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Highlights of Turkey
15 days
Turkey - Trip code DTU

Highlights of Turkey

From the modern capital of Ankara to the ancient ruins of Ephesus we explore the very best of Turkey's sites, whilst staying in premium hotels. We travel to the volcanic landscape of Cappadocia to discover the underground city of Kaymakli and explore Goreme with its 'fairy chimneys' and rock-cut houses. We also visit the white travertines of Pamukkale, walk around historic Istanbul and admire the spectacular scenery of the Turquoise Coast.

Trip highlights

  • Cappadocia - Explore this unique landscape of enchanting valleys, 'fairy chimneys' and cave dwellings
  • Ephesus - Walk the marble streets where Saint Paul preached to the Ephesians
  • Pamukkale and Hieropolis - Admire the white, travertine terraced hillside and explore the remains of the Roman spa town above
  • Turquoise Coast - Swim in the warm waters that give this stunning coastline its name
  • Istanbul - Discover the magic of 'Old Stamboul' on foot, including the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace
Accommodation grade:
Premium
Our premium accommodation is hand-picked and chosen for its character, location or local importance. These properties have excellent facilities and a higher level of comfort and service. They provide the perfect wind down after an active day.
Trip pace:
Full on
Full on paced trips are for travellers who like their holidays packed with activities and experiences, moving on quickly from place to place with lots of early starts and long, busy days. Some may find them tiring, but others get a buzz from packing their precious holiday-time as chock-a-block full of new experiences as possible!
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Ankara

Arrive Ankara and check-in at hotel. Ankara has been the capital of Turkey since the War of Independence and the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. However the area was known to have been inhabited since before 1200 BC when the Hittites named it Ankuwash.

Accommodation: Risiss Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations; drive to Cappadocia

This morning our first visit is to the famous Museum of Anatolian Civilisations whose exhibits demonstrate the very rich cultural history of this area. Leaving the capital behind us we drive via Hacibektas on our way to Cappadocia. The museum here once housed the famous Bektasi desvish sect and is now set up as it might have looked during the 13th century. Later we continue east to the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia This area is famous the world over for its unique geological formations and a history that stretches back to the Hittites (2000 BC) and earlier. We will visit the underground city at Kaymakli, built by Christians escaping Arab oppression. More of this incredible underground maze of catacombs is being discovered every year.

Accommodation: Alfina Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Sightseeing in Cappadocia including the Goreme Open Air Museum

We spend most of the day visiting the major points of historical and topographical interest, including Uchisar and Goreme. This morning we have the option of taking a walk (approximately three hours) through the Red and Rose Valleys to better appreciate the remarkable landscape. Goreme lies at the foot of three extinct volcanoes. Centuries ago, volcanic eruptions covered the Goreme valley with mud, ash and sometimes with blocks of hard rock. Over the ages this volcanic tufa was sculpted by erosion into strange and improbable shapes; cones, needles of stone, pyramids of soft stone - some 30 m high. Into this remote spot came the Byzantine hermits, who carved churches, houses, fortresses and even complete underground cities into the cones. Entire troglodite villages and subterranean churches are hewn out of the soft volcanic rock and make the whole place a spectacular sight to behold. We shall wonder at the 'fairy chimneys' - tall needles of stone with rocks perched on top, caused by erosion, which fill entire valleys. Goreme contains the area's largest concentration of rock carved churches. We will also visit the underground city at Kaymakli, built by Christians escaping Arab oppression. More of this incredible underground maze of catacombs is being discovered every year.

Accommodation: Alfina Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Drive to Konya and visit the 'Whirling Dervishes' Mevlana Museum

Leaving Cappadocia this morning we drive to Konya. En route we stop to visit the well preserved 13th century Caravanserai of Sultanhani, an impressive reminder that we are travelling along one of the great trade routes which linked Europe to Asia. We then continue on to Konya; Turkey's holiest city and the home of the Mevlana sect, better known as the Whirling Dervishes. Konya, known as 'Iconium' in Roman times, was also the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to 13th centuries and home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who founded a mystic Sufi order of the 'Whirling Dervishes'. This afternoon is free to explore some of the city's highlights or relax back at the hotel.

Accommodation: Bera Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - See the Roman theatre at Aspendos en route to Antalya

This morning we head over the mountains, leaving the high Anatolian plateau behind us and descend towards the glittering turquoise seas of the Mediterranean. The journey takes approximately 5 hours, although we'll break our trip with a visit to the spectacular Roman theatre of Aspendos. The theatre has been well restored and still hosts performances to this day. We'll also stop at the nearby Roman aqueduct that brought fresh drinking water into the city from the mountains, an incredible feat of engineering, even today. Continuing on to Antalya, there should be time to enjoy a walk around the old harbour and narrow cobbled streets of the old town before heading out for an evening meal.

Accommodation: Mediterra Art Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Visit ancient Phaselis before enjoying a free afternoon to explore Antalya

Today we drive the short distance out of the city, heading west along the Mediterranean coast to the secluded and little-visited site of Phaselis. The harbour city began life as a colony of Rhodes in about 690 BC and quickly grew to become and important trading centre. The city was visited by Alexander the Great and continued to be busy city port even under the Byzantines. The ruins that remain today are beautifully located among fragrant pine forests with the sea lapping all around. The old harbour area also makes a great place for a swim, so don't forget your swimming things today! We return to Antalya at lunchtime and the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore more of the city or perhaps take a boat trip from Antalya's harbour out to see Duden Waterfalls which cascade dramatically over the cliffs straight into the sea.

Accommodation: Mediterra Art Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Explore the mountain citadel of Termessos and a Greek ghost town en route to Dalyan

Heading out of Antalya today we climb up into the hills and the mountain citadel city of Termessos. Not much is known about the early history of the city however we do know that it was one of the few cities to hold out against Alexander the Great and that the inhabitants had a fearsome reputation as warriors. The ruins that remain today are scattered over the mountain, so expect some walking as we visit the key sites. The highlight of which is probably the theatre, which enjoys spectacular views of the plains below. Continuing on, we cross the high mountain plateau, known as the 'yayla' in Turkish. The 'yayla' provide a retreat from the hot summer temperatures and are centres of local agriculture, also at certain times of year it is still possible to spot semi-nomadic families with their goat-hair tents set up in the fields. We descend from the 'yayla' towards the coast, pausing at the deserted Greek village of Kayakoyu which makes for a haunting reminder of the 'population exchanges' that took place between Turkey and Greece in the early 1920s. Finally we continue along the coast to Dalyan, which still retains is sleepy atmosphere, nestled in the river delta and surrounded by agricultural land and small villages.

Accommodation: BC Spa Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Boat trip to the rock tombs at Caunos; chance to relax at Iztuzu Beach

This morning we take a riverboat trip through the reeds to the ancient site of Caunos. Here we can explore the ruins, which date back to 400 BC. Bring along your swimming gear as this afternoon there's a chance to continue on to Iztuzu beach and have a dip in the inviting turquoise sea and, time allowing, head up to the mud baths for a deep cleanse.

Accommodation: BC Spa Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 9 - Drive to Pamukkale and explore the terraces and ancient Hierapolis

Today we drive to Pamukkale and, depending on the time of year, we will either spend the early afternoon (and main heat of the day) relaxing by the hotel pool (swim hats required), and then head to Pamukkale site or we will head straight to the site to make the most of it before the sun sets. Situated on a high escarpment and home to one of Turkey's most amazing natural wonders, the 'frozen waterfall', which has been an attraction since Roman times (as Hierapolis - the Sacred City, a health spa) Pammukale is a wonder to be seen.

Accommodation: Ayapam Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 10 - Visit the remarkable site of Aphrodisias on the way to Kusadasi

Today we visit the Greco-Roman site of Aphrodisias, one of the most interesting and earliest sites in the region. The cult of Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, had its most important temple here and the city also established itself as an artistic centre inspiring some of the finest Carian sculptures. Many of these can be seen in the small but very impressive museum on the site. The athletics stadium is one of the largest and best preserved from the classical world. Later we continue to Kusadasi and check into our hotel on the coast.

Accommodation: Efe Boutique Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 11 - Explore the famed Greco-Roman city of Ephesus

Today we visit the great Greco-Roman city of Ephesus (Efes). Once visited by Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, and also by the evangelist St. Paul (which inspired the Epistle to the Ephesians), this famous old Asia Minor seaport reached its zenith in the 2nd century AD. Efes became one of the main cultural and economic centres of the ancient world until it went into decline after the 7th century.

Accommodation: Efe Boutique Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 12 - See ancient sights at Pergamon and Troy en route to Canakkale

Continuing our journey north past endless olive groves we come to the Greco-Roman remains of Pergamon (now the typical Turkish town of Bergama). This is the place that gave its name to the word 'parchment', for which it was famous throughout the Middle East. We will visit the ancient Acropolis and later continue to the ancient site of Troy where, according to legend, the artful Ulysses devised the Wooden Horse strategy and thereby ended the 10 year Trojan War. Nine ruined cities, one on top of the other, have been uncovered, going back some 5000 years. Troy VI is the assumed walled city of King Priam (1800-1275 BC), celebrated by the blind Greek poet Homer in the Iliad and all but lost in legend until unearthed by amateur archaeologist Schliemann in 1871.

Accommodation: Grand Anzac Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 13 - Travel to Istanbul via the World War I memorials at Gallipoli

We board a ferryboat to cross the Dardanelles Straits to the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) Peninsula. It was here that the ill-fated Allied campaign, after much bloody hand-to-hand fighting and loss of life, was forced to concede victory to the Turks and withdraw (1916). Involved in the fighting on the Turkish side was Mustafa Kemal - later known as Ataturk, the 'Father of the Turks'. Following the shoreline of the Sea of Marmara to Tekirdag, we arrive in cosmopolitan Istanbul, with time for a night out on the town.

Accommodation: Venera Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 14 - Walking tour of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque

Today we have a full day to explore the city. Formerly Constantinople, Istanbul was the old capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Nearly all the main sites of historic interest are in Old Stamboul. We include a morning tour, taking in the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Sultanahmet Square. The afternoon is left free, you may choose to visit the famous Sunken Palace cisterns, or the great Aya Sofia - crowning glory of Byzantium. Alternatively there is the chance to take a boat trip on the Bosphorous - which offers stunning views of the Istanbul skyline. To appreciate the wonderful skyline of domes and minarets, climb up the Galata Tower.

Accommodation: Venera Hotel(or similar)

Premium Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 15 - Trip ends in Istanbul

Our trip ends this morning in Istanbul.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 14
Transport
  • Bus
  • Boat
  • Ferry
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
Accommodation
  • 14 nights premium hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
Read more

Trip information

Country information

Turkey Holidays & Tours

Climate

Evenings and early mornings can be cool in the early and late season (before mid May and after early October). During the winter, temperatures usually hover between 0 and 10 degrees, but are usually wet, particularly around the coast. Summers are hot and dry with refreshing sea breezes. It is often cooler on higher ground and in the mountains and can be cold at night, even in the summer. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable.

Time difference to GMT

+3

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Islam, Christian

Language

Turkish

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Cappadocia - Whirling Dervish Ceremony 13 Pounds; Turkish Bath 50 Turkish Lira (approximately 20 Pounds). Antalya - Boat trip to Duden Waterfalls 8 to 10 Pounds Istanbul - Ferryboat rides on the Bosphorus 10 Pounds; Aya Sofia Pounds. Iztuzu Beach - Sea Turtle Hospital 5 Pounds

Clothing

The long Turkish summer can be hot, although much of our route follows the Mediterranean coastline and is freshened by sea breezes. If you're travelling early or late in the season lightweight rainwear is advisable and a warmer sweater is recommended for the evenings. In the winter months the temperatures may drop below freezing at night. When visiting mosques, women should cover their head, shoulders and knees, so it's handy to pack a scarf. Men should also ensure there knees are covered.

Footwear

Walking boots or trainers with ankle supports are recommended for walks. Comfortable walking shoes will be useful for exploring some of the ancient sites and sandals. Plastic sandals are useful for protecting your feet against sea urchins on the rocks and you can also swim with them on.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.

Equipment

For those who are keen, we recommend a mask and a snorkel for the time spent on the coast. Also recommended are a waterbottle, torch, sunhat and sunscreen, towel and swiss army knife for picnics.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Explore Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow 15 Pounds for tipping. In order to make things easier for you, the Explore Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the trip.
Country Information

Turkey Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£7
Dinner price
£13
Beer price
£2.7
Water price
£1
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Turkish Lira.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Major foreign currencies such as US Dollars, £Sterling and Euros can easily be changed. We advise against travelling with Travellers Cheques as commission rates are high. Other currencies can be exchanged in larger cities. We advise you to change money in Turkey as rates tend to be better.
Where To Exchange
Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
ATMs are widely available throughout Turkey. To avoid large queues at the airport exchanges, you may wish to xchange some lira before arriving.
Credit Card Acceptance
In major restaurants.
Travellers Cheques
Not recommended.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Boat, Ferry

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

Turkey: Visas are required by UK citizens. We recommend that you obtain your visa online, prior to arrival at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ This will cost US$20 and you will need a blank page in your passport for the stamp. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Non refundable permits

Turkey Holidays & Tours

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option

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