• Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
  • Spice Market, Istanbul, Turkey
    Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul
  • Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
    Istanbul's Grand Bazaar
  • Hot-air balloons over Cappadocia, Turkey
    Ballooning in Cappadocia
  • Mevlâna Museum and Rumi's tomb, Konya, Turkey
    Mevlâna Rumi Museum in Konya
  • Hadrian's Gate, Antalya, Turkey
    Antalya
  • Thermal pools, Pamukkale, Turkey
    Pamukkale's Natural Hot Springs
  • Ephesus, Turkey
    Ruins of Ephesus

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

Best of Turkey in 13 Days Tour

from $2,395 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $675

See Tour Dates

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

Dates & Prices

2018

2019

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 23 group sightseeing events • Multi-day museum pass, allowing free admission to museums and cultural sites throughout the country • Hagia Sophia church/museum • Egyptian Spice Market • Bosphorus cruise • Grand Bazaar • Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent (Blue Mosque under renovation) • Topkapı Palace and Harem • Anatolian Civilizations Museum • Atatürk Mausoleum • Mustafapaşa walking tour • Göreme Open-Air Museum • Cappadocia home-prepared lunch • Cappadocia valley hike (weather permitting) • Kaymaklı underground city • Whirling Dervish performance • Visit with imam • Carpet-weaving demonstration • Medieval caravanserai • Mevlâna Rumi Museum • Konya city tour • Aphrodisias • Pamukkale orientation • Ephesus …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
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
  • 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 2019
  • 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 your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions 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 3 p.m. at our hotel in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district. Shortly after, we’ll take an orientation walk past the city’s iconic Blue Mosque (interior under renovation) on our way to tour one of the world’s great treasures: the Hagia Sophia, for 1,000 years the grandest domed structure on Earth. We'll end our day getting acquainted with one another over dinner. Sleep in Istanbul (2 nights). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Exploring Istanbul

We'll explore Istanbul's more recent past and present today, beginning with the exotic and fragrant Egyptian Spice Market. Then we'll take to the water for a scenic cruise of the Bosphorus waterway and its panorama of grand palaces, colorful neighborhoods, and bustling waterfront activity. Next, we're off to the New District's pedestrian-friendly İstiklal Street — with its Art Nouveau facades, restaurants, and trendy boutiques. After free time for lunch, we'll cap off the day exploring Istanbul's legendary Grand Bazaar and Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent. Boat: 2 hours. Bus: 1 hour. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Topkapı Palace and Ankara

This morning we'll focus on the era when the city was known as Constantinople with a tour of the opulent Ottoman Topkapı Palace. We'll see the sultans' riches at the Treasury and tour the inner world of the Harem. Afterward, we'll board our big, comfortable bus for the drive to Ankara, Turkey's bustling modern capital city, where we'll sleep (1 night). Bus: 6 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Anatolia 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 hours. Walking: light.

Day 5: Ancient Churches of Göreme

Surrounded by Cappadocia's otherworldly "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 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Countryside Charms

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

Physical Demands

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 (possibly several blocks) 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. Walk over steep, slippery, uneven terrain at several ancient sites.
  6. Travel on a bus without a toilet (rest stops every two hours).

Reviews

Carol

Edmonton, AB

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So glad we didn't give in to the fears regarding visiting the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey was a tremendous wake-up of our senses! A visual and culinary feast! Many thanks to Mert, our erudite guide, and wonderful travel mates for making this Turkish trip truly excellent!

Emily

Milton, MA

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Prior to my trip, i got warnings about going to Turkey, I was pleasantly surprised to find how friendly and helpful Turkish people are. I was also impressed with how energy conscious they are, every toilet is equipped with large/small flushes, everywhere. All major sidewalks are paved with special stripes for blind people, and ramps for wheelchairs. Not a glamours cities, like Paris, Rome, but down to earth and hard working people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was with the people, how friendly and generous they were. Upon arrival, at Istanbul tourist office, the guy offered me an Istanbul Metro card (didn't know it costs 6 TL). At the metro machine, a guy showed me how to add value, by loading 5 TL of his own money to my card. I asked a young lady for direction, thanked her and ready to leave, she called me back to offered me a Turkish sweets she just bought. All small gestures, but left me with a long lasting impression."

Stacy

Cary, NC

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was a feast for the senses with vibrant color and design at every turn, excellent cuisine, layer upon layer of history and the great warmth and good humor of the people. The tour provided us with a wide variety of experiences: palaces, mosques, museums, hikes, boat rides, balloon rides, discussions with carpet experts, imams and an expert guide at every moment. There was also the added bonus that, particularly with the current dollar-lira exchange rate, it provides an exceptional value.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to select one moment. I lived for seven years in the Middle East so many of the visual and cultural aspects of Turkey were familiar to me. I would say the biggest "wow" was the overall diversity of the country and the wide variety of experiences we had."

John Bruce

Cary, NC

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized. The group leader had a lot of knowledge about the region. The hotels were very good. The food was excellent. And the tour members were fun to get to know.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia. It was a first time experience for me to be in a hot air balloon and that combined with the other worldly landscape below made it an unforgettable tour moment."

Jason

Houston, TX

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel like we saw more of Turkey in 2 weeks than most Turks see in a lifetime! It was a busy trip but balanced so that it was not exhausting. And when I tell folks at home what we saw they are amazed - Turkey is such a hidden gem!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The amount of religious history in Turkey is amazing and little talked about in the US (at least in my experience). Seeing where the early Christians fled and hid underground was awesome. And Mert's expertise in the religious arena really was an asset. The tour was not overly religious but included all the information you need to appreciate that aspect of the tour."

Ingrid

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fascinating and an incredible learning experience. It was packed with a lot of activities but also with plenty of free time to explore on our own. Turkey was a pleasant surprise of well preserved ancient historical sites, interesting local culture but also modern infrastructure and amenities. We always felt safe (more so than in many parts of the USA). It helped that we had an absolutely fantastic guide (thanks Mert!!).The people were warm, friendly and the food was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very difficult to choose a wow moment, there were lots of them. I loved the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the ancient ruins of Aphrodisias and Ephesus."

Margarette

Mequon, WI

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip to Turkey was amazing. It was probably the best trip we have taken yet. Our guide knew so much about everything. He anticipated every possible thing and was very organized. The trip could not have gone smoother. We learned so much about everything from politics to day to day life. Mert was very open to answer any question the member of the group asked. He did his best to accommodate any and everything we may have needed, including finding a doctor for an injury.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was not necessarily my favorite, but is was indeed a wow moment. We learned the truth behind Daniel Perl's beheading. The news we receive in the US has always been sketchy to me, but this proved it."

Albert

Mequon, WI

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a real pleasure traveling with Mert and our tour. Very relaxing, but active trip with like minded travelers. Meet was enthusiastic and very well informed. He was always anticipating our needs and made adjustments to suit our group. The tour itself was very informative about past Turkey and the new Turkey. What a great country!, would be happy to do another trip to Turkey. Would have added a couple more days in the trip for Istanbul. Hope you add another trip to the western part of Turkey

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite moment of many to choose from was probably the hot air ballon experience in Capadoccia."

Niurka

Arcadia, CA

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized, full of alternatives, excellent guides, outstanding food and hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"From the moment the tour started to my last day in Turkey. However, I found the Antalya museum breathtaking. It was recommended by Mert (not on the program), and I am glad I decided to visit it even if our 'free' day was packed and I was tired."

Barbara

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed our entire group experience. Everyone was very helpful and easy to talk with. Mert was definitely a talker. He really knows his Turkish history. I look forward to seeing him and some of our group at the Rick Steve's gathering!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I accomplished something on my "bucket list". Riding with everyone who wanted to go on our hot air balloon ride. Also, I really enjoyed our boat ride and swim in the Mediterranean Sea."

Geraldine

Endicott, NY

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour. Not knowing the language and the culture of Turkey I needed someone to hold my hand, so to speak, when traveling around. Our guide, Yaren, was that person and she took the stress that might have occurred away. Everyday was a balance of time with an organized event and free time. Yaren made suggestions of what to do in our free time and helped when problems arose. This was my first Rick Steves tour but it won't be my last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was my hot air balloon ride over Cappodocia. What a great opportunity to see the area from the sky. Yaren made the arrangements and even got up at 3:00AM to see us off. That was so special of her to make sure things worked out for us."

Lydia

Prosser, WA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey certainly has many "bests" to offer; I was impressed with the variety of scene, and Yaren was the perfect guide as she knew the whole country so well and could guide us through the history, local custom, sights/sounds/tastes of each region we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Could I list 12 wow moments?? ok.. just one... I loved the Turkish bath. Yaren arranged a wonderful off-the-tourist-track experience for us. The facility was clean, wood-fired, amazing. The people were skilled, friendly, fun. It was a real slice of real life and a deluxe treat! (I want one of these places in my town!)"

Dave

Carmel, IN

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first organized tour. I was very happy with it. The smaller group size is helpful and we had a very good group. Our Guide Yaren was fantastic. The diversity of activities was good and the organization was very good. The free time allowed was nice explore various areas at your own pace. Enjoyed walking around towns in the evening. I was very happy to experience it during Ramadan and see how people celebrate it. It didn't adversely impact it but enriched it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the Cappadocia region was fantastic along with the balloon ride. I really enjoyed the area. I also enjoyed the visit and lunch with the local lady. It was a unique experience. Seeing the contrast of areas like Konya and Antalya was very interesting. Seeing families breaking fast on weekend nights was also special."

Cynthia

New York, NY

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An truly extraordinary experience that far exceeded my expectations! Our wonderful tour guide (Yaren) seamlessly blended history and current events helping us to understand the significance of Turkey historically and the issues it is now facing. Beautiful country, warm, wonderful people, amazing sites and great food! I highly recommend this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say my favorite...absolutely loved the hot air balloons at dawn in Cappadocia, the magnificent domed Hagia Sophia, and the farmers market in Korkuteli, but my favorite moments were the ones where we we shared with the local people like the home-cooked lunch with Fiasa (sp?)or the night in Konya when we couldn't find a restaurant that would serve us until the Ramadan fast ended and so we waited and then shared the breaking of the fast with the local Muslims."

David

Prosser, WA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We learned a lot about Turkey in 13 days and visited some great sights and museums. My first interest is history and archaeology, followed by the landscape, both natural and man made, and this tour was outstanding so I'm very satisfied. I enjoy just absorbing the culture too, though I don't really think about it as much as I know Rick does, but here too, the tour was outstanding. The hard part of the tour for me is having to use bottled water and the threat of Montezuma's Revenge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The museum at Ankara was surprisingly good on bronze age and earlier civilizations. Hagia Sophia, the relics of the Hippodrome, and Ephesus were especially exciting. We skipped the balloon ride since we did that at Luxor a few years ago and it's pretty expensive. Looking out over the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus and thinking of all that history is a wow moment for me."

Bruce

Farmington, UT

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves tour to Turkey was my first ever organized tour. I didn't know a great deal about Ramadan so it was enlightening to be in Turkey when Ramadan was observed. I would not hesitate to go on another RST or to recommend RST to friends. We had a great group of people and I was amazed at the diversity of our group. The fresh squeezed pomegranate juice was a real treat and the Turkish bath experience was amazing too. Last day I enjoyed the "man" spa day at a local barber shop.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Starting our tour in Istanbul and ending in Kusadasi, every location had it's own "wow" moment. I would however say Cappadocia with the chimney rock formations and caves then topped off with the hot air balloon ride over the region was my personal "WOW"!"

Virginia

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's a big trip in every way. I still cannot wrap my head around the complexity of Turkey. 3000 years plus of history and a republic only 95 years old. The incredible diversity of the people and the challenge of holding all that together boggles the mind. We covered so much territory and even the hardiest of Rick Steves devotees were exhausted by the end. But I would not want to give up a single experience, even to reduce the long bus rides. Yaren, our indefatigable guide, held it all together

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! Breaking the fast with the local people in Konya; the Christian churches inside the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia; walking the beach at Antalya and swimming off a boat in the Aegean; splashing in the fountain at Aphrodesia; watching the filming of an Erdogan commercial in the amphitheater at Heirapolis; the condos of Ephesus; taking the tram in Istanbul;the underground cisterns in Istanbul; being there during Ramadan."

Arti

Dayton, OH

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fascinating, informative and very enjoyable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia hot air balloon ride , Turkish hamam and many more!"

Elsa

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was excellent and I highly recommend it as Turkey is beautiful, rich in history, safe and very friendly. During the tour we had amazing experiences: took a ride on a hot air balloon, were pampered in a Turkish bath, walked among the fairy chimneys in Capadoccia, went swimming in a hot springs pool dotted with ancient columns, admired the travertine formations in Pamukkale and also walked in Ephesus where St. Paul once visited and preached.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that the whole Capadoccia experience was my wow moment and this of course includes the hot air balloon ride, which for me was a first. Another wow moment for me was seeing the stadium in Aphrodisias - I actually stood at the top of the hill and went "wow"."

Yong

Jersey City, NJ

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very impressed with the country, people, rich history, natural beauty,and low price. Good chemistry among all travel members and excellent guide Mert with broad and deep knowledge and passion made the trip more memorable. I am already promoting travel to Turkey and Rick Steve's Travel to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first stop at Cappadicia region and the hot balloon ride where I could see caves carved in the volcanic ash rocks."

Katy

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very easy place to travel. Local Turkish people were very helpful and interested in engaging in conversation. They were disappointed that travelers from the US were recommended to not to visit Turkey. Wide range of experiences from non-touristy town to boutique cave hotel to an afternoon in a local home , mosques, archeological museums, cave hike, sunrise balloon ride, ocean side resort town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being at Blue Mosque surrounding park at sunset during Ramadan on dad commemorating Turkey being a republic. Much celebration. Ramadan "after dark" party."

Betty Joy

Temecula, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves' Tour and we were thrilled with with the experience! Our guide, Mert, was amazing, and wove Turkish culture, religion, history and politics into interesting talks and discussions that we could understand and enjoy. Our fellow travelers were friendly, helpful, and fun and we made plans to keep in touch. We always felt safe in Turkey, and totally enjoyed the historic sites, rug weaving, museums, bazaars, people, food and more. This an awesome trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had so many WOW moments but one that stands out was floating in the hot air balloon over the fairy chimney rock formations in Cappadocia. A dream come true!"

Cheri

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an incredible taste of Turkey! We were given a good variety of experiences and certainly packed a lot into each day. I have loved traveling using Rick's books for many years. This was one step easier because everything was pre-arranged and I just had to follow along. The people in our group were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment had to be my first hot air balloon ride. I was terrified to sign up for it and had definitely decided to pass . I'm so thankful that I changed my mind. It was a highlight of my life. It was positive in every way, especially because it was in spectacular Cappadocia and we were surrounded by hundreds of other balloons. Several other "wow" moments[INVALID]-swimming ashore from the boat in the Meditteranean, lunch at lovely woman's home and session with the imam!"

Jon

Vashon, WA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I wanted to explore Turkey to experience the culture, religions, politics, architecture, cuisine, and the people from a local perspective unfiltered by the opinions of "outside" sources and was not disappointed. Visiting during Ramadan was an unexpected bonus and great care was taken by our guide to assist in my understanding of Ramadan and becoming a respectful travelers. The tour is intensive, fast paced and very detailed and it exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia, pictures do not do justice to this spectacular area."

Steve

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Let's see....We spent 13 days in a beautiful, green mountainous country that is steeped in history and culture and filled with friendly, gregarious people. We were guided by one of those people who also happened to really know his stuff, thanks Mert, and we did all this comforted by nice hotels, good restaurants and a big bus on a smooth, modern highway system. Our second time in Turkey, but the first time outside of Istanbul. We anticipated a great experience, and it didn't disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"- The wonderful, spectacular, and to me at least, unexpectedly impressive ruins of Aphrodisias (and equally important, preceded by a wonderful lunch). - The also spectacular ruins of Ephesus. - And the oh so smoooooooooooth and delightful balloon ride over the mind-blowing and awe inspiring topography of Cappadocia. Am I the first to mention this one?"

Haydee

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing and outstanding!!! Though I have traveled extensively for both work and pleasure, this was my first experience with a Muslim country. Learned a lot! Was surprised and pleased by how magnificent and well preserved the historical sites were, the tolerance and friendliness of the people, how clean and well maintained the public spaces are kept, the beautiful gardens and extensive use of solar panels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia"

Bill

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with each tour I have taken with Rick Steve's Tours... this is the best tour yet. I am glad for the inclusion of Turkey on the tour list. I feel this important for my growth in seeing the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit with the Imam, including questions and answers. I have a greater understanding of Islam and more of how we are the same."

Ann

Batavia, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 1st RS tour. We have used the guide books for years and knew if we ever decided to take a tour, it would be a RS one. We were not disappointed. Yes, our pace and timing may have been different if we traveled independently, but we could not have had some of the unique experiences we had by using this tour. We decided that we needed a tour for safety reasons in Turkey. What a misconception on our part!! What a remarkable country. Safe, friendly, clean, and welcoming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose 1. The hot air balloon ride was a first for me and so specular. So glad I did it. Being in Turkey during Ramadan was also a great experience. To see the religious experience first hand was so expanding to my thinking. The whole trip expanding my thinking."

Susan

Duluth, MN

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Turkey tour experience was way beyond my expectations. The guide was great! The tour was very active, filled with lots of sites and activities. We took advantage of every option and were not disappointed, although it made for full days. A lot of bus time, but our Mert always provided us relevant history or other information about Turkey, which gave a good perspective of the country. It was also Ramadan during our tour, so added an extra dimension in learning about Islam.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments, but at the top is the Hot Air Balloon ride in the Cappadocia region. Simply breathtaking! I also loved Ephesus. I appreciated that both of boat tours were only for our tour group."

Stephen

Duluth, MN

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was incredible. Turkey is a beautiful country to visit with so many historic well preserved ancient ruins. Everywhere we visited the Turkish people were warm, welcoming, helpful, and full of hospitality. Contrary to the many safety warnings in the American press about visiting Turkey, I never once felt threatened or in danger during our visit except for a few crazy taxi drivers in the narrow streets. Istanbul, Ankara, and everywhere we visited was very clean.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia and watching the sunrise from the balloon. It was an incredible enchanting out of this world experience."

Gwen

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We covered a lot miles & saw many interesting sites. The guide was knowledgeable, energetic, helpful & generally thoughtful. The pace of the entire tour was brisk, but not overly so.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning to negotiate & appreciate Instanbul. Enjoyed the hammams & meeting the Imam in the small rural town. All of Cappadoccia was incredible! Especially enjoyed the Cappadoccia Estates."

Kamini

Whitehouse Station, NJ

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't want to go to Turkey because of what I hear from other people. Three months before our departure, I started learning Turkish. Because I knew a few words, I felt confident and I really wanted to speak the basics. I was blown away by the kindness of the people and the beauty of the country. I can't wait to go again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia! Being in the hot air balloon in Cappadocia was magical!"

Karen

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow! Powerful, intriguing, inspiring, and fascinating. Turkey is a welcoming, historical, delicious, and progressive experience. Mert Tanner did a wonderful job with history, religion, food, culture, social, archeology, and creating a friendly, fun atmosphere with our tour group. East meets West, Christianity and Islam, history and progress. We loved this experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My heart was so full from our visit with the Imam in small Guzelyurt."

Kay

San Rafael, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third RS tour. We have done a lot of independent travel, but thought we might be safer in Turkey with a group tour. We spent several days in Istanbul on our own before the tour, using the RS guidebook and advice from Mustafa, Oktay, and Serdar at the wonderful Hotel Sari Konak. We felt safe throughout our time in Turkey -- but we still decided it was better to go with the RS tour because we could NEVER have strung together so many wonderful experience so efficiently on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think most people will say Cappadocia, which of course was wonderful. But my personal favorite day was "Seaside Antalya." Mert had arranged an optional boat trip that included swimming and I loved that. After that a small group of us went to the Antalya Museum and I was very impressed with all the wonderful statuary. And the optional Turkish bath was such a highlight -- ten women bonding in their underpants. Mark and I had been to the Ayasofa Hamam in Istanbul, so we had a means of comparison."

Michael

Batavia, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a grand experience. I learned so much more than I had previously known about Turkey. The guide was fabulous. The blending of the other tour members was such a huge bonus. I would especially recommend this tour for anyone with an interest in Ancient History, Archeology and religion but there was even more beyond that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My greatest wow moment was the country of Turkey itself. We get little but negative news in our press about Turkey and to meet the people and see the country first hand was a very positive experience. The Turkish people were so friendly and helpful and I felt nothing but welcome in their country."

Mark

San Rafael, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great time. Really appreciated having Mert as our guide. His energy and enthusiasm was amazing and really made the trip as good as it was. This was our third Rick Steves tour and all of the guides have been great. We look back at our photos and recall that the kinds of people that go on Rick's tours are similarly like minded, open to new experiences, rare to hear any complaints and all ready and on time for all experiences. Turkey was our first Muslim country and we would go back again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to find just one since the people created some of the fun moments, often simple. Such as smoking a hookah together. When my wife and myself, on our own, went off the tourist track and the call to prayer happened and I went into a mosque and prayed with an older man who took my arm and next to us was a young father with a 4-5 year old son. I did what they did, when I left the young Turkish man smiled and shook my hand in friendship. Cappadocia was incredible but Istabul was other worldly."

Dona

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I took the Turkey tour 12 years ago and wanted to share it with our daughter and a friend. The itinerary has changed a little and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. Our first guide was Sidar, and this time Mert was much more knowledgeable on history. Turkey has a very rich culture and history. Everything went very smoothly this time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was not a place but information that Mert gave us. He informed us that the reason that Russia is backing the Syrians is that they have two naval bases in Syria and that is their access to the Mediterranean Sea without using the Bosporus. I now understand Russia's motive."

Donald

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is an outstanding tour which combined sites of modern and ancient Turkey. Overall, I would agree with Rick Steves that this tour is a very active tour, not so much for the distances walked or stairs climbed, but more for the full days packed with multiple important sites that are visited. Mert, our tour guide, depth of knowledge was simply amazing. If someone wants to get out of their comfort zone, explore a different culture, and taste great food, this is the tour to take.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was the second time that my wife and I have taken this particular tour. The entire tour was a wow moment."

Blanca

New Orleans, LA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was very well organized, so I sat back learned and relax. It was my first time in Turkey, so having a local guide to explain the details of his culture was a plus! Great experience with all travelers, we all had same purpose: enjoy ourselves!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we met with the Iman. Great way to learn about the muslim belief system."

Joan

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip to Turkey was great. Taylan was so knowledgeable and a lot of fun as well. We were discouraged by friends not to go to Turkey but found the people to be friendly and never felt the least bit uncomfortable. Turkey held many surprises for us. The different landscapes and terrains were unforgettable. We really enjoyed the visit with the imam and found that our faiths are not as different as we earlier supposed. It was a great time of year to be there, as the weather was still reasonable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We chose to participate in the hot air balloon ride and were amazed at the landscape in Cappadocia from the air. We had hiked some of the sites already, but from the air it was outstanding. Although we were hesitant at first, we were so glad that we took the risk."

Joan

Sarcoxie, MO

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide was very good, professional, informative, and showed equal courtesy to all on the tour. The pace, except for one extremely busy day in Istanbul, was fine. Hotels in total were somewhat disappointing in comparison to those I have had on other tours. Food was fine, although breakfast tended to become boring but the Turkish diet is just different than Americans are used to in their daily life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The museums in total were outstanding."

Pamela

Olathe, KS

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was as wonderful as I had been hoping. Our guide was personable and full of interesting information. Turkey was beautiful, fascinating and hospitable. The hotels were convenient and fun. The other tour members were sociable and easy to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is cheating a little, because the obvious wow moment of our trip was the balloon ride over Cappadocia, but the other experience I never thought I would get was at Heiropolis(Pamekkule). We got to swim in the hot spring with Roman columns and capitals and other artifacts. After all the museums where you can't touch anything, I never thought I would get to sit on a Roman column in my swimsuit."

Joyce

Plano, TX

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide Taylan, especially in flexibility and dealing with some challenges with a larger group and many singles. He always prepared us for each day's events in advance. Highlights: Cultural experiences including visit with imam in Guzelyurt, lunch with local family in Ortahisar in their home, Bosphorus Cruise, optional hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, local markets. Disappointed Blue Mosque was closed for renovation, but unavoidable. Several places were also unavailable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rising early for hot air ballooning over Cappadocia and watching all of the balloons in the air over the wild and rugged geological formations of the region. Fabulous views and great weather! Cruising on the Bosphorus and Mediterranean boat ride / swim on our day 'vacation from our vacation' was fun. Aphrodisias was surprisingly good including its museum. Lots of great museums in many places. Ephesus is always a highlight and getting there before the crowds arrived was a bonus."

Susan

Chicago, IL

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The colors and sounds were wonderful. Great group of fellow travelers who had terrific senses of humor. I feel as though I had a nice intro to Turkey, but it's a remarkable country that requires more than just an introductory trip. Ephesus was a highlight. I took a sense of Turkey's personality, which is filled with kindness, home and look forward to returning next year!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia was the most extraordinary location! From my "Palace w/Harem Room", to our balloon adventure, to the fireworks with the final call for prayer, Cappadocia was fabulous! I also loved waking up prior to dawn in Istanbul with the call to prayer...and the dogs' participation."

Lawrence

Olathe, KS

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We've traveled throughout Europe quite a bit relying on Rick Steves excellent travel books but this was our first guided tour. Not having to deal with travel and lodging logistics made the trip more relaxing. At the end of two weeks travelling on our own, I'd be frazzled, but at the end of this trip I was fresh.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the "action" landing of our balloon ride in Cappadocia."

John

Lander, WY

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first RS guided tour, so we don't have many experiences to compare this one to. We have previously traveled extensively often using RS guide books. We were very pleased with our experience. We can think of a few things that could be done to have made it outstanding, so we only went Very Good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappadochia was a wow moment for sure. Beautiful weather, great views, wonderful early morning experience."

Ken

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia with the "action" landing!!"

Bob

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a wonderful experience on our Turkey trip. In my mind I had pictured Turkey as a country of desert and sand. I, obviously, was so wrong and knew it as soon as we arrived. The landscape, culture, history, and architecture of the country were more significant than I could have imagined. Our tour guide Taylan was the one who brought all of them into focus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My hot air ballooning experience over the Cappadocia Valley. It was beauty I only thought one could experience by watching a National Geographic video, but there I was experiencing it for myself. I'll never forget it and my photos will always be proof that I overcame my fear of heights."

Joni

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time on the the Turkey tour! From the food to the historical sights to the culture immersion, this experience provided insight into Turkish society.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia is unforgettable - the "action landing" especially so. I am impressed with the skill the balloon handler to put the balloon down safely missing fences and buildings."

Sheila

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Turkey tour was absolutely overwhelmingly wonderful. I loved our tour guide, Taylan. He was fun and full of information and took very good care of us and allowed us to ask him questions about Turkey politics, language, religion, secularism, family life, etc. This is my first Rick Steve's tour and I will never forget it. I had the best time of my life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments: 1. Balloon ride. 2. Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. 3. Underground caves. 4. The whole city of Istanbul. 5. Boating on the Bospherous. 6. Visiting the ancient Greek and Roman Ruins 7. The food was to die for. 8. The Cappadocia Estates hotel. I had the "penthouse." 9. The underground city of Kaymakli"

Judith

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly enjoyed this trip. It was wonderful and life changing to learn about and experience the Turkish culture-the large cities, small villages, historical sites, the beautiful landscape,the delicious food and to meet Turkish people one on one. I felt connected to our group of fellow travelers and enjoyed our time together. Our many hands on adventures and talks from our outstanding guide also added to this tremendous experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we were staying in Mustafapasa and from a top balcony of our hotel we were watching fireworks and lights and sounds of a party from the hotel directly below and across from us nestled against ancient rock walls. At the same time the evening call to prayer began. It was magical watching and listening to the modern signts and sounds intermingled with the traditional."

Rebecca

Nordland, WA

Tour: 04/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Turkey was an incredible experience. Our tour guide Taylan helped us to understand the Turkish/Muslim culture. His knowledge of Archeology made the experience of the various ruins come to life. Our group started out as 28 strangers and by the end of the first day, we had met and made new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Hot Air Ballooning was a big "wow" moment. But the entire tour was a wow moment. From the first moment of arriving in Istanbul and experiencing the Grand Bazaar, to people watching, it was all a big "WOW" moment."

Katherine

Bridgton, ME

Tour: 06/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was wonderful; I highly recommend it! We saw important cultural and historical sites, we met interesting people, and we ate delicious food. Getting to speak with ordinary people and ask about their lives and country is where this trip adds something really special. It takes time, language, and cultural understanding to make that kind of opportunity on your own, but this tour let us cut straight to the meat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was amazing. It's hard to pick just one moment. The hot air balloon trip was beautiful. Seeing Hagia Sophia was on my bucket list, and it didn't disappoint. The day off in Side was great - I needed the resting day to process what I'd seen so far, regroup for the second week, and write postcards by the Mediterranean."

Weather

Turkey, Istanbul

Weather Chart

Hotels & Flights

Visa Required

If you are an American or Canadian citizen, you must obtain a visa prior to your arrival in Turkey. Before you fly, get your "e-visa" at www.evisa.gov.tr. The website will take you through a series of steps (have your passport handy), ending with your credit card payment (currently US $20 for Americans and US $60 for Canadians, MasterCard or Visa only). Once you pay, you will be emailed a link to download and print your e-visa. Always carry it inside your passport! Holders of passports from any country other than the US or Canada are also responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents prior to joining the tour.

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in your online customer account. About one month prior to the tour departure, in your customer account you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Istanbul and out of Izmir ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Departures from Izmir may require a connection and overnight stay in Istanbul, however some international departures avoid this extra stop, so look around for the best options.

Our tour bus will provide free transportation to Izmir on the last day of the tour, departing immediately after breakfast (around 8 a.m.) and arriving at the Izmir airport by 10 a.m. If you want to ride the bus, you'll need to book a flight that departs after 11 a.m.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook.

If you're traveling to the Greek islands after the tour and plan to fly home from Athens, please note that ferry schedules can vary and weather delays and strikes are not uncommon. We suggest waiting until you get to Kuşadası to purchase your ferry ticket to Samos. Your guide will explain how to obtain these ferry tickets.

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