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Best of Turkey

Witness a fusion of Europe and Asia in Istanbul, then explore Ankara, fairy-tale Cappadocia, Mediterranean Antalya, plus the ruins at Ephesus, Troy & more


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Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. (Some exceptions, including special promotional packages, may accommodate up to 30.) More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Group Size 16 travelers max
Themes History & Culture
Activity Level Moderate
What to Expect This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.
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Continents collide in Turkey, a country where you can jump start your morning with a Turkish coffee in Europe and by lunchtime snack on a kebab in Asia. Start your adventure in Istanbul, a city reverberating to the rhythm of the country's famous whirling dervishes, flavored as sweet as pomegranate and Baklava, scented by exotic spices wafting from the colorful markets, and with a picture-perfect skyline pierced by the minarets of Blue Mosque. Continue on through Ankara and then to the 'fairy-tale' landscape of Cappadocia where Bronze Age cave-dwellers carved ancient cities into the region's tall, cone shaped rocks. These 'underground cities' now host homes and businesses and the hotel you'll be staying in. Antalya and its stunning Mediterranean coastline serves as the jumping off point for a trip back in time as you explore Turkey's world class Greco-Roman ruins highlighted by Ephesus, Europe's most complete classical metropolis. Finally, end your adventure with another full day in Istanbul for independent exploration. Our Turkey small group tour will show you the best that this mysterious land has to offer, all for an irresistibly value-packed price that makes it possible for you to discover your own Turkish delights.

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip flights from New York (JFK) to Istanbul including taxes & fees
  • Arrival and departures transfers with meeting, assistance and porterage
  • All intra-Turkey transportation
  • Accommodation in Superior First Class and Deluxe hotels
  • 24 Meals: 13 breakfasts and 11 dinners, including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Wine included with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
  • Professional, English-speaking tour manager

Optional add-ons

  • Flights from other cities are available. Request pricing when making your reservation.
  • Discounted optional excursions package
  • Optional balloon ride over Cappadocia
  • Optional Bosphorus cruise

Why you'll love it

  • Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s history and art at the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sofia.
  • Discover the magic of Cappadocia at one of its many underground cities.
  • Stop at Sultanhan, a castle-like structure full of impressive geometric and marble details that was once used as a resting place for camel caravans.
  • Spend a full day at leisure exploring the coastal cliffs and towering mountains of Antalya.
  • Gaze upon the icy white terraces and steaming hot springs in Pamukkale, and visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hierapolis.
  • Admire the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Ephesus.
  • Explore the ancient city of Troy, best known as the location of the Trojan War, according to Homer's poem, The Iliad.
  • Pay your respects at Gallipoli, the site of the fiercest battle of World War I.

Itinerary at a Glance

Best of Turkey map


Detailed Itinerary

Notice Notice: The Blue Mosque is currently undergoing renovations. Some scaffolding has been erected on sections of the building and some of its surrounding spires.

Day 1 Depart USA/Overnight Flight

  • Depart the USA on your overnight flight for Istanbul, Turkey

Day 2 Istanbul

  • Meet our representative and transfer to your hotel
  • This evening, get to know your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant and briefing with your guide

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton or similar Dinner

Day 3 Istanbul

  • Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)
  • Marvel at the Hagia Sophia, famous for its massive dome and Byzantine architecture
  • Enjoy a guided tour of Topkapı Palace including the Harem

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

This morning, visit some of the unique and iconic sites in the city. Start your tour at the Sultanahmet Mosque, the Blue Mosque, for the tiles and paint adorning its interior. Built between 1609 and 1616 on the site of several previous palaces, the mosque is considered the last great mosque of the classical period, and even today, it is a truly epic sight. More than 200 stained glass windows admit natural light, thick carpets cover the floors, and the walls are decorated with intricate tile work and verses from the Qur'an, many by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, the most excellent calligrapher of his time.

Later, visit nearby Hagia Sophia, also known as Ayasofya, built by the emperor Justinian I between 537 and 543 AD. The Hagia Sophia is famous for its massive dome and Byzantine architecture, which inspired much of the Blue Mosque. Built as an Orthodox basilica, the Hagia Sophia later became a mosque and finally a museum in 1935. Spend the remainder of the morning at the Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest and oldest covered markets. The bazaar opened in 1461, and there are over 1200 stores, many of which are grouped by type of goods, with particular areas for leather coats, gold jewelry, and other wares.

This afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of Topkapı Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years. The palace became a museum of the imperial era in 1924, and the complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, the most important being accessible to the public today. In addition, the palace houses an extensive collection of porcelain, robes, armor, and Ottoman miniatures and jewelry.

Day 4 Istanbul & Ankara

  • Visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk, the founder and first president of the modern Republic of Turkey
  • Explore the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

Ankara HiltonSA or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Mausoleum of Atatürk, Ankara

Depart for Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, called Angora by the Romans. This afternoon, visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk, the Turkish War of Independence leader and the founder and first president of the modern Republic of Turkey. Later, visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The museum includes Anatolian artifacts from many excavations, including Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods. In addition, there are exhibits of gold, silver, glass, marble, and bronze works as far back as the first century and an extensive coin collection.

Day 5 Ankara & Cappadocia

  • View Lake Tuz, a huge saline lake
  • Explore Zelve Open Air Museum
  • Pay a visit to the pottery makers in the city of Avanos

Utopia Cave Cappadocia or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Underground city, Cappadocia

Travel into the interior of Turkey to Cappadocia. En route, see Tuz Gölü, a vast saline lake fed by streams and rain but with no outlet. In the summer, the lake dries and exposes a thick salt layer, mined to produce most of the salt used in Turkey. The area is also protected as a breeding area for flamingos and other birds.

Next, visit Zelve Valley, an open-air museum and former monastic complex. Developed between the 9th and 13th century, Christian settlers carved many churches, monasteries, and chapels within the caves. Until 1924 it was still in use, but today the open-air museum welcomes travelers from all over the world, even sometimes hosting open-air festivals and concerts.

Your day ends with a visit to the pottery makers in the city of Avanos on the banks of the Kizilirmak River, where the red clay from the riverbanks is excellent for traditional household pottery, bricks, and roof tiles. Continue to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 6 Cappadocia

  • Explore one of the famed underground cities of Cappadocia
  • Visit the Open Air Museum of Göreme
  • View the fairy landscapes and rock castles of Avcilar, Dervent Valley, Pidgeon Valley and Uçhisar Foldings

Utopia Cave Cappadocia or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Cappadocia rock formations

Cappadocia is the land of fairy chimneys and is a UNESCO World Heritage site today. Weather permitting, you may choose an optional balloon ride in the early morning.

Explore one of the famed underground cities of Cappadocia, carved out of the soft tuff. Early Christians built these structures as a refuge from the persecution of the Roman Empire. With several floors, tunnels, and rooms spanning for miles, they could shelter thousands of people with their livestock and food stores and had living quarters, churches, storage rooms, stables, wells, ventilation systems, and even wine and oil presses!

Visit the Open Air Museum in the Göreme, where you will see early Christian churches decorated with frescoes. Enjoy the magnificent fairy landscapes and rock castles of Avcilar, Dervent Valley, Pidgeon Valley, and Uçhisar Foldings. Later, join your fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant. 

Optional Excursion: Balloon Ride over Cappadocia (purchased locally), $400
Hot air balloons over Cappadocia

Float silently over unique rock formations and rich fertile valleys of Cappadocia, all set against the dramatic volcanic landscape that formed the region over two million years ago.

Optional Excursion: Whirling Dervishes, $40
Whirling dervishes

After dinner, join the optional outing to see the Whirling Dervishes dance performance. "Dervish" is a common term for an initiate of the Sufi path, and the whirling is part of the formal "Sema" ceremony by participants known as semazens. The unique and fascinating whirling dances were inspired by Mawlana Jalaleddin Rumi, one of the great mystics of Islam.

Day 7 Cappadocia & Antalya

  • Visit Sultanhan, a “caravanserai” (caravan palace)
  • Explore the Mevlana Museum in Konya
  • Travel through the Taurus Mountains to reach Antalya

Ramada Plaza Antalya or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Sultanhan Photo by José Luis Filpo Cabana

Continue your journey, driving south towards the Mediterranean resort of Antalya. En route, visit Sultanhan, a "caravanserai" (caravan palace) built as a resting place for the camel caravans, which has a stone-paved hallway and other impressive fortifications. Upon reaching Konya, the capital town of Konya province, you'll visit the Mevlana Museum, where Rumi, a Sufi mystic, poet, and the founder of the Mevlana "Dervish" order, is buried. Drive through the Taurus Mountains to reach Antalya.

Day 8 Antalya

  • Full day at leisure in Antalya or join one or both optional excursions

Ramada Plaza Antalya or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Old harbor, Antalya

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the town of Antalya, situated on coastal cliffs and surrounded by mountains. Today it is a bustling city and resort area. Take one of the optional excursions to Aspendos and Perge in the morning and the Düden Waterfalls in the afternoon.

Optional Excursion: Aspendos, $40
Amphitheater, Aspendos Photo by Saffron Blaze

Aspendos, located beside the Eurymedon River, is renowned worldwide for its magnificent ancient Roman theater, famous for its perfect acoustics. Perge, one of Pamphylia's main cities, was founded after the Trojan War by colonists from Argos. The city is very well preserved with a theater, stadium, and Agora. Return to Antalya.

Optional Excursion: Düden Waterfalls, $30
Düden Waterfalls, Antalya

In the afternoon, visit the Düden Waterfalls. The Düden River flows through the Taurus Mountains, creating a drop of thundering water. There are even stalagmites and stalactites due to the high content of minerals in the water.

Day 9 Antalya & Pamukkale

  • Explore the city of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit Laodicea, one of the early Christian communities mentioned in the New Testament

Doğa Thermal Health & Spa or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Travertines of Pamukkale

Leave the coast for Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish. The city contains hot springs and stunning white terraces that look like ice, created by carbonate minerals left by flowing water. Visit the city of Hierapolis, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the hot springs have been used as a spa since the second century. See the great baths constructed without the use of cement. The town was also settled by Jews from Babylon and Mesopotamia, exiled by Antiochus the Great. Continue to Laodicea, one of the early Christian communities mentioned in the New Testament.

Day 10 Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, & Kuşadası

  • Visit the Roman city of Aphrodisias

Ramada Hotel & Suites Kusadasi or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Aphrodisias ruins

This morning, visit the Roman city of Aphrodisias, whose extensive excavation was funded by the National Geographic Society. Ancient artists produced sophisticated statues inspired by Aphrodite, goddess of love and marriage, for whom the town was named. Visit the Temple of Aphrodite and the local archaeological museum, which houses a beautiful collection of the art of Aphrodisias.

Continue to Kuşadası on Turkey's Aegean coast for dinner and overnight. The area has been a crossroads of art and culture since it was founded 5000 years ago and was the final destination of medieval caravan routes from the Orient.

Day 11 Ephesus

  • Explore Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Balance of the day at leisure, or join an optional excursion

Ramada Hotel & Suites Kusadasi or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Library of Celsus

Today, visit the glorious city of Ephesus, the capital city of the Roman Province of Asia Minor, founded over 4,000 years ago. The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is represented by one column and fragments of a frieze. Walk through the ancient streets to view the magnificent structures such as the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Great Theater. Ephesus is also the town where St. Paul and St. John lived during the first century. Continue to the House of the Virgin Mary, where Mary spent her last years living near a grove of olive trees. A visit is considered a pilgrimage by the Vatican. Afterward, join an optional excursion to the Ephesus Museum and Şirince or return to the hotel. Enjoy the evening at leisure, perhaps dine at one of the many local restaurants.

Optional Excursion: Ephesus Museum & Şirince Village, $50
Şirince Village

This afternoon, join an optional excursion to Ephesus Museum and Şirince Village. The Ephesus Museum has two main sections, archaeological and ethnographical. Various artifacts from the Prehistoric, Mycenaean, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods are on display through 8 different exhibition halls and a large courtyard.

Şirince Village was settled in the 15th century after Ephesus was abandoned; however, the current buildings date back to the 19th century. Once an old Orthodox village, it was called Çirkince ("ugly"). The inhabitants established this name because they did not want to share their village's beauty with strangers. An Izmir mayor later gave the name Şirince ("pretty"). Enjoy the scenery of vineyards and peach trees from this mountaintop village. Today, the village is a perfect combination of Turk-Greek culture. Before the Independence War, Greeks were living in the village; after the war, the Turks living in Greece returned to Turkey, and the Greeks in Turkey moved to Greece. The new inhabitants kept the characteristics of typical Greek houses, the most beautiful of which is open to visitors. Explore the narrow streets of Şirince and the wares of the villagers selling handicrafts, olive oil, and wine.

Day 12 Pergamon, Troy, & Çanakkale

  • Discover Pergamon, the capital of a once powerful kingdom
  • Continue to Asklepion, a famed ancient medical center
  • Visit the ancient city of Troy

Kolin Hotel Çanakkale or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Asklepion ruins

This morning, visit the ruins of Pergamon, the capital of a powerful kingdom during the Hellenistic period in the first century. Visit the Acropolis structure, which houses the Temple of Trajan, the Sanctuary of Athena, and the Altar of Zeus. When papyrus became scarce, the Pergamenes invented a new writing material made of fine calfskin called pergamena (parchment), a predecessor of vellum. The Library of Pergamon, built by King Eumenes II and containing as many as 200,000 volumes, was second only to the library of Alexandria, Egypt.

Continue to the nearby Asklepion, a famed ancient medical center built in honor of Asklepios, the god of healing. It was also the site of the world's first known psychiatric hospital. In the ancient world, this was where famous people wanted to attend for bathing treatments, interpreting dreams, and drinking the water from the sacred fountain.

Finally, visit the ancient city of Troy, best known as the focus of the Trojan War as described in the epic poem by Homer. Today's ancient city is an expansive archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage site. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 13 Çanakkale, Dardanelles, & Istanbul

  • Enjoy a ferry ride across the Dardanelles
  • Visit the battle site of Gallipoli and pay your respects
  • Balance of the day at leisure in Istanbul

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli

Continue north by ferry across the Dardanelles, a narrow strait connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. This strait, like the Bosphorus in Istanbul, separates Europe from Asia.

Visit the site of Gallipoli, where one of the fiercest battles of World War I took place. The Gallipoli campaign was the first major battle undertaken by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). The struggle laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Continue to Istanbul for an afternoon at leisure.

Day 14 Istanbul

  • Explore Istanbul independently, or take an optional cruise along the Bosphorus
  • Join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner with wine

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Ortakoy Mosque on the Bosphorus

Spend your last day in Istanbul doing some last-minute shopping or independent exploration. Alternatively, join an optional cruise on the Bosphorus. This evening, meet with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Optional Excursion: Dolmabahçe Palace (purchased locally), $35
Dolmabahçe Palace Photo by Mircea Ostoia

This morning, join an optional tour to Dolmabahçe Palace, also known as the Ottoman Palace. Admire this splendid architectural jewel from the 19th century Ottoman period in the heart of Istanbul. Built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid between 1843 and 1856, this palace shows a mixture of Turkish and French influences. The palace boasts 285 rooms and ceilings made of 14 tons of gold. A splendid Bohemian chandelier adorns nearly every room.

Optional Excursion: Bosphorus Cruise (purchased locally), $45
Istanbul panorama

Cruise the straits that separate Europe and Asia, passing by the villas and palaces of the Ottoman Empire and little fishing villages. The route zigzags across the channels for picture-perfect views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus Suspension bridges.

Day 15 Istanbul/USA

  • Transfer to the airport and board your return flight to the USA


Discounted Optional Excursions Package: $120

Save by pre-booking a discounted package of our most popular optional excursions:

  • Whirling Dervishes dance performance
  • Ephesus Museum and Şirince
  • Tour to Aspendos, Perge
  • Tour to Düden Waterfall

You can book these excursions individually in Turkey. But you can save time and money if you purchase this special package ahead of time—with or before your final payment.


Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton
Superior First Class

Centrally located in the lively Besiktas area, Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus by Hilton is a 4.5 star hotel is a 5-minute walk from the Bosphorus. Ortakoy, Dolmabahce Palace and Vodafone Stadium are nearby while Zorlu, Kanyon, Metrocity, Özdilek, shopping malls and Nişantaşı district are a short drive away.

More information

Ankara HiltonSA
Ankara HiltonSA

The Ankara HiltonSA sits in the heart of Turkey’s capital, within walking distance of the shopping district, historical sites, local restaurants, and other attractions. 

More information

Utopia Cave Cappadocia
Utopia Cave Cappadocia
First Class

Set in a lush garden, the Utopia Cave Cappadocia in Ürgüp is located near Cappadocia’s famous rock formations. This cave hotel offers accommodation in a historic environment, along with modern facilities. The ruins of old houses, mansions, and dwellings carved into the hill have been renovated into the guestrooms and facility buildings.

More information

Ramada Plaza Antalya
Ramada Plaza Antalya

The Ramada Plaza Hotel is located on the seafront with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, and of the Taurus Mountains as a backdrop. Antalya's city center is just a few steps away.

More information

Doğa Thermal Health & Spa
Doğa Thermal Health & Spa
Superior First Class

Located in Karahayit, near the travertine terraces of Pamukkale and the ancient cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis, the Doğa Thermal Health & Spa offers a relaxing environment with natural thermal waters that have been an attraction to this area since classical antiquity.

More information

Ramada Hotel & Suites Kusadasi
Ramada Hotel & Suites Kusadasi

Located on a 5-acre property facing the Aegean Sea at the entrance to Kusadasi, the Ramada Hotel & Suites is the perfect starting point to explore the archaeological sites of ancient Ephesus as well as to relax enjoying the facilities and the view of the sea. The hotel has 3 outdoor swimming pools, a spa featuring Turkish Bath, Sauna, Steam Bath and massage units and a fitness center.

More information

Kolin Hotel Çanakkale
Kolin Hotel Çanakkale
First Class

The Kolin Hotel Çanakkale is a five star resort located on 650 meters of pristine coast line. The main principle of the hotel is customer satisfaction. There are gardens overlooking the Strait, outdoor and indoor (heated) pools, sauna, Turkish bath, Finnish bath, Jacuzzi, fitness center, spa, live music at the bars, and a night club.Turkish Bath & Sauna has a magical atmosphere where you can have fun and relax in its warm waters. Feel free to enjoy the shock pool after the sauna or take advantage of a Finnish Bath.

More information

In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.

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