• 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

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!

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 2015
  • 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. 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, 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

John

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very educational. Mert was very good about assuring we were comfortable and very patient with us. It was wonderful to have a Turk lead the tour- although at times I think his bias showed. In the end, I learned so much and saw so much I felt my time was very well spent. Turkey has such a complex history as well as a complex present. So different is so many ways from the USA and it was wonderful discovering some of those differences

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul - WOW. Cappadoccia- WOW Ephesus - WOW. Meeting with the Immam - WOW. Meeting with the Turkish family - WOW"

Karen

Fremont, NE

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the opportunity to be on a tour a bit out of sphere of Western Europe. Spending time in an Islamic culture was eye-opening and interesting. Loved the great variety of cultural, artistic, encounters with "locals," information, and just plain adventure -- like hot-air ballooning. Great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had been looking forward to seeing the Chora Church and the Hagia Sophia for a long time. I didn't even know about the Goreme Museum, and it was magnificent. Ephesus was certainly a wow. My husband taught church history at a small Midwestern college, and all of these places were overwhelmingly wonderful. The lovely, old hotel in Sinasos with the open air atrium was very cool. Hot-air ballooning and the Turkish bath were very fun. Not one wow moment, but I enjoyed every single activity."

Julia

South Bend, IN

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steves tour to Turkey made it possible for my husband and I to see a great deal, without spending time arranging for hotels, or arranging transportation. We spent time in Istanbul, but we also got to explore Ephesus and Cappadocia. The tour included a question and answer session with an Imam, something that my husband and I could never have arranged on our own. Our tour-mates were a thoroughly delightful group. The tour made me want to return to Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The question and answer session with the Imam was certainly a high point. We asked all kinds of questions. A protestant minister in our group asked a number of questions. The two agreed that the most important part of their job was helping individuals with problems, not leading services."

Rhonda

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was my 4th tour through Rick Steves. I always know what to expect during my tour: good, clean hotels in great locations close to where I want to be. Great food..and lots of it! Awesome guides who really know their stuff, can answer any question or will get the answer and can point us in the right direction with ideas for food, shopping or activities. And always great transportation (bus and driver)! My turkey tour exceeded my expectations. I wanted to go again when it was over.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moments were the people of Turkey. I didn't expect the level of hospitality, warmth, generosity, kindness, friendliness and humor that I experienced. I enjoyed talking with everyone and they were very forgiving of me and my horrible Turkish. Istanbul, Ankara (Ataturk's mausoleum), Cappadocia, Konya, Anatalya, Pamukkale, aphrodisiacs and Kusadasi were all pretty WOW too! I loved all of it!"

Patricia

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour. I learned ALOT from our tour guide Mert, who was excellent. The hotels were all good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hagia Sophia and The Bosphorus cruise. On the cruise, I saw many parts of Istanbul that I would have otherwise missed, and being on the water was great in and of itself. Mert provided historic and personal details about various sites that made the boat ride/tour quite interesting."

Lynn

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved every minute of it! Mert is absolutely the best. He went above and beyond all expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All we learned from Mert."

James

Fremont, NE

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the pacing of the tour and the variety of places included on the tour. The accommodations were excellent as we have come to expect from a Rick Steve's tour. We chose this particular tour because it was out of our usual western Europe "comfort zone" and offered cultural experiences unlike any other we have experienced in western Europe. Our guide was both knowledgeable and helpful in helping us navigate this experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it had to be Hagia Sophia for reasons that are mostly personal and professional. I taught Church History for years and H.S. was and old friend before we ever met. The icon in the apse, priceless! I also loved the caves at Cappadokia and who wouldn't be wowed by the balloon ride over them in the early morning."

John

Giddings, TX

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very enlightening. The "gentlemen" at the hotel in Antalya need to take far better care of their cats. That was very depressing to see the condition of these animals during our stay. Ali and his brother strike me as being rather lazy and I was not that impressed with their "attitude." The "Old Greek House" in Cappadoccia was my favorite "hotel." And I really enjoy the gentleman down the street with all his clothing for sale. The hot air balloon ride was fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed the question and answer session with the Im'an and thought the lunch with the mother/daughter was very special also. Turkish bath not too bad either."

Susan

Wauchula, FL

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have nothing but positive comments about my Rick Steve's Turkey Tour. The acomodations werec omfortable, meals were delicious, and the company was wonderful! I truly loved every minute...even including the middle of the night drumming related to Ramadan. It was one of many unique experiences. Most outstanding was our Tour Guide, Mert. He was incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of the Turkish history and archeology. His talks were quite impressive!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As much as I was excited about our Ephesus experience, I must say that the days spent at the Old Greek House were the most memorable. Staying in this 350 year old beautiful home in a small village provided an opportunity to live the Turkish culture. The owners provided excellent food, superb service, and a fun evening of traditional music. The trips we made from the village, such as Hot Air Ballooning, made this stay the ultimate in adventure!"

Richard

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour that covered so much wonderful territory, couldn't have squeezed in one more event and wouldn't have left anything out. Maybe I would have added bathrooms to the bus. Intelligent and cooperative group and fabulously informed guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each site seemed to have it's own wow, from the emersion into the ancient ruins above the beautiful Pamukkule Pools, to the expansive Byzantine and Ottoman architecture and art, to the unbelievable collections of artifacts in the museums. As a photographer, I also loved the local rural markets and big city bazaars. I appreciated the local touches - lunch with a family, bath at haman, dancing with locals."

Gail

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an amazing tour! It really lived up to everything I was hoping - something different from the typical European country and experience. I learned so much about the region's history and gained a much better understanding of Islam and the geo-political issues of the region. The Turkish people are amazing! So friendly and appreciative of our token efforts to speak a few phrases.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My biggest "wow" moment was getting of the bus at our first stop in Capadoccia - what amazing landscape - with a camel standing in front of it all! It was very surreal! However, my favorite experience was the lunch and talk time we had with the lovely family of women in Capaddocia. They were so welcoming and open and the food was AMAZING!"

Andrew

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about this tour was absolutely fantastic. From the rich history and religious influence to the culture to the food and amazing sites. This was my very first Rick Steves tour, and I wouldn't have experienced Turkey any other way. The tour provided an efficient schedule of events and a diverse set of daily events and activities. What an amazing country - I wouldn't have changed a thing. If you haven't been, move Turkey to the top of your travel destination list.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was possibly my favorite part about visiting Turkey, there is no way to pick a single event. The ancient cities of Ephesus and Aphrodisias, the amazing natural scapes of Pamukkale and Cappadocia and the culture and history of Istanbul make for incredibly dynamic experiences. For those going on this tour, make a point of doing the hot air balloon ride when you get to the Cappadocia region. It's an amazing experience and not to be missed - even for those who aren't big fans of heights."

Michele

Waterloo, ON

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Another very enjoyable Rick Steve's trip, as usual. I'm so glad I picked Turkey to tour this year. The country has remarkable landscapes and open, friendly people. We were a small, mixed-aged group of 18 plus guide. Everyone got along well and there was more than enough room to spread out in the bus. The food was excellent and the majority of hotels and experiences were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Apart from the fantastic hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (not included in the tour), the discovery of the wealth of Roman ruins scattered throughout Turkey was unexpected and eye-opening. For a fine arts and history buff, it was heaven."

Haynes

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We found Turkey to be a fascinating country, with a wide variety of cultures, architectures and scenery to explore. The country occupies a significant geographic fulcrum, both historically and currently. It is a significant ally for the US is a tumultuous part of the world and it is important for us to understand it better. I felt the tour did a great job of educating us about Turkey's past, both ancient and recent, and the tour guide was very frank in his commentary about present day Turkey

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride is a can't-be-missed experience, but I think what surprised me most was the underground city. It proved to be a far more complex network of spaces than I ever imagined."

David

Altus, OK

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Turkey is a very interesting place, but fundamentally different from the other locations we've toured with RS. The overall impression, unfortunately, was one of never ceasing salesmanship on the part of almost every Turk we crossed paths with. We learned to deal with this but never liked it. It became offensive after awhile. The tour was worthwhile but I would not be interested in any new Turkey itineraries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our balloon ride in Cappadocia was amazing. The balloon pilot would dip us down within a canyon then back up to look down on the other balloons. This was so worth the additional expensive and early morning wake up call."

Charles

Champaign, IL

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I very much enjoyed getting to know Turkey in much more depth, having previously visited only Istanbul and Ephesus. Turkey is a wonderful country: the people, the food, the sites, and the history are all compelling. It is a pretty grueling trip, though, with six long bus rides and a much busier schedule than is the norm for a Rick Steve's trip, with little free time. Also, a lot of the hotels were spartan at best. Our guide was just ok, but we made some great friends for life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd normally say Ephesus, which is just incredible, but my wife and I had been there before. I can't choose just one "wow": I really liked the Ataturk Museum in Ankara; a hike we took in Cappadocia; a lunch we had on a bluff in Antalya overlooking the sea; bathing in the mineral springs at Pamukkale; and a dinner with good friends at a restaurant in Istanbul looking right out at the Blue Mosque. But that's Turkey -- so many different things to grab you."

Julie

Bradenton, FL

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. I was never disappointed. The tour guide was the best I have eve had. His English was perfect, nothing fazed him, he was friendly to all and extremely knowledgeable. The bus was great, never felt ill at ease by bad driving. The other members were a delight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Never one thing. The very best thing in Turkey was the food. Outstanding. Wow moments- Topkappi jewels & Roman houses in Ephesus"

Janice

Aurora, CO

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great mix of free and scheduled time. I loved the chance to do a lot of walking. Loved always beng in the center of town Would like more opportunities to hike, bike Loved the hot air ballon, the hike, the e bike. Cave was so-so Thought that the carpet presentaton went about an hour too long.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul"

John

Beverly Hills, CA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I think generally it was a wonderfull Trip and I would recomend it to anyone who had the energy to keep up with the pace.

Faiza

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A lot of fun. Great group of fellow travels. A little rushed in some areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride over Cappadoccia."

Saleem

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was my 3rd trip with Rick Steve's and I recruited friends for this trip. From my last 2 trips I am well aware of the quality of hotel we get which is usually 2 star at best but hotel quality during this trip was real disappointment. It was not me only, pretty much everyone in the trip was not happy with the quality of the hotel except couple of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The country itself has so many interesting things that it made it better. Hot air balloon trip was wow moment."

Wendy

Glenside, PA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this trip which went beyond my expectations. I had trepidations about traveling in a group, and on a bus. Both these worries were unfounded: the people in the group were all very nice. The bus travel was comfortable and pleasant, with plentiful comfort stops, and interesting talks by our leader and conversation amongst the group members, and room to spread out. Turkey's people are warm and it's landscape is beautiful. And learning about a secular Islamic country was enlightening.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The colorful market places and old town narrow streets, the beautiful and delicious fresh grilled fish on my plate, the balloon ride over Cappadoccia, the ebike experience in Anatolya, the call to prayer in the early AM and the gorgeous mosques and tiles."

Duane

Troutdale, OR

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour overall was very good, very educational

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite part of the tour was the hot air balloon ride."

Christine

Charlottesville, VA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, Alp, our guide was outstanding: see below. The places we went were fascinating, well-chosen, and we had a wonderful time exploring them. Possibly there were too many experiences but I don't know which I would leave out -- possibly Pamukkale. I was disappointed that there were no real country road experiences, rural villages, etc but maybe that is not possible in Turkey. Guzelyort came closest to that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride trip -- what a place to have that experience. ! The visit to Guzelyurt and the Imam. I had not expected to enjoy the carpet-making observation and show-room but I was riveted! I also enjoyed the ceramic studio. The visit to the two homes, those of Bircin and in particular the lunch with Variyah were high points."

Catherine

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All our research helped but could not possibly prepare us for for all the fascinating things we learned and experienced while in Turkey. Our guide Gokalp was extremely knowledgeable about all things Turkey, past and present and made it fun to learn about the important roles Turkey has and does play on the world stage. There were delightful sights and sounds on every corner, the people we encountered were kind and welcoming and made it easy for us to step out of our comfort zone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first call to prayer we heard from the Blue Mosque, the Dervish worship service we attended at the Galata Mevlevihanesi in the Kasimpasa district, the hot air balloon ride in the Cappadocia region, the Turkish bath in Urgup, the Kaymakli Underground City."

Blaine

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As we have come to appreciate from each RS tour, the opportunity to get beneath the surface, to engage the people, culture and history as well as the physical characteristics of the country, provided us with a great engagement of Turkey. Of course, the guide is essential to accomplish such engagement and "Alp" was dynamic in his role. His knowledge, perspectives and passionate personality filled us with appealing experiences during our time together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We spent a total of a week in Istanbul and loved it. The call to prayer from the mosques was, especially predawn, very moving. Meeting the Iman in Guzelyurt was insightful. Turkish baths were great. Cappadocia was a highlight, the balloon ride sensational."

Gay

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a really good time in Turkey and I learned so much. It was obvious that Alp is really proud of his country, and his enthusiasm was contagious. Alp is extremely knowledgeable, and he taught us so much about Turkey's history and culture. I loved his personal stories. I also appreciated his willingness to discuss any topic related to Turkey no matter how controversial or questionable. Giving us sticky notes to jot our questions down throughout the tour, was an excellent technique.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was wonderful. One "wow" moment seemed to follow the next. Cappadocia is incredible. The hot air balloon ride was breathtakingly stunning, the Turkish bath fun, hiking in Love Valley among the fairy chimneys was beautiful, and visiting Fariyha allowed us a personal glimpse into Turkish life. I can't believe how much history, culture, beauty, and fun Alp could pack in one day."

Nicholas

Charlottesville, VA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful introduction to the history and culture of Turkey made especially positive by having Alp as our guide. I knew very little about Turkey before arriving but leave being very enthusiastic about the country and hope to visit again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride; the Blue Mosque; the old city of Atalya; the entire experience in Cappadocia. The weaving exhibition (not the ceramics) Recommended changes: one fewer archeological ruins; one or two more short hikes to view the natural environment like the one we did in Cappadocia. A small village might also be a very good addition."

Carol

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time on a tour and it was an excellent experience. Great tour guide, diverse exposures and activities, good group members,comfortable bus and super driver. While there never seemed to be enough time in my particular areas of interest, it didn't seem to matter because there was so much offered in the trip itinerary as a whole. (Good suggestion to arrive early or stay later)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the ancient sites, the museums and markets.Every day built upon the next which produced a rich cumulative effect. Like a symphony or a well planned meal of multiple courses. There were of course special tastes but it was the overall that was so satisfying."

Dennis

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

wonderful people on tour with us. Good Guide-knowledgeable. Very interesting sites and itinerary. Good food. Good accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride over Capadocia"

Bob

Victoria, BC

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first tour ever and we were apprehensive. We were very pleased with the agenda, the amount of "free time", the size of the group and the knowledge and personality of our guide. He was always available to provide assistance and suggestions of things to do in the free time. We found the Turkey we saw to be very interesting and it's people extremely friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cappadocia area was our "Wow" moments, everything from the landscape, the underground city, the Old Greek House and, of course, the hot air balloon ride."

Robin

Sublimity, OR

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a fantastic experience! Taylan was very knowledgeable about his country and enthusiastic to share all parts of it- the good, the odd, and the bad.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Possibly one of the most memorable sunrises I have ever seen because of where I was, who I was with, and how I was viewing it."

Margaret

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Thanks for a very enlightening tour of Turkey. We came home with very positive impressions of the people and the culture and will be ambassadors of everything Turkish for a long time to come. The people are welcoming and generous, engaging and very politically minded. We loved experiencing life in a secular Muslim nation and coming home with a positive experience. Our tour group was fun, friendly and easy to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nothing in particular stands out. We spent a night out having dinner in a restaurant along the Aegean Sea that was outstanding because of the food and the view of the harbor. I also think the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul was pretty spectacular - would have liked to go back."

Willy

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed our tour of Turkey. All the details were taken care of, the group was fun and the tour guide was knowledgeable and pleasant at all times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite moments were the Underground City and Ephesus"

Arthur

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Turkey is a wonderful country, with the most friendly people i have met anywhere. There is a real sense of the past and the various cultures that have been there over thousands of years. I would reccommend this tour. The only drawback is the monotony of the cuisine (meat on a stick). Also, unlike most of the other EBD tours i have taken, there was a paucity of local guides, which was a drawback. Our tour guide was very good, but not as outstanding as some of those from prior trips.

John

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third time visiting Turkey, my previous trips had been for business. I really wanted to learn about the history and the people of the country. My expectations were exceeded on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon tour over Cappadocia was a highlight, it was a unique experience."

Sally

Hoffman Estates, IL

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was a wonderful surprise. I had not imagined the wonderful sites we would see including the ancient buildings so intact and still being used. Our guide was always upbeat and eager to share his country and his knowledge about it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappadocia! The views of the unusual formations as we soured over them were not to be missed."

Carol

Tigard, OR

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Can't say enough. Loved it. Turkey was a huge surprise. It is absolutely beautiful and filled with so much ancient history. Our guide was fabulous and well informed. His relaxed manner and open view of the country was also fabulous. We would enjoy him as a guide anytime. After our tour we joined a cruise to 3 Greek islands, and 3 days in Athens. While also very nice, Turkey is our favorite.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul and the view from the Azade Hotel. Our 5 days in Istanbul was the hi-light of the trip and of course the Cappadocia."

Karen

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We experienced so many aspects of Turkey, from the big city bustle of Istanbul to the quiet charm of village life. Our guide was very knowledgeable and organized and our fellow tour members were congenial and fun to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, because there were so many, from the underground cities and churches and rock formations of Cappadocia to the gorgeous architecture of the mosques to lunch at Fahriye's house to the amazing antiquities. But talking with the imam at St. Gregorius and getting to hear him do the noontime call to prayer in person is the experience that really stands out for me."

Glenna

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment was the Cappadocia's region. The history and landscape was incredible and so very unusual. The hot air balloon ride was an overview of the whole region and you could almost imagine some the historical events. The ancient underground city and the cave churches was very interesting."

Gloria

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience with an outstanding guide. The days were often long with more than the usual Rick Steves tour exercise, but we loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved climbing around the ancient ruins of Aphrodisias and Ephesus, but who could forget the fabulous balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Tom

Mt Gretna, PA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 6th RS trip and like the first five, it was excellent. In particular, our guide, Alp, was fantastic. He has an amazing fund of knowledge about every aspect of what we were involved in, but it geologic, political, art history, or religion. Moreover, not only did he own all the dots, he could and did put the dots together in a very understandable fashion.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming to understand the role what we now know as Turkey in melding the sequential civilizations of the middle east."

Claudia

Portsmouth, VA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was carefully planned, energetically carried out, and a wonderful experience each and every day. I came into Turkey with assumptions mostly fueled by the Western press and left with vivid impressions of a beautiful country with warm and fun loving people. Having the best tour guide in the universe helped.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ageless grandeur of Aya Sofya and Ephesus, learning about the brilliance of Ataturk, dining, singing, and dancing at the Greek House in Cappadocia, a hilarious hike, the mesmerizing dervish ritual, an enlightening talk with an imam in his mosque, the view of the Mediterranean with the Taurus Mountains in the mist in Antalya, and the majesty of the Aegean Sea with Greece in the background in Kusadasi."

Don

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been on four other Rick Steves tours and wanted something different from Europe. This energetic tour was very successful in giving us a new viewpoint. Turkey provides a span of history from the Hittites, Greeks, Romans, early Christianity, and Ottoman Empire up to a modern day country. Gokalp ("Alp") did a great job in covering this history and introducing us to the Muslim faith. The Turkish people were always friendly and helpful (many with cousins in Colorado if they sold rugs).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The obvious "wow" moments are the balloon ride and Ephesus. A different smaller "wow" was the Whirling Dervish ceremony that Gokalp took us to near Mustafapasa in a caravansary. It was a fascinating and very different experience."

Melville

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itinerary was well designed and planned; the hotels were very adequate and well located; the guide (Alp) was very good and very informative, a good team builder. The group was cohesive and friendly, willing to take on just about anything offered. There were absolutely no grumps. Very consistent with the Rick Steves travel philosophy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Besides the balloon ride over Cappadocia which was just sheer fun, the sweetest moment was the time of sharing with the Imam in the small church/mosque near Konya. Some very meaningful things were said that went deeper than the conversations normally held between tour group members. A very good idea. Thank you."

Cleo

Richland, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded all my expectations. Our guide Alp was beyond wonderful. He is a gem who totally gets the "Rick Steve's" ideals of traveling- getting to see the local lifestyle. The Turkish people are warm, welcoming and eager to share their country. The sights were beautiful and varied. Our bus driver boldly drove with exceptional skill getting into spots that seemed impossible. During our 13 days in Turkey we made memories of a lifetime. Thanks Alp for all he did to make this a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many-- but the Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia was mystical. Also spending time with the Imham was enlightening. Wish all Americans could sit and talk with him-- we would all be better for it. Education aids understanding and decreases fears."

Leila

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guide, nice accommodations, great itinerary. What was especially noteworthy is the "one-of-a-kind" experiences this tour offered, such as the hike through a Cappadocia valley, having lunch in the home of a villager, and meeting with an Imam.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus was probably the most stunning site, but the 3 nights in Mustafapasa were the highlight, from the rock formations & the cave churches to the delightful B&B."

William

Olympia, WA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was pleasant with maybe too much emphasis on mosques and Islam. Istanbul was, well, Istanbul, fun and exciting. The bus was uncomfortable and not as good as what I'm used to on these tours. With only a couple of long days on the bus the journey was quite nice. There a few better than usual Rick Steves type hotels which made the stays very enjoyable. The balloon ride (not part of the tour) in Cappadocia was the big thrill of trip. The Anatalyia and Kusadasi stays were the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Far and away the big "wow" for me was the hot air balloon ride over the "fairy chimneys" of Cappadocia. Although not part of the tour package, arrangements were made by our tour guide Tylan for 12 of us to go up together. The best hour or two of thrill of the entire trip."

Virginia

Olympia, WA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey has too many fabulous experiences to confine to 500 characters! My passion for pre-history and archeology led me to Turkey, where the entire country consists of archeology sites, museums and thousands of years of human occupation. Our tour led us through amazingly enormous cities with beautiful ruins. Our tour guide was not only fun and knowledgable, but patiently educated us about Turkish people and customs. Although the tour was strenuous, I was never too tired to "keep on traveling."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day in Turkey gave me "wow" moments! Fabulous Ruins! Beautiful and friendly people! Balloon ride over Cappadocia! Goat's milk ice cream! Turkish bath! Hand-made crafts! Carpets! Hand-painted pottery! Colorful tiles! Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egypians, Greeks, Romans, Phonecians, Turks, Christians, Muslims, etc., etc."

Leigh

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great tour. Turkey is a fascinating country with many contrasts from ancient to modern, familiar to exotic and thousands of years of history. The people are friendly and helpful and the facilities are excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A lot of "wow" moments in such a historic and ancient country. But walking in Ephesus was my wow moment. The sites are awesome. And they've barely scratched the surface."

Ann

El Granada, CA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been on three previous Rick Steves tours, and this one is possibly the best yet! We so appreciated how we were "incorporated" into the Turkish culture--walking, mingling with the people, using public transportation, being in locally owned/operated hotels, meeting with local folks. We feel like Turkey is a relatively undiscovered gem, and encourage Rick Steves to organize more tours through this fascinating country. It is the confluence of so many interesting cultures and histories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ooo, this is a hard one! Constantinople is an utterly fascinating, multi-layered, cultural & historical experience. Cappadocia, with its intriguing rock churches & underground cities, is mind-boggling. One should not pass up the magical hot-air balloon experience over the bazaar geologic landscape there. The ancient cities of Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, & Ephesus are eery as you stroll so far back into ancient history. But meeting personally with a small town imam blew us away. Fascinating."

Pauline

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a well oiled machine this Rick Steve Tour was. The itinerary was great and included all sorts of different experiences and activities. Overall, it met all our expectations and then some.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"loved Chora Church. standing on roof of Hotel Sultan Hill (we made this reservation for two nights after the tour) seeing the Blue Mosque and listening to prayer call."

David

Freeland, WA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour and included a wonderful mix of history, culture, fascinating sights, and good group relations. Taylan was an excellent tour guide. I was impressed with Turkey as both an ancient origin and crossroad of civilizations and a modern country more developed than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour was a wow for history buffs and archeology crawlers. There were two wows for me. The first was upon arrival in Istanbul to the central area where you visit the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia. I was there 45 years ago and this was an amazing flashback for me. The second was the walk through Ephesus, so humbling to the 21st century assumption of progress."

Steve

Pekin, IL

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. Turkey is fabulous! Three words for Turkey... Exotic, Friendly and Delicious. Our guide, Taylan made the experience wonderful through efficiently getting us to planned activities and even more memorable were many impromptu encounters such as meeting a sheep/goat herder and visiting with a local Cappadocia woman as well as stopping the bus to eat local produce. I really enjoyed our amazing travel friends that made the adventure the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A lot of "wows". Exotic – Turkish bath, balloon ride in Cappadocia, call to prayer, ancient architecture, all styles of dress. The optional electric bike ride through Anatolia was a blast. Friendly – a Turkish family opened their home for lunch, meeting an Imam, folding origami with a restaurant owner. Delicious - Turkish tea & coffee, fresh pomegranate juice, fish from the Aegean, toasting with Raki, sampling Ayran, yummy kebabs, olives and cheese and plenty of fancy Turkish Delight."

Brian

Olympia, WA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour of Turkey is a great success for R S Tours! What a beautiful country! The people of Turkey and their culture and history are magnificent and are what make it beautiful. Thanks to R S affiliation with SRM Tours and specifically our PERFECT guide Taylan and MOST Wonderful driver Mr. Rafet , their country was revealed to us in the most fantastic manner imaginable. I will never be more satisfied! Thank You!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Old Greek House of Mustafapasa and proprietor Suleyman Ozturk and his family. Only three night stay but would love to spend rest of my life with them. The party with local music exhibition was JOYOUS! I was humbled by their royal hospitality and care. All the sights of any country are great but good people are always the best experience."

Keith

El Granada, CA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved Turkey - the history, the people, the food! We were amazed by the archeology in Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Aphrodisias. Our guide, Taylan, was excellent in his knowledge, good humor and unflagging advocacy of Turkey. This was the most interesting tour that we have taken, and we have thoroughly enjoyed all of our Rick Steve's tours. Any concerns about safety and political instability were immediately dispelled. A truly wonderful experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moments were being in the underground city of Kaymakli and being in the hot air balloon above Cappadocia. I now believe that you cannot truly appreciate human history unless you go to a cultural crossroad like Turkey."

Judith

Clearwater, FL

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall the tojr was a marvelous learning experience with a knowlegable guide and 22 fun and informed travellors.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia was an awe inspiring and beautiful experience. We floated over the vast area of mostly uninhabited hills and valleys in the early morning sunrise."

Jackson

Freeland, WA

Tour: 04/28/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I thought that the Istanbul portion of the calendar was overly brief. It is such a gigantic, fascinating city that it would have been worth another day or even two. I enjoyed Ankara as well, and wished we could have been there a little longer. The bus rides were long, and while Cappadocia was interesting, a couple of the sights could have been dropped. (The underground city, while interesting, took a full day to recover from!) Konya was of very limited interest, I got tired of the mosques.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sculptures at Aphrodisias, the Topkapi dagger, the turkish bath, the weekly farmer's market stop, hard to pick a single best moment."

Phillip

New Baltimore, MI

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found the trip amazing. It was a history lesson, religious, political, culturally eye opening, and physically demanding. I felt like I earned a college credit for all that I learned from Mert Taner .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I hate to say the first thing I saw but Instanbul was the best."

Cecilia

Macau,

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have watched Rick Steve's Tour program on TV, and heard of its reputation! The wonderful trip is expected!

Robert

Morro Bay, CA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was wonderfully panned. The guide, driver and all the locals involved in our trip were truly wonderful. I walked away with so much appropriation for Turkey as a country and incredible memories of the Turkish people. Exception, last supper dinner an outside merchant came into the restaurant serving raw almonds. He had the appearance of someone who worked in the establishment. However, shortly after offering and serving me a plate of almonds, he came up and said " that will be 20TL :(

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire 13 days was a wonderful "WOW" moment. This was my first organize tour ever and I have traveled to many countries over the past 30 years and I must say " I'd really enjoyed the pace and the cultural lessons from this tour."

Catherine

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot say enough great things about this tour. I always use Rick's books for my solo adventures around Europe, but since I felt a little uneasy about travelling in Turkey alone, his tour was the obvious choice for me and it exceeded my expectations. From the pre-tour communications to our last day everything was perfect, and the wonderful people I was blessed to share this tour with only made it more special for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of the sights we visited were extraordinary, however, my favourite "wow" moments came from my experiences with and among the Turkish people - smoking the nargile in Istanbul, toasting every stop with a glass of Raki, sharing birthday cake with a local girl at a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean, having lunch at the home of a Turkish family, meeting an Imam, the call to prayer, witnessing celebrations over the elections and getting to know all the ladies better at the Turkish bath."

Wanda

Spearfish, SD

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We had a wide variety of experiences. I feel we had a good sample of Turkey. Everything was well organized and we were kept busy. We learned a lot of history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. The Ephesus archaeological site was awesome. 2. Topkapi palace was beautiful."

Gary

Spearfish, SD

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never been on an organized tour, so we were not quite sure what to expect. However, all went well and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We will likely do another tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ruins at Aphrodesius and Ephesus were amazing!"

Patricia

Sealy, TX

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From beginning to end it was clear that Rick Steves Europe does a thorough job of identifying the best guides, bus drivers, hot air balloon captains, even the best truck stops!! At every turn I was impressed by the thought that went into each activity, each meal. I have traveled with other organized groups,some much more expensive, but never with one so well organized and so enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Swimming in the Roman baths at Pamukkale. The same baths Marcus Aurelius swam in!!! And visiting a caravan stop from the days of the silk road, one described by Marco Polo in his diaries!! Mindblowing."

Sandra

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Mert was outstanding but the tour was marred by the poor quality of nearly all hotels. We are not 25 and don't want to travel like we are! Our room in Kusadasi, which had been advertised as ocean view, overlooked an alley filled w/trashed appliances; there was blood on the bottom of the curtains. The room in Pammukale had no deadbolt lock and an infestation of gnats. Room in Ninova Pension was tiny and dirty (as were towels) and room in Ankara was skanky.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bosphorous cruise. Lunch w/family in Cappadoccia area."

Thomas

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed the tour and would have rated it outstanding if the hotels had been better. Our guide, Mert, was excellent. Istanbul was fantastic; the Turkish people friendly and welcoming; and the countryside and ruins of Turkey beautiful. My experience at the Kusadsi hotel (of not getting a room with a view) also drove the tour rating down.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The conversation with the imam was good; our guide asked him to chant/sing the first verse of the Quran. I realized that we were in a building which had been a church from 385 CE and then a mosque since the Ottoman conquest: over sixteen hundred years as a house of worship. It was beautiful and inspiring; and I am a nonbeliever."

Philip

Wilmette, IL

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent is my "outstanding".Highly enjoyable,well-organized.and informative. Great picture of the Turkish people ,an understanding of their political system and some hope that they can improve their system without the violence of their neighboring countries. The breadth of history rivals any of the European countries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have "wow" moments.The music and dance we enjoyed in Cappadocia,the local family meal(their warmth and generosity) ,the hot air balloon ride ( complements of my spouse-I would never have gone otherwise) was enervating and a great novel way to interact with the terrain."

Jean

Wilmette, IL

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fabulous introduction to Turkey. There's not a single thing I would change about it. We were exposed to virtually every aspect of Turkey, including its long history, its place in the development of Christianity and Islam, its unbelievable topography, its gorgeous Mediterranean coast, big city life in Istanbul, and many cultural treasures including museums, archeological sites, Roman ruins, a demonstration of the carpet-making process, and musical traditions. The tour was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say the musical entertainment we had one evening at the Cappadocia Estates, after dinner. Two elderly gentlemen played musical instruments, and sang, and Mert joined them for one of the songs. Then the older of them started dancing, and other musicians took his place while he (and then some of us) danced. It was fascinating and very entertaining. To my ears, the music, beyond being enjoyable entertainment, embodied the blend of European and Asian influences that define Turkey."

Katy

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very balanced tour with a good mix of sights visited--religious, archeological, scenic, touristic, etc. The pace of the tour was great, mixing walking and bus riding. Frequent comfort stops kept everyone at ease. The camaraderie among the tour members was terrific. It was great fun to visit small towns (Mustafapasa Urgup) and markets.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know if I would call it a "wow" moment but it was a special privilege to talk with the young imam at his mosque."

William

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best tours we have experienced in 12 yrs. of travel. A wonderful guide who loves what he is doing, is extremely knowledgeable about his country and is very proud of it as well he should be. The variety of sites and experiences were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think there was any one moment, but having traveled extensively in the past in Turkey I just kept being suprised by the new information I received from our guide. The most moving experience was the time of conversation with the young Imam near Capidocia He was just so willing to tell us about his life and family and his position as Imam of his small mosque. He finished our time together by singing The Friday Prayer for us --what a beautiful voice!!"

Stephen

Hanover, PA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the start to the finish the tour was outstanding. Mert is a great guide, his knowledge of all subjects was outstanding. I learned so much during the tour. I'm a vegetarian, but managed very well. Some meals were so-so, but I had no problem finding a little extra to supplement. Hotels were fine, no real complaints and any shortcomings were offset by the location. Really enjoyed the room in Cappadocia!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many from start to finish! Have to single out the talk with the Imam, but then I don't want to forget the meal with the local family, and Cappadocia, and Aphrodisias, and Ephesus, and... Oh, so much!!"

Jane

Mandeville, LA

Tour: 03/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I love the Turkey tour. Our hotel in Istanbul was right in the heart of the city, with a view of the water and the Blue Mosque from our hotel roof, where wonderful breakfasts were served daily. No kidding- the Blue Mosque right up the road! Our tour guide Mert was terrific. He was incredibly knowledgeable, loved his country, and gave us the greatest insights on every tour. Rick Steves chooses which sites to see and when quite carefully. We never were packed into a place with other tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had "wow" moments every day, but the biggies were the balloon ride in Cappadocia, the lunch with Fahriye, a local woman (absolutely incredible and candid experience), and quite frankly, every meal."

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."

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."

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."

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.""

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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.

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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!"

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."

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"

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."

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!"

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)"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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 :-)"

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."

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."

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."

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.

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.

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 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 Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook.

Packing

In Turkish mosques, women are expected to cover their heads with scarves. You may want to pack a scarf 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 more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick’s packing tips.