• Blue Mosque in Istanbul
  • Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul
  • Istanbul's Grand Bazaar
  • Ballooning in Cappadocia
  • Mevlâna Rumi Museum in Konya
  • Antalya
  • Pamukkale's Natural Hot Springs
  • Ruins of Ephesus

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Turkey in 13 Days Tour

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 Sofia 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!

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 20 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 • 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
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Istanbul guidebook, Best of Turkey Sightseeing Guide, moneybelt and earplugs
  • 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 2014
  • 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 — 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. No bus. 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: 7 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 for an evening on your own. Bus: 3 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. 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

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

Teresa

Clovis, CA

Tour: 11/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was amazing. Our guide, Mert Taner, made the experience an educational journey into the country, people, history, culture and the religions of Turkey. What a joy it was to interact with the Turks as we walked up and down the streets in Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale and on the road in between! The Turks are truly the nicest and friendliest people on the planet . . . even if they all want to help you spend your money! I think everyone has an Uncle with a carpet shop!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most pleasant report I have is that I went the entire trip without having to use a Turkish Squat Toilet! Smile. The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (rode a Camel too); tour through Ephesus and tour of the village of Geyre, Turkey (ancient Aphrodisias) create a 3-way tie for favorite locations."

Doris

Toronto, ON

Tour: 11/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was without any glitches, ran always smoothly, never disappointed me. I was impressed with both the knowledge and the charisma of our tour guide. I only wish I could remember 5% of what I heard.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to single out one. Each day surpassed the last, at least that is how I felt."

Scott

Clovis, CA

Tour: 11/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was blown away by Turkey. The people, the cities, the food -- everything was wonderful. The tour was quite busy and active and we saw a great deal in a short time. The tour exceeded my expectations. I am looking forward to my next Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to name one, but our time in Cappadocia was incredible. From the balloon ride, lunch with a local family, visit to a Turkish barber, and wandering through the fairy chimneys, everything was "WOW.""

Mark

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 11/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another fantasitic Rick Steves tour. Turkey was not what I had been educated to believe it would be. The scenery was lush and beautiful and the people were warm and loving. It's a place everyone should visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The age of all the sites we saw. Hagia Sophia, The Dark Church and especially Ephesus. Trying to comprehend that these sites are basically unchanged from the time they were occupied. We walked through history, as it was, not as it has been re-created to be."

Steven

Richmond, VA

Tour: 11/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

BEST OF TURKEY was without a doubt the best overseas tour I have ever been on. The itinerary was very well thought out, and the hotel accommodations and eating places couldn't have been better. It was simply THE BEST. I had been on a tour to Turkey less than three years ago, and yet this trip was so much better that it was as if I had never been before.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After touring Istanbul I thought there's no way they can top this. But in fact it just seemed to get better each day. The "cave churches" and "underground city" of Cappadocia have to be seen to be believed, they are that amazing. But for sheer beauty and unexpected "wowness" my pick is Pamukkale. We waded in the hot springs, photographed the "cotton castles" (travertine terrace formations) and scaled the heights of Hieropolis to see some of the most beautiful and remarkable ancient ruins. Wow."

Gwenn

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 10/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've traveled to Europe a number of different ways now: in large tours, planning a trip myself, visiting a friend, and now through Rick Steves. Although the time I visited a friend was great because I got a very personal and local experience, traveling through Rick Steves was equally if not more fabulous. Our group got local experiences and so much amazing information about the country from our tour guide, Taylan. There is no way I could have learned so much about Turkey if I had gone on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I feel like I had a "wow" moment everyday! Istanbul houses so many amazing architectural treasures, all of the museums and archeological sites throughout the tour were wonderful, and walking around villages meeting people was fun."

Albin

Rainier, OR

Tour: 10/28/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It was much better than the last tour service I used.

Anne

Kanata, ON

Tour: 10/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have lived and travelled extensively in Europe and I had been to Turkey before participating in this tour. With all that history, I can say that we felt that our Best of Turkey tour gave us the best bang for our travel buck that we have ever had, both because Turkey is not yet on the euro and because of the Rick Steve's tour package allowed us to stay in a quality of accommodation that we would not usually arrange independently.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole tour was a WOW! Since I was last in Turkey, it has become a modern, vibrant country that acts as an important bridge between the Middle East and Europe and the West. Our tour itinerary demonstrated that point at every stop. Since I have been home, I find that I follow Turkey's news with a much greater appreciation of its importance on the world scene than I did before the tour."

Brian

Mililani, HI

Tour: 10/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. It was a typical Rick Steve's Tour. The guide and group of travelers were great. The hotels were usually well located in the location of interest. We spent enough time at the advertised sites but still had time to do things on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery while hot air ballooning was breathtaking. I also really enjoyed the hike in Cappadocia."

Sandra

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our first RS tour. Had to miss the last 3 days due to funerals but would certainly take another RS tour. Our group was full of interesting well educated and well travelled people. I would have been comfortable even as a single. Turkey is a very interesting country that most would enjoy. The tour itself was ideal. Our weather (late Oct-earlyNov) was perfect and the itinerary well organized. A fair amount of bus time but covered a lot of distance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to specifically pick one"

Pam

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and it surpassed my expectations. It was so well organized. Just the right mix of group activities to time on our own. The accommodations were excellent, the food out of this world, our tour guide was fantastic. I couldn't have been more pleased. I wasn't sure what to expect in Turkey but I felt so safe and cared for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking the hike through the valleys of Cappadocia was my highlight. We had gorgeous weather and it was fascinating."

Jean

Chamblee, GA

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Aysegul did an outstanding job keeping us informed and updated on the itinerary. For me her incredible knowledge and diligence made this another great Rick Steves experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turkey is just an underrated experience which should be more widely toured. The EU is missing a bet if they continue to resist asking Turkey to fully join into Europe."

Garnet

Delta, BC

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS Tour & my wife Marlene & I thoroughly enjoyed the experience & will definitely be booking another RS Tour for next year. Turkey was really an amazing country, the people were very friendly & the weather during our whole Tour was fantastic. Istanbul was a big WOW for us, a very large, modern & very clean city with many interesting sites to explore. Do yourself a favor & get there a least 3 days before your Tour starts & use your RS Istanbul Guide Book to see the city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW was Day 11 of our Tour at the ancient city of Aphrodisias. The City ruins were just incredible. A very close 2nd was Day 12 & our guided Tour of the Roman City of Ephesus."

David

Chamblee, GA

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Figuring this is the only way we could get to so much of Anatolian Turkey, we were eager to start and arrived early. We are quite pleased with the experience. The regional position of the country invites more attention, and we hope to return. Rural encounters, meeting residents made a huge impact. As with our other Rick Steves experience, we have only positive memories.

Ronald

Alma, AR

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Turkey was a fascinating country to visit with many great sites to learn from about its history. The people were very welcoming and ready to talk or answer questions (even if they weren't trying to sell something!) As always, RS attracts a group of travelers who are anxious to learn about and experience the country we are visiting, and we enjoyed all our "buddies" on this, our 5th RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon flight in Cappodocia, while expensive, was likely a once in a lifetime experience for us. It was truly a "wow" to see the incredible landscape from above and the beauty of the 70 other balloons flying that day. The mosaics of the Chora Church in Istanbul, the Frescos of the Dark Church at the Goreme Open Air Museum, the Travertine Terraces at Pamukkale, and the Terraced Houses at Ephesus were all "wows" also."

Ralph

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and will definitely not be our last. I now understand why so many of our fellow travelers were recidivists. Aysegul, our tour guide, was incredibly knowledgeable and resourceful, keeping us on schedule and well-informed about the places we were visiting. The itinerary was well-designed and most of the hotels were comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments that it's hard to say which was the favorite. Ephesus, Cappadocia, and the Hagia Sophia Church stand out."

Kathleen

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very favorably impressed and look forward to doing more Rick Steves tours. Many fellow tourers had done multiple Rick Steves tours. This impressed me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the underground city in Cappadocia. I would have liked to stay in Cappadocia an additional day and tour another of the underground cities."

Chana

Justice, IL

Tour: 10/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS tour and the experience was 100% positive. Our guide, our driver, our tour bus, our itinerary, time allocations, were all excellent (except for very limited time in Istanbul). We had a terrific group of people, with widely ranging backgrounds and interests, all ready to share, to help, to laugh, and to learn together. I especially liked the opportunities to meet with "just folks" - a village woman and her family, a young imam, among others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Aphrodisias with its superb ruins. We were fortunate to be the only people there during our visit (undoubted due to the acumen of our guide). Several groups arrived just as we finished touring the site. The balloon ride over Cappadocia Wowed by the view of the harbor as I entered my room at our last hotel, inviting as many tour buddies, without sea-view rooms, as could fit on the balcony and watching a gorgeous sunset together with a bottle of local wine."

Virginia

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fabulous trip. It was like a two week study of ancient history as well as a look into a country which bridges east and west. Our guide, Mine, was incredible. Her amount of knowledge and understanding of her country was outstanding. The mix of cities and countryside during the tour gave a great overview of such a complicated country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments!! The artifacts in the museums were amazing some 3000-4000 years old. Hagia Sophia was breathtaking and the theatre in Hieropolis was such a surprise that it truly was a "wow" moment. The Chora Church with it's frescoes and mosaics was also one of my favorite moments. the tour was well organized, well paced and provided lots of time o reflect on what you were seeing."

Rosalind

New Westminster, BC

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well run and the right length.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride of course but I also enjoyed staying the Turkish village of Mustafapasa."

Robert

North Saanich, BC

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had travelled into Turkey widely in the early 70s, but never had the opportunity to absorb the culture. I found it a fascinating country reflecting its position straddling East and West. The tour was well balanced with a good mix of history and culture, and sufficient time, here and there, to slow down and take a breath. I liked the mix of accommodation, and particularly enjoyed our stays at family run inns. We travelled with a great group of people which added greatly to the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the balloon ride with captain Mustafa. It was a cold dawn, but the visibility was perfect and as the sun came up we had a perfect dawn. The landscape is unique, and to see it from a balloon is to see it at its most spectacular. As an ex air force navigator, I was blown away by Mustafa's piloting skills. He also does a pretty good one-man stand up show as he talks you through the flight. Highly recommended."

John

Aurora, CO

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a typical Rick Steves tour. It was our 4th. It was a wonderful introduction to a country we had only read about. As usual, everything including free time was meticulously and very efficiently planned. This is a major reason we take these tours. It was really nice to use a tour bus that had wifi on it to allow us to keep in touch with the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon Ride over Cappadocia."

Robert

Le Roy, NY

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I simply can't get over how beautiful a country Turkey is, or how warm and hospitable the Turkish people are. Further, we found Istanbul to be a wonderful, safe and cosmopolitan city. We were amazed by the beauty of the buildings and the history contained in the city. We were equally fascinated by the other cities and regions we visited on this tour. We especially liked Cappodocia and the visit to the ruins of Ephesus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Perhaps my favorite "wow" moment was taking a hot air balloon ride in Cappodocia. Nothing could compare to slowly and silently rising into the air and the stillness of the balloon ride. The sights we found to be beautiful from the ground became absolutely enchanting from the air. It was an unforgettable experience, well worth the money spent."

Judith

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There isn't anything that I did not LOVE about this tour. It was everything and more that I could want. I truly feel this was due in large part to our wonderful tour guide Mine. She truly made this trip outstanding. One thing I think that really helped was that we came to Istanbul 4days ahead so we were able to go to many of the places that were on the tour. This truly gave us a better feel and understanding of what we were going to see on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but I think seeing to Blue mosque and Hagia Sophia were truly a "Wow" moment. Ephesus was equally spectacular."

Diane

Le Roy, NY

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

excellent tour group size any bigger would have been too much nice mix of sights, cities,hotels, and meals provided

Favorite "WOW" moment

"balloon ride in capadocia"

Donald

New Westminster, BC

Tour: 10/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organised & run.The hotels &breakfasts were good & our tour guide was excellent.She was very well informed about all aspects of the places we visited as well as being very friendly & helpful.Our bus was clean,comfortable & reliable and our driver was very good

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aphrodisia Our guide was very well informed and made it very interesting."

Doug

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was beautifully administered. Cemil was an excellent, high-spirited guide; his passion and pride for his country were infectious. He is an excellent communicator and leader. He accomplished a great deal (including keeping us in line) with a sense of humor. The itinerary was full, complex, and delivered exactly as promised, and more! I would say that I learned, as a traveler, that I need a few off days to reflect and absorb what I've seen, and this tour didn't provide that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride in Cappadocia! One of the most beautiful experiences of my life."

Tom

Penngrove, CA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Very pleasantly surprised with the tour coming together. We were concerned about 28 people being too large a crowd when we first received the list, however all of them were very nice and as a group we did quite well. Some of this was due to Cemil's skills in lightening things up and keeping perspective as well. Cemil was an excellent guide, with a foot in both the North American and Turkish cultures and an excellent sense of humor. Clearly he had a great deal of pride in Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No doubt - Cappadochia and the balloon ride. We have done this in Napa and Sonoma valleys, but Cappadochia beat them hands down. Stunning, stunning, stunning. Would not trade that for the rest of the trip put together. Second was the Istanbul Archeological Museum. My ignorance - but had no idea the number of civilizations and number of years (5000+) that the area had been inhabited....."

Rose

New Westminster, BC

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized. Cemil was an excellent, knowledgable guide who ensured we were well informed about the various sites and activities and kept everything on track. I learned alot about the country and the history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know if there was one "wow" moment, the whole tour was a "wow" moment."

Priscilla

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Generally a great experience! Learned so much, and was taken out of my comfort zone, but that was a good thing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi were wows. So many other things were wonderful too!"

Scott

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never experienced a tour with a group before. The group was quite enjoyable. Although the tour was time compressed, we would have never been able to see SO MANY aspects of Turkey on our own. Cemil's openness & knowledge of Turkey was outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia & hot air ballooning."

Kay

Clancy, MT

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a life-changing trip. Cemil was a wonderful, informative guide, very knowledgeable about his country's history, politics, and culture. His insight throughout the tour was a major reason this tour was so memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A single WOW moment is difficult--but I would have to say there were 2 events, not one, that were extra special. One was watching the sunrise in a balloon ride over Cappadocia--a once-in-a-lifetime event in a unique landscape with gorgeous, clear weather, and one of 75 to 80 other balloons rising above this fairy land! Two was the tour and museum of the ancient city of Aphrodisias, with its incredible ruins, and statuary."

Margaret

Evergreen, CO

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my first Rick Steves tour and I would definitely go on another and recommend it to my friends and family. Of course, what made our tour outstanding was our guide, Cemil. The accommodations were fine and everything went incredibly smoothly. What makes this tour so special was this company's established contacts in Turkey, like having lunch with a local woman at her house. I travel a lot and this was one of my best experiences ever. Kudos.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is so hard to say because Turkey is such an amazing place there was one wow moment after another. Everyday was better than the last which amazed us all. If I had to pick one, I would have to choose Aphrodesia."

Martha

Mullallo, Western Australia

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

guide knowledge was excellent so my geography and history/culture improved dramatically the driver was super the travel went extremely smoothly

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aphrodisis"

Susan

Helena, MT

Tour: 10/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cemil was absolutely wonderful. He made sure our trip was all that we wanted it to be. I loved our talks about culture, history, politics, etc. that we all had on the bus. The hotels, food, sights were perfect. I look forward to my next Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride over Capadoccia."

Suzanne

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A tour not-to-be missed. Turkey is a special country with the most amazing history, sites and warm, welcoming people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day held a "wow" moment but the hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia at sunrise was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Others include the terrace houses at Ephesus, Aya Sophia and the Chora church, Pamukkale/Hieropolis, the museum in Ankara and Ataturk's mausoleum, Aphrodisias, the Dark Church in Goreme, the Bosphorus cruise...it was all "wow" moments."

Belinda

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steves tour and everything was fabulous. I invitied 3 friends to join me on this tour and now they are fans as well. Once again, I am impressed by the organization of the tour and how well all the breaks and WC stops are planned. Cemil, our guide, made this good tour into a great one. His knowledge expertise enthusiasm and charm enhanced all we experienced. I appreciated having the audio system in Istanbul. This feature is a great upgrade and I hope you use it more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments. If I had to choose I would say that seeing the stunning Istanbul skyline with Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque as we ended the Bosphorous cruise on the first night was a clear indication that I had arrived in a most exotic and exciting land!"

Anna Marie

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a place this country! If you have any interest in human civilization, Turkey is the place to see it all. Everything from modern Istanbul to the very rural area near Pammukale, you will learn and see how Western civilization came to be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Swimming in the mineral pools at Heropolis. All the while, I was wondering what was the ancient peoples' experience in this beautiful place."

Doris

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

first tour ever, didn't know what to expect, but had traveled with Rick's books many times and we certainly were not disappointed , halfway through the tour we knew that we will be on a Rick Steves' Tour again next year. Our guide was wonderful, the hotels were good and the group-dinners a lot of fun, enjoyed every single day and we enjoyed our "group", very interesting and interested people,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there was a "WoW moment almost every day, we loved the hot air balloon ride, the beautiful Cappadocia area, the lunch in a real Turkish home and of course the ruins in Kusadasi"

Kenneth

Orangevale, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was great (a must for everyone's bucket list). The people of Turkey were very friendly and made you feel very welcomed. So much history and so much to see and do. The tour covered most of the highlights, but I would recommend spending at more days in Istanbul or do what we did and back this tour up to the 7 days in Istanbul.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"More "Wow Moments", than I could count, but I think for me was standing between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque marveling at the architecture of them. Hiking through the Cappadocia valley was another. Unfortunately I was sick and couldn't make the hot air balloon ride, but I am sure that would have been also."

Judith

Orangevale, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a FABULOUS experience! We experienced so much in 13 days - from international Istanbul to the central region of Cappadocia to the coastal cities of Antalya and Kusadasi. The people were very friendly and went out their way to be helpful. Excellent balance of tour time vs personal time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It seemed like every time I turned around there was another WOW moment. Hagia Sophia - the Bazaar, the balloon ride in Cappadocia, the museums, the many market places (I didn't know cabbages could grow that big!), the mosques, the Bosphorous, the views from Topkapi Palace and Galata Tower, and the people."

Will

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cemil did an excellent job. Tour was great. No complaints...all compliments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon ride in Capadoccia."

Shirley

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Turkey tour suited our style of travel very well. The pace was excellent and I always felt we had a reasonable amount of time at the attractions we visited. There was a variety of activities from cruising on the Bosporus to duck walking through low tunnels in an underground city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Exploring the ruins of Aphrodisias and seeing pictures of the village that had been built among the ruins with people herding goats through the temple of Aphrodite."

Cindy

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have nothing bad to say about this tour. Turkey is fascinating. The sites we visited were great and Cemil's knowledge of Turkish history was great. I loved to heart all the stories about his family as well. It gave me a better feel for Turkey. I found the Turkish people very welcoming and I enjoyed Cemil's great sense of humor. He went out of his way to help all of us with our individual needs. He seemed to really enjoy his work introducing Turkey to use. I will definitely go back. Wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed our lunch with Faheah (sp) and our meeting with the Imam the best."

George

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour was excellent. The organization, hotels, meals, the bus, the drivers and Cemil were all top drawer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The " WoW" moment in my tour was Istanbul. The Blue Mosque,Topkapi Palace and Chora Church. I another "wow" moment was the hot air balloon ride. Actually their were a few "wow " moments on the tour."

Lawrence

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guide with a passion for his native country. Very knowledgable regarding history & events that were related to the city, building, or historic site we were visiting on any particular day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day was a "WOW" day. Underground city, Ephesus, Cappadocia,Mausoleum,Topkapi Palace. Very enjoyable on a daily basis."

Andrew

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful and fascinating place is Turkey! We are so glad we went on this tour. We would not have missed this for anything. We have absolutely no complaints. Future tours will have a hard time meeting this standard. 500 character limit is ............well, too limiting!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Certainly, Ephesus would wow anybody. But I especially loved the 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 was done in the 1st century AD when the Christians were hiding from the Romans!"

Edmond

Edmonton Alberta C, AB

Tour: 09/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Diverse view of Turkey ranging from ancient history to the present.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ankara museum"

Linda

Leechburg, PA

Tour: 09/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations. I went to Turkey to see Istanbul, but the rest of the sites were just as impressive to me. I felt very safe. Everyone was so welcoming and nice. The people really seemed to be glad we were there. I had reservations before we made the trip since there has been so much unrest in the Middle East. Now I tell everyone I know that it is a great place to visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had such a good overall experience that it is difficult to pick a wow moment. I guess I was most impressed with the underground city of Kaymaki, but Ephesus was a very close second."

Jerry

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 09/21/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Some of the hotels were not up to standard

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride --"

Peggy

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 09/21/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I would do this tour all over again. It was wonderful. The Itinerary seemed to cover all regions of western Turkey, lots of Interesting History, exposure to culture, the Muslim religion and opportunities to do business with the locals. Our tour guide, Mine couldn't have done a better job. she is so well informed about her country, fun sense of humor and very easy to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was going to pass on the hot air balloon ride. I am so happy I didn't it was easily the WOW moment. The next was a full service Turkish Bath at the Cemberlitas Hamami in Istanbul."

Gail

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 09/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! With only 12 people in our group, I now feel like I have 12 new friends. There are a few places I would have liked to spend more time. (Specifically, I would have liked to see at least one more of the underground towns in Cappadocia. However most of the others in the group would not agree with me. This just means I'll have to go back some time.) Overall, this was a great introduction to Turkey and I've very glad I chose this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it almost goes without saying that the biggest "wow" moment was the early morning balloon ride over Cappadocia. Mustafa was a great pilot. I'm definitely not an early morning person, but this trip was well worth getting up so early for! Second biggest "wow" was the Turkish bath, which I almost chose not to do. Luckily I changed my mind at the last moment."

John

Brookfield, WI

Tour: 09/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were fortunate to have only 12 people on our tour and appreciate that your company still ran it. Given all of our planning it would have been a significant hardship if it had been cancelled. Our guide gave us a very personal view of her country and was extremely knowledgeable in the things that we feel are important, how the history of a country animates it's current reality. The history of Turkey is especially served by such a guide. It was clear to me our guide was proud to work for RSteve'

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia. The balloon ride was a unique experience."

Chere

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the tour was better than I even dreamed it would be. I loved the focus on history, art and culture. Our guide Taylan was outstanding; so knowledgeable, patient and accommodating, great sense of humor really a phenomenal young man. I like the full itinerary but opportunity for breaks throughout the bus days and the few days we had with significant free time were a nice change.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"for the 'I don't think we are in Kansas anymore moment' it was Korkatuli at the village market to realize we were the only Americans in the market, I wandered alone and did some shopping with the friendly people; no English but the warmth & the effort they made to help me was so memorable. One lady gave me a bracelet, tying it on my wrist and patting my hand. Ephesus was incredible. The lunch at Fatiyre'shouse, she showed me how to tie a head scarf and patted my cheeks and said 'guzel' (pretty)"

Susan

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a travel experience that was the best we have had in our over twenty years of independent international travel. We fell in love with turkey – its people, geography, food, ancient and current history, culture and more. I feel like I took an academic course experientially because I learned so much. The opportunity to be guided and then have independent time made such a positive difference; for example we could choose to swim in the Mediterranean while others chose to take a walk.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many big "wow" moments, but one is when we met with an Iman at his mosque and followed up on the bus with a deeper discussion. I am much more enlightened about Turkey as a secular country in which one's religion is between a person and God, and not between a person, one's government and God."

Lawrence

Bradenton, FL

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide, good companions on tour; accomodations better than we had been led to expect; Turkish people very hospitable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappodoccia"

Carol

Painesville, OH

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The point of the tour was to learn about Turkey and we really had great chances to do just that. LOVED the country and am very hopeful that its future will be a good one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamukkale!"

James

Painesville, OH

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Things that I look for when choosing a vacation spot are history, recently in the news/current events, beautiful scenery and ability to move around the area in freedom-Turkey has all of these and our RS tour provided the vehicle to achieve them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The village Mustafatasa where we enjoyed the "local" inc a music duo at the local restaurant. Pamukkale was also tops."

Peter

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful cultural and educational experience. Got to see the Turkey that most tourists do not.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia region."

Louise

Reno, NV

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We had a wonderful guide; shewas very knowledgeable about history, culture, politics, and geography. She also seemed to know many locals, which was a plus. I sometimes questioned her choice of restaurants, but perhaps they were the best and we just didn't know it (Ketchup WAS great.) Was very accommodating about individuals' requests.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aphrodisias---the theater-- our son is a theatre professor and had always talked about it."

Mike

Lewes, DE

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleased by the multifaceted approach the planners, including Mine, used in providing the tour. We got the historical, cultural, economic, geographic, religious, and demographic perspectives, along with well-timed humor and popular stories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Blue Mosque was fascinating, but the question-and-answer session with the candid young imam in the humble mosque was impressive. I don't know whether Mine suggested that activity, but she did a nice job giving us background and serving as translator and elaborator for us."

Maureen

Depere, WI

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience! Very interesting part of the world to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The underground city and the ruins."

Sandra

Reno, NV

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the Turkey tour but would have liked to have a few more days. Even with 3 extra days pre tour in Istanbul, there is so much else to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first Wow moment was the flight into Istanbul and seeing all of the ships in the Maramar Sea. Then placing a FaceTime call to our great niece (age 13) and getting to show her the Blue Mosque from the terrace of our hotel."

Erric

Canby, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After Turkey, the 1700-1800 AD history of Western and Eastern Europe seems young compared to the 1600 BC ancient history encountered on this tour. Ruins from the Hittites to the Romans were encountered throughout the tour. Imagine swimming in a 170 meter outdoor Roman pool. Sitting in the front and top rows of the great theaters of that time was an unforgettable experience. Space does not allow for description of the great food we consumed throughout Turkey or the great roads without fences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""WOW" moments were a daily occurrence. Starting with the Hagia Sophia and Chora churches, the Spice Market, the battle tableaus at the Ataturk mausoleum, ancient Hittitie artifacts in the Anatolian Civilizations museum, the Kaymakli underground city, the Goreme Open air Museum, an early morning balloon ride over Cappadocia, Pamukkale Hierapolis ancient city, Aphrodisias and Ephesus just to name a few :-)"

Carole

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This is our 8th Rick Steve's tour. We think we have rated all the others "outstanding", but the pace of this tour was just too much. There was not enough free time to wander. We don't know what the answer is. Turkey is a large country and there is a lot to see, but this was just exhausting. I would only recommend this tour with caveats.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The underground Hittite city was amazing. We had never seen anything like that. How could they have built that so long ago? Our engineers should take lessons. The rooftops of the hotels in Istanbul and Capaddocia were great for views and socializing."

Linda

Kearney, NE

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"we paid extra for the air balloon and we had Mustafa T, who was humorous, experienced & gave us good photo ops. Scenery was super over the Capa.... area. landing on the trailer was an added bonus."

Barbara

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What stands out most about our trip to Turkey is our guide, who made the trip sparkle Her incredible breadth of knowledge about Turkey, history, politics and culture was absolutely inspiring and more enriching than we could have hoped for. Beyond that, her "people skills" are just amazing - and I say this as a psychologist, in practice for over 30 years. She brings a remarkable mix of kindness, tolerance, humor, and warmth to her work (continued in Part 5)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything about our experience at the Old Greek House in Mustafapasa, and exploring the the town."

Andy

Liberty Township, OH

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall the tour was very good, the Istanbul portion was great. Konya was also very good. Antalya and Kusadasi were awesome. Cappadocia was gorgeous, unfortunately we had a really smelly room there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour is so packed with great sites and experiences it's tough to pick out one moment, maybe seeing the Blue Mosque lit up at night from the roof of the hotel and hearing the call to prayer. The balloon ride in Cappadocia was also a huge wow moment."

Arthur

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good mix of new and old Turkey

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having lunch in local's house."

Sarah

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being a long-time fan of Rick Steves, I had fairly high expectations for my first tour, and without a doubt, my expectations were greatly exceeded. The tour was fantastic. I appreciated the structure and pacing of the tour, especially the built-in downtime. We had a wonderful group of people and an amazing guide. It was incredibly educational, and exactly what I wanted out of a trip to Turkey. There were some minor hiccups, which were expected, but everything went exceptional well overall.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one moment, but the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia was absolutely amazing. The Butterfly Balloon staff were extremely nice and helpful, and I was glad to see that we would be taking off in a field that was not crowded. The views were amazing, the weather was perfect, the ride was smooth--it's an experience that I will never forget."

Galen

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very rewarding tour .my goal on these trips is not only to have big fun but to better understand the country and it's culture and people. The trip meet my expectations . Your tour guide was outstanding these people are so critical in these trips. He did an outstanding piece of work. Under his leadership we became a fun and informed group of fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but the ballon ride was wonderful"

Anita

Winnipeg, MB

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is a great place to visit and it was good to have a guide to help us get started. Istanbul is an excited crowded city - staying in the old town is the way to do it. Then the villages are a whole different wonderful experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many - lunch in the woman's house? Aya Sofya? Efysus?"

Keith

Winnipeg, MB

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A nice blend of large cities and smaller villages. Great fellow travelers who appreciated experiencing something new and different. Time was well spent as we crammed a lot into the days. Hotels were good and the group meals well prepared. Our free time was helped along by the guides advice and suggestions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To many to count but certainly the optional balloon flight was great. Loved the small town experience in Cappodocia. We had expected to be amazed by the ancient ruins such as Ephesus, Aphrodisias, and Hieropolis and we were not disappointed."

Betsy

Bainbridge Is, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic. I would heartily recommend it to anyone, and have. Loved having one guide for the whole trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots. I really enjoyed Old Greek House, the little town of Mustafapasa, the Farmer's Market at Korkuteli , the town of Pamukkale, and having lunch with Fahriye at her house... and of course it's hard to beat the hot air balloon."

Pamela

Bath, ME

Tour: 06/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour, the tour members, the guide and Turkey were all just wonderful! I was on the Village Turkey Tour in 2010 so returning to Istanbul was like meeting an old friend. This time I feel in love with Istanbul, Cappadocia and the village of Foci, on the Aegean, were my grandfather was born. All of Istanbul is fabulous. Seeing Chora Church was certainly a high point as well as returning to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many moments; being on a tram and someone I couldn't see telling me in English to get off at the next stop, that the next stop was the "Last stop," three Turkish men fussing over me in a suede jacket while discussing alterations, visiting Mustafa, whom I had meet 3 years ago, at Troy Rug in the Arasta Bazaar. A last night cruise on the Bosphorus before the tour began and the balloon ride in Cappadocia were high points as well as staying at the Upper Greek House."

Don

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/13/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

excellent guide...the history of this country is amazing...the food was only fair to good

Favorite "WOW" moment

"no single wow moment"

Weather

Turkey / Istanbul

Turkey Weather

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.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Istanbul before your tour begins, use 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, Süleyman the Magnificent Mosque, Galata Tower, and Dolmabahçe Palace. For details, please see Rick Steves' Istanbul guidebook.

Transportation

Most 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. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). 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 are going on to the Greek Islands after the tour, you may want to fly home from Athens and here are a few things to consider: ferry schedules can vary and weather delays and strikes are not uncommon, especially in the shoulder season. 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.

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.

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.

Trip Resources

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

Packing

While it is important to pack light, there are three items we'd like you to consider including when packing for this tour. In Turkish mosques, women are expected to cover their heads with scarves. You may want to bring one or purchase one in Istanbul. In addition, many of the ancient sites do not have much shade and you may want to consider packing a hat and sunscreen. Also, this tour has several opportunities for swimming. You may wish to pack a swimsuit and perhaps a lightweight microfiber towel.

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.