Best of Turkey

14 Nights from R 37,375 per person sharing

Experience a captivating 15-day journey through Turkey, delving into history, culture, and natural beauty. Visit Gallipoli, explore Ephesus, admire Oludeniz's Blue Lagoon, and enjoy a traditional gulet cruise from Kas. There are many activities to enjoy on this trip, so what are you waiting for? An unforgettable exploration of Turkey's diverse treasures awaits.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Istanbul

Hos geldin! Welcome to Turkey. Your adventure kicks off in Istanbul – the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all called home. There’s a welcome meeting at 1 pm, where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. After, maybe get out and explore the frenetic streets of Turkey's crown-jewel metropolis. Your group leader will take you on a walking tour of the nearby neighbourhoods so you can get your bearings on what’s around. Later, why not gather together your new pals and seek out some Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe.

Day 2: Canakkale

After breakfast this morning, hit the road to Canakkale – a port city on the southern shore of the Dardanelles. You’ll stop along the way to explore Gallipoli on a guided tour that will teach you about the significant events and history embedded in this area. Your guide will take you to ANZAC Cove and major memorial sites like Brighton Beach and ANZAC commemorative Site. You’ll also take in the views across the Dardanelles Strait and the Gallipoli Peninsula. This evening, you’ll spend the night in Canakkale with free time to grab dinner and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.

Day 3: Selcuk

This morning, drive to Selcuk with a stop in Troy – where history and mythology sit side-by-side. You’ll wander the ancient city walls with your leader and even get a chance to enjoy a photo op with a replica Trojan Horse. You’ll learn more about how this place has confounded historians and archaeologists, before continuing on to Selcuk, which will be your base for exploring the nearby ruins of Ephesus tomorrow.

Day 4: Selcuk

This morning, take a private minivan to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus – one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history, which really comes alive with a local guide to enhance your experience. Considering their age, the ruins are in incredible shape, and it’s not difficult to imagine them in their full glory over 2000 years ago, equipped with running water, public toilets, a medical institute, and Roman baths.

Day 5: Pamukkale

A train ride inland through mountainous landscapes brings you to one of Turkey's most photographed sites – Pamukkale – which literally translates to ‘cotton castle’. Here, natural hot springs with a high calcium content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving the earth bright white, hence the ‘cotton’. Though you won't be able to bathe in these travertines, you can wade through them, and these pools are said to have many healing properties. Take some time to visit the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis and have a dip in what used to be Cleopatra’s old pool.

Day 6: Kayakoy

Take a bus ride south – off the tourist trail – to the village of Kayakoy. This small town acts as your base for exploring the Mediterranean coast, including the resort town of Fethiye and the renowned Blue Lagoon. Kayakoy was once a thriving place and now it’s considered a ghost village, as its ancient stone houses were abandoned after their Greek inhabitants left Turkey during the great population exchange of the 1920s.

Day 7: Kayakoy

Today, set out on a half-day trek along a section of rugged coastline, following part of the ancient walking trail of the Lycian Way to nearby Oludeniz, where you can swim in the Blue Lagoon. You’ll walk up a steep rocky path up the hillside, make your way through forest, and then up a hill with fantastic views out across the Mediterranean. At the final descent into Oludeniz, you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking view of an arching peninsula of white sand beach separating the crystal waters from its lush banks and the town’s trademark panorama.

Day 8: Kas/Kekova

Make your way the short distance from Kayakoy to Fethiye by dolmus – a Turkish shared taxi. From there, take a public bus to Kas or Kekova, with some spectacular coastal scenery along the way. The picturesque village of Kas – whitewashed buildings covered in bougainvillea and cobbled streets – is the southernmost of all the Turkish resorts. The best places in town to swim are from the waterfront restaurants that have their own private water access. For the price of an occasional drink, you get your own deck chair, umbrella and unbeatable views.



Day 9: Kas/Kekova

Today, head to the shimmering turquoise waters on your gutlet and enjoy a day of fun, swimming, snorkelling, sun bathing and cruising over the ancient Sunken cities, with your lunch included on board. Disembark in the late afternoon and transfer back to your accommodation.

Day 10: Konya

This morning, take a private bus inland towards Konya. While it’s a long day of travel, the scenery will keep you entertained as you cross the Toros Mountain range. The city is closely linked with the whirling dervish sect of Islam developed by Celaleddin Rumi – one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Mevlana – ‘our master’ – as he came to be known, believed that music and dance could induce a state of love and divine union, and so devised the whirling sema ritual. In town, you can visit the original Tekke of Mevlana, which holds many relics and is also the final resting place for Rumi.

Day 11: Cappadocia

Leave Konya this morning by bus and head to The Cappadocian town of Urgup – with a vibrant, modern downtown area, plenty of boutique hotels built into the surrounding caves, it’s perfectly positioned to springboard you into your Cappadocia explorations tomorrow. The surrounding areas are honeycombed with caves scooped out to make churches and dwellings that are known as fairy chimneys and castles. In times of peace, the people in this region lived on the land, but in times of war or persecution they took to living underground

Day 12: Cappadocia

This morning is an ideal time to discover Cappadocia’s unique landscapes from above – in a hot air balloon! Although this activity isn’t included, it's a highly recommended experience that most travellers opt for to see the wondrous desert scenes at sunrise. This afternoon, take a walk through one of the nearby valleys with your group leader. It could be the Valley of Love where the fairy chimneys, deserted rock cut homes, and churches with frescoes will astound you, or any of the other fantastic scenic routes that your leader knows.

Day 13: Eskisehir

Say goodbye to the fairytale Cappadocia and head to Eskisehir this morning. A fascinating city, often known as the ‘students’ city by the locals, is a change of scene, and you can expect a refreshing and vibrant vibe. Arrive in the afternoon and visit Eskisehir Odunpazari Village, where you'll dig into a ci borek lunch (a type of layered pancake) after a cooking demonstration at a local restaurant run by local women.

Day 14: Istanbul

After breakfast this morning, depart on a fast train bound for Istanbul. The afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy at leisure. This glorious city is a gorgeous spot to toast to a great adventure and your leader will be able to recommend the best places to visit and eat, depending on your interests. Tonight, why not toast to newfound friends and an epic adventure with an optional dinner.

Day 15: Istanbul

With no activities planned for today, your Turkish adventure comes to an end after breakfast. If you wish to spend a few more days checking out the sights of Istanbul, just speak to your booking agent.

INCLUDES 10 nights' accommodation in a hotel and 4 nights accommodation in a guest house, 14 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, Private Bus, Public Bus, Train, Dolmus, Gulet (boat), Activities such as: Istanbul - Orientation Walk, Gallipoli - Fully guided Gallipoli tour & visit to the Commonwealth graveyards, Selcuk - Leader-led orientation walk , Troy - Archaeological site visit, Epesus - Archaeological site visit , and many more other activities.

14 Nights from R 37,375 per person sharing

These offers are brought to you by Travel Counsellors (Pty) Ltd. Offers are per person sharing. Rate is based on 1 August 2024 departure date. Rates for other periods are available on request. Offer is subject to availability and seasonal surcharges. Supplier's terms and conditions are available on request. Packages exclude international flights, visas, drinks not specified, travel insurance and anything of a personal nature. Additional information available on request. Terms and conditions apply. Valid for South African Residents only. Prices and information are correct at time of publishing. E&OE.