• Blue Mosque in Istanbul
  • Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul
  • turkey-istanbul-grand-bazaar
    Istanbul's Grand Bazaar
  • Ballooning in Cappadocia
  • Mevlâna Rumi Museum in Konya
  • Antalya
  • Pamukkale's Natural Hot Springs
  • turkey-ephesus-library
    Ruins of Ephesus

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Turkey in 13 Days Tour

from $2,295 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $675

See Tour Dates

The Rick Steves Best of Turkey tour combines the convenience of European travel with the rich traditions of the Middle East. You'll marvel at Istanbul's Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Grand Bazaar, Cappadocia's "fairy-chimney" landscape, the Ancient Greek sites of Ephesus and Aphrodisias, and the azure water of the Mediterranean. You'll also experience legendary Turkish hospitality first-hand, from artisans to Imams. If you're looking for different travel delights — and a broader world perspective — you'll find it here. Join us for the Best of Turkey in 13 Days!

Dates & Prices

2015

2016

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Turkey come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 21 group sightseeing events • Blue Mosque tour • Chora Church tour • Hagia Sophia church/museum tour • Topkapı Palace and Harem visit • Grand Bazaar • Egyptian Spice Market • Bosphorus cruise and tour • Anatolian Civilizations Museum tour • Atatürk Mausoleum • Göreme Open-Air Museum tour • Cappadocia valley hike (weather permitting) • Kaymaklı underground city tour • Whirling Dervish performance • Visit with Imam • Carpet-weaving demonstration • Caravanserai visit • Mevlâna Rumi Museum • Konya city tour • Aphrodisias tour • Pamukkale orientation • Ephesus tour...and more
  • All group transportation from Istanbul to Kuşadası
  • 12 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels and B&Bs
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • $100 Shopping Spree (per household) at the Rick Steves Travel Store to get guidebooks and gear for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2016
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above.

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Turkey

We'll meet at 1 p.m. at our hotel in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district, and then take an orientation walk through Istanbul's historic Golden Horn, including the Galata Bridge and the exotic and fragrant Egyptian Spice Market. Then we will take to the water for a scenic cruise of the Bosphorus waterway and its panorama of grand palaces, colorful neighborhoods and bustling waterfront activity. We'll return to land to get acquainted with one another over dinner at a nearby restaurant. Sleep in Istanbul (2 nights). Boat: 2 hrs. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Old Christian and Islamic Istanbul

Today we'll focus on the era when the city was known as Constantinople, the eastern capital of the Roman Empire. We'll start at the exquisite 400-year-old Blue Mosque and then move to the Hippodrome — the ancient racing course that was the social heart of Constantinople. We'll also visit the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia church/museum — for 1,000 years the grandest domed structure in the Western world. This afternoon we'll be wowed by some of the world's finest Byzantine mosaics at the Chora Church and cap off the day exploring Istanbul's legendary Grand Bazaar. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Istanbul and Ankara

We'll explore Istanbul's more recent past and present today, beginning with the opulently-Ottoman Topkapı Palace and Harem. Then we'll visit the New District, with its Art Nouveau façades, restaurants, and trendy boutiques, all along pedestrian-packed İstiklal Street, where you'll have free time for lunch on your own. Afterward, we'll board our bus for the drive to Ankara, Turkey's bustling modern capital city, where we'll sleep (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: Ankara and Cappadocia

After breakfast we'll tour the world-class Anatolian Civilizations Museum, and marvel at its collection of treasures from Turkey's pre-Roman civilizations. We'll pay our respects at the monumental Anıt Kabir, Atatürk's Mausoleum, where we'll learn about the revered founding father of modern Turkey. After lunch, we'll travel to what feels like another planet — the scenic and historic Cappadocia region — where we'll have dinner together and sleep in the village of Mustafapaşa (3 nights, group may be split between two B&Bs). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 5: Ancient Churches of Göreme

Surrounded by Cappadocia's other-worldly "fairy chimney" rock formations, we'll begin our day with a walking tour of our village of Mustafapaşa, followed by a drive to the nearby Göreme Open-Air Museum where, in Byzantine times, cave-like churches and monasteries were carved in the cliffs. Some astonishing 1,000-year-old frescoes still remain. This afternoon we'll be treated to a home-prepared, Cappadocian-style lunch, and learn about the centuries-old tradition and artistry of Turkish carpet weaving. We'll have dinner together back in Mustafapaşa tonight. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Countryside Charms

Weather permitting, your guide will take interested hikers on a scenic walk through a Cappadocia valley. Non-hikers can spend the morning in Mustafapaşa, or ride with our bus driver to the colorful weekly market in the nearby village of Ürgüp. After lunch, we'll tour the ancient underground city of Kaymaklı — which once included churches, kitchens, metal shops and stables — before returning to our village. Tonight we'll attend a religious performance by the followers of Mevlâna Rumi, better known as Whirling Dervishes, held in an ornate 13th-century caravanserai. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Mosque Visit and Mevlâna's Konya

This morning we'll travel to the village of Güzelyurt and meet with the local mosque's Imam (counterpart to a minister or rabbi), with an opportunity to ask questions about the Muslim faith and the separation of mosque and state in Turkey. After lunch we'll hit the road and, like Silk Road travelers hundreds of years ago, stop to admire the intricate carvings of a medieval caravanserai (unlimited camel parking). Today's destination is conservative Konya, famous as the 13th-century home of Mevlâna Rumi. We'll tour the poetry-filled Mevlâna Museum, also the site of the mystical philosopher's tomb, a Muslim holy place, before setting you free for dinner on your own. Sleep in Konya (1 night). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Konya and Antalya

We'll begin our day with a tour through Konya, including the busy maze of its sprawling bazaar — a time-tripping treasure trove of hardware, household items, clothing, jewelry, religious paraphernalia and cell phone accessories. Then we'll head over the Taurus Mountains and down to the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya, where we'll take an orientation walk and set you free for dinner on your own. Sleep in Antalya (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Seaside Antalya

Antalya is an ideal place to enjoy a "vacation from your vacation." The day is all yours to enjoy the impressive Ancient Greek sculptures in the Antalya Museum, one of Turkey's finest archaeological museums; explore the narrow cobbled streets of Antalya's old town and Roman harbor; or experience a traditional Turkish bath (your guide will help arrange it). No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 10: Wonderland of Pamukkale

This morning we'll take off for the amazing weekly farmers' market in the town of Korkuteli, where you can assemble your own delicious picnic lunch. We'll then drive to the hilltop overlooking Pamukkale, where we'll get oriented to its spectacularly-calcified cliffs and the impressive ruins of Hierapolis, where Ancient Greeks and Romans considered the thermal springs sacred. During your free time you'll even have a chance to take a quick dip in a natural spring pool amid the remains of Roman columns. We'll have dinner together and sleep tonight in the Pamukkale area (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Ancient Aphrodisias and Kuşadası

We'll work our way west toward Turkey's Aegean Coast, where Ancient Greek colonists settled 2,500 years ago. Freed from the "establishment" norms of Athens, these communities thrived as centers of learning, creativity — and wealth. This morning we'll tour the ancient site of Aphrodisias which, under Greek and Roman rule alike, prospered as a center for the arts. After lunch together we'll continue on to the lively harbor city of Kuşadası, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Roman City of Ephesus

Today we'll tour the ancient city of Ephesus. Famous for its spectacular Temple of Artemis — one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — it was one of the wealthiest cities in Ancient Greece. It also played a role in the formation of the early Christian Church, drawing the attention of the Apostle Paul, and possibly even the Virgin Mary. We'll take an extensive walking tour along the still-paved streets and remarkable ruins of Ephesus, including the dramatically-restored façade of its Library of Celsus. This afternoon you'll have free time to visit Mary's House (where the Virgin Mary may have lived), view more ancient artifacts at the excellent Ephesus Museum in nearby Selçuk, or relax back in Kuşadası. Tonight we'll meet for a final dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Serefe! Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. You can hop a ferry to the Greek island of Samos (where you'll find easy plane/boat connections to other islands and Athens), or take the tour bus to nearby Izmir for quick flights to Athens or Istanbul and home. Güle güle!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Turkey in 13 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Travel on a bus without a toilet (rest stops every two hours).

Reviews

Carolyn

Savannah, GA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best trip I have taken. Tour guide was extraordinary. Filled us with many interesting facts as well as thoroughly explained the history of the various areas we visited. Plus he has a wonderful sense of humor. Loved Turkey and miss the lovely "Call to Prayer" each day. Accommodations and food were excellent. Tour well organized with enough lecture time mixed with visits to sites and free time. A ++ for this tour. Interested in another next summer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list. Fabulous tour."

Betsy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first travel tour, I was reluctant to not be on my own schedule. Loved every minute of it. It was friendly, efficient, informative and fascinating. Everything was well organized and well thought out. A good pace and variety of experiences. I was also reluctant to travel with 23 other strangers and thought it would slow things down. I was wrong again. Our tour guide got everyone moving and out the door with no waiting for stragglers, so no one straggled! The group got along well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia region!!!"

David

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was wonderfully organized. Our guide was great at getting us into sites before the big crowds. Guide was also very well informed on a variety of subjects. He actively engaged questions and discussion

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon ride, Turkish bath, Roman ruins"

William

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. The tour guide, Taylan, knew well above what I thought any tour guide would, and he never couldn't answer a question.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Capadoccia, seeing the sun rise over the hills and reflect off of all the balloons."

Kathleen

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When I saw this big box, I started a little tome about how surprised and delighted we were with our group, Taylan and Hailee, and especially, Turkey. But, alas, I had to erase it when I ran out of characters. This saves you from reading my list of superlatives! Overall experience: SPLENDID! We are re-living our incredible experiences every day. Thank you, Rick Steves, for inventing a company that offers amazing adventures that leave us feeling like it was all designed just for us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Farmer's Market in the Turkish town. No other tourists were there. Taylan assigned us the task of purchasing a gift for our 'buddy'. So much fun! I'd go back there once a week, if I could."

Lynette

Olympia, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was fantastic! I knew very little about Turkey before I went. I got to experience a lot of aspects from the big cities to the small towns. From traditional arts to new arts. From old history to modern history. I was very hesitant to go on this tour because of all the time spent on the bus. Taylon used the bus rides to give us history, explain his perspective and the bus drivers perspective, talk about any and all things that pertained to his country. The bus rieds were great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The way the group was super friendly and helpful to each other."

Patricia

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Itinerary: Well planned, varied and captured highlights. Pace: just right. Fellow travelers: to a person, terrific people and fun companions. Unexpected: a gaggle of young people; nice for our grandson. Guide: superlative. Kind, knowledgeable, funny, helpful, sensitive, open and a lover of Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow: balloon ride. Meaningful: visit with the imam. Shallow: a couple of shopping experiences."

Mina

Woodland, CA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide was knowledgeable and was able to accomodate different levels of activities and interests. It was very interesting to see the cultural differences from USA and Turkey but in other respects we are all the same. I was especially grateful to Mert for assisting Larry and I after I fell and had to go to emergency room in Antayla.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia & Ephesus but enjoyed it all."

David

Decatur, GA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

After 2 previous RS tours I got what I expected and hoped to get, an intensive exposure to Turkey and its culture. So I got what I signed up for. RS tours are an experience not a vacation, so I was really ready for the down day in Antalya and time away from the group when it came. I feel like this tour really put Turkey "on the map" for me. I had been somewhat apprehensive before the trip that it would stretch my comfort level too much in a cultural sense, but that was not the case.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually there was no real Wow moment. My favorite little experience was being approached by a gaggle of high school girls out on a day trip who came over to engage us in conversation to practice their limited English. Their enthusiasm and happiness was quite infectious. I hope we reciprocated as well!"

Charles

Philomath, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time on a tour, traveled to 40+ countries previously, so was a little skeptical to be hooked in with a group. This ended up being top 5 if not the best experience traveling ever. I credit this mostly to Mert and the RS philosophy of travel. Mert's command of every aspect of the different cultures " culture never dies" and open minded viewpoints, made the on bus "lectures" and guided tours completely captivating . Wish college history classes could have been 1/2 this good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to beat the balloon ride over Cappidocia for a wow!! I've always wanted to experience the city of Istanbul and it exceeded all expectations . What a great great city. Again Mert made it come alive and educated us on its history."

Dan

Blue Island, IL

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Mert, our tour guide was most entertaining, informative and caring; we covered quite a bit of geography and history which would not have been possible on our own; the group meal events were authentic and entertaining. Group members were interesting and considerate. We may have seen one too many architectural sites. In general, i was very pleased with this tour especially sharing the experience with my son.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the balloon ride; getting up at 3am and having checked off one of the last items on my 'bucket list' witnessing an Orthodox service and contasting it with a Roman Catholic service"

Wendy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being my first Rick Steves tour, the adjectives can't describe the experience, but awesome, breathtaking and impressive can be some with which to start. The tour exposed me to a culture and a country about which I was naïve. Aferin, to the entire Turkey tour staff!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment could easily be the hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, but it takes second to the interaction with the people of Turkey. I was interviewed by school girls for their English homework; I was even asked to be in a selfie photo with some young girls in the Aya Sofya. But the most moving was sitting with the Imam listening to his answers to our questions and listening to him sing a prayer. I felt it encompassed the travel philosophy of Rick Steves."

Leena

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked this tour a lot. One of the best experiences I have ever had. I took Globus tour last year and compared to Globus, this tour was far more fun and organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"MY "wow" moment was that the hotel had the room keys laid out when we arrived. We did not have to stand in lines to check in with our passports. The lunch at the old lady's house was the highlight of the whole trip. I got to experience the local culture. The country did not appear to be a Muslim country. Blue Mosque on one side and Haghia Sophia on another side is breathtaking."

Ashok

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall experience was excellent. The highlights are: -- Tour guide Mert's immense knowledge and great people skills -- Well planned activities

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus was my most favorite tourist site"

Roger

Fairfield, IA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was definitely outstanding. Mert was a fantastic guide. His talks on the archaeology and history and politics of the area were so amazing that they sometimes followed by applause from our group. I knew little about Turkey before our tour, and I now get to explain Turkey to my friends at home. I really love and have a great appreciation for Turkey after this trip. It exceeded all my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick. The balloon ride and tour of the underground city in Cappadocia were both amazing. Touring the ancient city of Ephesus was amazing, particularly with Mert's great perspective. And in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace were all amazing too. And the question session with the young Imam was very sweet and memorable. As was the lunch at Mert's friends home in Cappadocia. Everyday of the tour was wonderful, so it's hard to pick a favorite time."

Bill

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was excellent. The sights, Turkish people, itinerary, hotels, food, the schedule adjustments to accommodate weather and educational narratives were all outstanding. The pace comfortably allowed for both group and individual explorations and recreation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in an Old Town rooftop restaurant as the calls to prayers alternated between the Blue Mosque and Ayasofya."

Nancy

Fairfield, IA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!! We normally prefer to plan and execute our own travel, but we didn't want to tackle Turkey on our own. SO glad we took this tour -- got an incredible experience of the country with a terrific and knowledgeable guide. Can't imagine a better way to see Turkey. Recommending it to all our friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning over Cappadochia. A peak life experience."

Lynn

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. I had never done an organized tour before and had some concerns re wasting time waiting for other members, having too many shopping stops, etc that I had heard from friends who had taken tours. None of that came true. It was very well organized and the other tour members were prompt and courteous to all. We had travelled for years using Rick's recommendations so the travel style fitted us well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Ephesus. Having heard about it since childhood in church and having a daughter and son in law who are pastors, it really made the history come alive and Mert certainly helped with that. Having a guide with his wealth of knowledge was marvelous."

Therese

Philomath, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'll be honest. When my husband suggested we go to Turkey and Greece, I was ecstatic because I've always wanted to tour Greece. Turkey wasn't a country I longed to visit. To my utter amazement I found the culture, people and the food in Turkey totally captivating. Turkey stole my heart! I credit our tour guide extraordinaire, Mert, for much of how I feel. More about him later. The tour itself was organized in such a way that all we had to do was relax and enjoy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment happened during Mert's incredibly informative yet succinct "Culture Never Dies" lecture. It was an amazing feat to boil down years of history into that detailed talk complete with humor "like Jesus, like Moses"....I'll always remember that talk with our brilliant tour guide Mert."

Phillip

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was an exciting adventure, covering a well-selected cross-section of Turkey efficiently. It was fascinating to learn about this nation's long history at the boundaries between Europe and Asia as well as Christianity and Islam, not to mention its young demographics and vibrant economy. Being there during parliamentary elections gave us a chance to observe a significant political turning point as the PKK lost its dominance. A great value for the money.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments: Mert's guided tours of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Chora Church and his lectures on the bus, especially when he linked different eras as mortar links bricks Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia Lunch with Fahriye in her three-generation farm home and Q&A with imam in Guzulyurt Carpet Weaving Cooperative (and its sharp contrast with rug vendors in Istanbul) Cruising on and swimming in the Mediterranean in Antalya Turkish bath in Antalya Ephesus"

David

Olalla, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Turkey tour was overall an excellent exposure to that lovely and diverse country. The incredible history and wonderfully friendly people of this influential country stands out In our travels. Our guide, Taylan had a wealth of knowledge, was entertaining and enhanced our experiences greatly. I felt we were fortunate to have an assembled group of congenial travelers as everyone seemed to be very amiable and considerate towards their traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to single out just one but the hot air balloon trip and sunrise over the Cappidoccia region was stunning."

Sandra

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was very interesting and enjoyable: the ancient sites that are open air museums, the mosques and Islamic sites, the colorful markets and the friendly Turkish people. This tour covers a lot of area and some longer travel days, yet the itinerary and activities are well-designed to mitigate these longer days. The tour has a good balance of free-time for exploration and informative, guided experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cappadocia area and particularly, the hot air balloon experience over this fairy tale landscape was spectacular and well worth the early morning wake-up!"

Norman

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour, and I was concerned about traveling with a group. The philosophy of a "group/individual" tour proved to be just what I wanted. I appreciated the convenience of having all of the logistic taken care of along with the freedom to strike out on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Most of what we experienced was expected: Aya Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Cappadocia, Hieropolis, the Sema ceremony, Ephesus. The Chora Museum was an unexpected treasure."

Robert

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed learning more about Islam, the mosques were breathtakingly beautiful, and the countryside was scenic from rolling hills, mountains, and lakes. The people were friendly, helpful, and welcoming sometimes to the point it no longer felt sincere; even housewives we met wanted you to buy their handicrafts. I just didn't feel there was enough substance to justify six very time consuming bus rides in the 10 days beyond Istanbul.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappadocia was breathtaking. Weather greatly hampered our available activities in Cappadocia, but the underground city tour and the limited visit to the Fairy Chimneys were great. Lunch with Fariye and her daughter in her home. Interaction with a group of high school students at Pamukkale."

Tsun-chiu

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was great. We learned a lot about Turkey's culture and history which are very different from the other countries that we has visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery of Cappadocia and Pamukkale."

Stephen

Signal Mountain, TN

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent overall! All compliments, no complaints. The guide (Taylan) was terrific, informative, helpful, accommodating, ... The hotels were very good, as were the meals. We enjoyed out fellow travelers. All was as advertised in all the preliminary brochures. We would do another Rick Steves' tour in a heartbeat. Several of of our fellows were on their2nd, 3rd, ... RS tours and I understand why!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two: First, the guide was exceptional. Second, Ephesus."

Sara

Signal Mountain, TN

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hesitant to take a tour as opposed to using a Rick Steves' guidebook, my husband Steve and I decided, since we wanted to go somewhere with an entirely different culture and language, that this was the time to try it. We received worry-free traveling, visits with local people, plenty of time to explore what we wanted by ourselves, and a well-prepared, knowledgeable guide who added immeasurably to our experience. It was the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I lwas wowed by so many things-- the underground city of caves, the Ankara Archeological Museum, the visit with the imam, the stay at Mustaphapasha, Ephesus, the balloon ride, among others-- that it is hard to select. If pushed, I would tie together the underground city of caves and Ephesus. I gained so much knowledge about and respect for these ancient peoples and the area in which they lived."

Ginnie

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was a satisfying experience. I wanted to learn more about the modern day Turkey and how people live in a secular society that follows mostly the Islamic faith. I would say that I have a 'peek-a-boo' view of that in Istanbul. It works out just fine at least from this tourist's perspective. I appreciate the visit and discussion granted to us by the Imam of the Mosque at Guzelyurt. I also enjoyed the hot air balloon ride, my first ever. I enjoyed the time spent at Ephesus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from the hot air balloon ride."

Melinda

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed our tour of Turkey. It was exotic but totally comfortable and very educational as well! It was a very good way to see a country we knew little about and did not want to necessarily navigate independently. There was enough free time to explore a bit on our own, but also enough structured time to learn about the Turkish culture and history. The group was very compatible. The length of the tour was about right..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say that probably the time in Cappadocia was the most memorable just because it was so different from our lives here in the U.S. Both where we stayed at the Old Greek House and the Hot Air Balloon Ride were extremel "wow" moments! Walking around the little village where the Old Greek House is was quite a once in a lifetime experience! And eating lunch with someone who lives there really cemented the experience in our memories! Touring Istanbul was also very interesting and fun."

Duncan

Tsukuba,

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Learned buckets and really enjoyed the whole experience - especially the wonderful group of people we were with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many for 500 characters."

Richard

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic, well organized, tour touched on the highlights of Turkey. Tour guide was very knowledgeable, wasn't afraid to tackle tough questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the additional balloon ride in CDappadocia--everyone on our tour took part in this adventure."

Diane

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steve's tour and it did not disappoint. It was comprehensive of history, historical sites, religion, every day life, and just plain fun. Alp was a very good guide who had the ability to adjust the itinerary to meet the groups needs and avoid unnecessary delays. The people on a tour can make or break the tour our group was best, respectful of others and always on time, and a group that really likes to laugh and have a good time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamukkale with it's hot spring pool and swimming among the old ruins in the rain was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the Turkish bath, experiencing it as a local and not in some tourist trap area made it even more fun."

Wallace

Hickory, NC

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was much better than I expected! Attention to detail was superb, we were never kept waiting for connecting transportation, and our guide was the best! He was well-prepared, knowledgeable,gave clear instructions, had a great sense of humor, and connected personally with members of our group. Many "extras" were included which I did not expect, and they made the tour more complete. The evening in Konya was our least favorite. Not much instruction.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hot air balloon ride!"

Elizabeth

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Turkey is an explosion of sights, sounds, & taste. It is like an open air museum melded with culture, history and politics . You don't need to enter a single building to enjoy the art around you but you really should! From the stunning mosques to mesmerizing landscapes to charming people every part of the country reveals different character and charm. I have been planning a trip to Turkey in my mind since I was 17. I have no idea why I waited so long but I do know I will return!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can anyone choose just one? Cappadocia - Magical (Balloon, Fahimi, Hike, Suleman) Istanbul during the day - Amazing Istanbul in the evening - Electric Ephesus - Mystical"

Debra

Holland, MI

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was an "eye-opener" in so many ways. We had never traveled in a predominately Muslim country before this tour and we have always traveled on our own. Although we will still travel on our own we will definitely be returning to Rick Steves again when traveling. I thought our guide was beyond fantastic! His knowledge of his country was endless whether it was historical, cultural, geographical or political. I always felt that he gave us a true opinions of how the Turkish people felt.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia was my "WOW" moment. The company that we flew with was really organized. Our balloon pilot was very competent and a pretty funny guy, all at the same time. Flying over the valley watching the rock formations, seeing the shadow of our balloon and listening to the quietness of the morning while watching the sunrise is a memory that will never fade!"

Dana

Coupland, TX

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I highly recommend this tour. My husband and I normally travel independently (using Rick's books!) We were pleased to find that this tour combines the best of independent and group travel. Having a bus and guide and travelling companions was great, but we had plenty of freedom also and didn't feel like we were being herded from place to place. We did spend quite a bit of time on the bus, due to the long distances, but there was a rest stop every couple of hours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to choose a favorite moment. We really enjoyed everything. In addition to the amazing historical and natural sites visited, we appreciated the opportunities to better understand the Turkish people and their culture and religion."

Sandra

Albany, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I fell in love with Turkey and this was all facilitated by our guide and the itinerary. The itinerary gave us a balance of landscape, urban vs. rural, mediterranean vs. lush, verdant mountain terrain, busy city populace vs. shepherds on a mountainside. We learned about ancient peoples who traversed the country and the current inhabitants. We experienced the culture first hand, food, music, dance, religion, etc. Our guide was spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The landscape was overwhelmingly beautiful. Also the twenty-five desperate persons from all over the US and one from Australia could feel like family after such a shot time together."

Karen

Goleta, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey exceeded my expectations. The country is so diverse and beautiful and its people are quite welcoming. Our tour guide, Taylan, was a wonderful guide and provided us with a lot of the history of his country and its customs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many but since I need to pick one, it would be ballooning over Cappadocia on a beautiful sunny morning. The ruins of Ephesus are a close second."

Melinda

Santa Ynez, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a good group of people with an excellent guide. Turkey surprised me in its beauty, culture, people, food, and history. The bus time was filled with pertinent information about what we will see, extra opportunities available, as well as explaining the history and culture of Turkey. Did not mind the drives at all. The tour was well paced and I enjoyed my day off in Antalya. I appreciated the free time we had in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Balloon Ride over Cappadocia. The Underground Cistern. The Blue Mosque, both inside and from a distance. The ruins at Ephesus."

Robert

Atlantic Beach, FL

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was by far the best run tour I have been on. I certainly would recommend Rick Steves Best of Turkey tour to anyone. And if I take another tour in an area that Rick's company cover, I would do the Rick Steves version of it without hesitation. The hotels, meals and experiences were far above what I expected, especially given the price paid. I consider it a bargain. The tour completely changed my preformed views of Turkey.

Thomas

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose this tour based on the high recommendations a year earlier from tour members we met during our Rick Steves "My Way Spain" tour. We were not disappointed. We saw and experienced a wide variety of what Turkey has to offer visitors. Visits to local markets were fun and interesting, a good way to interact with locals. (But, by the end, seeing another Arch. museum was low priority.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul ... always wanted to visit this historic and fascinating city! We only saw a very very small part of this HUGE city, but I really felt like I had visited someplace different and "away"."

Tammy Mi-Ling

Hurtsville,

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour enables me to better understand the Turkish culture, customs, history and the Muslim religion better. This experience makes the Turkey tour special and different from all the other tours I joined over the last 10 years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ancient city of Ephesus. We arrived there early to avoid the crowd. We were the first tour group there and walking down Curetes Street towards the Library of Celsus was amazing. The place was empty with no tourists! This moment was priceless! We felt we were in another time zone!"

James

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour. It was a lovely introduction to a country that seemed very foreign and exotic even to a seasoned traveler. The itinerary was awesome but could have used one more day in Istanbul. We did add a day prior to the tour but still ran out of time in the city. Our guide was great, driver was awesome (Osman).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, our guide, Yaren was the wow moment for the trip. After our first two guides (Ferdi - Best of Europe in 21 days - 2006 and Peter - Best of Eastern Europe 2008), the bar was set VERY high. Yaren blew them away. More below."

Mindy

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had very little previous knowledge about Turkey or it's history or people. This tour was a whirlwind of information about many aspects of Turkish life. From ancient history to current politics to what it's like to be a secular Muslim nation to learning about Islamism at all, this tour was more than just a lot of very cool sites to see (although it was also that). It gave me what I wanted in terms of context for the cities and places we saw. I loved that about this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First, let me say, there were SO many "wow" moments on this tour. But if forced to choose, I would have to pick Hagia Sophia. In addition to being incredible in size and grandeur, it is such a cool juxtaposition of historical layers visible in one place."

Alan

Placentia, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent tour guide....one night in a hotel didn't work for me.....two nights should be minimal stay! Too many early mornings!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turkey is a wow country.....Yaren explanations of Turkey's future....two very different paths ahead for it!"

Marietta

Bradford, PA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful mix of historical, cultural, social experiences. Our tour guide, Mert, must have related the same information to several groups already this season, and yet, as he talked to us, his enthusiasm and energy gave the impression that he was sharing the information for the first time--it was fresh and enthusiastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the sun set from the terrace of the Upper Greek House. Quiet, peaceful."

Darlene

San Jose, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third Rich Steve's Tour and they have all been wonderful. The style and philosophy of RS Tours are just the right fit for me. This tour was especially memorable because of our guide, Mert Taner, a great group of travel companions, and the beautiful surprise that is Turkey!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick a favorite, but the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia and the tour of Ephesus will never be forgotten. And every time I heard the call to prayer at 5:00 a.m. I thought "Wow, I really am in Turkey!" and didn't mind at all."

Tara

Springfield Gardens, NY

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Mert was an amazing tour guide. It was like being in school and relearning things I had forgotten years ago. This was the first tour I have tken where the tour guide was so knowledgeable. It made the experience richer and more fulfilling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia & Ephesus!!!!! These two places were why I decided to go to Turkey in the first place. I was able to tick them off the bucket list. The entire tour was full of little a-ha moments, though. It made me want to go back and visit!"

Danielle

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Turkey tour with Mert surpassed all of my expectations. The curated list of activities was just perfect, I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them. There are some long drives, but they are split up into rest stops and fascinating ancient sites, making them seem much shorter. The drives also gave Mert time to give us more information about the history and people of Turkey in relationship to the sites we were seeing. I just can't recommend this tour enough!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've been on a balloon ride over the Napa valley and thought that was wonderful. The scenery of Cappadocia, the colors of 99 other balloons, the sunrise . . . it blew that ride away. It also had the added benefit of providing us with the most spectacular vacation photos we've ever taken."

Lori

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steves Tour and definitely the most intense--intellectually, politically, culturally, spiritually, even socially. Part of this has to do with the fact that it's Turkey, a country that is just about as diverse and evolving as any country on the planet. But it's also in large part due to the knowledge and experiences that our guide Mert delivered to us en force. He also created a particularly close and caring "team" (he called us) of tour mates.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Tinaztepe Caves, hike through the Cavusin village in Cappadocia, Ephesus (especially the excavation of the Terrace Houses)"

Eleanor

Oakland, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' tour and I am quite impressed overall. I have traveled with 2 other organizations in groups to Peru and Japan. Because of current events such as Angela Merkel visiting Istanbul, our schedule had to be rearranged more than once without missing a beat. I couldn't have arranged a better comprehensive overview of Turkish landscape and culture given the the time constraints. The buddy system worked well to keep everyone together and form a cohesive group quickly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" was the tulip displays in Istanbul and Konya."

Kris

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very good time. Enjoyed meeting the other tour participants and seeing so much of Turkey in less than two weeks. Mert was a great tour guide - always providing helpful tips, supporting individual tour members, and providing very interesting history, culture and language lessons in transit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hor air balloon ride in Cappadoccia"

Jeff

Oakland, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The biggest downside to the trip was the length of time spent on the bus (> 40 hours), although I am not sure how you can make it better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning in Capadocia"

Jeffrey

Louisville, CO

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steve's tour and we had a great time. The tour was very well organized and we felt safe and secure the whole time. We learned a lot about Turkey and now realize that many of the American perceptions of the country and region are poorly founded. The people of Turkey were very welcoming and friendly. Our guide did a great job explaining the culture and history. Our only complaint was related to the quality of some of the hotels we stayed in. They were substandard.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a "wow" moment. The time we spend in Cappadocia was particularly interesting. The hot air balloon ride was a lot of fun. The ancient ruins in Ephesus were also great."

Charlene

Apo, AE

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed this tour more than I thought I would. We had a good tour group and Taylan was great. Turkey is a very interesting country. It has a lot to offer in terms of history, culture, historical sites and unique landscape. I loved the interaction with the locals - the imam and the luncheon in Cappadocia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two - the hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia and our visit to Pamukkale. They were both awesome."

Stan

Piedmont, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very knowledgeable, experienced and capable guide in Taylan. Not only did he present history and geography facts thoroughly, he timed his talks to each locale so as not to be 'TMI', too much information. He represented Turkey in a fair and compassionate manner, not an easy task given today's world political situation. We enjoyed the small group dynamics and the passion for travel of our fellow tour members. This is our first Rick Steves Tour; don't think it's our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pauline's wow moment was optional balloon ride over Cappadocia, where she had to overcome fear of flying. Stan's wow moment was the calcified cliffs near Pumukkale along with the archaeological site of Hierapolis."

Louvina

Fresno, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide, interesting sites, lots of time on bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon in Cappadocia--not included in tour"

Constance

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day, every hour was filled with interesting sights, sounds, tastes and experiences with real, local residents. Taylan was an excellent guide, always telling us ahead of time what was coming up next, what to expect, and reassuring us that he would remain nearby when we were "on our own". His knowledge of the history, culture, archeology, government systems, etc. was comprehensive. What sets Rick Steves tours apart are the unique experiences with local people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Only one? We had so many! Our hike through the valley in Cappadocia, visit with the Imam, visit to the archeological museum in Ankara, Pamukale & Hieropolis and the five levels of residential restoration in Ephesus. Every day had a "wow" experience."

Maxine

Point Roberts, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our third RS tour and each one somehow gets better and better....cannot believe that is possible but it is true. Despite the snow, heavy rain etc. we enjoyed our tour a l00%. At the end of the day we depend so much on our tour guide and he was amazing and outstanding....the knowledge and understanding of the history and the politics was overwhelming. You are lucky to have him, really lucky.....but we were even more lucky.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite WOW moment was taking the balloon ride in Cappadocia....it felt like Walt Disney had built the site it was so extraordinary and fairyland like."

Marguerite

Louisville, CO

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderfully enjoyable tour. I find I like the tours that utilize coach for transportation. Taylan was very patient, kind and enlightening on the country and it's people. He was professional and tried to meet physical needs of any of his group. The choices of restaurants presented a tasty overall presentation of the local foods. Most of the hotels were comfortable and I only felt "unsafe" in one that had a towel near the opening between the door and outside alley.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say I had a "wow" moment. I loved Istanbul and was completely amazed at the size, but also the overall feeling of acceptance in Turkey."

Jennifer

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed learning about such a very exotic part of the world. I felt that I gained great understanding of the social and political history of the area as well as getting to meet and talk with a lot of local people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed by many of the experiences we had there- the cities with such a mixture of old and new, the hike through the fairy chimneys, the ancient ruins and the amazing history"

George

Reno, NV

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We come to expect RS Tours to have a schedule we can set our clocks on. From 1st meeting everything seemed OFF schedule. No city walk-about 1st night and Bosphorus Cruise last Istanbul day to meet bus on the Asian side. No Local Guides. We enjoyed our tour because of our Traveling Friends and meeting new friends. We are not your normal tourists, we are not grumps; we study the history & culture before visiting. Quite important on this trip because Turkey is feared and misunderstood.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not a single WOW! Looked forward to a Sunrise Mass Ascension of Balloons floating over Fairy Chimneys. What we got was a late start in a vacant field with no balloons around and a skydiver getting HIS WOW MOMENT at our expense! Nice flight; BUT, not a WOW experience. Most memorable, impromptu meetings- Potato workers sharing their breakfast, a Shepard in a sport coat tending his flock and cafe workers helping us understand the food. Sending pictures to each. Our Driver, Raphet was a WOW!"

Kathleen

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, a enthusiastic and charming guide we knew as Alp. Second, a wonderful group of cohesive people who all had fascinating travel and life stories. Third, was the well-planned trip to wonderful places in Turkey. The bus rides were terribly long so took up much of our "free" time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The underground city of Kaymakli Yeralti Sehri which developed to eight layers below ground where 5,000 people could hide for months during the Christian period. The maze of rooms and tunnels was amazing and even more amazing the hidden shafts for fresh air and deep wells for fresh water. In addition, there are several of these and they date back to the early Bronze Age. Wow!!"

Stephen

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the tour especially since it was a different experience than previous trips to Western and Eastern Europe. The locals were very friendly maybe a little too friendly(carpet salesmen!). The ancient ruins, museums, mosques, lunch at locals house, and scenic areas of Turkey all added to the experience, although we did deviate from the schedule and seemed a little rushed at times. The food was very good, hotels were fine and the bus driver was the usual RS high standards.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not one clear outstanding wow moment for me but I enjoyed the historic sites and Istanbul the best, epecially Basilica cistern and our half day at Ephesus. The balloon ride was a little disappointing since it was not clear to us that the pilot would be following a different course for the skydiver. We missed out on the sunrise flight surrounded by balloons. I believe a different city than Antalya should be chosen for the "vacation from the vacation" because it was very touristy to me."

Susette

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time learning about all aspects of Turkish life past and present. The people were so welcoming, the landscape was amazing, and our guide did an exceptional job of leading us through many varied experiences and teaching us about Tukey's history and current culture. I came home with a much more enlightened understanding of this vital part of the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all so WOW! If I had to pick one, it would be the hot air balloon experience in Cappadocia. Well worth the extra cost, and a once in a life time experience. The last day in Kusadasi we wandered through the small shops near our hotel and met so many great people. My husband was convinced to get a haircut and shave. Something else neither of us will ever forget."

Brian

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From Brian & Carol We enjoyed the trip, "Alp" was had a great deal of information about the sites and was spontaneous. For example we really liked the seeing the farmers in their potato underground storage. We liked everyone who was on the tour with us. We felt that we had plenty of time for seeing everything. We enjoyed most of the Group meals and the recommendations were good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Brian: I really was wowed by the whirling dervishes. I also liked Hierapolis Carol: Cappadocia and Ephesus Brian also enjoyed meeting the staff at the hospital in Ku?adas?"

Nancy

Roseville, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This trip was more of a cultural immersion than alot of wow sights. I really enjoyed all of Turkey, especially Istanbul and Cappadocia. Hearing the call to prayer was just so incredible, no matter what city we were in. To fully appreciate Turkey, I participated in all of the cultural offerings: the Whirling Dervish performance in an old caravanserai, a traditional Turkish bath experience, boat ride in Antalya on the Mediterranean and the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments: the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was over the top spectacular. And the Whirling Dervish performance in an old caravanserai was just mesmerizing, from the music to the dancing to the chanting. Just loved it!"

Sasha

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour experience. It was a great combination of visiting and learning about a new place, interesting sites and cities, meaningful interactions and experiences, a tour group that clicked well and a guide who had a good command of all aspects of his job. Much of the trip was full of unexpected experiences, in the best possible way. This was a busy fast paced trip which I really enjoyed (but with options always to go at the pace that worked best for you).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really loved my time in Istanbul and am glad a went a few days early. I also enjoyed leaving the group for an afternoon and hiking on my own in the Cappadocia area. I loved many of the stops we made two and from cities, it was always a surprise and stops made the journey go quicker. I have traveled all of the world and Turkey is now one of my most loved trips, I really enjoyed it all."

Joanne

Reno, NV

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We chose Turkey to learn. We learned the language, pored over Tom Brosnahan, Insight books, reference tapes and CDs but our particular tour and guide fell short of adding to that experience perhaps due to his lack leading tours outside Istanbul and Turkish culture. Turkey has a rich and diverse culture and we couldn't possibly know enough. Our post-tour experience to Izmir, Bergama, Foça, Assos and Troy great-we needed more time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stopping at a local potato shed. Totally impromptu, but having tour members sit and have tea and breakfast was priceless-and we are sharing photos with them by e-mail! Several Shopkeepers also asked for photos by email. This culture is spot-on social media--even in the far out regions. The aha moment was realizing that women don't just cover themselves with black dresses. The clothing is beautifully top stitched and accessorized. Black dresses vary by region. Meeting Mert in Cappadocia great!"

Debra

Tampa, FL

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best tour ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many"

Theodore

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleased at how efficient the tour was. I was originally concerned that there would not be enough time at each sight, but not having to figure out how to get around and receiving information from an expert while at each place made the most of the seemingly limited time spent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara. Even the building itself is amazing. And I had been afraid that the day in Ankara was going to be a waste!"

Kathleen

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had no idea what to expect, but if I had, it would have exceeded all my expectations. The cities were exotic and interesting, the food was fabulous, the people were friendly, the tour group was copacetic and the tour leader (Mert) was absolutely outstanding. His knowledge, and his ability to transmit that knowledge and understanding to us, was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hands down, Ephesus."

Mary Sharon

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WONDERFUL! Mert set the tone. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge & enthusiasm for Turkey. He totally wowed us at every turn with his vast knowledge and love for his country. He brought an understanding of the people of Turkey through their history & religions. He was simply amazing. All our group was awesome. We bonded immediately & all seemed to share a great love for culture & knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Ephesus. The ruins were fantastic. Mert's explanation of the antiquities was superb. The working archaeological site was fascinating."

Judie

Lutz, FL

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So incredibly informative on all aspects of Turkey - Turkish life, Islam, politics, family life, etc. Much of the appeal of this trip had to do with our tour guide, Mert , who is outstanding - and the country of Turkey is outstanding as well. I heard many negative comments before the trip from "friends and acquaintances" but none from folks who had traveled there before - I share the positive sentiments of these people as Turkey is simply a wonderful country as are its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a "wow" but my favorite experiences were exploring the ruins, especiallt Ephesus."

Lee

San Jose, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

OMG! The tour was about in the top 10 experiences of my life, birth of my children being number 1!! I went with no expectations and with my ignorance about Turkey, I was pleasantly surprised every day. I appreciated how well organized each day was and the thoughtfulness to the timing and scheduling of activities. I have been used to traveling on my own using RS books, but having most of the decisions planned and made for me was a tremendous treat and a true vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very hard to answer because I found myself being "wowed" everyday. I would think at the moment that this had to be the greatest experience ever, and then the next day would occur and I found myself saying "wow" all over again."

Robert

Bakersfield, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was really great - all the locations were perfect, the bus traveling was fine, the hotels were good to great, and the biggest asset of ALL was our tour guide Mert.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: Blue Mosque, the open markets, the carpet demo, Cappadocia and meeting with the Imam, lunch with the three Muslim ladies."

Eileen

Los Gatos, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was such a wonderful place to visit! The country, people, food, sights and experiences were magnificent! Mert was a walking encyclopedia and he handled all the many details of the trip efficiently and expertly. I couldn't have been more pleased. I would go again tomorrow!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were so many it is hard to choose. Every day I said, "well, this is the high point of the trip!", until I gave up. Hagia Sophia, the cisterns, the fairy chimney formations, the open air museum in Goreme, the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, Ephesus and Aphrodisias to name a few. Visiting the imam and the Turkish family for lunch were very high on my list."

Sally

San Jose, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing, I loved every bit of the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, I find it hard to choose. Having lunch prepared, and meeting the 4 generations of women that live in the home was a highlight. The women were so welcoming, the food was delicious, and they were so open to answering our questions about Turkish family life. Their responses were informative, and also showed a delightful sense of humor! The Easter Sunday spent in a mosque talking with the imam was also very special. He was so open, informative, and such a friendly, charming man."

Matt

Clarkesville, GA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fascinating, fun, educational experience. Unlike any of my previous travels. The only negative was the weather, but then there's no controlling that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too hard to pick."

Susan

Tampa, FL

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guided Best of Turkey tour sold me on guided Rick Steves tours. I learned more about Turkey, its history and its people than I ever anticipated. Highlights were our visits to the ancient ruins and the visits with the Turkish people we could spend time with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can only pick ONE? In Ephesus I could "see" an ancient city come to life, but I loved meeting and talking to the family in Cappadocia and our conversations about a woman's life in contemporary Turkey the most."

Allen

Camden, SC

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our seventh tour with Rick. Turkey is terrific! The antiquity was amazing. We learned a lot. Our guide Mert was very knowledgeable about all of Turkey. This was truly "Europe through the back door". Some days were very long. Would have preferred to add a day or two to the tour so days could be shortened and have more down time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being invited into a local's home for a meal and discussion with four generations of the same family. Fascinating interplay among the generations. Ephesus and Istanbul were special."

Benjamin

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Full of enjoyment. Wonderful sights (and sites); excellent companions; nice accommodations; Turkish people very welcoming; great food. The itinerary and pace were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mert, our wonderful guide, was my constant wow moment. He is very knowledgeable; has the ability to communicate very well; is proud of Turkey and its people; he is kind and caring (to the tour members and the many people we came in contact with ... especially children and young people); and well organized. My knowledge and appreciate of Turkey from Mert extended to -- history, religion, economics, current society, family life, food, architecture, medicine, educations, and much more."

Joan

Bakersfield, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was everything we expect from a Rick Steves tour - and more! Turkey has such a rich history, and the tour highlighted all of the various eras in its past...the early settlements (the REAL cradle of civilization!), the Greek and Roman heritage, the Byzantine empire, the Ottomans, and Ataturk's modern secular nation. But the gorgeous scenery, geography, mountains, agriculture were wonderful and unexpected. We had a congenial group of fellow travelers - and made life long friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, I expected it to be the balloon ride over Cappadocia, but sadly the weather did not permit this. But even without the balloon ride, Cappadocia region was a "wow" experience from start to finish. Cave dwellings in every conceivable location, Goreme world heritage site, the lovely fairy chimneys. I loved every minute. There were many other fabulous moments...lunch with a Turkish family, the gorgeous mosques of Istanbul, standing in a caravanseri used by Marco Polo. Wow!"

Marsha

Rieux,

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour for three major reasons: an excellent itinerary, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Taylan, and 23 other tour members who were always ready to embrace new experiences. The hotels were generally very good, as were the group meals. As a way to see the highlights of a country as big as Turkey, I don't think you could improve on the itinerary, without adding more time to the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I lived in Turkey from 1960-1967, and saw all the areas we visited then, so I was more interested in revisiting familiar things, like the friendliness of the Turkish people, the delicious food and talking to my fellow group members about their experiences. Unfortunately, my "wow" moments have to do with the unchecked development and urban sprawl that characterizes all of Turkey's large cities. For that reason, our time in the little town of Mustafapasa was my favorite."

John

Horsham, PA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour met and exceeded my expectations. I would recommend this tour to anyone. This was our first Rick Steve's tour and only the second tour we have taken first was to Egypt. My wife and I wanted to go to Turkey, but were hesitant to go on our own. We would not have seen as much if we had been on our own. Since we usually travel independently, it was nice to have everything worked out for us on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Betsy

Horsham, PA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had a great time! This was our 1st RS tour, and our 2nd tour ever, as we usually design our own trips. Long fans of RS on PBS and his books, we felt that a trip to Turkey would be better for us using his experience and knowledge to guide us. Our guide was terrific, the bus driver was an ace, and the other tour members were fun and interesting. The trip is as described, lots of walking, stairs and fitness required. The estimates of walking were correctly listed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had thirteen days of "wow" moments. Each day stands out. Meeting the people was a highlight. Our interview with the Imman was enlightening, our lunch at a local home was delightful and authentically "through the back door"."

Diane

San Diego, CA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We covered a lot of territory, both physically and historically.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the balloon ride and also was blown away by the museum of ancient Anatolian civilizations in Ankara."

Robert

Taos, NM

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was truly an eye-opening exposure to a country of unsurpassed physical beauty as well as friendly, gregarious people. Henceforth, I will be an unofficial ambassador for the country of Turkey and for Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus. The other ruins that we visited were amazing, but they were only previews of the grandeur of Ephesus."

Angie

Houston, TX

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is a special country, and I hope it continues on that path. The people manage to mix the old and the new with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wows: Meeting with an interesting and informative imam Soaring over the volcanic rock formations in Cappadocia in a hot air balloon Riding an ebike along the coast in Antalya Learning about the skills in producing Turkish carpets and pottery"

Sue

Ridgeland, MS

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

So glad I made this trip. Taylan was very a knowledgeable tour guide for the areas we visited. Our bus driver was a fantastic driver. Very difficult areas to drive such a big bus. Very nice bus to travel in. What a beautiful country! I was very disappointed with hotel, Ninova in Antalya. Shower overflowed into bathroom every time you took a shower. Toliet did not work for better part of one day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride over Cappadocia and the beautiful vistas we saw driving throughout Turkey."

Phil

Louisville, KY

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First tour we've ever done. Exceeded expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Simply having lunch at someone's home, can't remember her name, but a delightful lady in a small town in Capadoccia."

Lois

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although I had read the material about the tour, I really did not know what to expect, not having been on a tour before. Each day was well planned and Taylan was flexible about making changes in the schedule when the weather wasn't cooperating. Taylan was very knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus!!! The other ruins were interesting, but the size and amount of excavation were a surprise to me."

Jacquelyn

Coupeville, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful.. No complaints at all. Every day was a new adventure. The conversations on the bus with our guide were interesting and educational. There was the right amount of 'doing planned activities' and free time. Our guide also had great suggestions for us when we did have unplanned time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of 'wow' moments. Hot air balloon ride, Turkish bath, the caves.. But the best day was the day we had lunch with our tour guides friend in her home. What a lady! A lesson in how we are all more alike than different."

Don

Seattle, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The main sights I had planned to see (Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, Ankara Museum, Capadoccia, Pamukkale, and Ephesus) were all I had hoped for. In addition, I gained insights into Islam and Turkish history that enriched the tour experience immeasurably. The logistics for the tour were well planned, and both the tour guide's expertise and accommodations exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Neolithic displays at the Museum of Anatolian Peoples gave me a new appreciation of the capabilities that people possessed around 6,500 BC and their mental landscapes."

Maureen

North Ridgeville, OH

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was a beautiful country with incredibly friendly people. Our tour enabled us to see a variety of sights in different parts of the country. I enjoyed having free time to explore and never felt rushed at any of the sights. Our fellow travelers were interesting and fun and our tour guide was terrific. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride was definitely a "wow" moment. The landscape of Cappadocia is so amazing and our excellent balloonist brought us through little valleys as the sun rose. What an experience!"

Maureen

Northampton, MA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I chose your tour because I wanted to see the country not just big cities. I came away with a sense of a world and people I had not known before. Now when I hear about Turkey I think of the people i met and their lives

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the lunch meeting in the home of a local woman who told us about her life and shared her view of the world around her and the morning meeting with a local Imam in his mosque It gave me a sense of the people and their daily lives . How they saw the world from their place in it. It's times like these that make travel mind expanding"

Mary

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic. The whole group was very much together. This tour was out of our comfort level at first, but not now. We went a few days early and took a ferry to an island to meet retired American friends.Our guide, Alp, was fantastic, so entusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful. The driver was outstanding esp. in snow. Debi Jo made sure we were on time, etc. very friendly and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul with its Mosques, cats, and dogs. Seeing ancient times is way beyond history in school. What an inspiration to read more! I did read Pamuk's Istanbul his memories of growing up. That helped for modern times. The new building outside the city was beyond belief."

Jane

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a toss up among my first view of the interior of Hagia Sophia, the interior of Chora Church (both in Istanbul) and the painted church caves in Cappadocia. I confess, I'm interested in early Christian history and Turkey has many important sites."

Kathy

Greenville, NC

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Two weeks of non-stop fun and learning! We were incredibly impressed with the Rick Steves tour model. The group was lots of fun and good travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An overall "WOW" was how superlative this tour is! In every way, we were pleasingly impressed! It was exceptionally well organized with great use of time. When improvizations had to be made, they were well executed. Turkey was chock full of superlatives ... we had no idea and learned soooo much!"

Lisa

Rochester, NY

Tour: 11/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The small group (13) was really great, and made the tour that much more special. Easy to get in and out of places and keep track of everyone. Taylan was very supportive and kind to all of us. And he accommodated our requests whenever possible. I think he was a great tour guide, and he kept his sense of humor! I was so impressed with what Turkey had to offer, both culturally and historically. And I really feel like we sampled many aspects during our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pick just one! We experienced so much of the historical past and the present culture, and it was all terrific! I will say the balloon ride over Cappadocia was a real highlight, and not to be missed."

Dianne

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 11/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was excitement and intrigue every step of the way. It was a learning experience, it was fun, and it was fascinating to see "the other side of the world". Never a dull moment!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a few "WOW" moments. I particularly LOVED ALL of the Roman Ruins, & anything I saw that was from a century way back in time. The Cappadocia balloon ride was truly spectacular! The artist in me felt the carpet weaving demonstration & lecture was particularly interesting. Ceramics demo & lecture also, & OMG, the showroom was exquisitely expensive! The whirling Dervishes ceremony was very moving, & a reality check about the fast paced world we live in. And seeing the Mediterranean again!!!"

Shirley

Auburn, WA

Tour: 11/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We could not have had a better experience. All details were taken care of and we were able to relax and immerse ourselves in the culture. Our guide and bus driver were exceptional, and there was NOTHING they could not arrange or handle! The tour gave us everything we asked for as we were able to see Turkey and have it explained by a native who was justifiably proud if his country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely our time in Cappadocia where we stayed in a cave hotel, had a beautiful hike and took a balloon ride!!! Turkish bath in Antalya was up there too."

James

Auburn, WA

Tour: 11/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Started with a terrific tour guide, Taylan. He was always friendly, answered all questions, extremely knowlegable and willing to make itinerary changes when they made sense. Appreciated the free time that was scheduled perfectly - when we needed to be on our own. The fantastic history and geology of Turkey was presented to us in an enlightening and interesting fashion. This was our first ever guided tour and will not be our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Bill

Clinton, WA

Tour: 11/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Having been a Turkish interpreter (Korean War)and historian, I found this tour to be one of your most diverse and fascinating. Taylan was exceedingly well informed although he could have been a little more attentive of sights along and during our bus rides. The tour overall was nearly as well done "ETBD" tour which was outstanding.as our

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia for it's history and tunnel "apartments" and especially the hotel accomodations and attentive personnel"

Donna

Richmond, BC

Tour: 11/01/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As in our other two tours, the group was very compatible. We were only 16 so it was nice. Our tour leader was very knowledgeable and able to answer our many questions. Many lively discussions were had. Our driver also was very good. Our longer drives were broken up regularly making it more enjoyable. Overall we learned a lot about Turkey and its history. I enjoying visiting the lady who prepared us lunch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The underground city of Kaymakli and Ephesus with its large stadium and the restored villa area."

Judith

San Jose, CA

Tour: 11/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour[INVALID]period. We wanted to go to Turkey, but were hesitant to go on our own. We learned a lot we enjoyed the group and were impressed with Alp's knowledge[INVALID]of Turkey, Biblical history, Muslim and Turkish history. We would not have seen as much or learned as much if we had been on our own. Since we usually travel independently, it was nice to have everything worked out for us on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We liked it all, but my wow moment was the balloon ride."

Patricia

Olympia, WA

Tour: 11/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Busy and varied -- full of wonderful ancient, modern and natural sites. Just wish we had more time to process them. I appreciated the option to do or not do an activity, but once or twice needed more information to make a good choice. Although the question and answer periods on the bus as well as with the Imam increased our knowledge of the Moslem religion, I suggest that one moderated lunch discussion re that religion would have deepened our understanding and given us a frame of reference.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon trip over Cappadocia. Though this side tour was not included in the RS itinerary and was expensive, it was arranged by our guide and we had the best pilot-- Mike. Other wow moments -- Chora Church; Melvana Museum. Both had lovely art and were small enough to comprehend."

Peter

Olympia, WA

Tour: 11/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Gokalp was an effective and pleasant leader. Turkey was more advanced and progressive than I anticipated, and quite beautiful. The sites we visited were interesting. Our driver was excellent, and the tour members were compatible and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"About half of the group went up in the hot air balloons at Cappadocia, including me. That was really exciting and amazing. I'm sorry so many did not participate. One of the most exciting days I've ever had."

Arthur

Washington Dc, DC

Tour: 11/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent overall--super guide, very well planned and executed tour of critical sites. I could do less shopping, but don't feel strongly about it.

Tommy

Katy, TX

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour met and exceeded my expectations. Mert was great, and his discussions were informative and never boring. I made some wonderful friends as we visited the different cities and sites. I went as a solo traveler, but fell-in with a group of knuckleheads, and we had a ball.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. The architectural legacy of Haggia Sophia (all mosques in Turkey appear to have domes). 2. The profound and lasting reforms of Ataturk. 3. The Muslim women weeping as they prayed at the Shrine of the Rumi in Konya. 4. Walking down the cardo toward the Library of Celsus at Ephesus."

Greg

Livingston, TX

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very positive experience providing solid information in context.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There isn't a single one that stands out from the rest, with this tour it was a repetitive condition. Probably best to ask in 6 mos to a year and see what sticks in my memory."

Jennifer

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never been on a tour before but feel that I probably picked the best one to start with. The accommodations were wonderful and the tour guide amazing. I learned and experienced so much more on this tour than I would have on my own. The country is varied and beautiful. The optional trips were well worth while.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That would be hard to choose. Ballooning over Heiropolis, perhaps. Talking with the ladies who served us lunch in their home, definitely. The terrace houses of Ephesus."

William

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip. Enjoyed learning about a new country and culture, and a new perspective on the Middle East. Mert, our guide was both an excellent host and a wealth of knowledge. Details of the trip were all well worked out, which made it a very positive experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Turkish Bath experience. Not only did it feel good physically, but was a way to experience a unique cultural element, and an exercise in learning to trust folks with whom I shared no language or history, in a situation in which I felt very vulnerable ( quite literally being naked and in a strangers hands). I felt embraced by the culture, not just by the towels."

John

Arroyo Grande, CA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip lived up our expectations for Rick Steves Tours. This was our third trip. We were reminded of how organized and professional the tours are. All of the help before hand and during the trip were great and allowed us to have a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many Wow moments on this trip. Visiting the Rumi Mausoleum stands out as spectacular. The boat trip on the Mediterranean was also a wow moment."

Venita

Yakima, WA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We have encouraged many of our friends to take this tour. The guide. ,the food the sights, The history brought to life!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Ephesus and famous buildings. Also. The new Friendships.u"

Amy

Poulsbo, WA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The variety of experiences was outstanding. I think we made the most of all the places we visited, although we were not able to do the ballooning or the 4 mile hike in Capadoccia due to weather. But Mert made the ballooning happen in Pamakkule, so that was a bonus. This tour would have been better in Sept, but I would rather have done it when we did than in the high season.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat ride on the Mediterranean was a standout, and I really enjoyed the mosques and Bosphorous cruise in Istanbul. The archaeological museum in Ankara was great, and the Goreme outdoor museum was incredible, even in the rain. Aphrodesious was probably my favorite of the ancient sites. And the lunch prepared by the Turkish family was a great experience! The pottery demonstration was amazing too. The mtn caves were also a nice stop. And the Turkish bath! Loved that :-)"

Shawn

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The best thing about this tour was the guide. He was fantastic! This was my first Rick Steves tour, and I was hoping for a different type of experience than a typical group tour. I am not a fan of group tours in general, and this tour convinced me not to do it again. I prefer more activity, more exercise, more exploration, more local food. Our group never ventured outside the central touristy areas. It was a confining experience. We broke away as often as we could, which wasn't often enoug

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The guide."

Cathy

Livingston, TX

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I know I will return to Turkey! On the tour, we saw slices of this country[INVALID]enough to tantalize the soul! From the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia to Cappadocia to a rural market to the seaside to the ancient Greek sites, Turkey is a land of fascination. The country was enchanting and I am so glad Rick Steves' tour introduced me to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow, what a question! Other members of the tour group would ask me this and you know there just is not one answer. As I sit here now, several weeks removed from that journey, what immediately comes to mind are two "wows". The first is the Cappadocia region starting with the amazing hotel in Mustafapasa, add the churches in the Goreme, lunch with three generations of Turkish women, and visiting the underground city. The second is the Turkish bath in Antalya."

Adrian

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was wonderful, because of Turkey's sites and our expert guide. It turns out that for us, group tours are not our preference. We were hoping that a RS tour would be good for an independent-minded traveler, but it was not much different from other bus tours. Especially disappointing were the CARPET SALESTALK (offensive waste of time, with no escape), and the ceramics "museum" sales place. However, we enjoyed learning about the history of the sites from our guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed a pleasant day at Aphrodisias, a (ruined) city that I did not know about beforehand. It was a nice place to be immersed, and was not overrun with tourists. Other activities that I really enjoyed: The Turkish bath experience (extra charge), visiting the beautiful mosques, and walking from the Theodesian Walls into Old Town Istanbul (on our own in lieu of the Grand Bazaar). Istanbul and Antalya were my favorite cities to visit."

Sharon

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This would have been a great trip, but the addition of Taylan made these 13 days an incredible experience. Since I'm interested in archaeology anyway, Taylan's passion and knowledge brought history to life. He's incredible. Give him a raise!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The archaeological museum in Ankara. Again, Taylin's knowledge and passion created an incredible expedrience."

Linda

Houston, TX

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a wonderful time. Did not know much about Turkey before this experience and it was a great eye opener.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sorry, I can't come up wig just one. What struck me was how much variety Turkey has to offer. So many different facets but one not better than another."

Karen

Toronto, ON

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Generally speaking the tour was well balanced and interesting. The adjustments to the schedule worked well except I found Tuesday the second day a bit too demanding The guide taylan made an interesting presentation each day and his intelligence and joie de vie was a positive influence in making the trip a memorable one As I had a serious family crisis before I left I found taylinlabosi particularly helpful as the Azade failed to give me a wake up call one morning and he phased me in qu

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ruins in Ephesus and the underground city were both equally outstanding"

David

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was better than I thought it could be. Turkey is a wonderful place and I can't believe it isn't on the top of everyone's MUST SEE list. Our tour guide was great and helped make this a wonderful experience. The thing I love about RS tours is the "history lesson" you get on the bus every day. You could tell our guide Taylan was passionate about his culture, history and of course his country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One? There were so many, you could almost have one for every day. If I have to pick one it would probably be the day in Ephesus. To think Anthony and Cleopatra walked these streets and Paul got kicked out of town for being a troublemaker. It's a place you could go back 20 years from now and be amazed on all the new discoveries."

Carol

Cardiff By The Sea, CA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great travel experience. This is my second RS tour and as with the first it was very well planned. Great cities and sites visited and very good timing to avoid large crowds, great insider connections with local guides, small family accommodations, extra experiences such as dining with local family and most importantly a fabulous tour guide and bus driver. Turkey provides a touch of the exotic to European travel with its eastern culture, religion and architecture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments in Turkey. Staying in Mustafapasa in the Cappadoccia area in a centuries old family home turned inn, seeing the first cave homes walking through town, then hiking through the cave churches and monasteries carved in the cliffs with 1000 year old frescoes still visible, eating a lunch prepared/shared by Fahriye in her home, ending with a fabulous dinner followed by local music and dancing at the inn. definitely several days spent in another world. Aphrodisias thru the eyes of Tayl"

Marian

Langley, BC

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Always having travelled independently, we wondered how we would enjoy touring with a group. Turkey, with it's rich history and distant sites, seemed like the country to try a tour. We were so pleased we did, the tour far exceeded our expectations. From the very companionable travel mates, the many wonderful experiences, to our excellent guide, we felt fortunate to be a part of it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course, this is a hard question to answer. I would say learning about a country that I knew little about and marveling at the quality of life centuries ago."

Carla

Belleuve, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed Turkey, the opportunity to see the country side and Cappadoccia. I particularily liked the activities outside of the usual tourist sites, a talk with an Inman (sp?) and meeting the womem for lunch in their home. And I appreciated the time to be on my own both at the ancient sites and in the cities and small towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. The overall impression of Turkey as a modern developed country not unlike centeral Idaho in mnay areas."

Kenneth

Woodland, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great! We rave about it to all our friends as "the trip of a lifetime". Loved the "side trips" to talk with an Imam, have lunch at a local villagers home, see local musicians and dancer, and such. Added a whole new perspective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The archeological museum in Ankora.....seeing and touching ancient Hittite and earlier civilizations that I have read about all my life. Including artifacts from the oldest settlement in Europe. Absolutely beautiful."

Eleanor

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour! I knew little about Turkey before the trip (tried to do a lot of pre-tour reading), and I felt that the tour itinerary gave us a very good overview of the history, culture, geography, and cuisine -- just enough to want to return! This is my second RS tour (first was Spain & Morocco in 2012) and I have been very happy with everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Way too many highlights to choose just one. I think perhaps my favorite memory is not a "wow" moment but just having met and travelled with our guide and the members of our tour group. Absolutely the best tour group ever, and we have all been staying in touch (and looking forward to the January reunion weekend)."

Sandi

Danville, IL

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This entire two weeks was fantastic. Great guide. Great group. Great trip design. Great weather. Fascinating country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Turkish bath! I had no idea it could be so wonderful! I am a fan, and am going to try to find one in the USA."

Nancy

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The locale of our hotel in Istanbul seemed very European, but when I awoke the first morning to the pre-dawn call to prayer, I realized I was visiting someplace completely new. Turkey's cities, churches, mosques, villages, mountains, beaches and greco-roman ruins were fascinating. The people were friendly. The cuisine was delicious. Our guide was wonderful and our itinerary gave us a good overall introduction -- I just wish our tour could have lasted longer!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church were all "wow" moments. The same for the Bosphorus cruise, the first glimpse of Cappadocia rock dwellings, the Caravansera visit, and having Aphrodesia almost all to ourselves. But the moment I keep coming back to most often was our quesion and answer session in the mosque with the young imam, Emr Mutlu."

Jonathan

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a tremendous trip, I had trepidations about joining a group tour, dynamics can be so variable, but the group we were with were a real joy to meet. Mert was our guide and was a true master of keeping us engaged and interested. I would go on any tour being led by Mert again without hesitation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day had several wow moments, and moments where the light came on and I learned something new, what a glorious feeling to be able to put something together that you had only bits and pieces of before. But for a short list, The carpet weavers, ceramic works, talking with the Imam, the blue Mosque evenings at the Old Greek house, the balloon ride Ephesus and the oldest known Christian church in Goreme. To name a few"

Connie

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed every part of the Turkey trip from beginning to end. What an opportunity to travel with a great group of new friends, experience a new culture, and travel stress free. The tour bus and driver, the well organized itinerary, and the amazing guide more than met my expectations. I loved the Turkey tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments from Istanbul to Kusadasi, it is hard to choose. But I will say the magic of Cappadocia is truly of "super wow" quality. The hot air balloon ride with our expert pilot descending to the valley so we could pick olive leaves and then skimming close to the pointed peaks as the balloon ascended was thrilling. The surreal beauty of this area is unlike any other place on earth!"

Julie

San Geronimo, CA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall this experience changed my mind about tours. I never considered joining a tour, always traveling independently, but now I understand that the right tour can enhance the experience. This tour gave me a depth of insight into the political, historical and social world of Turkey that I never would have gained on my own. The group of people, lead by a fun loving, intelligent guide added a lot of laughter, silliness and fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One day my sister and I found ourselves walking next to two older women in traditional headscarf, robe-type attire. They gave us a polite but quick nod of their heads and we responded by Merhaba. Their eyes widened and they smiled and said Merhaba back. Then we tried to ask them how they were in Turkish but we messed it up. They laughed, stopped walking and turned to teach us the correct way to exchange this inquiry. We all ran through the lessons a couple times, smiling and laughing."

Ruth

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Where to begin! This tour exceeded my expectations. Although the pace didn't leave time for Rick's "picnic" experience, there was still time for some exploring on our own. I wish that the tour lasted longer perhaps including more of the Western sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fact that I could do the underground city tour without "freaking" out."

Julie

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a magnificent trip! This was our first time with a Rick Steves tour and it was so intense that I hope any other tour after will be half this wonderful. I was hesitant about a group tour and the 'no grumps' rule, wondering about group dynamics. We could not have asked to be with a better group of people...everyone was engaged, knowledgeable, informed, fun and curious. Mert was our guide and he orchestrated every frenetic moment of our experience. I would not have missed this for anything

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day had a wow moment. The talk with the Im'an, the Hagia Sophia, Ephesus, the lunch with the local family, the hair pin turn we took multiple times in our tour bus outside of the Goreme museum, the balloon ride, the musical night at the Old Greek House.... Even better than the wow moments were the ahah moments when I realized 'so that's how that works'"

James

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent group of people with whom we toured. All seemed to be very committed to helping make this tour experience a positive one for themselves and the entire group. I believe that the communications from the Rick Steves Tours office resulted in attracting the type of travelers who will enjoy the model that Rick Steves offers. This was our first Rick Steves tour but our use of his guidebooks for past trips prepared us well for the tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide, Mert, arranged for us to meet and have lunch in the home of a wonderful Turkish women, her mother, her daughter and granddaughter. This experience of visiting her in her home and having a great discussion about her life and family was a travel experience that would be hard to duplicate in any other type of tour. Kudos to Rick and Mert for including and arranging this Wow experience."

Virginia

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves' tour and I would highly recommend that people traveling to Turkey go on the 13 Day tour. We learned so much about all aspects of Turkish history and culture. The trip was like the most fun, informative college course ever. I know that we would not have gotten such a deep understanding of this amazing country if we had traveled without this tour. I would not have changed a minute. Every day was better than the last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many "wow" moments to count. However, my favorite was almost the opposite of a big "wow." It was the peaceful, quiet time that we spent with the young imam in his mosque. Watching Mert and the imam interact as Mert tirelessly translated our many questions was a very special. The imam honestly answered our many questions in a most enthusiastic, yet sedate manner. He exuded a love of Allah and had such a peaceful manner-he was truly a man of God."

Akemi

Spooner, WI

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fabulous! I am recommending Rick Steves Tour to my active friends and we will do it again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My husband and a Turk talking in German at a market in Pamakula? That's the hot spring town. We were eating snack on a bench and this Turk had a huge bag of dried hot peppers. We said " Mahaba" to him and we started to talk to each other but he did not speak much of any English but he did speak excellent German which my husband speaks. He was a guest worker in Germany for years and his kids were still in Germany. This was truly a Rick Steves moment."

Edwin

Spooner, WI

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide. Right mix of past and present. Great fello travelers. Very good weather.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit with the Imam was priceless."

Barbara

Aberdeen, WA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was an enjoyable tour but since we took the Greece tour immediately before the Turkey one it is hard not to compare the two. There were some things I liked better about the Greece tour. Turkey is much more populated and we were in big cities most of the time. I suppose there is no way around this.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I suppose Cappadocia. It is so unique."

Patty

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved touring this secular Muslim country with the challenges of accommodating many sects and non-believers alike. Learned lots. Was stunned by the beauty of Cappadocian mushroomy sand castles, calcite snow mountains, trees covered with pomegranates, etc. But really loved the hikes and walking around the towns, observing and talking with some of the locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting a humble but very real family -first we met the woman of the house; then her husband came in to show us around and invited us to come all the way in. Finally, the kids, seeing there were visitors, came running home and embraced this large group of strangers. It was great. For the rest of the trip we experienced many occasions of Turkish hospitality. Lovely people."

Jill

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour gave us a very comprehensive view of the country of Turkey, an appreciation of its diversity, culturally, geographically, urban vs rural and its varied history. The group was larger than we had on our prior 3 Rick Steve's tours, and combined with the fact that the guide did not have us introduce ourselves at the beginning or do the "name game" that we have grown to appreciate, made it difficult for the group to be as cohesive as they have been on other tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman ruins at Ephesus, Aphrodisias, and Heriopolis plus the underground city. The various markets were a feast for the eyes."

Diana

Eagan, MN

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

our overall experience during the Turkey trip was very good. we had a good time, we learned a lot about Turkey, the people, their cultures, the history. so much we did not know so found it fascinating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"we have several "wow" moments - but if I choose one it would be the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. the company that took us up was excellent, the weather cooperated and the scenery was absolutely incredible. we still smile about that experience to this day whenever we speak of it. it was incredible."

John

Lagrange, IL

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Gokalp was everything we have come to expect from a Rick Steves tour guide. Great knowledge and insight. An ability to bond and show us he cared to make it the best tour ever. Terrific sense of humor. Wonderful variety of experiences. Kept us out of lines and in the sights. The meeting with an imam, meal in a villagers house, Turkish bath, ballooning, it simply went on and on. His answering of any and all of our questions, including those about politics and history was fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ballooning"

Maria

Lagrange, IL

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip! Turkey is a like a hidden gem! We had a fabulous time. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many -- including the balloon ride in Cappadoccia, whirling dervishes, village walks"

Norah

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really enjoyed the very active days and believe the planning was very good in terms of the time allotted for each location. Taylan was very knowledgeable, always patient and cheerful, and we appreciated his willingness to answer questions about any topic at all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit with the imam was a real surprise and completely blew away any preconceived stereotypical images I had about muslim leaders. His explanations sounded so sensible."

Jeffrey

Longmeadow, MA

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A truly wonderful trip through a fascinating country. Rich history with engaging people. Beautiful cities ringed with cultural attractions. Fantastic ruins in many locations with the culmination at Ephesus. A perfect blend of historic sites with spectacular rural scenery and beautiful seaside vistas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The sights of Istanbul at night were captivating and rivaled by the dwellings of Cappadocia. But the real "Wow" was the opportunity to dine in the home a local woman and have an extended visit with a very engaging imam in a mosque. Where else but on a RS tour would one be afforded such treasured moments."

James

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very well organized. The "buddy" system was an efficient way of making sure everyone was accounted for and the "introductions" certainly helped us become acquainted with the other tour members. Taylan's willingness to answer any questions about his country while we were on the road provided lots of valuable information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"touring the city of Ephesus"

Nancy

Longmeadow, MA

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the lunch we had at the woman's home. It was a typically "untypical" experience offered by these tours. I also enjoyed the time with the Iman, another unique experience."

Robin

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first bus tour that I have ever been on. Everyone was friendly and enjoyable. Having a smaller group of travellers was good. The bus was roomy and comfortable. Having water available to purchase on the bus was a great idea! I enjoyed all the places that we went. I did not have any trouble with the activity level. The history was amazing. Everything about Turkey was very interesting, and everyone was friendly and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the Cappadocia area. In Mustafapasa, seeing the people in their village, outside their homes, harvesting pumpkin seeds and making molasses in a huge pot on a fire."

Gerald

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first bus tour and I really enjoyed it. Having 24 people in a 40 person bus made the entire trip very comfortable. The before tour suggestions of sites to see before the tour was a very good idea. Amount of walking was not a problem and quite enjoyable. The portable communication system was very good but only used in Istanbul and since I wear 2 hearing aids I could hook directly to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide told us all about the history of most everything, and got your mind really thinking about what it was like to live there 3 to 5000 years ago."

Fran

Santa Paula, CA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guide. Itinerary well planned. I felt that the brief time in new town Istanbul could be eliminated for more time in Old Town Istanbul.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Swimming in the Hierapolis pool."

Karen

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I give Rick Steves and our guide Lale, kudos for a wonderfully organized, incredibly educational and fun experience. The trip was very well balanced, including our first days in the big, historic, cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, taking off to explore the capitol of Ankara and then into the countryside of Cappadocia. We swam in the Mediterranean and the Aegean, dined in fine restaurants and small local places, visited ruins and modern cities. Most of our days were jam packed but well paced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose just one: The indoor market near Konya was an amazing feast for the senses. I couldn't stop taking pictures of vegetables, cheeses, spices and of course, people. Also the tour of the Tokapi Palace: the brilliant blues of the decorative tiles along with Lale's stories of the Sultanic governments."

Diane

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lale was so FABULOUs...very knowledgeable about ALL the history, places and details....nothing phased her..... Everyday was a good balance of touring, listening/learning, resting, having fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon over Cappadoccia Coming around the corner and seeing the Med for the first time in the trip in Antalya Pretty stunning bathroom in Cappadoccia Estates..... Big room of artifacts in the museum in Aphrodisias."

Oliver

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a surprise. The monuments in Istanbul, and the antiquities at Ephesus, were wonderful to see, but the most valuable part of the tour turned out to be our glimpse into the life of ordinary people in the interior. The visit to the home of a traditional farm woman in Cappadocia stands out, as does seeing the authentic market in Konya so unlike the touristic Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Another surprise was learning about the tolerant, benign Turkish version of Sunni Islam.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are several: (1) On our own in Antalia, we walked from the Museum of Archeology back to the old town. We found an elevator to take us down to pier level, and found a boat ready to leave on an hour excursion out into the Aegean. (2) When, introducing the Ataturk monument, Lale said, "If not for Ataturk, I'd be in a burka." (3) The visit to the home of an older woman in a village in Cappadocia. She wore traditional dress, but said her daughter dresses just like Lale."

Cynthia

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an exceedingly rich, educational, relational travel experience. Thank you for the time and effort you have put into developing it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were numerous "wow" moments on this tour. I was amazed by the tufa rock formations in Cappadocia and the ways in which people have so creatively modified this rock, above and below ground, for shelter. I'm fairly claustrophobic, but the ventilation shafts engineered centuries ago allowed me to remain four floors underground without panicking-- and at one time accommodated an underground community of some 5,000 people!"

Lucy

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One travels to: see marvels; challenge survival skills; learn history, culture, rituals unknown from personal experience; touch local life - work, householding, food, animals - even for a moment; experience the unplanned adventure. This tour accomplished all at a price within reach and with a talent for unique events that embed it in memory and consciousness forever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many: 1. Finding pedestrian path along the Aegean from Antalya Archeology Museum to old town, discovering elevator to descend cliff to harbor (a mystery not solved on map), bargaining great price for ride out to sea, submerging in that miraculous blue seeing what the Greeks saw - every moment a revelation. That unplanned adventure. 2. Being wrapped in a headscarf by expert whose handiwork evoked glances from local women wondering whether I might be one of them. Touching local life."

Elizabeth

Frederick, MD

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome from start to finish including 8 days of pre- and post-tour activities in Istanbul (2 cooking classes and walking tours from Guidebook). I learned so much. The tour included a great variety of experiences that introduced me to all that Turkey has to offer. The Turkish people were so warm and welcoming; Lale, our tour leader, went the extra mile to make our tour extra special; and it was such fun to share the experience with the extraordinary group of people on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Floating up in a hot air balloon as the sun rose over the hills of Cappadocia! But there were so many - cruising the Bosphorus as the sun set over the Istanbul waterfront, witnessing the Whirling Dervishes, hiking through a lush valley with houses carved into the nearby cliffs in Cappadocia, touring the terrace houses in Ephesus with an archeologist, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia & central fountain illuminated at night, and savoring my first lamb ragout with pureed eggplant to name just a few!"

Wilma

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all aspects of the trip, including the itinerary, our fellow travelers and especially our guide, Mert.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one particular "wow" moment, there were many memorable moments."

Sharon

Brentwood, TN

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first organized tour and it exceeded all of my expectations! I fell in love with the beautiful country of Turkey! The people are warm and welcoming, the history complex and fascinating, and the food delicious. I liked that this was a fast-paced tour with a fairly intense activity level because it gave us the opportunity to see more sights. Our group meshed well, so the companionship was great. The best part of our trip was our guide, Mert. He made every day an adventure!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment had to be the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. I found it to be a very serene and beautiful experience. The second would be the hot springs at Pamukkale, and the ruins of Ephesus."

Susan

College Place, WA

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 13 day tour of Turkey was a wonderful experience from the history, archeology, art, landscape, food and people every day was truly memorable. I give much of the credit for the success of the tour to our guide Mert. Mert was knowledgeable, organized, protective, fun-loving and passionate about his country. Our traveling companions on the tour were great company and very flexible. The bus was spacious and comfortable and our diver Sadat was skilled and kept the bus sparkling clean.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick just one moment, but I would say that the Hagia Sophia was probably my favorite wow moment. All of the archeology was spectacular. I also really enjoyed having lunch with a local family."

Carole

Oro Valley, AZ

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I appreciated the in depth descriptions and background of many sites that we were about to visit. I was interested in the historical Turkey because I am writing some children's stories that take place in ancient Turkey. The group and guide added much mirth to my experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Ephesus. Walking around was exciting but having the additional information was most useful. I thought I knew quite a bit before and this certainly enhanced my experience."

Foo

Singapore,

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is my first Rick Steve tour and I am very pleased with my overall experience in Turkey and with the tour guide. Merk is excellent in carrying out his duties and management. Though it would be nice to have more time in the Spice Bazzar. I was very disappointed that I did not get my Hot Air Ballon certificate, as promised by the pilot after our ride. In fact, none of our group got the certificate. It would be a nice memento for us to bring home and remember our experience in Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hot Air Ballon ride and the various iconic places in Istanbul."

Carol

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'm still internalizing my whole Turkey experience. It was intense, exhilarating, over whelming, more than I had anticipated. There wasn't a minute wasted on the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every moment seemed like a "wow" moment. The last "wow" moment was eclipsed by the current one."

Robert

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned a lot about the people, their culture, their neighbors, the topography, the history, the political situation, the adaptability of the people, their religion, and most importantly how friendly they are. Our guide is an incredible individual with a wealth of knowledge. The tour went exceptionally well and exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. The meeting with the Imam and having the opportunity to ask questions was one of the "wow" moments for me. The tour leader was excellent. The itinerary was challenging and required a fair bit of travel time. The tour members interacted well and I enjoyed their company."

Sandra

Rockford, IL

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was an absolutely wonderful adventure beginning to end.This was our fourth trip to Turkey and the experience was greatly enhanced by our guide. We enjoyed the very active, relatively nonstop pace and each day provided new and interesting insights. Truly an amazing country. More Americans should experience this unique culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a three way tie. Since previous visits to Ephesis the terrace houses were astounding; however, it is hard to exceed the magnificence of Capadoccia and the beauty of the Travertine limestone."

Alan

Oro Valley, AZ

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized with only the advertised 24 tourists. We were very busy every day. The only minor itinerary glitch was when our guide needed to exchange the schedule of two days. Our guide, Mert, was excellent in knowledge, personality and presentation and always looked after the comfort and well being of his charges. The bus was comfortable and our guide provided for appropriately timed "pit" stops. The tour was delightful, educational and stimulating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Other than the non-tour hot-air balloon ride in Cappadica, I would vote for Ephesus. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia were also high on my list but we visited them on our own prior to the tour."

Wayne

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan was excellent and was the perfect guide. We enjoyed all aspects of the trip, but if there was a criticism, it was for some of the hotels, especially in the area of maintenance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking at the coastline in Antalya. It was an amazing setting, and soaking at the beach was marvelous."

Gordon

West Allis, WI

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I volunteered to work at the potter's wheel at the Guray Seramik factory we visited, and turned my proposed vase into a clay bracelet. This provided some laughs and amusement for our group."

Judith

West Allis, WI

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very efficient way to travel. Seemed to get into popular sites with very little waiting. Our guide was very knowledgeable and funny. Even during bus rides shared alot of information. On tour day "off", our guide gave ideas on where to go and came along to make sure everyone got where they wanted to go. Very impressive. I'm plan on going on more Rick Steves tours

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many can't single out just one"

Lois

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour, and we did not know how it would go traveling with a lot of folks. Because the group was 22 in number, we all were friendly and interested in one another because there were many opportunities to share experiences. The people part was terrific. The accommodations were varied and unique to the community where we stayed. I enjoyed the variety and appreciated the differences between city, country, or village. I have no complaints. I also appreciated the frequent stops.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite experiences involved the Turkish people: the village market, the lunch in a home, the many exchanges on the street when being lured into carpet stores or restaurants. I felt a generosity coming from these people, a generosity of spirit. The wow of it all would be the recognition of kindness in humanity. Eyes twinkled whenever I tried to say something in the Turkish language. I had a middle of the night taxi ride to an all night pharmacy. The driver could not drive fast enough!"

Shirley

Bow, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire trip, every day, every moment was a sojourn to excellence!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Home visit in a Cappadocian with lunch prepared by owners (a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter). The conversation was delightful and the home compound very interesting."

Janna

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan is an awesome guide. At first glance at the trip itinerary, I thought there was going to be too much time on the bus. However this is in fact a "pedal to the metal" tour. We needed the bus time for our history and culture "lessons," Q & A sessions, and a little R & R. I liked the big loop approach. Excellent in all respects.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the wolf pack running directly beneath us during the balloon ride over Cappadocia."

Susan

Memphis, TN

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thank you Rick Steves and also Taylan for the trip and experience of a lifetime!! Turkey was even more thrilling and fascinating than I could have imagined! Our group was excellent and we all were able to connect in different ways due to the way this trip was so well organized. Taylan expertly and with a great sense of humor and mischief(!)handled all the planned experiences and details as well as all the surprises that pop up while traveling. I highly recommend this trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to share but the surprise of seeing the fabulous coast of Antalya....most thrilling harbor I'd ever seen!"

Hugh

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. Based on others' experiences, we expected an outstanding tour. The tour surpassed those expectations. Every day we felt the tour provided us with a new "high", only to be exceeded by the next day's events. As mentioned above, this was our first RS tour. It won't be the last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to select just one such moment."

Weather

Turkey / Istanbul

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Turkey: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus recommended books and movies.

Visa Required Before You Go

If you are an American or Canadian citizen, you need a visa to enter Turkey. To obtain one, you must complete an e-visa application online prior to your trip. To complete an e-visa, go online at: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. The application and payment process is quick and simple, and allows you to print your visa from home and bring it with you. The current price (subject to change) is $20 USD for U.S. citizens and $60 USD for Canadians. Holders of passports from any country other than the USA or Canada are responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents prior to joining the tour.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Consider flying into one city and out of another (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). It's easiest to fly into Istanbul and home from Izmir (or Athens if you're exploring the Greek Islands — see below). Departures from Izmir may require a connection and an overnight stay in Istanbul. However there are some international departures that avoid this extra stop, so have your travel agent check for the best options.

Tour members who would like a ride to Izmir's airport can accompany our tour bus the last morning of the tour, Day 13. The bus will leave the tour hotel in Kuşadası immediately after breakfast around 8 a.m., arriving at the Izmir airport by 10 a.m. If you are flying out of Izmir on the last day of the tour, you'll want to book a flight that departs around 10:30 a.m. or later.

You may save money by purchasing this airline ticket prior to leaving home if your flight dates and plans are finalized. You can check schedules and purchase tickets at Turkish Airlines (www.thy.com/en-INT), Atlas Jet (www.atlasjet.com), and Onur Air (www.onurair.com.tr/onurair) or have your travel agent check for the best options. If your plans are not finalized, you will also have opportunities to purchase this airline ticket at a travel agency in Turkey. See your hotel directions and Best of Turkey Sightseeing Guide for more details.

If you plan to travel on to the Greek Islands after the tour and fly home from Athens, please note that ferry schedules can vary and weather delays and strikes are not uncommon. Prepare to be flexible. Please wait until you get to Kuşadası during the tour to purchase your ferry ticket to Samos. Your guide will explain how to obtain these ferry tickets. If you have time constraints, a flight may be preferable to the ferry for your journey to Athens from the Greek Islands.

For more post-tour transportation information, please visit our Turkey guides' special website at www.srmtravel.com.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Istanbul before your tour begins, use the Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Turkish, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing that we will not do as a group: Istanbul Archaeological Museum (includes Tiled Kiosk and Museum of the Ancient Orient); Yerebatan Underground Cistern; Çemberlitaş Hamam; Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent; Galata Tower; and Dolmabahçe Palace. For details, please see the Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook.

For more pre- and post-tour travel information, please visit our Turkey guides' website at www.srmtravel.com.

While on Tour

Health Concerns: We strongly advise you to use bottled water even to brush your teeth. Bottled water is very cheap and available everywhere. However, you need to be prepared for the possibility of some gastro-intestinal distress, as it is not unusual for some tour members to experience this for a day or two. Please bring your own over-the-counter remedy or ask your doctor for prescription-strength anti-diarrheal medicine.

Plumbing: Turkish plumbing can be unpredictable. There is almost always a small trash can next to toilets for used toilet paper. Public restrooms may or may not be stocked with toilet paper and paper towels so be prepared with a packet of tissues and waterless hand cleaner.

Packing: Dress for the season in which you are traveling. Turkish summers are hot, and along the coast, humid, but spring and late fall can be chilly, especially in Cappadocia. Adjust your packing list according to the month in which you are traveling, and wear whatever you find comfortable. Women usually feel comfortable wearing pants, skirts, or walking shorts. Men do better with lightweight pants instead of shorts, as Turkish men generally don’t sport shorts beyond the beach. T-shirts and sleeveless tops are fine; tight halter tops or tube tops should be saved for the beach. For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.

Shopping: On Rick Steves tours we try to minimize the shopping focus that dominates other tours at the expense of sightseeing. We do, however, make an exception in Turkey: We make a stop in Cappadocia for a carpet-weaving demonstration. We feel this is a worthwhile display of Turkish crafts. Tour members can purchase carpets at this time if they wish. The selection is excellent, quality is high, shipping service is reliable, and your guide may be able to help you if there are any problems. Please note: While we can guarantee high quality and reliable service, we cannot guarantee the lowest prices. It is important to educate yourself on prices and quality. As always, the buyer must beware. Rick Steves’ Europe doesn’t have the time or resources to track down missing carpets or mediate disputes with Turkish shops.

Hot Air Ballooning: Some tour members take advantage of their time in Cappadocia to enjoy the unique experience of seeing the Cappadocia landscape from a hot air balloon. A balloon ride is not included in the tour program, but if you’re interested in doing this in your free time, the best time to do it will be on your second day in Cappadocia (Day 6). Since these rides are best experienced at dawn, you’ll leave before sunrise and be back at your hotel in time for breakfast. The whole experience, including transportation to and from your hotel, takes about three hours.

If you’re interested in taking a hot air balloon ride, please let your guide know before leaving Istanbul so that reservations can be made for you. Early reservations are essential, since the balloon companies have limited space available. Flights regularly cost about €175 (about $225 USD) for a one-hour tour; balloon companies may offer a small discount for our travelers. You’ll pay the balloon company directly for your flight. They accept credit cards but usually offer an additional discount for cash. Please note there are inherent risks with hot air ballooning, and Rick Steves Europe and SRM assume no responsibility for your choice to participate, and you participate at your own risk.