• 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 $2,495 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

2019

2020

    • May 25–Jun 6 (Mo–Sa)
    • $2,695 + Air

    Filling Fast

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 24 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 • Visit with imam • Carpet-weaving demonstration • Medieval caravanserai • Mevlâna Rumi Museum • Konya city tour • Aspendos ancient theater • Aphrodisias • Pamukkale orientation • Whirling Dervish performance • 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 2020
  • 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 1 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. 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 for a free evening. 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: Ancient Aspendos

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 stop to visit Aspendos, one of the best-preserved Roman theaters of the ancient world. In the late afternoon we'll arrive in 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. After dinner together, we'll attend a religious performance by the followers of Mevlâna Rumi, better known as Whirling Dervishes. Sleep 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

Lark

Ashland, OR

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great, we covered so much ground and had so many different kinds of experiences. I know lots of folks didn't like the long bus rides but I was fine with those rides. We saw so much country. the bus is also a way for me to chill out and have time to myself. Having to interview and then present our Buddy to the group was stressful and unnecessary. Also, being told we had to buy a (cheap) gift for our buddy was added stress and I did not at all like having to do this.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the balloon ride, and the ruins at Ephesus, totally amazing. and for me, our bus driver stopped on a freeway so he could rescue a very large turtle in the middle of the road, all tucked inside her shell. That was a wow."

Barry

Ashland, OR

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful trip. I would happily visit Turkey again. Learning about the history and culture was amazing. So much to see and learn. I felt more like a tourist than on previous RS tours. Felt like we hit more "tourist" spots as opposed to the more intimate experiences typical of RS.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our bus driver Farouk, saving a turtle on a highway as cars sped past. We all clapped when he returned to the bus. Also, the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, the ruins at Aphrodesias and the amazing food and spice markets."

Will

Washington, DC

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really appreciated the amount of distance we covered and the number of sites we saw. The logistics were really well handled. There was a good blend of modern and historic, Byzantine, Greek, Roman, Hitite and other early civilizations, as well as Ottoman and Republic. There was also a good blend of "onsite" and "in museum" time. I could have used a little more museum time and a little less shopping time (carpet cooperative, Spice Market, and Grand Bazaar). Good traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was looking over the the ruins at Aphrodesias and hearing the call to prayer coming up the slope from a mosque in the valley. It really conveyed the span of history in Turkey. A second wow moment was seeing the adoration of the people, particularly the technical school graduates, for the memory of Ataturk at his mausoleum."

Ruth

Saratoga Springs, NY

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Turkey was a great place to visit - much more modern then I had thought. So many different things to see, experience and taste. Good group of travelers to experience the many museums and ruins/sites with. A couple of long bus rides to get to the next area, but it was a nice way to see some of the country side I would not have seen otherwise.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my favorite wow moments was participating in the balloon ride in Cappadocia. It was an early morning but the views of the sun rise and the landscape were priceless. Seeing all the other balloons in the area, gliding along was fabulous."

Emily

Boulder, CO

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip through Turkey was simply amazing. Yaren was an extremely excellent guide who shared very interesting historical facts about Turkey as well as fun facts about herself. While we were constantly moving throughout the tour in order to see everything and to keep on schedule, we had enough down time and relaxation time so we didn't feel like we were getting burned out. I highly recommend the best of Turkey tour to anyone who is thinking of traveling to the country.

Thomas

Cold Spring, MN

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great bunch of fellow travelers and guide. There was a lot of bus riding which I guess is unavoidable but the stops for breaks were, I thought, twice as long as they had to be. The museums and sites were good and well handled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Family homes at Ephesus"

Joan

Cold Spring, MN

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great group of fellow travelers, all were friendly, interesting and prompt. the two 6 hour bus rides were a bit much, though I understand that it was unavoidable. One of the members of our group was a retired opera singer. We were very honored that he sang for us twice at two different Roman theaters. It was a very special treat for the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus and the Open Air Museum."

Sheila

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour of Turkey far exceeded my expectations. I had signed up to take this same tour in 2013 but had to cancel. I still wanted to go to Turkey ever since and finally got the chance. Many people would look at me funny when I said I was going to Turkey: "Is it safe?" they asked. Honestly, I felt much safer in Turkey than in Seattle! Only felt unsafe during taxi rides. Our itinerary was perfect - we got to see the highlights of Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Antalya, and Kusidoci.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was Cappadocia. The hot air balloon ride had been on my "bucket list." We had weather problems for two days so unfortunately only half the tour group could go on the final day. My husband's name was drawn and he graciously let me go instead. (I have the better camera!) The whole time in Cappadocia was magical. The landscape with fairy chimneys, the underground cities, and hidden caves, the history was so fascinating."

Nora

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been on several Rick Steves tours and the Best of Turkey was my favorite! The pace of the tour was excellent, the hotels nice, the food was delicious. I plan to go back for the Istanbul trip in a couple of years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many "wows"!"

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best of Turkey surpassed my expectations. First of all, Yaren is the best tour guide I've ever had. She had an amazing wealth of knowledge with her degrees in archaeology and art history. There didn't seem to be a question she didn't know the answer to. She was enthusiastic, fun, caring, and went above and beyond to make sure that everyone's needs were met. Highlights for me were the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, wandering through some of the old parts of Istanbul, and the Bosphorous tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Best moment was sitting in a mosque with an Iman doing a question and answer with our guide Yaren translating. I really felt like we were able to have an open an honest dialogue and asked some questions I've always wondered about the Islamic religion. I left with a much better understanding of Islam and respect for the dedication and wisdom of the Iman."

Keith

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was very educational, helped by the expertise of our guide. It was also helped by all the preliminary information available on the web site. I listened to all the audio materials, and enjoyed them very much. I felt as if I knew Yaren before even arriving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I got to sing in the amphitheater at Ephesus. In one of the podcasts, an acoustical engineer described the wonderful acoustics there. . . he was right!"

Stephanie

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Prior to our trip, state-side colleagues expressed their concern about our personal safety while in the country. Instead, we felt safe and secure whether traveling on our own before and after the tour and during our free-time. This was not just another postcard perfect tour even though I have amazing images of natural and man-made monuments. Yaren introduced us to the sights, the history, the people, the culture. She created lifelong memories for us. Te?ekkür ederim

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experienced daily WOW moments.... When a young boy leaning out of his 2nd story window near Chora Church yelled "Welcome to Turkey"; When an elderly man near Korkuteli stopped to share candy when we said Merhaba; Seeing the crowds of young graduates taking photos at Ataturk's monument;"

Stephanie

Rosemount, MN

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' Tour and I will definitely do another one. My whole experience was fantastic. Our guide, Yaren, was phenomenal in every way. She was always available to answer questions, help with problems, etc. The hotels were good. The food was great every where we went. It is definitely going to be a hard trip to top!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't a single "wow" as so many things were breathtaking, but in different ways. Almost the whole trip was a "Wow." The only less than wow in my mind was the Whirling Dervish performance."

Lawrence

Canyon Country, CA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great venues and range of sights. Excellent tour site venues and timing of visits. Good group of fellow travelers. What really makes a tour magical is the guide. Yaren is conscientious, kind, considerate, knowledgable and passionate about sharing her country with RS tour members. She made the many long bus rides fun with her humor and pleasant demeanor. One of the Top 3 guides we've had after 10 RS tours. A real keeper this one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus hill city excavation museum. Turkish bath experience. Swimming in the salty Med Sea off our RS chartered boat."

Tina

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Yaren is a fabulous guide for a terrific tour! My high expectations were exceeded. We had at least three fascinating experiences every day, usually far more. The hotels were nice to beautiful, all well located and quiet. The food was delicious, no doubt from the impressive local markets. Yaren's archeology degrees and experience made each bus trip special as we got mini lectures before visiting sites. Her political perspective was educational and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The ancient sites. Swimming from the cruise boat in Antalya. The balloon ride in Pamukkale. Cappadocia. Buying rugs. Lunch with Fahriya. Meeting with imam. Breaking fast during Ramadan."

Catherine

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was extremely well planned with excellent pacing and movement from one region to the next. In each location, I wanted to stay longer but was very satisfied with the next stop. The group was delightful with ample opportunities to get acquainted but not staged or forced. Taylan was knowledgeable and spoke candidly about his country and the global perspective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How could you not rate the hot air ballooning in Cappadocia as the "wow" moment? It was absolutely fantastic. The ballooners were fun, competent and provided an enchanting view into the region and the formations."

Gordon

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is more modern than I imagined. When I told friends I was going to visit Turkey they said, "Be careful". I actually felt safer there than many places in the United States. I will recommend this trip to all my friends. Our guide Taylan was wonderful. Through his knowledge of the history of Turkey I learned many new things each and every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my favorite memories was taking the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia and descending down into the fairy chimneys. Hundreds of balloons taking to the air all at the same time to watch the sun rise. Beautiful!"

Paul

Eugene, OR

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hving Lunch with old lady in the small village in Cappadochia"

Benedicte

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour of Turkey was just outstanding. Thanks to our guide Taylan, who shared his knowledge of archeology and history, every day was a new discovery of the Turkish culture, with visits to museums, mosques, churches and archeological sites as well as bazars and food markets. This was my first fully guided tour and I was concerned of having either too many visits per day or not enough time at each site, it turn out perfect, I never felt overwhelmed or rushed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was many wow moments, but my favorite was Cappadocia and our stay in the village of Mustafapasa, when we had an evening of music and dance by local musicians."

Garreth

Mount Pearl, NL

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very pleasant group of travelers. Tour guide went out of his way to please everyone was very concerned over sick travelers again did everything he could to help out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turkey the country was much more than expected."

Hua

Bedford, TX

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was eye-opening experience. Life has surprises. This was one of the good ones. Thanks

John

Huntsville, AL

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great 2-week (wish it had been more!) introduction to Turkey's rich and diverse culture, history, geography, food and people. The beauty of traveling to underappreciated lands like Turkey is that it can erase false impressions and leave the traveler much richer for the experience, as it certainly did in my case. It left me wanting to see more. One will never fully understand the history of Western civilization without understanding Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be hard to top the balloon road over stunning Cappadocia at sunrise but the visits to Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, a local hammam (Turkish bath), Ephesus and the underground city deserve honorable mentions, at least."

Behrooz

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great adventure trip, it was well planned and packed with many activities to appeal to our special interests . Tayland peeked our interest with his interesting background information in the bus and prepared us for upcoming events. I have many found memories to look back and relieve from our best Türkiye travels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments, each day we had a few, my own wow moments were Archeological museums, Balloon ride in Kapadokya, boat ride and swim in Antalya , hiking in"

Bill

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was awesome and Mine was more than outstanding, she was stupendous. She cared about everybody and, due to either food-related or Norovirus-type complications she also served as a doctor/nurse.....she went well beyond the call of duty taking some or our tour members to the hospital late at night. she was fabulous and it shows that she really enjoys her job!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday was "wow", but it really was special when Mert, her husband and fellow Rick Steves' tour guide, could join us for our farewell dinner in Kudasi! They are a great couple!"

William

Pasco, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both my wife, Saundra Hill, and I had been to Istanbul before, but this was our first trip into Anatolia, Cappadocia, and the coast. It was eye-opening. This was one of the best travel experiences we have had. And the next time we go to the eastern Mediterranean, it won't be Greece, but Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many: 1. Hagia Sophia was stunning. A true marvel of architecture and engineering. Still standing after nearly 1500 years, and in an earthquake zone. 2. The museum of Anatolian civilization in Ankara. Truly a world-class museum and logically laid out. 3. The hot air balloon ride and swimming in the same pool as Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. Mariable dictu."

Purnee

Browning, MT

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The sites we saw and did such a variety of sites Turkey, it was mind boggling. Tour kept us hopping. We truly did see not only the highlights as promised, but also received a first class history and general education from our wonderful guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can I say everything - probably not! I loved Cappadocia of course, but also loved Pamukkale equally as well. Goreme Open Air museum was totally outstanding as well as the Underground City. There were so many Wow moments on this trip to pick one thing is impossible."

Richard

Browning, MT

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent introduction to Turkey. Our guide Mine was a delight. She was full of facts and insights into Turkish culture, history, and life. Our fellow travelers were great. On a less positive note I would have liked a somewhat smaller group, perhaps 15-18 people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just seeing the fabled city of Istanbul/Constantinople/Byzantium. What a place!"

Galen

Cedarburg, WI

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus- amazing preserved ruins"

Scott

El Dorado, AR

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very enjoyable. The highlights were cultural encounters (eg. lunch with nice woman, interview with Imam). Not so highlights were unavoidable encounters with tourist crowds at popular sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed it all!"

Anita

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my expectations !! Didn't expect to see as much of antiquity as we did & loved what we saw. Our guide made the trip extra special - she was enthusiastic & outgoing & also shared her views on her country, which we were very interested to hear.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Topapi Palace & Harem, Underground city of Kaymakli, stop at ancient Silk Road travlers stop, Aphrodisias !, Ephesus !!, Pamukkale (despite crowds)."

Sandra

Pittston, ME

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day in Turkey is a wow! The lodging at Cappadocia Estates was a wow moment. So much so that we had to tour each othet's rooms on arrival! The Underground city & ballooning there were amazing too! And the Turkish bath was a surprising & wonderful experience! I'd say "try it" even if it seems out of your comfort zone (as it did many of us who are now afficionados!)"

Patricia

Cedarburg, WI

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After traveling quite a bit in Europe, I was looking for a different experience & this was the trip to take. Turkey surprised me in so many ways- the ancient history we got to live on this tour in the archeological sites, the beauty of the different geographical areas, & learning about the people & their religion, politics, social customs. I found Turkey to be modern and prosperous. Great trip! Our guide, Mine, was enthusiastic, hard working, fun, knowledgeable, and patient with questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Way more than 1: Cappadocia area was my favorite- town of Mustafapa?a and Lale's hotel, exploring the caves/churches, underground city, hiking, and the balloon ride-but sad to miss sunset due to glitch in being picked up by balloon company. Loved Topkapi Palace, the swim in the Mediterranean, the Turkish Bath, and Ephesus...all the art & architecture of this ancient country."

Karen

Kent, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a very "educational" experience on my tour of Turkey. I had read some background historical information, but went in ready to learn about this part of the world. I had a great group of people ( both couples and singles) to travel with and a very knowledgeable guide and so we enjoyed our time together. Considering that 20 of the 27 people came down with "medical" issues I think we all handled it well and stayed positive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Like many, the hot air balloon ride over the "chimneys" was a great experience. The Turkish bath option was also a first ( and one unlikely to be found in the U.S.) While Ephesus is a "classic" wow place, I was impressed with Afrodisias ( I'd never heard of it) and was amazed at the ruins."

Barbara

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. I can't say enough good things about our guide, Mine. She was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and fun. I didn't realize what a diverse country Turkey is, and this tour introduced me to the history, culture, food, geography and people. I enjoyed going to the markets and trying the different foods. Talking with the iman at the mosque was interesting. I enjoyed the home visit and learning about carpet weaving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one, but Cappadocia and Hierapolis really stand out. It was also fun to be there during Ramadan. The Turkish bath was fun, also."

Xiaotong

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience is outstanding and better than my expectations. Turkey seems a safer place to travel than I thought. In addition to the historical sightseeing. I also like the local stuff like the carpet manufacture and local market place and local food. I like the experience of both history and culture in the RS tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Haigia Sophia, Cappadocia, carpet manufacture, and all the coast areas."

Richard

Bonaire, GA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I expected this tour to be at the edge of my comfort level. It fulfilled that expectation very well. The tour guide was exceptional;well versed in history, geography,politics and culture. The insight into the local lifestyle and a glimpse into the mindset of the Turkish people went a long way towards a better understanding of a 'different' culture. The beautiful landscapes and architecture were spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although the landscape and architecture was spectacular I found the Turkish Bath to be the Wow moment. Not to detract from the other aspects of the trip, the bath was,to me, a perfect immersion into the culture and tradition of the country. It was done well in a neighborhood hamam, not a cheesy tourist facility. It felt genuine and sincere."

Joan

Bonaire, GA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rock Steves tour and they have all been outstanding. Everything about the Turkey experience was superb, including the historical sites, the diverse landscapes, the delicious food, the friendliness and hospitality of the Turkish people, the camaraderie of fellow tour members, and the leadership and knowledge of our excellent tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride over the magical landscape of Cappadocia was a definite wow. Others included the centuries old frescoes in the cave-like churches of Göreme and also the entire Roman city of Ephesus."

Ann Marie

Mount Prospect, IL

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was fantastic! We saw so much and experienced so many different things (Turkish bath, Bosporus boat ride, talking with an iman, hot air balloon ride, dancing with local musicians, buying baggy pants at a local market, baklava, ...) I was struck by how much of the world's civilization had its start in Turkey and by what has survived, and equally struck that modern Turks only drink bottled water yet there's little visible recycling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't just one "wow" moment. In the Ankara civilizations museum, seeing cuneiform writing from the wife of Ramses to another queen about events of the day really impressed me. But so did the local woman who used hand signals to tell me that I should buy a different pattern of baggy pants and not the ones I had picked out. She was right. The other fabric was prettier."

Bill

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"Travel as a political act" - that's what this was for us. We had some anxiety in advance due to the political situation, but we found Turkey to be safe and welcoming. The tour was a wonderful mix of historic sites, natural beauty, and cultural activities, with a nice balance between group experiences and time on our own. Our tour guide (Yaren) did an outstanding job sharing her country and keeping us informed and on track. So much to see! This is a great time to tour Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"(1) Being amongst hundreds of balloons above the mystical landscape of Cappadocia at sunrise. (2) The Turkish bath in Antalya with the rest of the guys on our tour."

Richard

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed our tour. Our guide was university educated with archaeology degrees. She told us about the ancient sites and also about her life as a single mom in Turkey. The Turkish people we encountered were friendly and helpful. The main focus of the tour is history and archelogogy such as visiting the ancient city of Ephesus, but there was also an effort to demystify Islam. We visited a small town Mosque and had a Q&A session with an Imam. A plus was the strong dollar.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. First time flying and the views of sunrise and the other balloons over the rock formations was spectacular."

Elizabeth

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experiences were part of this tour. Loved our guide Yaren's enthusiasm. The tour was packed with history, religion, local customs, new experiences. First time in my travels that I felt like we were truly in a foreign land. I loved the Turkish people, they were so kind and welcoming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was leaving our wonderful room in Mustafapasa at 4:15 a.m. just as the first call to prayer began. It took my breath away. I knew it would be a good day. The balloon ride over the rock formations was surreal & to watch the sunrise, what a glorious way to start the day."

Julie

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Life-changing. Turkey was very exotic for me but also felt safe and familiar. Yaren, our tour guide, immediately put me at ease as did my follow travelers who will be lifelong friends. Every site, museum, restaurant, and activity was stimulating. Going to a Turkish bath with the group, buying baggy pants so all the women could take a picture together, dancing to live music after dinner were some activities I'll never forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the ancient sites such as the indigo of the church at the open air museum were "wow" but "wow" for me is markets, friendliness of local folks, Turkish coffee, rest stops at cafes, calls to prayer. In other words, I'm wowed by the "everyday" things on the trip."

Susan

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Yaren is a fabulous guide! I appreciated her knowledge of Turkey and also her expertise in making it a very smooth and uneventful experience. She possesses a knowledge of a variety of subjects and was able to answer most questions directed at her. On the rare occasion, when she needed to do research, she always reported back to us. She is a delightful young lady and has a wonderful sense of humor. I have been on two previous Rick Steves tours and she definitely ranks very high up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia was fabulous. What a unique experience. I also have to mention the authentic Turkish luncheon at Fahiya's House. That is definitely something that could be arranged if you weren't on a tour."

Alexandra

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Best of Turkey" tour is a wonderful introduction to a historic and fascinating country. Our guide, Yaren, was a font of knowledge on Turkish archeology, Islam, history, politics, art history, popular culture, etc., in addition to being a nice, experienced, and enthusiastic tour leader. She did an excellent job managing the group and keeping the day busy without being too exhausting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite memories include the live folk music at the "Old Greek House" in Mustafapasha (Cappadocia) and the trip to the hamam (bathhouse) in Antalya."

Carla

Westbrook, ME

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was the perfectly foreign! Off the path of the rest of Europe and wonderful! Our tour guide was thoughtful, passionate and knowledgable!. To get the highlights, we stayed primarily in large cities, but for one. Transports were broken up with sights, food and adventures. Our group of travelers was a terrific mix of fine, interesting people. The 'excursions' and adventures were bountiful and fascinating. Please look to release the full Turkey tour book.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to pick one? Immediately, albeit a tough choice, the balloon ride in Cappadocia comes to mind. There were many..."

Sandra

Princeton Jct, NJ

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The number of hours spent on a bus seemed daunting in the itinerary, but the travel was so well segmented that by the end of the tour, it was hard to believe we had travelled almost 2000 miles. We saw so many facets of the Turkish landscape, all of which were stunning, from snow capped mountain peaks to turquoise water lapped beaches. We enjoyed all the hotels, each with their unique personality. Our tour guide, Yaren, was the perfect blend of professor, mother and entertainment director.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was seeing the earliest Hittite fertility goddess of Catalhoyuk the archaeology museum. Then, to be able to trace the steps of her evolution and adoption into the Greek mythology of Artemis. Turkey is truly the crossroads of not only Europe and Asia, but also the crossroads of so many of the world's religions. It made me appreciate our commonalities as members of humanity."

Joseph

Boulder City, NV

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is a beautiful country and Yaren's guidance skills enhanced our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride over Cappadocia."

Antonio

Ocala, FL

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It gave me an appreciation of Turkey as a whole from its immense capital, Istambul, to a sample of significant & historic cities & sights. It taught us about its place in world history, architecture, culture. Learned about, lived, & appreciated the Muslin religion. All activities were very well planned for, among many: lunch with the very funny & delightful Fahriye, the interview with an Imam, opportunity to do sunrise Balloon ride, the sights in Istanbul. It has produced everlasting memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole experience of Turkey. I expected a backward, poor, dirty country & what I found was a modern, vibrant country with very well educated citizens who are able to get along with one another in spite of differences in religious affiliations, backgrounds. A proud people who keep their streets clean, lawns well manicured, with a lot of colorful plants. For animal lovers, for finding solutions to homelessness & refugees, this is the place to see & enjoy how they are cared for."

Shahin

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace was superb and flawless. It was time for continuous enrichment and valuable experiences. Our guide, Yaren, was superb in every detail, realistic, considerate, highly capable and competent. Well done indeed. We covered significant venues, museums, cultural events, buildings with both historic, religious and architectural significance. We were daily enriched. Wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two: we began the tour with Hagia Sophia, which was truly magnificent. We ended with Ephesus, exquisite."

Anna

Moraga, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was eye-opening! I got to experience Turkey's culture, history and people. A truly wonderful tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were wow moments at every stop but my favorite is the view on the hill top of Aphrodisias overlooking an ancient pool on the one side and a theater on the other. Breathtaking!"

Fran

Orlando, FL

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned so much on this trip. Our guide, Yaren, gave us so much information about her country and made us feel at home. I was blown away by seeing sites that were first used BC. I loved that we stopped in roadside stations along the way and experienced so much local culture. What a great country. I would recommend this tour to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. At one point, I realized I was saying "Wow' several times a day!"

Gary

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very organized and well-managed tour. Our guide was a highly educated archaeologist (Yarin), friendly, knowledgeable and caring, as well as has a good sense of humor. My fellow travelers are amazing as well. This tour attracts many like-minded people. This is a long tour (13 days), so be prepared that you will be exhausted at the end of the 13 days. I highly recommend Turkey as a tour destination. It is still authentic as a nation. It is a good 'first' Muslim country to visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was visiting Aphrodisia, because it is in such good shape compared to other ruins."

Mandy

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time visiting Turkey and I am so thankful for the Rick Steves tour to this incredible country. The vast array of experiences on this tour in incredible. From visiting ancient sites to wandering the markets with the locals. Being introduced to fabulous new foods to hiking up a small mountain for yet another breathtaking view. I fell in love with the country during the tour and am already planning a return visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On our way in to Cappadoccia, we stopped at a view point at sunset for a photo opportunity. We grabbed a cold beverage from the vendors nearby, watched the sun set, and took our photos. Between the camels, local characters, unreal landscape, sounds and beautiful sunset, I knew I wasn't in Canada anymore. I wish I could attach the photo I took at that moment because it is everything fabulous about Turkey."

Jeff

Boulder, CO

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Turkey tour was a great experience. Our guide was outstanding with a wealth of knowledge on archeology, religion, and area history. Sites chosen for visits were varying but included all the key ones. The additional activities rounded out the experience. With the many faces of Turkey, we plan additional travel there to further enjoy the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole Cappadocia experience whether it was from a hike, a balloon, or a cave, the landscape was like no other place I have seen. Spending 3 days there was needed to appreciate and fully experience the area."

Gail

Boulder, CO

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We absolutely loved Turkey and were so pleasantly surprised by how modern and approachable it was. Probably thanks in large part to Mert. Mert was world class! We have been on one other RS tour and have hired private guides several times for special places and city tours. None of them could touch what we learned from Mert. It was also really great to have Jen on our tour and she added a lot by sharing her RS insights and by watching out for stragglers and supporting Mert.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turkey in general. So much more than we expected. Beautiful, full of history and culture. World class museums and archaeological sites. Of course like everyone we loved the balloon ride."

Mary

Six Mile, SC

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So much about this very important country that I didn't know and Mert was just the right tour guide to teach me about it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stay in Cappadocia was a highlight with the balloon trip over the incredible landscape."

Charles

Bothell, WA

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well planed and managed. Rooms were marvelous in incredibly beautiful and interesting settings. Transits between towns were quite well broken into comfortable segments. Mert the Magnificent ever willing to explain local customs, life of common Turks, religion, politics and weather. The P.O.I's included in the tour were amazing. The relentless pace needed to avoid crowds was wearing (Mert the Merciless), the short legroom on the bus was crippling and the smog in Istanbul was miserable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coffee and simit in our room watching traffic up and down the Bosporus as the sun rose."

Basil

Six Mile, SC

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Of all RS tours I have taken this was the most thorough introduction to the society visited. Education was the predominant theme for me. Mert answered all questions on the most controversial subjects and brought in Lale, friends, shopkeepers, students to join our conversations. Interviewing the ladies who served us lunch and the imam were highlights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot-air balloon flight over Cappadocia"

Douglas

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 3rd tour with Rick Steve's, and it was fantastic. There were some challenges with our tour-mates (age, mobility, independence, grumpiness) which I suspect necessitated some modifications to the planned agenda but Mert handled it very well and made sure those of us who were of the target demographic got the most out of our time in Turkey. Mert and Jenn did a great job of keeping everyone organized and on-track despite some obvious challenges. Well done to both of them!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"From a pure tourist perspective Cappadocia was fantastic, as an amateur historian and photographer Ephesus and Pamukkale were the most fascinating and informative. Many of my tour-mates didn't appreciate some of the cultural activities and bowed out of the mosque visit, Turkish bath, barber visit but I suspect we were collectively better off without them at those venues anyway."

Lynn

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall we had a great experience. I feel that I now have an appreciation of modern Turkey and its historical background. I really enjoyed the mix of folks on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing and walking through the many greco/roman ruins with Mert expaining their comtribution to modern turkey. The caravanasi, caravan motel, was a very very interesting glimpse into real life of the silk road travelers."

Joe

Capitola, CA

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Experiences were well chosen. Pace was pretty good. There was a lot of bus time, which is too bad but unavoidable in order to get to the sites, and Mert was very good at filling big chunks of that time. One big reason for doing the tour instead of independent travel was lack of familiarity with what to expect (unlike Western Europe, for example). Mert explained things well, and I felt comfortable doing things on my own during free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing the fairy chimneys from the ground and from the balloon"

Tracey

Capitola, CA

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Touring Turkey was an eye- and mind-opening experience. Many people I spoke to before the tour felt it was a dangerous place to go. My reply was that Rick Steves wouldn't do a tour if he felt it was dangerous. Turkey is a modern country with amazing culture, geography, history, and many sites of archeological significance. This tour was a great overview into a complex country. Mert was an expert tour guide. The tour is too heavy on bus time and distance covered - that could be improved.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say, the balloon flight over Cappadocia was pretty fabulous. We'd never been in a balloon, and the geology of the region is so unusual, and the lighting was so perfect. What an experience!~ Second was the Turkish bath, of which I had two. This was a unique cultural experience and I am so glad I did it twice (once in Istanbul, and once in Antalya). The two baths were different in a couple of ways I found interesting."

Helen

Chapman, ACT

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed seeing so many of the famous landmarks in the different cities, towns and villages of Turkey, experienced many events and tasted many of the fine foods of the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite wow moment was the balloon ride over Cappadocia - it was what I went to Turkey for and I wasn't disappointed."

Jill

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous. Having looked at other tours the RS itinerary met our objectives the best. Really liked the use of public transportation to feel part of a city. Also liked how much walking was involved. I like to walk to get the feel of a place. Mert was a great for guide with an encyclopedic knowledge of history past and current political forces and religion. He was good at working with folks and have a diverse group of participants coalesce. The RS buddy system was great. Accomadations adequate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As an Art History major my main objective was to see Hagia Sophia which did not disappoint. It as I get further away from the trip experience it was the Turkish bath that was the best."

Wendy

Bothell, WA

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a strenuous tour, with the amount of air time it takes to get to Turkey from the west coast, a lot of bus time necessary to travel the country, and a big time change to overcome. It was worth every minute of it. The historical sites were fantastic, the countryside was vast and beautiful, cities are modern and busy, and the people were very nice. The archeological museums were stellar. It was good to get out of a comfort zone and change preconceived notions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the shipping traffic from our Istanbul Hotel window, the modern day silk road."

Peter

Chapman, ACT

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We approached going to Turkey with some trepidation due to impressions gained from articles in the western media. Being there, meeting the people, and learning so much about Turkey, the challenges it faces, its history, politics, religion, etc from Mert gave us a totally different view of Turkey. Our visit was great on many levels: our tour guide, the sights, the people, the culture, the food, and the experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In a word 'Cappadocia'! The land forms and our hot air balloon ride there."

Alison

Portland, OR

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was amazing, like nothing I have ever experienced. I had never been in an Islamic country. I found the calls to prayer eerie but a very cool reminder that we were in a different culture. It was great to have a meal with someone who lives in Turkey and have her answer questions about her life and routine, and to have her have the same curiosity about us. There were many hours spent on the bus but it allowed use to see so much of the country. Mert kept us entertained during those hours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the blessing of the farmer's market. since we had been told ahead of time how to act, the people around us seemed to appreciate our consideration. I was very surprised to be told by so many people that they were honored by our coming to visit their country. they wanted their pictures taken with us and kept saying "I love you". Meeting with the Imam in the mosque was interesting, I was surprised at his openmindedness about other religions."

Joshua

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I had a great time in Turkey, and am glad I took the tour. I think the destinations were well thought out, for the most part. Having the bus was a big plus, and the frequent stops made time fly. I also appreciated our guide's knowledge of Turkey in general, as well as of the places we visited. The biggest negatives were the VERY brief time we had at major sights, the lack of free time to explore the cities and towns, and having to move around in a large group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air ballooning in Cappadocia was the most exciting and unusual part of the tour for me - a "wow" moment, indeed."

Tracy

Medford, OR

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. Mert is an exceptional guide and I left Turkey with a greater understanding of the culture, history and life in Turkey. The one aspect of the tour I did not like was the very long hours on the bus between destinations but since Turkey is a very large country and a lot of ground to cover, I have no suggestions on how to modify the tour to limit the long travel days and one night stays. I though Mert did an excellent job in making the bus time enjoyable and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was on the free time in Antalya finding a volunteer vet program examining the cats and cleaning out the cat houses. I joined the group for a couple hours of community service. Despite my lack of the language, every person involved in the program made me feel welcomed. The second major wow moment was the balloon ride at dawn in Cappadocia."

Barbara

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 04/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very jam-packed with many wonderful and interesting sites and cities. I learned a lot about Turkey and it's people that I had not even thought of before. Turkey wasn't on the top of my list of places to visit, but I'm so glad I went! The Turkish people were so nice and friendly and I felt very safe and comfortable there. I would love to go back, and I would recommend this tour to everyone. Especially if you have Mert as your guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments, but I would have to say the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, of course! And when I first walked into the theater at Aspendos. It was huge!! I also was in awe at Ephesus and all the other biblical sites in Turkey. Turkey has so much to offer!"

Herbert

Needham, MA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed Turkey and traveling with Taylan and Alexis. Great group to travel with.The cities and planned touring was fascinating. Turkey has so much to offer. The cultural diversity, learning about Islam customs and beliefs and meeting local people and an Imam, added greatly to our world view.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Herb: Fairy chimneys and cavelike monasteries and cliff dwellings. Bonnie: Thinking about the early Christians hiding underground in large communities and never being discovered. Their many tunnels, air shafts, sleeping and cooking areas were amazing and so clever."

Elyse

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was an amazing tour! I loved everything but the long drives.I expect 2 maybe 3 days of long drives. This tour had 5, 6 hour bus rides and 1, 5 hour bus ride. Otherwise it was wonderful. Taylon took great care of us. He was a perfect tour director.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus"

Scott

Lakemont, GA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour, always helpful guide. Explored interesting places. I guess we could have spent more time in Istanbul.Lots of different activites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The home visit for lunch in Cappadocia with Mrs Fahriye. We all sat around in her living room while she fed us a home made Turkish meal. However, there were lots of others that made it hard to choose just one !"

Anne

Lakemont, GA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were really looking forward to touring Turkey and we weren't disappointed. Other than the snow that kept us from our hot air balloon ride, things went really well. The variety of experiences was good and well thought out. Our guide was knowledgeable, caring and open to any questions. The group was friendly and easy going.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We experienced many wonderful moments but the visit with the imam and our visit to the Spice Market were some of the most memorable. These were certainly two very different kinds of experiences, but both were highlights. Cappadocia's landscape was different from anything I've ever seen and the hotel there was very interesting. Our morning tour of Aphrodisias stands our since we were there early in the day and it wasn't crowded at all. Ephesus was amazing but very crowded."

Lorraine

Dana Point, CA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found this tour fascinating, educational, well balanced, and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two places I have dreamed about visiting, and both far exceeded my expectations (which were very high): Entering Hagia Sofia. I have seen so many photos and knew a bit about it's history, but the beauty, size, and power of the place needs to be experienced in person. It (she?) lifts your eyes and spirit. Experiencing snow in Cappadocia, outlining the incredible rock formations in white dust, and chilling the stone churches."

Duke

Dana Point, CA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I am an independent traveler/photographer, and I like to do things at my own fast pace. So please keep this in mind when reading my evaluation. Good pace with great locations to visit (except Ankara), with a fantastic guide (Taylan).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hagia Sofia."

Chris

Portland, OR

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aphrodesius."

Richard

Needham, MA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found Turkey to be even more interesting than I expected and worth every bit of the time and expense. The history and landscape were awesome. The organization of the tour, with a blend of orientation and free time, was perfect. In addition to the value of the tour, I also greatly appreciated the interaction with all of the other members of the tour, both staff and tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to choose between the architecture of old Istanbul, the natural beauty and unusual characteristics of Cappadocia, the quantity and variety of sculpture in the museums and at historical sites, the overwhelming extent of history dating back to the bronze age and the amazing stone work in the cities of Aphrodisias and Efes. If I must narrow the scope, I will go with the exotic landscapes of Cappadocia and photos of villagers of the 1960's living in the ruins of Aphrodisias."

Leslie

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Turkey is a wonderful destination with an amazing and interesting history. Our tour guide, Taylan, a Turkish national, was extraordinarily versed in both the history and geography of his country, and was eager for us to know what he knew. We visited many unusual places and saw many unusual things like Whirling Dervishes, a mosque with an Imam who explained Islam in Turkey, huge Farmer's Markets, Bazaars, Ancient Ruins, an Ottoman Empire Palace, just to name a few.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ancient Ephesus was the most beautiful and amazing city I have ever seen."

George

Greensboro, GA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Kudos to both Taylan and Alexis for smooth logistics throughout the trip. Taylan's historical knowledge is impressive, but his family's personal involvement in Turkish politics enabled him to give us a running commentary on change in Turkey (good and bad) and the local government elections that occurred during the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A recurring "wow": visiting numerous, spectacular archaeological sites that ranged over 2,000 years (or more) of human history. Aphrodisias (a little-visited site) and Ephesus were highlights, particularly the beautifully excavated hillside homes of the latter."

Christine

San Diego, CA

Tour: 03/25/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Turkey was very interesting because of the variety of historical eras represented there. We learned a great deal about the government, Constitution, and cultural features of this country through our knowledgeable guide. It is unfortunate that the tour includes so much time on bus trips. However, I have no idea how to include all the wonderful places we visited without all this traveling by bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into Agia Sophia ."

Nadine

Covington, WA

Tour: 12/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was FANTASTIC! Turkey is so much more than I ever imagined. From the PEOPLE to the food to the culture to the history to the geography: I really had no idea what I was missing, and if I were to listen to what the media and certain politicians feed us, I honestly would have been too afraid to go find out. Mert and Lale did an amazing job sharing their country with us. I can't wait to go back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment had to be the people of Turkey. Their hospitality, friendliness and warmth was incomparable. I loved how there was such a willingness BY EVERYONE to stop and talk and have a cup of tea. In terms of tour events, I would say that the balloon ride over Cappadocia was something I will never forget. Because we went up right after it had snowed, we had incredible views. It really was magical."

Pål Bjarne

Oslo, 03

Tour: 12/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour and Outstanding guide! It's a busy itinerary from what I am used to from Scandinavia, but the bus rides were made interesting thanks to Mert. I really enjoyed this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot balloon ride. The food! Mert! Cappadocia estate! All my awesome colleagues! The scenery, the local people! There are so many."

Jorge

Madrid, MD

Tour: 12/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It did cover all my expectations. History, political situation, life style, influence in world culture... great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon and Pamukale."

Filippos

Athens, I

Tour: 12/03/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A very good opportunity to see different parts of such a big country like Turkey. I personally think that 13 days are not enough for this itinerary exactly because Turkey is so vast as a country. As a result there was little to no free time in most days. Of course that does not mean that I didn't like the places we visited, it's just that I would personally like to have more free time to explore on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favourite wow moments were: the hot air balloon activity, the Gorem open air museum and the underground city visit in Cappadocia. In general, I found the area of Cappadocia the most interesting stop of the trip and I am definitely planning to go back and explore more."

Elizabeth

Dunfermline, FIF

Tour: 12/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had heard from others how much they enjoyed this tour but this still didn't prepare me for what an amazing experience it would be. A beautiful diverse country with a range of eye-opening experiences in the company of a first class guide and a wonderful group of companions. It doesn't get any better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning over Cappodoccia was an unforgettable experience made all the more exciting by the suspense of not knowing whether the balloons would get the green light to fly. Thankfully we did! A big thank you to Mert and Lale for all the work they did behind the scenes to enable this to happen."

Yorick

Cockermouth, CMA

Tour: 12/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An amazing travel experience made all the more so by being on the road with an amazing group of fellow guides. Trip filled a large missing jigsaw piece of my Euro travel knowledge + history, enabling me to span the 'bridge' over to Iran from my tour there last year with Mert. A general (shared) comment might be the demand for more free-time as we're more used to other style of itineraries and are very experienced solo travellers / guides. In no way did it detract from the overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Might seem strange to say, but the hotel in Cappadocia. One of nicest ever stayed at. The attention to detail, way was built into the hill, the style and feel as well as nearby canyons And the cats! Recommended to many of my friends to visit. Cap balloon ride. Wanted to do for my 50th. Doing with such an amazing bunch of guides on a snowy day was amazing. Swim at thermal baths by Pamukkale with fellow travellers and then running up the hill to view the arena. Group Shave / Turk Baths!!"

Kathleen

Boulder, CO

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We don't take tours a lot because we like traveling by ourselves. I appreciate the freedom the RS tours gives to do our own thing when we wanted. It was also nice having a break from the group to eat by ourselves or join a few others without having to socialize with everyone all the time. We enjoyed our group leader and the others on the tour and liked having time at the sights to see them at our pace, which is often faster then a group goes.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really like Cappadoccia. The country is unique and history was extraordinary"

Melody

Grand Terrace, CA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved this trip through Turkey. After all the negativity we hear in the USA about Turkey, it was so satisfying to experience the reality and truth of the matter by traveling around the country and meeting the lovely people and seeing the interesting and unique and historic places throughout the country. I felt totally safe and comfortable throughout the trip. Fact check... the USA is a far more dangerous place to live in than Turkey seems to be!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Lale Aran taking time to visit with the group for a couple of hours as we departed Istanbul. She is such a well-spoken and passionate advocate for her country. Visiting with her was so informative, inspiring, and comforting. 2. I was touched and amazed at how many times I was invited to sit down with total strangers to share a meal or a cup of tea, or was invited into their home as I strolled by. This, usually after invading their privacy by asking permission to take their photograph."

Ruth

Roswell, GA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

RS books have been my primary source for 35+ yrs of extensive travel in Europe (and living there 5 yrs) and I have never done any kind of group tour before this, but Turkey seemed beyond what I could cover on my own. I think I will always prefer the freedom, pace, and joyful planning of independent travel, but I'm glad I took this trip. I could never have covered as much of Turkey and replicated some of the special experiences. Having Taylan as a guide made this a valuable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon flight, of course, but I also really liked the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, talking with friendly locals in the farmers' markets, lunch at Fahriya's home, and our beautiful morning at Aphrodisia with almost no other visitors."

Jevons

Rowland Heights, CA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 1st RS tours, and definitely not my last. I generally prefer independent travel, or joining day trips, but in Turkey, I prefer a tour, and it was well worth it. This tour was significantly better than other tours I've taken to the various places I've been in the world. It was not rushed, and enough time was given for orientation, rest, and free time on your own to explore. I wouldn't have gotten to all the places I went to, If I tried to do this on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW Moment was being able to ride the hot air balloon in Cappadocia. The scenes were breathtaking from above, and being able to see the fairy chimneys, and other rock formations from above, along with seeing the sunrise, and other balloons, were worth the value, and waking up early."

Judy

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan took very good care of us, his knowledge of Turkey's culture, religion and especially, archeology, was exceptional. My 6th RS tour, this introduced me to an exotic part of the world mostly unknown to me. Taylan helped to illuminate many aspects of Turkish life and its history. Excellent itinerary covering a broad swath of Turkey from its cities, to Cappadocia to Konya to the beaches of the Aegean to Aphrodisias and Ephesus. Tour ran like clockwork. Congenial tour mates!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many Wow moments: in Ankara, Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Cappadocia and the balloon ride, lunch with Fahirya, a gracious woman in her home in the village of Urgup, the Hamam in Antalya, the local markets and interactions with kind, gracious locals. Outstanding ruins at Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias and Ephesus. Again, Taylan's ability to impart information helped us understand what we were seeing. A Wow moment almost every day!"

Patricia

Bridport, VT

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves Tour ( in fact, it was my first tour of any kind) and I could not be more pleased with the overall experience. Wonderful Country, wonderful people, and great food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Where to begin. The Call To Prayer was surreal. The Hot Air Ballon ride was spectacular. The visit to the Mosque was a real eye opener. It is difficult to pick out one moment when the whole tour was one "wow" moment after another."

Debra

Yorkville, IL

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was hesitant beforehand because of political situations, but I felt safe and well cared for throughout the tour. Turkey is under-marketed in US.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had my first hot-air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys (rock formations) of Cappadocia, which was so smooth and landed on the trailer! Such amazing landscape below, watching the sunrise! Plan on the extra expense."

Charles

Yorkville, IL

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was beautiful, amazing and eye-opening! And our guide Taylan Tasbasi was super! Each day was wonderful and he guided us as friends and made us relaxed. I would recommend this trip to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had many WOW! moments and special times that we cherish. The best? Maybe the balloon trip. First balloon ride and we didn't know what to expect. It was beautiful.... smooth and gentle. The views amazing. Our pilot was professional and friendly. Yes, not cheap at $200. but well worth it!"

Lisa

Haverford, PA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I found it extremely enlightening, educational and enjoyable. Yaren was knowledgeable (in depth and breadth), personable and used humor wisely to keep order among 24 independent adults. I enjoyed all my tour companions and while not a fan of "bags on the bus at 7am", I understood the early departures. I knew very little about Turkey prior to arrival and feel much better informed about the country after our 13 day sojourn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving to the Cappadocia region. The landscape is unlike anything I've seen before and to spend three days exploring the area whetted my appetite to return for more."

Suzanne

Omaha, NE

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Really enjoyable tour. I really like the size of the group. The sites visited were excellent. The hotels were comfortable and well located. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and very helpful as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick just one....The balloon ride in Cappadocia was spectacular! The underground city was amazing and I enjoyed the hamam immensely in spite of my initial reservations."

Kathleen

Urbana, IL

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I decided to travel to Turkey as I had visited much of Europe and I thought Turkey would be a different travel experience and I was not disappointed. I learned so much about the country, its role in world history, how it became a secular nation, and the struggles it has today. The people were friendly, they welcomed us with open arms, encouraged us to ask questions, and were eager to share their beautiful country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had not planned on going on the hot air balloon ride as heights are not my thing. I was told by my friends that I had to go and I am so glad that I did. The experience was awesome, the landscape was beautiful from the sky, our guide was great, and the site of 100+ colorful balloons in the air at sunrise was truly spectacular. The champagne after the ride wasn't bad either."

Bernice

Cambridge, MA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour, but not my last. Turkey gets a lot of the credit. What a fascinating country. But it wouldn't have been nearly as fascinating without our wonderful guide, Yaren. Because of her, I feel that we didn't just see many fascinating places in Turkey, but experienced them. I returned with a much better understanding of the country and the people than I would have guessed. I especially appreciate the opportunities we had to interact with Turks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cappadocia balloon ride, to be sure. But there were others: Touring Aphrodisias and Ephesus with such a knowledgable guide, hanging out in the Hagia Sophia, taking the Metro in Istanbul, something I suspect is not part of most guided tours. The Turkish bath definitely. Lunch at Fahriye's House. The carpet coop. The delicious food was an everyday wow!"

William

West Kelowna, BC

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well organized, comprehensive tour of Turkey with a first class tour guide. Yaren was exceptionally well informed about Turkish history, customs, political system, and all the archeological sites we visited. She kept us all organized and on schedule and did with a soft hand and with humour. Sometimes I felt that a little bit too much time was allocated to some of the excursions and I could have used a little more down time, but that probably something to do with a bout of bronchitis I suffered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow" moments during the tour. Istanbul in general and the boat tour of the Bosphorus, walking in the footsteps of: Constantine and other Roman Emperors at Hagia Sophia; Anthony and Cleopatra and the apostle Paul at Ephesus; and many other ancient Romans at Aphrodisia. The excavated and restored archeological sites were exceptional. Meeting and interacting with the warm and friendly Turkish people at markets and restaurants was special too. Lunch in a Turkish lady's home was great."

Steven

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A very memorable experience overall. The itinerary provided a solid platform from which to witness, admire, and learn first hand about Turkey's stunning landscapes, fascinating archeological sites, place in the history of civilization, and the role of Islam. Plus there was opportunity to meet some of Turkey's very interesting and largely very friendly people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Let's face it, even with all the great Turkish historic and cultural sites, the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia still provided the single most "wow" moment of the tour."

Tina

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the guide and people on this tour. Good variety, great country. Yaren worked hard to provide us with great information and lots of extras.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride Swimming in Mediterranean on private boat tour organized by Yaren Lunch in local home Capadoccia Local Turkish bath-didn't necessarily like but glad I went All the political/history info No apparent homeless people or beggars-what's wrong in US? Grand bazaar-spice market-local market hullabaloo And of course all the historic buildings/sites"

David

Edmond, OK

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding trip with this observation. Because of the distance traveled necessary to see all of the sites, it would be nice to add a day or, preferably, two to the trip to allow for more "free time" (i.e., down time).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At least at this point in time, the Turkish people truly support a secular government. This fact was emphasized to the tour group by our outstanding tour guide, Yaren. I felt the warmth and the sincerity of the Turkish people we met along the way, never feeling other than a welcomed guest in this Muslim country."

Mark

Omaha, NE

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Being my first Rick Steve's tour i was not sure what to expect, but i was very happy with the whole experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "optional excursions" the balloon ride, the boat ride and swimming in the sea, and the Turkish bath. To me those experiences took the tour to another level."

Tony

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first RS tour was the Best of Turkey tour in 2003 with Lale. This was just before the U.S. invaded Iraq and half of the folks scheduled to take the tour canceled. It was a terrific tour and we became avid Turkey & RS fans. We love the Turkish people and the country is a treat. There have been changes in the last 15 years, some for the better some not but the people are the same. I was thrilled to see how Turkish families continue to dote on their children. And Yaren is terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment happened to a fellow RS tour member. He was visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and happened to see an imam enter his office. The tour member knocked on the door, the imam opened it and the tourist asked if he could talk with him about what he could tell Americans and why they should not be so prejudiced toward Muslims and their religion. They talked for about an hour, the imam gave him an English language version of the Koran. This to me is why travel is so important."

Ernest

Las Cruces, NM

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It really is the crossroads of civilization. The history and the archeaelogy is incredible. I found the Turkish people to be extremely hospitable. Loved their tea! Yaren our tour guide is exceptional. She advised ahead what was coming up, described and oriented us, giving us tips ahead. We could not have asked for better directions. In addition, she's a wealth of information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was having lunch with a 91 year old woman in her home, with everyone sitting on cushions, the women in headscarves, and passing the lunch around to each other. Unforgettable!"

Paula

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour to Turkey, 15 years apart! We loved the trip as much the second time around. Lale was our guide in 2003 and there were only 12 of us because the US had just invaded Iraq. Yaren, our guide this time was great. Like Lale, both love their country and know its history and culture and pass it on to us with love and enthusiasm. We missed the Chora church this time but we loved our time in Istanbul, so many changes! Have to go back but we think we could do it with the book

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wows! One that to another traveler. Stoney knocked on the Iman's door in the Blue Mosque. The Iman welcomed him in for a talk about Islam, some tea and he gave Stoney a copy of the Koran in English! This is what travel is all about. Second we are amazed at all the changes in Istanbul, in Konya and in Ankara. We know it has been 15 years but the construction of new buildings and roads and more complete excavations at the historic sites with better English explanations just blew us away."

Anita

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wow, Turkey is big and a country of contrasts. We really did have a merry band of travelers to experience it with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia was the peak experience."

James

Renton, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour to gain an increased understanding of another culture and the Muslim Faith. I felt it provided that and much more, with a dining experience in a Muslim home,an opportunity to ask questions of a Muslim imam,and a considerable diversity of Turkish experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia was spectacular!! A very special thanks to Lale that we got to do the balloon ride as it was canceled the first day and she had to make an extra effort to get us in on the busy schedule 2 days later. Also, our whole stay in Cappadocia was really special with the Open-air Museum of cave like churches and monasteries of Goreme. Lale's hotel was also the most special one on the tour."

Linda

Renton, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour. My goal was to learn more about the Turkish culture, history and people. The tour was a valuable educational experience for me. An unexpected bonus for me was meeting the Turkish people. They were kind, helpful and outgoing. At the end of our tour, we had to take the metro to our airport hotel. Taking the metro was made possible by a variety of people, many who spoke no English but through smiles and gestures, and the kindness of people, we were reached our hotel

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon was my "wow" moment. Thanks to Rick Steve's Turkish partner, Lale was able to use her considerable powers of persuasion to facilitate this activity. Without her intervention, the trip would not have happened. Another important time was the meeting with the Imim. He provided information to assist with understanding the Muslim faith as it is practiced in Turkey today. Each day brought new and exciting experiences."

Robert

Bonners Ferry, ID

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an excellent tour. Taylan, our guide, was fantastic, and we were blessed with 26 other interesting, enjoyable folks on our tour. The 13 days went by super fast. Our last stop was Kusadasi, and when the tour was over I could have turned around and done the tour all over again. Turkey is a fascinating place to travel - great landscapes, food, prices, people, culture, and history that doesn't stop. Highly recommend it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching balloons at sunrise over Cappadocia, knowing that a bunch of our tour group friends were on one."

Carl

Burien, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Truly a fabulous experience. Turkey is an extremely welcoming and safe travel destination. Our native born guide was a complete joy to travel with. The hotels were quite variable in size and amenities but were always comfortable with very attentive staff. Our large bus could have seated 50 or more and allowed our group of 28 to spread out and relax along the way. Our breakfasts and meals out as a group were a great introduction to Turkish cuisine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning at sunrise over the amazing rock formations in central Turkey. Touring the historic roman city of Ephesus."

Alan

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a learning experience about the Turkish culture and muslim religion. That goal was well met. If you were looking to play on the beach, party, and otherwise be active outdoors, this was not the trip for you. I'm continually amazed at the art, architecture and civilization that ancient civilization achieved. As an engineer I marvel at these great buildings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The activities in and around Mustafapasa were a wow moment. From the Cappadocia Estate rooms, unbelievable, to the balloon ride and fantastic scenery. The art and work behind the rugs - wow Next I would say the Anatolian Civilizations Museum."

Nancy

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Turkey in 13 days was an amazing tour. The guide was one of the best I've experienced during my extensive travels ... very knowledgeable on all aspects of anthropology, natural history, religion, culture and history involving this fascinating country. He was engaging, respectful and had a great sense of humor. This no doubt contributed to our cohesive, fun loving group of traveling companions!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All aspects of Cappadocia ... the fairy chimney formations, ancient churches, monestaries, underground city and outstanding accommodations, capped off with a breath taking balloon ride (optional and not always available due to weather.)"

Diana

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great trip: people, guide, adventures, food, free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia - truly amazing. Have wanted to visit for years. It has such an interesting and long history.Staying in Lale's Cappadocia Estates was very special. Loved the tine village of Mustafapasa."

Jodee

Tiburon, CA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan our guide made the experience! Without him, we would never have learned what we did about the country and the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many - underground caves Cappadocia and the Haren in Topkapi Palace stand out."

Joanne

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour of Turkey was fascinating, mind-expanding and extremely interesting. Our tour guide, Taylan Tasbasi, was very knowledgeable and caring. We had a variety of experiences and certainly many were "foreign" to our normal Western ways of doing and thinking and many took us out of our comfort zones.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment without a doubt was the balloon flight over Cappadocia! What an experience and "many thanks" to Taylan and Lale Surmen for making it happen!!! I would have hated to miss it!! There will never be an experience like it."

Kathleen

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 10/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip, great group and fabulous guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia and the beach side cities."

Sylvette

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was definitely a "best of Turkey" experience. It covered the must-see places for a first-time visitor. It was thoughtfully designed; covering the usual tourist experiences but also including unique experiences such as lunch with a lovely local lady in Capadoccia and a chat with an imam in Konya. Our guide, Mine, was so enthusiastic and energetic and was just a great ambassador for her country. Just a terrific and knowledgeable guide who went above and beyond what is expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow moments". Those were: Istanbul (amazing city); Capadoccia balloon ride (awe-inducing); Turkish bath (fun and so relaxing); Pamukkale (other-wordly); our guide Mine (lovely person and hard-working guide)."

Brenda

South Jordan, UT

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We opted for the Rick Steve's tour mostly for safety concerns. What a great surprise that it was much more than that. Having a knowledgeable tour guide in Mine; leaving the driving to our amazing bus driver, Faruk; and seeing more of the country and meeting the local people than we could ever have done on our own! Plus all the new friends we never expected to meet who toured with us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I figured my wow moment would be the hot air balloon ride at Cappadocia--it was amazing; but I would have to add a three way tie--keeping up with our 84 year old guide in the tunnels of the underground city, taking a private boat for a swim in the warm water of the Mediterranean Sea and especially the Turkish bath in which most of the ladies in our tour sported green facials as we all tried belly dancing to music with only our towels wrapped around us before getting our oil massages!"

Krista

Layton, UT

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first Rick Steves tour. In the past, we have taken RS travel books with us and made all our own arrangements. I was a little worried about giving up some of that control of being able to wake up each morning and deciding what we wanted to do that day. The tour was so well planned, that we never wished we were doing something else. It was wonderful to have someone taking care of all the details for us and just relaxing and enjoying the scenery, history, and people of Turkey!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, but my favorite was at the Turkish bath wrapped in towels with mud masks on our faces learning how to belly dance from several Turkish women who spontaneously joined in the fun. We made instant friends while laughing and dancing. Others include the balloon ride, all of Ephesus, underground city, and of course Istanbul."

Lea

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was not only my first Rick Steves tour, but my first time ever on a guided tour. The experience was better than I imagined. Communication and staff are wonderful. I enjoyed the sites we visited, the food, the culture... everything was wonderful! I fell in love with Turkey and can't wait to go back!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the Turkish bath! It was not just enjoyable for the relaxing experience, but it was such a nice moment for the women on the trip to spend time in a little more intimate setting and just have some great fun together."

David

Junction City, OR

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide brought Turkey to life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing all the local dogs and cats during the day and evening hours taken care of by locals and tourists a like. Plus enjoying the company of our fello travelers."

Jean

Junction City, OR

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding guide, friendly locals, good food, interesting sites, and very active days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Turkey was nothing like we'd been warned about. The people are friendly and we always felt safe."

Yiqing

North Wales, PA

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I followed Rick Steves Travel by reading his books and watching his videos for many years. This is the first time i joined a group and I picked RS one. It turned out to be above and beyond my expectation! So this tour became the first of many in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stunning historic ruins"

Linda

Applegate, CA

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WOW!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick just one "Wow" moment. The Hot Air balloon ride was epic but I think my favorite was belly dancing at the Turkish bath with all the other ladies from our tour and some of the local ladies too."

Andrew

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip. Well organized. I learned a lot about Turkish, Ottoman, and Byzantine culture and history while seeing all of the sites. And I enjoyed every day. I could not have asked for a better experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching my fellow travel mates in the Turkish baths. Two of them had no idea what to expect and their expressions as they were taken through the scrubbing and the bathing processes were priceless!"

Paul

Edina, MN

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I went in not knowing anything about Turkey and loved almost all of it. Yaren our tour guide was amazing. She had so much knowledge and gave us a great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment was the old Roman ruins. I did not remember that the Roman empire would have stretched that far."

Tera

Sonoita, AZ

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I came to Turkey out of curiosity about a country I had heard mentioned by my German ancestors. In spite of many travels around the globe, this Rick Steve's adventure opened new and unexpected horizons for me. I returned home with a much broader picture of a very special country, and it's warm and caring people. I was amazed at the great variety of fascinating places and interesting sites we were introduced to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing the exhibits in the Anatolian Archaeological Museum in Ankara. The artifacts and remnants of cultures, displayed in chronological order, dating back thousands of years."

Mary

Nashville, TN

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip removed many misconceptions that most Americans, myself included, probably have about Turkey. I found Turkey to be a beautiful country of contrasts not only geographically but with its people; just as one would in any country. The history in Turkey - more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than in Greece or Italy - is remarkable! Turkey is also a crossroads between Asia and Europe and has so many cultures and religions intertwined. Truly fascinating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments: Of course, the balloon ride in Cappadocia was "epic". I have been on two balloon rides in Southern California but this was far superior with over 100 balloons surrounding us along with the scenery at sunrise. We were so fortunate that the weather was working for us. The second was again not surprising and was Ephesus. It's amazing how much is there albeit so little has actually (15%?) been excavated."

Nydia

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group was friendly and Yarin our tour guide was very knowledgeable about history and archaeological sites. She explained with patience all of our questions. I was very curious about the culture, customs and culinary aspects of Turkey so she went out and beyond to make my experience one of a life time. My husband and I want to returned to Turkey some day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul was beautiful. When I listened to the chanting calling for prayer right in the middle of the plaza, between the Blue mosque and the Hagia Sofia, felt overwhelmed with excitement. It was a dream come true. The colors of the sky, the water fountains, the vendors on the street and the Whirling Dervishes gave me unforgettable memories."

Constance

Chehalis, WA

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the Turkey tour from beginning to end. Our tour guide was caring, personable, and very knowledgeable. We were lucky to have her as our guide. The itinerary was a perfect mix of culture, religious, historic, and geographic sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Patricia

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best of Turkey was an incredible tour of the culture, people, food, and ancient and modern history of a complex and colorful country. We have never taken a group tour before, but we enjoyed the company of adventurous and curious travelers, and "bit the bullet" regarding the frequent hours-long bus rides required to visit so many interesting places. Our guide was superb and contributed immeasurably to our enjoyment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hagia Sophia, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, underground city of Kaymakli, Aphrodisias, terrace houses of Ephesus, Mediterranean Sea and mountains at Antalya, eating gozleme and shepherd's salad, hotel in Mustafapasa. That's eight -- ha, ha."

Anne

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were repeating the Turkish Tour that we first took 9 years ago. We wanted to see and note any obvious changes in Turkey that might be apparent to us as tourist. Actually, we were rather surprised at how nice Turkey continues to be including the huge amount of building going on and the relaxed and very safe feeling. This my 3rd trip to Turkey first having visited 15 years ago. Will comment on the tour more below. Would really like to go on a tour of eastern Turkey if that becomes possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Absolutely, both times we took the tour, we were most wowed by the balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Gene

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time. It was well organized, extremely interesting, thought provoking and above all, fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments. The introduction into Turkish culture and history and all that includes were inclusive of many wow moments."

Joy

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey has been on our "list" for a long time, and we finally got there. This trip exceeded my expectations. The people are very friendly, the landscape is so varied, the history is fascinating, and our guide, Yaren, was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No question, the "wow" moment was the whole "hot-air balloon" experience. This was optional, of course, but I'm so glad we did it. From the 4:30 am pick-up (ugh) I never expected such a grand breakfast, the beauty of seeing the balloons inflate, the ride itself, and the celebration afterwards. Not to be missed!"

Evan

Salem, MA

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good experience. Learned much about the real Turkey and not just what you see or hear in Western media. Nice people, phenomenal history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus was amazing and I have to sneak in the balloon trip."

Victoria

Centralia, WA

Tour: 09/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time. I am a history buff and I thought our tour guide, Yaren, did a fabulous job. We saw a diverse section of the country and we had enough time to wander the streets of the various cities and archeological sites on our own. I appreciated the fact that each minute wasn't packed with touring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus at 8 in the morning without any other tourists there, Stacey playing Pavarotti (singing Nessun Dorma) on her phone in the Ephesus theater, and the balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Terry

Moneta, VA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and it was Super! Ever though I had an Army assignment in Turkey many years ago and had been able to travel around the country and see many sites, I saw many other sites on this tour that I had not seen before and enjoyed them all! Taylan was an excellent guide and exceptionally knowledge of every place we went. He gets an A+++ The bus was very comfortable and the driver was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have parachuted from planes before but had never been up in a hot air balloon, so the balloon ride was my favorite "wow" event. Both the silence and the sun rise were super as were the views from the basket. With 100 balloons in the sky it was very impressive to see them over Cappadocia and its strange landscape."

Kathy

Indianola, IA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first multi day tour and my first Rick Steves tour. I've loved Rick's travel philosophy since the 90s and WILL tour again. Before the tour, I was unsure about Turkey and was I ever wrong! Turkey is a fabulous, safe country with a huge variety of things to see with beaches, mountains, vibrant cities, villages and ancient sites. I loved getting to know the fellow adventurers on my tour and enjoyed the camaraderie of a travel group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia--the hotel, the village, the balloon ride, the surprising ancient Christian frescoes within the caves. Our Taurus mountain cave adventure during a lunch stop--rickety stairs, darkness, following our "scout leader", an amazing cavern at the end--an aria and magic formations on the walls."

Anne

Chagrin Falls, OH

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After taking many previous tours, this, the Rick Steves Turkey Tour, is the most memorable and cherished. We learned, we laughed and we experienced a country like none other. Before taking this tour, our friends and family questioned our going to such a "dangerous" place. We hope to correct this misperception as it is a beloved country of many awesome adventures, rich in history, friendly people and great food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 100 hot air ballon ride in Cappadocia was awesome and should not be missed by anyone on this tour. Also, the cave dwellings are like no other. The history of Turkey pales our USA 200 years sense of history. But, the Turkish Bath - what a moment of clean - no-one should let modesty usurp this experience."

Louis

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was even better than I had hoped. I found our tour guide, Taylan extremely knowledgeable about the country, sites and culture and was an excellent leader. Our group ended up being quite an enjoyable collection of people. We got to know each other through the course of the trip and got along together royally. Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arranging an audience with an Iman was a real highlight for me. Since I am not Moslem I came away with a better understanding of what the religion really is and what it is not."

Juanita

Melbourne, FL

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was more than I expected. Not only was it fun, it was entertaining, informative and very educational. Our tour guide was outstanding. He provided us guidance beyond requirements which made the tour more enjoyable. It provided us a chance to interact with the locals in manner I would not have experienced had I not been on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. My favorite was the Balloon Ride. It was a breathtaking experience, one I will always remember."

Cynthia

Concord, NH

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our tour of Turkey! It is such a diverse, beautiful, history-rich country. So much to see I could easily return for another trip. Our guide, Taylan, did an excellent job in giving us background history and current living conditions as well as providing great information on the archeological sites. Great group of travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Floating over the Cappadocia landscape in a hot air balloon was magical! We were also blown away by Ephesus, Aphrodesia and the archeological museums."

Mary Ann

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have traveled extensively, but this is my first tour. Turkey has been on my bucket list since I visited Istanbul 20 years ago. This tour was awesome way to return. I appreciated the reduction in "anxiety" that came with having the logistics(lodgings, transportation)taken care of; the opportunity to visit sites & communities which I might not have visited on my own; the camaraderie of like-minded travelers; and the knowledge and insights of an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was "warned" that this question would be on the survey and had thought about it during the tour. I must say it was the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. It was a magical experience which I don't think I'll ever forget."

Lorraine

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Marvelous Turkey - now I know first hand what a beautiful exotic country and culture this is! Best of all, I've experienced how warm & friendly Turkish people are. From delicious scents at the Spice Market; to a breathtaking Cappadocia Hot Air Ballon ride; to tour member bonding while "exfoliating" skin in a Turkish bath! This trip was a great adventure, a complete contradiction to so many naysayers!! Culture, History, the People, Food, unbelieavle landscape you will not see anywhere else!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was floating in a Hot Air Balloon above the Cappadocia landscape of Fairy Chimneys at sunrise! It was a dream come true. Allowing my heart to feel what my eyes were seeing a 100 balloons floated above such unique landscape still takes my breath-away as I revisit the pictures!"

Karen

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan was a knowledgeable and Flexible guide. He taught our group in many ways. He also has great sense of humor. Turkey is a living museum, with many ancient ruins. The hot air balloon ride was amazing. On a free day, my husband and I visited Perga, a centuries old city. Our group seemed to come together in a healthy way. We had great fun together. Our cohesiveness was obvious when many of us went to a Turkish bath. What an experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride brought great wonder. Our entire group chose to participate in this activity. visiting ruins, often very old ones, was enlightening. The Turkish bath was something that I never thought I would do!"

Joy

Grayson, GA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour. The tour itself was such that we not only saw all the important sites, but got to interact with the people. The guided portions were perfect and there was plenty of time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So may "wow" moments! The first "wow" was the friendliness of the Turkish people. But I think my favorite "wow" was getting to swim in the Mediterranean."

Kathy

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

exciting, illuminating, surprising,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"TNTC :to numerous to count hot air balloon in Cappadocia Hotel in Cappadocia (like a dream!) Ephasus Beach in Ankalya learning about Islam, meeting an Imam, personal exposure to so many muslims, including our guide who did not expound upon his faith, but shared in a quiet, gentle way"

Ann

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I absolutely loved the Turkey Tour! It was our ninth tour with Rick Steves and it is at the top of our list. Our guide, Taylan, was fantastic. He was very knowledgeable of each area we visited and had personal stories that made the trip wonderful! We loved the people! They were friendly and we felt they enjoyed having us visit their country. The tour group really made this experience especially wonderful! We all seemed to sync into a fun and engaging group of 28.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think we had two favorite 'wow' moments! The first would be the Cappadocia balloon ride over the fairy chimneys. The weather was perfect and the sights almost unbelievable. The second 'wow' moment was our visit to the home of the mother and her daughter and having the delicious lunch with them. It was the perfect way to feel of the culture of the Turkish people. Fantastic!"

Howard

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a terrific window into the history of western civilization. There were several highlights including (of course) the Cappadocia balloon ride, and for us to have the day in Antalya to go on our own to see the city of Perga was outstanding. The markets in various cities were very interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment for me was to realize how well developed the infra structure was in the ancient cites of Turkey."

Robert

Lexington, MA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Super tour. Great country. Very educational

Mark

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 09/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan or tour leader was fantastic- Knowledgeable, engaging, fun. Cappadocia was magical and the people of Turkey made the trip memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride in Cappadocia and equally talking with local people on our village tour"

Kay

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 09/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very well organized. It involved some long bus days, but they were broken up with interesting stops and hygiene breaks. However, sometimes the stops seemed more like stops for souvenirs than for sights, especially in Cappadocia where we stopped 3 times to see the landscape in a short amount of time and were overwhelmed with the souvenir stands.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ancient city of Ephesus was truly spectacular!"

Anita

Ellensburg, WA

Tour: 09/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a very interesting surprising tour. My preconceived impression of Turkey was not anything like the actual experience. The country is greener and more agricultural, the people are very friendly , helpful and more westernizedThan I expected. There is a variety of experiences from ancient ruins, balloon rides,and beautiful seaside towns,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the balloon ride over Cappadocia with 149 other balloons at dawn."

Greenfield

Sudbury, MA

Tour: 09/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized - first rate. We particularly liked the fact that there was little down time - despite the inevitably log bus rides, we kept seeing several new things each day. No time to get bored. Commentary by our guide on modern day Turkey was interesting, balanced,and informative. We were well taken care of and we have no criticisms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What do you say when asked which of your children is the favorite? We liked it all."

Nickie

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best of Turkey Tour far exceeded my expectations. Every day was interesting, well-paced, informative. I feel like I had a 2 week crash course in the history of Western civilization.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say I had a "wow" moment. Every day was full of wonderful moments."

Crystal

Portola, CA

Tour: 09/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome! INTENSE! Probably because we covered so much ground but Turkey is a big and ancient country. I'm so glad I visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - that he was so progressive & visionary after centuries of Ottoman rule. And he is still revered today. Side note - I was trying to find meeting place after market visit. I don't know Turkish but asked an old man -Attaturk? - and he pointed me in the right direction for meeting place, statue of Ataturk."

Arlene

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 09/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great. I enjoyed all of the areas we visited. Cappadocia was my favorite. The history and antiquities of the area were unbelievable. I learned so much and got to see and touch things I had only read about in history classes. Istanbul, Ephesus and Cleapatras pool were amazing just to name a few. Loved the currency exchange being in our favor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia was awesome. The first time we scheduled it was cancelled due to higher winds than were allowed by the goverment. Mine worked really hard to reschedule another balloon ride before we left the area. A definate wow moment and so happy we were able to go."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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?"

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"."

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."

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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 the Itinerary section of your online customer account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour in the Documents section of your customer account.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements and transfers 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 require international connections. Some flights may require a connection and overnight stay in Istanbul, 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.