should COVID testing be required as a condition of entry or exit, we will help you find testing locations, though you are responsible for the cost of the COVID test and for booking your own tests.

What is the age range of people on this tour?
Our tours see people from 22 to 75. They really run the gambit. In the past, the average age on this tour is about 40. As we’ve found age is only a number, the variety in ages has never been detrimental to the group dynamics!

Is there a lot of walking?
All our tours have lots of walking tours involved that last between 2-3 hours each. While there is no strenuous hiking involved on this tour, you should be prepared to be on your feet a lot.

Tell me about your guides.
Our expert tour leaders are fully licensed guides. They’ll be responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the trip, handling all of the local logistics, and dealing with any unforeseen situations that may arise. Our tour leaders are always on hand, every day of the trip, to provide additional information, create spontaneous activities, join the group for non-included activities and meals, and ensure that the trip is as memorable, fun, and informative as possible. During the course of the trip, we’ll also use other guides for some of our day tours.

Will I have any time to myself?
Of course! We hate tours that book every minute of your day. While we will be busy, there will also be plenty of time for you to explore on your own. Travel is about adventure and discovery, so we emphasize that on our tours. We want you to see stuff that interests you specifically.

What am I going to do during the listed “free time”?
Our guides will be on hand to give you suggestions, help you decide what to do, and be around. If you want to go off on your own, we get that. We want you to explore and break out of your comfort zone! Our guides are here to help and, after you join the tour, you’ll be sent a list of potential activities you can do on your own.

How many spots can I purchase at once?
Reservations on the tour are limited to a maximum of two per person to ensure that everyone who wants to gets a chance to go.

What kind of rooms are we staying in?
We will be staying in 2 star hotels the entire trip.

Is airfare provided?
No, you’ll be responsible for your own airfare to and from the tour.

Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, all guests will be required to have travel insurance for the duration of the trip. We’ll be asking for proof before departure. If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to continue on the tour.

Is there an age requirement?
You must be at least 18 years old.

Will I need to fill out any release forms?
Yes, you’ll be required to fill out and sign a liability waiver releasing us from any and all liability related to the tour.

What about visas?
If you require a visa to enter any of these destinations, you’ll need to get that in advance at your own expense. We do not offer any help in this area.

What if I change my mind? What is your refund policy?
We understand plans change. Deposits are refundable up to 30 days after purchase. They can be transferred once in a calendar year to another tour. (You have to do so within 90 days.) Balance payments are due 31 days after purchase. Cancelations made between 90 – 60 days before the tour start date: 50% refund of the balance amount (the deposit is not included in the refund). Cancelations made between 59 – 0 days before the tour start date: 0% refund of the balance amount.

Is there a waiting list?
People sometimes rush to secure a spot but don’t always get the time off work and might need to cancel. If you’d like to be added to a waiting list, please email us at [email protected]

I still have questions. Can I contact you?
Of course! Our email is [email protected]

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