• 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

William

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Arroyo Grande, CA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jennifer

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 10/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carol

Cardiff By The Sea, CA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Marian

Langley, BC

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Linda

Houston, TX

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Karen

Toronto, ON

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kenneth

Woodland, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sharon

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Edwin

Spooner, WI

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit with the Imam was priceless."

Virginia

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Akemi

Spooner, WI

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Julie

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ruth

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jonathan

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Connie

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Julie

San Geronimo, CA

Tour: 10/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Patty

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Lagrange, IL

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ballooning"

Maria

Lagrange, IL

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barbara

Aberdeen, WA

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I suppose Cappadocia. It is so unique."

Jill

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jeffrey

Longmeadow, MA

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Norah

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Longmeadow, MA

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"touring the city of Ephesus"

Fran

Santa Paula, CA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Swimming in the Hierapolis pool."

Oliver

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Diane

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Cynthia

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elizabeth

Frederick, MD

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lucy

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Foo

Singapore,

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carole

Oro Valley, AZ

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

College Place, WA

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sharon

Brentwood, TN

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Alan

Oro Valley, AZ

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carol

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wilma

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Robert

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sandra

Rockford, IL

Tour: 09/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Shirley

Bow, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gordon

West Allis, WI

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Judith

West Allis, WI

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

Memphis, TN

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Hugh

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wayne

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lois

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janna

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

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!"

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."

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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"

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."

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.

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!!"

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!!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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!

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.