• Blue Mosque in Istanbul
  • Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul
  • turkey-istanbul-grand-bazaar
    Istanbul's Grand Bazaar
  • Ballooning in Cappadocia
  • Mevlâna Rumi Museum in Konya
  • Antalya
  • Pamukkale's Natural Hot Springs
  • turkey-ephesus-library
    Ruins of Ephesus

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Turkey in 13 Days Tour

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

Dates & Prices

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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 21 group sightseeing events • Blue Mosque tour • Chora Church tour • Hagia Sophia church/museum tour • Topkapı Palace and Harem visit • Grand Bazaar • Egyptian Spice Market • Bosphorus cruise and tour • Anatolian Civilizations Museum tour • Atatürk Mausoleum • Göreme Open-Air Museum tour • Cappadocia valley hike (weather permitting) • Kaymaklı underground city tour • Whirling dervish performance • Visit with Imam • Carpet-weaving demonstration • Caravanserai visit • Mevlâna Rumi Museum • Konya city tour • Aphrodisias tour • Pamukkale orientation • Ephesus tour...and more
  • All group transportation from Istanbul to Kuşadası
  • 12 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels and B&Bs
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook, Best of Turkey Sightseeing Guide, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2015
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Turkey

We'll meet at 1 p.m. at our hotel in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district, and then take an orientation walk through Istanbul's historic Golden Horn, including the Galata Bridge and the exotic and fragrant Egyptian Spice Market. Then we will take to the water for a scenic cruise of the Bosphorus waterway and its panorama of grand palaces, colorful neighborhoods and bustling waterfront activity. We'll return to land to get acquainted with one another over dinner at a nearby restaurant. Sleep in Istanbul (2 nights). Boat: 2 hrs. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Old Christian and Islamic Istanbul

Today we'll focus on the era when the city was known as Constantinople, the eastern capital of the Roman Empire. We'll start at the exquisite 400-year-old Blue Mosque and then move to the Hippodrome — the ancient racing course that was the social heart of Constantinople. We'll also visit the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia church/museum — for 1,000 years the grandest domed structure in the Western world. This afternoon we'll be wowed by some of the world's finest Byzantine mosaics at the Chora Church and cap off the day exploring Istanbul's legendary Grand Bazaar. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Istanbul and Ankara

We'll explore Istanbul's more recent past and present today, beginning with the opulently-Ottoman Topkapı Palace and Harem. Then we'll visit the New District, with its Art Nouveau façades, restaurants, and trendy boutiques, all along pedestrian-packed İstiklal Street, where you'll have free time for lunch on your own. Afterward, we'll board our bus for the drive to Ankara, Turkey's bustling modern capital city, where we'll sleep (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: Ankara and Cappadocia

After breakfast we'll tour the world-class Anatolian Civilizations Museum, and marvel at its collection of treasures from Turkey's pre-Roman civilizations. We'll pay our respects at the monumental Anıt Kabir, Atatürk's Mausoleum, where we'll learn about the revered founding father of modern Turkey. After lunch, we'll travel to what feels like another planet — the scenic and historic Cappadocia region — where we'll have dinner together and sleep in the village of Mustafapaşa (3 nights, group may be split between two B&Bs). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 5: Ancient Churches of Göreme

Surrounded by Cappadocia's other-worldly "fairy chimney" rock formations, we'll begin our day with a walking tour of our village of Mustafapaşa, followed by a drive to the nearby Göreme Open-Air Museum where, in Byzantine times, cave-like churches and monasteries were carved in the cliffs. Some astonishing 1,000-year-old frescoes still remain. This afternoon we'll be treated to a home-prepared, Cappadocian-style lunch, and learn about the centuries-old tradition and artistry of Turkish carpet weaving. We'll have dinner together back in Mustafapaşa tonight. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Countryside Charms

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

Day 7: Mosque Visit and Mevlâna's Konya

This morning we'll travel to the village of Güzelyurt and meet with the local mosque's Imam (counterpart to a minister or rabbi), with an opportunity to ask questions about the Muslim faith and the separation of mosque and state in Turkey. After lunch we'll hit the road and, like Silk Road travelers hundreds of years ago, stop to admire the intricate carvings of a medieval caravanserai (unlimited camel parking). Today's destination is conservative Konya, famous as the 13th-century home of Mevlâna Rumi. We'll tour the poetry-filled Mevlâna Museum, also the site of the mystical philosopher's tomb, a Muslim holy place, before setting you free for dinner on your own. Sleep in Konya (1 night). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Konya and Antalya

We'll begin our day with a tour through Konya, including the busy maze of its sprawling bazaar — a time-tripping treasure trove of hardware, household items, clothing, jewelry, religious paraphernalia and cell phone accessories. Then we'll head over the Taurus Mountains and down to the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya, where we'll take an orientation walk and set you free for dinner on your own. Sleep in Antalya (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Seaside Antalya

Antalya is an ideal place to enjoy a "vacation from your vacation." The day is all yours to enjoy the impressive Ancient Greek sculptures in the Antalya Museum, one of Turkey's finest archaeological museums; explore the narrow cobbled streets of Antalya's old town and Roman harbor; or experience a traditional Turkish bath (your guide will help arrange it). No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 10: Wonderland of Pamukkale

This morning we'll take off for the amazing weekly farmers' market in the town of Korkuteli, where you can assemble your own delicious picnic lunch. We'll then drive to the hilltop overlooking Pamukkale, where we'll get oriented to its spectacularly-calcified cliffs and the impressive ruins of Hierapolis, where Ancient Greeks and Romans considered the thermal springs sacred. During your free time you'll even have a chance to take a quick dip in a natural spring pool amid the remains of Roman columns. We'll have dinner together and sleep tonight in the Pamukkale area (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Ancient Aphrodisias and Kuşadası

We'll work our way west toward Turkey's Aegean Coast, where Ancient Greek colonists settled 2,500 years ago. Freed from the "establishment" norms of Athens, these communities thrived as centers of learning, creativity — and wealth. This morning we'll tour the ancient site of Aphrodisias which, under Greek and Roman rule alike, prospered as a center for the arts. After lunch together we'll continue on to the lively harbor city of Kuşadası, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Roman City of Ephesus

Today we'll tour the ancient city of Ephesus. Famous for its spectacular Temple of Artemis — one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — it was one of the wealthiest cities in Ancient Greece. It also played a role in the formation of the early Christian Church, drawing the attention of the Apostle Paul, and possibly even the Virgin Mary. We'll take an extensive walking tour along the still-paved streets and remarkable ruins of Ephesus, including the dramatically-restored façade of its Library of Celsus. This afternoon you'll have free time to visit Mary's House (where the Virgin Mary may have lived), view more ancient artifacts at the excellent Ephesus Museum in nearby Selçuk, or relax back in Kuşadası. Tonight we'll meet for a final dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Serefe! Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. You can hop a ferry to the Greek island of Samos (where you'll find easy plane/boat connections to other islands and Athens), or take the tour bus to nearby Izmir for quick flights to Athens or Istanbul and home. Güle güle!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Turkey in 13 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Travel on a bus without a toilet (rest stops every two hours).

Reviews

Joe

Oak Park, IL

Tour: 11/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip of a lifetime. Still trying to absorb all the information our guide Mert provided us. He really made the trip meaningful. Turkish people were very friendly and accommodating. Food was excellent and the accomodations great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ballooning in Capadocia."

Scott

Fort Wright, KY

Tour: 11/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was lucky. The best tour guide ever in Mert Taner. A group of 12 because some group cancelled. An amazing country to discover. An intelligent, well read, well traveled group of tour companions. I will still look for Rick Steve's travel and will travel, in general. However I don't expect to ever have a trip that will be more memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the dinners and the awesome companionship of intelligent, funny, and interesting dinners and tour guide."

Kayla

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 11/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Except for kayaking in Alaska, this was the best trip I've ever taken. Our guide was beyond amazing both in knowledge and personality. The hotels, food, activities, and our companions were top notch. I left with a deep feeling for the people of Turkey and the country's history. I usually travel alone but felt vulnerable as a lone woman in a Muslim country. I no longer feel that way but I'm glad I took the tour because my depth of knowledge is so much greater.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was so amazing that I'm having trouble naming one thing. Learning about the harem system, the hagia sophia, the woman and her daughter-in-law talking about their lives, the silk extraction at the rug factory and so on. But my favorite moments were when our guide talked about his experiences and those of his family...that gave me goose bumps."

Valerie

Cambria, CA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thought provoking, active, congenial, delicious, exciting, fun and humbling are the words I would use to describe the Turkey tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the crowds paying homage to Ataturk at the Ataturk's Mausoleum just a couple of days after we had visited. The reverence that the Turkish people displayed to their "founding father" was impressive--rich and poor, young and old,..."

Valerie

Lethbridge, AB

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was never thrilled about the idea of taking a tour, having always planned our European vacations myself, but knew that if I ever did, I would want to take one of Rick's tours based on his "Europe Through the Back Door" philosophy. I wasn't disappointed. I learned so much more than I ever would have on my own. I have come home with such a better understanding and appreciation of Turkey, its culture and its people. An excellent experience shared with a wonderful group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How do you pick just one? With our group, you heard the "wow" word a lot making every experience just that much more enjoyable. My most memorable will probably be the balloon ride over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia and our visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum. The terrace homes in Ephesus were unbelievable. I enjoyed imagining what it must have been like to live in those dwellings. When I look back, it is hard to believe how much I saw and experienced in such a short time."

Karen

Lihue, HI

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taylan was an outstanding tour guide, very personable, knowledgeable, humorous. The Blue Mosque, hiking in Cappadoccia, eating home-made lunch in a local woman's home, speaking with an imam in his mosque, Temple of Aphrodisia, Ephesus were some of the beautiful highlights of this fabulous trip. The food and all the hotels except the one in Antalya were very good. In my opinion, I would have liked 1 or 2 more hikes. Overall the sights and pace of the itinerary were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention; see above."

Don

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was an eye opening cultural experience that I would not have attempted on my own. I trusted Rick Steves to give me a good tour, and he did. I now feel comfortable returning to Turkey on my own and diving deeper into some of the things I was introduced to on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole hot air ballooning experience."

Chirasak

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I liked the food in Turkey best of all. Also, the friendly people. Learning more about Islam was important too. Good group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air ballooning was the highlight of the tour."

Kevin

Lehi, UT

Tour: 11/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour. We have been using the travel guidebooks for many years and have enjoyed the information that is provided about tour events, b & b's, restaurants, etc. Taylan's knowledge about Turkey made this trip very enjoyable. Taylan's knowledge combined with his engaging personality made the tour's educational opportunities more interesting. The group had many enjoyable discussions on the bus, inside museum's, and ancient sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia! The balloon ride over the fairy chimneys and the other landscape was terrific. Staying and eating inside a cave was interesting and enjoyable, as well as the sheer elegance of the Cappadocia Estates hotel. The hotel was architecturally pleasing and the interiors and amenities were the best of the entire trip. Combined with the food at the Old Greek House made this the best days of the trip."

Linda

New Boston, NH

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A jam packed experience. I ended up taking around 2500 photos during the trip. The guide was extremely knowledgeable about the archaeology and history involved at the sites, as well as keeping us aware of what was going on in modern day Turkey. It was especially interesting to be there at the time of the election.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment was not actually associated with the tour. It was hearing for the first time the morning call to prayer."

Wes

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In short, my tour experience was excellent. Yaren, our tour leader, was extremely well informed and enthusiastic to share her knowledge with tour members. The itinerary included a very good variety of experiences. Except for the hotel in Antalya, the accommodations exceeded my expectations. The restaurants [INVALID]ed for groups meals were also excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The highlight of the tour was the hot air balloon ride. I had been up in a balloon 30 years ago, but the scenery we viewed on this ride was spectacular. The ballooning company's employees also added to the total entertainment value of this optional activity."

Marianne

Francestown, NH

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Touring Turkey was another one of those "experiences of a lifetime"! It was every bit as good as promised and surpassed any expectations I had. Our tour guide, Yaren was exceptional in every way; professional, kind, considerate, extremely knowledgeable and articulate willing to candidly discuss every aspect of Turkish life, politics, history, art, architecture, family, religion, culture, cuisine! If all the Rick Steve Tours are like this one, sign me up again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day had a "wow" moment. I must have pinched myself a dozen times as a reminder I was really in Turkey on the tour I have watched so many times on public television!! I loved the ballooning over the unbelievable rock formations in Cappedocia, but watching the sun setting on the next to the last day, across the travertine ledges at Hieropolis and hearing one of the last calls to prayer echo up the valley beyond the ruined city right up over the highest hills; that was "WOW"!"

Mary

Teaneck, NJ

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our only organized tour group experience--we are avid travelers, and often use the RS travel books. We hoped the tour would save us research and prep time, make within country transportation easier, and give us access to unique opportunities. We expected a down side; the distraction of others' differing needs, agendas, abilities. Turned out that our highest hopes were realized; and the other tour members enhanced our experience immeasurably. One of the best trips we've ever taken!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wonderful and diverse moments to pick from!! The cave city, the balloon ride, time with the imam, the spice market, impossible to pick one. The lunches "on the road" were surprisingly fun and excellent."

Loren

Idyllwild, CA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was well organized, nice facilities, comfortable bus, above all was our guide. She was super well informed and educated in the acheology, history and life experience that made our whole trip outstanding. Her leadership and control over our group showed her experience with a group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Cappadocia, the scenery the whole experience was a total WOW...loved the balloon adventure"

Sherrie

San Jose, CA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my fifth Rick Steves tour, and it was interesting to see how it was similar and different from others. Our destinations were always interesting, and we were given lots of good information to help us get a lot out of them. I was initially a bit fearful based on what I'd heard in US news reports but was delighted to find out how warm, helpful, and caring the Turkish people are. I fell in love with Turkey and would feel comfortable returning on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not enough room here to describe it. The sounds, sights, lights, aromas of a dinner at an ourdoor cafe after dark; the languages of tourists and warm greetings of the locals. The unbelievably good food. All of this formed a moment I will never forget, during which I sat back and just took in every nuance of the evening. I thought of my friends who think travel is too much of a hassle, and I thought no, no, no, never. This moment is amazing."

Leslie

Mississauga, ON

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was well beyond my expectations. It was a wonderful mix of architecture, history, antiquities, anthropology, very friendly and intriguing culture, and some stunning geography. All this was made so vivid thanks to an outstanding guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In truth there were at least a dozen unexpected moments that really were 'wows' for quite varying reasons such as the geography, the history lessons, and the exposure to the way the real Turks live and worship. But if I have to pick only one thing I would say it was the passion that Yaren expressed for her country and how she shared it with us. It elevated trip from an interesting tour to a life event, and forever changed my perception of Turkey for the better."

Teresa

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Yaren was fantastic. So knowledgeable and passionate about many aspects of Turkey. Couldn't have had a better guide. Sometimes though we felt rushed. Not enough time to explore a market, etc. when dropped off the bus. Not enough time in one particular museum. Yet one day we had too much time at an open farmers' market. So the amount of time given to us could be better planned out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus. Amazing."

Ann

Andover, MA

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first group travel experience - and will not be our last. The tour was comprehensive and well planned, our guide fantastic - smart, funny, knowledgeable. We met a number of lovely people with whom we will stay in touch. The relationships among group members evolved over the trip, adding an extra (and unexpected) dimension to our enjoyment of Turkey. Turkey itself is an extraordinary, complex country. We got a much better feel for it than we would have had we traveled ourselves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really, there wasn't one specific moment I can break out from the others. Every day there was something that amazed me and taught me something; and Yaren's stories and explanations brought Turkey to life. Particularly vivid are the frescoes at Chora in Istanbul and the Dark Church in Goreme, walking the ruins in Aphrodisias, Heiropolis and Ephesus; exploring Antalya; the election. But the whole trip was a "wow" - I keep looking at our photos to keep it alive for me."

Nevina

Mississauga, ON

Tour: 10/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is a fascinating country so rich with history and our guide truly brought that history to life! The places we stayed at were all so different and in my opinion the right places at each stop. Absolutely loved every moment! Would have liked more free time at Hierapolis.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The underground city and the geography of Cappadocia."

Michael

St Charles, MO

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great (and full) tour. Great sightseeing at important historical sites, but the real unique aspect is the frequency and quality of the interactive opportunities. Some are cultural (discussing Islam with the Imam at his mosque, having lunch and talking with an older woman who has lived a "traditional" life in Turkey, the Whirling Dervishes), and others just great fun (ballooning, the boat ride and swimming at Antalya, the thermal springs). Great guide and tour group too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Amazing sites and history in Cappadocia, but the balloon ride was stand-out. I expected Ephesus to be great (and it was), but Aphrodisias was a surprise. I was sitting on the ancient bench that was part of the re-discovery of this site, before Mert started that story. This "hands-on" aspect of Turkey ("The World's Largest Museum") is what makes it a unique place to visit. I couldn't get within 50 yards of Stonehenge.. It's also great to have a tour guide with personality and a perspective."

Michael

Albany, NY

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Lots of fun, educational, it was a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. I loved Istanbul, And Capp."

Carolyn

Mount Shasta, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having not had a chance to read much before the trip and also this being our first Rick Steves trip, I was absolutely delighted by the richness, depth, diversity and pleasure of each day. The Turkish people, culture, history, food and more were all wonderful. Our tour leader was knowledgeable, funny, and terrific with workable, clear group development and management skills. Our tour companions choosing Rick Steves tours, sometimes for the 7th time were friendly and traveled well together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia and the early churches carved into the rock."

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt well cared for, well educated, and exposed to a wide variety of cultural and physical experiences that left me fully satisfied. I loved Mert's cultural and historical lectures. So much to learn about Turkey!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough to say, there were several. However, the balloon ride over Cappadocia, and our meeting with the Imam at the mosque, stands out."

Tish

Cerrillos, NM

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an extraordinary tour. I knew I wanted to go to Turkey but I didn't really know what I was going to experience other than what was on the itinerary - which didn't mean much to me until we got to those places and had them "interpreted" through centuries, civilzations, culture[INVALID]-it was so inspiring and information. Felt like I took an ancient history class and religious history course along with sociology all rolled into one. I am "sold" on Rick Steves' tours now.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say...there are actually four and not necessarily in this order: Balloon ride at sunrise in Cappadocia Meeting at the woman's family house and having lunch and conversation with her Meeting with the Eman at the mosque and having two-way conversations Turkish Bath (optional part to add on to the tour)."

Bruce

Denver, CO

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When I signed up for the 13 Days tour I wondered if that would be too long. I could have spent even more time traveling through Turkey. Our tour guide Mert made this tour the best experience I have had on a guided tour. We covered a lot of ground in the days we had available. The tour was especially educational on all aspects of the country of Turkey, history, politics, religion, archaeologic insights, and how the Turkish people view the United States. Outstanding way to travel!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was interacting with 7 local folks while we were staying at the Greek House in Cappadocia. One evening we sat around a campfire in town and talked with and participated in a pickup music group. We received a lot of insight into the lives of the normal Turkish people. Three of them were students at the local vocational college with good jobs waiting for them upon graduation. I couldn't help wondering why we don't have that opportunity in the United States."

Ken

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found the tour to be very well organized. This was my first visit to Turkey and the itinerary provided a good overall intro to the country. I was surprised at the variety of topography including vast flat landscapes reminiscent of the Midwest and mountains and pine forests similar to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California. The boat cruises on the Bosphorous and during our stay in Antalya were wonderful. I'm glad I opted to try the Turkish bath in Antalya!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia! Though not included as part of the tour package, booking the ride was simple and easy - Mert arranged for a rep from the balloon company to come to the Greek House where we were staying. I'd never ridden in a hot air balloon and in spite of some trepidation I loved it! The option was well worth the additional expense."

Susan

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organized. We were informed pretty well about changes except a couple times at the end when the itinerary events were switched and the farmers market/picnic lunch was eliminated - the printed schedule was not followed and the guide was not clear about the change. Our guide gave very informative talks about the country, history and political situation. We could have spent more time in old Turkey, vs. the modern Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite thing was the farmer's market ; I had time to take some pictures and see older farmers selling and interacting w/their customers; and with different foods. Due to the buddy gift; we actually had enough time. Balloon ride was certainly a highlight; well piloted and photo opportunity. And Turkish Bath was also a nice arranged extra. Carpet School also good."

Margaret

Franklin, TN

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learned, saw, and experienced so much. Turkey was fabulous--a truly incredible place. I highly recommend going--especially now!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia was one jaw-dropping surprise after another. The balloon ride was a real highlight, and we had originally not planned on doing it. So glad we did. Also--Pamukkale's calcified cliffs were amazing."

Linda

Denver, CO

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Turkey is a large country that has slid under my radar. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What I found was a very modern, progressive country. The separation of religion and state with respect for all faiths makes Turkey a key country for Asia, Europe, and the United States. The tour brought me face to face with local everyday people. It brought into perspective the history and importance of this country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment/s were realizing that people are still living in caves. The justaposition of a car ouside a cave home is like having a Star Wars character meet Fred Flintstone. What clever people!! The caves are still viable living quarters and have served generations of families for centuries."

Krishnan

Morgan Hill, CA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our second tour with Rick Steves and it did not disappoint. The tour delivered as promised. The only reason for "very Good" instead of "Outstanding" was the frenetic pace with too little down time. The locations, hotels and our guide were all outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Capadoccia and the visit to the Underground city still stand out in my mind."

Kenneth

Martinez, CA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my fifth tour with RSETBD and it did not disappoint. Turkey is truly a beautiful country. I really enjoyed the small group, and while the distances traveled required long bus rides, they permitted time to get acquainted with other tour members, and for Alp to inform us about the history, culture, religion, and politics of Turkey. It also helped to have stops every couple of hours to not only have a rest stop, but also to visit some of the sites along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments - Ballooning in Cappadocia, Hagia Sophia, swimming in the Mediterranean, witnessing the skills of the weavers - but the favorite was lunch at Fahriye's house."

Mark

Loveland, CO

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour and overall experience was what I expected and received. Only complaint was there never seemed enough time to get through some of the museums/sites. I felt very safe on the tour despite the surrounding turmoil on the borders of Turkey and our guide was very reassuring for us and explained the Ankara bombing and the possible reasons it occurred.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two real wow moments. The Hagia Sofia was amazing and the balloon ride in Cappadocia was a once in a lifetime event and worth every penny. The city of Ephesus was a close third for just the sheer enormity of the city and archeological dig."

Deborah

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! I our guide Alp and the other tour members. This was our first "tour" and we were a bit hesitant about the structure but this was a wonderful blend of flexibility and "potential" structure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. My favorites were the hot air balloon trip in Cappadocia, the electric bike tour of Antalya, the Whirling Dervish performance and the Kaymakli, underground village and lunch with our local Cappadocian woman. I loved Istanbul and the Grand Bazaar as well as the many local markets."

Mary

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an incredible tour. I learned an enormous amount about the politics of the mid east and the Muslim religion. I wish every American could take the tour to understand the mid east mess. I would like to Thank rick Steves for providing this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia! The balloon ride, Turkish bath, Whirling Dervish ceremony were all quite wonderful."

Susan

Broomfield, CO

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very pleased with this tour, loved the diversity and depth of the country, the friendliness of the people we encountered as well as the people in the group with whom I traveled, and the depth of knowledge and opinion our guide was willing and able to share.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First, realizing I was actually finally in Istanbul, such an ancient city in such a busy crossroads of civilization, and the comprehensive views of it while on the boatride through the Bosphorus. The balloon ride and underground city of Kaymakliin in Cappadocia."

Laura

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thank you, Rick Steves, for another fantastic adventure in Europe. This was our fourth tour and we had a great time. It was especially nice that our tour guide was Turkish himself, so he could help us learn the language, get to know the local people, and provide us insights on Turkey that only an "insider" could offer. This was our first trip to a part Asian country where Islam was the primary religion, but we quickly learned that the Turkish people are just lovely, warm and friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't a single "wow" moment, there were many "wow" moments. They included seeing the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, Cappadocia, the Whirling Dervishes, talking with the Imam, having lunch with the lovely local lady, seeing the carpet workshop, seeing Ephesus, meeting local people and dining on wonderful food. We had a wonderful group so every minute together was pretty wow!"

Nubia

Reseda, CA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While this was my first tour ever, I'm having a hard time believing that anything else can top this experience. The tour, which starts in Istanbul, got more and more magical with each location we visited. I enjoyed the pace and locations, specially Capadoccia and Antalya. Visiting the ancient cities of Hierapolis, Ephesus and Aphrodisias was a dream come true as well. The stops at the markets were interesting and gave us a chance to connect with the locals. Overall a very well thought out tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was in Mustafapasa at the Greek House, while we were on the terrace looking at the interesting landscape, a call to prayer started over the loud speaker in a nearby Mosque. The moment was quite unique and unexpected and was certainly magical."

John

Norwalk, IA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt Taylan did a great job at keeping the trip fun and informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride over Capadoccia was awesome. The underground city of Kaymakli was amazing."

Diane

Goleta, CA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the trip was great! Way too much to praise!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of it! I can't just name one thing or place. All tour stops were interesting and different."

Patricia

Irvine, CA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My trip exceeded my expectations. I found Istanbul to be a little overwhelming. Regardless of this found the content of the tour to be excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiring a boat in Antalya for a mini cruise and swimming in the Mediterranean was a treat. The Turkish bath was a unique experience."

Antoinette

Norwalk, IA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour - totally exceeded my expectations in every way. Everyone needs to go to Turkey. This tour was a great combination of group activities, with enough time for me and my husband to do our own thing. There was no way we could have had the same vacation had we planned it ourselves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch prepared by the woman in her home in Cappadocia. It made me stop and think about why I travel, and lives that are so different from what is considered "normal" for Americans. And the food was pretty great, too."

Juan

Reseda, CA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Truly enjoyed our time in Turkey and tour provided a great sense of the true culture of Turkey. I felt that my experience with the tour changed my perspective of the people and I gained a deeper understanding of Turkey and Turkish culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say apart from all the tour sites, my favorite experience was the Hot Air Ballon ride."

Mary

Concord, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'd been to Turkey before so I was looking forward to revisiting some locations and to adding some new experiences as well. The tour exceeded my expectations. The balance of culture, natural beauty, and history kept the tour fresh and interesting. The fellow travelers were intelligent, interesting, and enthusiastic. Our tour guide, Serhan, was fantastically knowledgeable, and engaging, as well as caring. Group meals were a pleasure for me, even though I was the lone vegetarian.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia was my favorite place because although I'd been to Turkey before I hadn't been able to visit this region. Visiting the old churches and underground cities carved into rock was a unique experience. The Old Greek House hotel where we stayed was a pleasure in and of itself. Dining room meals and terrace socializing are great memories for me. The little town was a nice break from big cities. Serhan's explanation of the history of the area added context and richness to the experience."

Lynne

Guerneville, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about this tour was fantastic. We really didn't know what to expect from Turkey, and of course, heard all kids of warnings. But it was a wonderful experience, full of fun, learning, and new experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh dear, talking with Imam whirling dervishes Balloon ride over Cappadoccia Cappadoccia "Yacht" ride and swimming in Mediterranean and..."

Jeanne

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Comprehensive, fast paced, fascinating with an incredible guide. Serrano was amazing and the country was so much more than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Air balloons in Cappadocia. Antalya and swimming in the Mediterranean. The ruins - Ephesus ( although incredibly crowded), Aprodiasis (lovely and not too crowded - we had the place to ourselves) and Hierapolis (so big and well preserved)."

Marleah

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is gorgeous - the people are lovely, the food is outstanding, and the sights and beauty of the country are downright wonderful. I am so glad I took this trip! We were very lucky to have a really wonderful group of people all together for this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia. That part of it still feels like a dream to me, but I have the pictures to prove I did it."

Ann

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our second RIck Steves' tour ('07 European Family tour). We believe that the tour quality has been upheld, in the Rick Steves' tradition. The accommodations were dependable and the provided meals were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My husband's WOW moment was Pamukkale and Ephesus. My WOW moment was Cappadocia in general: the accommodations, food, activities (hikes, ballooning, caves) and uniqueness of the region."

Kathy

Poulsbo, WA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'm not sure what I was expecting since this was our first tour, but it certainly exceeded any expectation I had! Serhan was fabulous! I learned so much about the history of the country and all the sites we visited. I was very impressed with how well organized and timely the days were, and was happy with most meals and most accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The Hot Air balloon ride was a big one, but also seeing the Whirling Dervish ceremony at the Caravanserai, swimming in the Mediterranean. Regrettably, I skipped the Turkish Bath! Seeing the Blue Mosque from the rooftop of the Hotel Azade while eating breakfast, that was a WOW!"

Anthony

Concord, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First Rick Steves tour and first guided tour. It was better than expected. Turkey is a fascinating country with plenty of sites to see. Our tour hit the jackpot with, Serhan, our tour guide. He had extensive historical and current knowledge of Turkey that I really appreciated as well as a good sense of humor The people on the tour were easy to get along with making the tour even more enjoyable. Highly recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one WOW moment but three distinct memories. The first was the Egyptian Spice market that had everything especially more varieties of baklava and Turkish Delight than I ever thought existed. Second was Serhan explanation of the mosaics in the Chora Church and lastly everything about the Cappadocia region."

Peter

Guerneville, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We'd been to Kushadasi six years ago on a cruise and were convinced that we wanted to go back after only a day in that port city. We loved the food, were fascinated by the people, the history and grew fond of the calls to prayer on this tour. A good tour guide and fellow companions can make or break a tour. Serhan was in a word, outstanding. By far the best guide we've had on any of the six Rick Steve's tours we've taken. We left loving Turkey. All thanks to Serhan.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm a natural born haggler and saved a lot of my shopping for Kushadasi where the toughest negotiators are. I found the same guy I'd bought a leather jacket from six years ago and spent a couple of hours sipping apple tea, comparing family photos as we slowly came to a price on a leather vest. I'd been to Ephasis before so went shopping instead. In most of turkey the final selling price is about half the initial asking price, In Kushadasi it's more like 25 percent of the initial asking price."

Craig

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was truly one of my best vacations ever. My fellow tour members were outstanding and we had a lot of fun together. Serhan is a great guide [INVALID] very knowledgeable, very informatve, and a lot of fun. Tara was a delightful addition to our group,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon in Capadocia with and outstanding sunrise. Need I say more?"

Jessica

Garden City, MI

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am so glad that out of all the tours offered, this is the one we chose. The sheer variety of cities, sites and experiences was like having three vacations in one. Never was there a trip more saturated with culture, beauty and wonder from grand palaces and mosques to beautifully strange landscapes and staggering ancient ruins. Like a person with whom you bond over extraordinary experiences, Turkey is a friend I won't see often but will never, ever forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The theater in Hierapolis literally took my breath away. It's the jaw droping marvel you don't see coming. We trekked up an endless hill trying to catch the view before having to meet the bus. You can't see the ruins at all until you get to very top and turn around. When we finally reached it and looked down our mouths just fell open. The world fell away in a thousand stone steps to graceful statues, green hills, the skeleton of the city and white cliffs beyond. It was transporting."

Eloise

Waterbury, CT

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

At 75 years of age we were concerned about the intense activity required. Our daughter, a RS traveler, said we could do most of it. Our guide was wonderful at offering options. Sometimes we were able to do every part; sometimes not. He did not cater to us and we appreciated his approach; the group members were very caring and helpful, especially on some scary, steep stairways. We had prepared ahead of time to increase our walking stamina and it paid off well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course, the balloon ride in Cappadocia!!! No words or even pictures can describe it It was worth the strong men who lifted me up and tossed me into the basket and then had to pull and push to get me out! The whole experience was very powerful and professionally executed."

Patricia

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the itinerary variety was great - Turkey is an amazing country that continued to surprise the entire trip. I enjoyed the aspect of having some free time at every location, but always with tips on what to see, where to eat, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had to be the balloon ride AND hike in Cappadoccia. Both were fabulous and really enjoyed having the chance to hike in such beautiful surroundings."

Helen

Bowen Island, BC

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour experience was outstanding!! I loved the country and the Turkish people and felt pleased to have such an excellent tour guide in Taylan Tabasi.I learned so much from him about the history of his country and he made our bus travels very interesting, entertaining and thought provoking.It was all in all a marvelous experience to explore Turkey with him and our bus driver Mr.Rafed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many "wow" experiences that it is hard to say which was the most significant. The Turkish bath was sooooo much fun!!. The beautiful mosques, the Whirling Dervishes,the magical landscape of Cappadocia, the ruins in Ephesus and the Hagia Sophia stand out."

Edith

Portola Valley, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was wonderful. The things that made it so great were: Overall daily plan of touring a city and traveling between cities. Allowing for quiet time on the bus. The Taylan talks on history and culture and answering questions. The recommendations for restaurants when we were on our own. The orientation walks with recommendations for food or stores. The places we toured, in all cities. The tour of the museum in Ankara with Taylan as a guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the hot air balloons from the top deck of the Old Greek Hotel and hot air balloon ride including helping once on the ground Ephesus Tours of Grand Bazaar and Spice Market Lunch with ladies in Cappadocia Whirling dervish performance Antalya museum Turkish bath Pamukkale and lunch in town First dinner at Old Greek Hotel"

Alan

South Pasadena, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The hotels were very good, cozy but professional. Food was outstanding, good balance between provided meals and exploring on your own. Taylan's experience and knowledge in archeology were perfect for this tour. Everyone in the group were positive and helpful to one another -- a consequence of the "no grumps" policy. The bus driver, Raphet, was excellent and kept us all safe. He even stopped for a few minutes to rescue a kitten that had stowed away in the engine compartment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappadocia was optional, but was the best part of the tour. It was a great bonding experience for everyone that went. Butterfly's service and staff were outstanding. They have it down to a crack system."

Ruth

South Pasadena, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

activities were well organized, the tour never dragged. We never had dead time and there was always alternatives for those who want less strenuous activity. Taylan really knew his background and always was enthusiastic sharing his information with us. We were lucky because everyone worked so well together. No divas just an enjoyable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia balloon ride was absolutely beautiful and offered us a team experience which brought us all closer together"

Martha

Killeen, TX

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very hesitant to book a tour due to than I prefer to do my own tour, but my family was worry of me being alone in a country where politics was brought up by the media as being unstable. The Rick Steve's tour was perfect for me because it has the sensibility that I wanted to see a country. Walking, enjoying the the culture, the people and local food. This tour fulfilled all the ideas that I hope for, and more, in a friendly group atmosphere. Plus a overall well organized 13 days tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"OMG!!!! My wow moment was when we went to visit this sweet lady that made lunch for us as a group and communicate with her without speaking her language and her not speaking English. It's humans connecting with each other, because I knew what she was saying and vice versa! My second favorite moment was the balloon ride in Cappadocia. I was in heaven!!!!"

John

Portola Valley, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. I was a little nervous (not having gone on organized tours in past) going in, but it was really fantastic. Taylan is an exceptional guide. We learned about and saw some amazing sites. But Taylan added so much more about the history, culture etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I suspect, like most people, the Balloon ride in Cappadocia. Just wonderful, beautiful. But there were so many other WOW moments from beginning to end that it doesn't feel fare to mention only the one."

Eswari

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This trip was arranged very professionally. It is a certain fact that enough thoughts have gone in the back ground to select the right guide with right attitude and adequate knowledge to respond to curious questions quite consistently. He fully realized the importance of understanding the team members cultural background and respect the religious believes. The size of the team was 24 and they gelled very well. Turkey is a wonderful place full of exotic museums and with rich History.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every team member will agree that the balloon ride at Cappadocia was the most favorite. The crew was fantastic and made the incident more colorful and humorous. The scenery and views from the top of the world was so good and pilot's acts of steering the balloon almost graze the trees was exciting."

Dave

Federal Way, WA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never done a tour before, and was skeptical that I would enjoy it. I was very pleasantly surprised. Having all the planning, transportation, and arrangements made for us was a tremendous time saver. We saw and experienced far more than we could have done on our own. Having an expert professional guide that was well prepared, knowledgable and passionate about his home country really enhanced the experience. Luckily, we had no tour members that detracted from the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That would be Hadrian's Gate in Antalya. We were well into the tour, and I had seen many ancient things, but for some reason, touching and walking through such a well preserved and impressive Roman structure just struck me with the power and importance that Rome must have been. I was truly awestruck"

Joanne

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was fabulous. The tour and the country exceeded my expectations. I thought it was a great balance of learning, site seeing and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cant say there was only one wow...I was awed not only by the hot air balloon ride but also by my first visits to the mosques and the ruins of Ephasus."

Jason

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned a great deal about Turkey thanks to the tour and our guide, Taylan. I am grateful t Rick Steves and all who made this dream trip a reality!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia."

Jamie

San Clemente, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceptional! This was our third Rick Steves tour and like before, we have had an immensely gratifying experience. We felt the tour itinerary was spot on with experiencing the different highlights, culture and history within Turkey. Taylan Tasbasi was our guide. Not only was he so well eloquent on his knowledge of history and art, he also had a knack of making the trip so effortless for all of us. We left Turkey with a true appreciation of its culture, religion and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name but we would have to say: Cappadocia hot air balloon ride - what a thrill!; Anatolian Civilizations Museum - Could have stayed the whole day looking at artifacts; Home prepared Cappadocian lunch prepared by a family consisting of a mother and her two daughters in their home, so heart-warming and intimate; Turkish Bath in Antalya - What happens in a Turkish Bath stays in a Turkish Bath; Surprise 30th wedding anniversary cake ordered by our guide at dinner; Pamukkale; Ephesus;"

Marshall

Waterbury, CT

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"Outstanding" is the correct word! Good but not rushed pace. Taking time to see what we came to see without tearing off for another place before we could appreciate where we were. Competent, caring guide who knew his stuff and kept his eye out for the old folks bringing up the rear. Fine variety of hotels and inns. Nice choose of restaurants. Very congenial group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia: villages, cave churches, Old Greek Inn"

Lynn

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Two things. The tour. It was well designed, well executed, and could not have been any richer culturally and politically. Good pace, and varied and interesting experiences in each overnight location. The guide. I am sure this is nothing I can say about Mert than has not been said multiple times. He is a superb example of an Everyman. A Turkish Everyman.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not possible to say. So many. Obviously Cappadocia. Where else do you can a landscape like that? The Whirling Dervishes. Did I ever think I would see that? The visit with the Imam. Visiting the family and having lunch with them."

Gordon

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very enjoyable,challenging,educational,relaxing(being led by such an expert guide took the stress out of travelling over a large area).Whet our appetite for a future R.S. tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon trip; Ephisis."

Allan

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Appreciated Mert's in-depth comments and discussions regarding Turkey, Greece, the middle East, etc. : historically, past and present politics , religious backgrounds , Western influences in the various regions. Good accamodation , transportation , meals, etc. Well taken care of .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia (?) area - unique landscape and history."

Colby

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is an absolutely fascinating place. So much history, and so much going on that impacts current world events. I wanted to learn more about Muslim culture, and boy did we ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was really feeling that "wow" moment standing in front of the library façade at Ephesus, and inside the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. As a retired engineer, I was awe struck at the engineering expertise of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the historical significance of each of these places. It makes you think about the relevance and importance of what we are doing today."

Deborah

Laurel, MD

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour had the perfect balance of education, observation, and experience! Mert truly made this (my second RS tour) special. He interspersed fascinating observations about modern Turkey with his deep understanding of Turkey's recent and distant past. We combined this with plenty of movement, and plenty of engagement with local citizens. This was absolutely hands down my best trip ever ... and I thought Heart of Italy was fabulous. I was a solo traveler, and found my companions congenial.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My pre-trip rock climbing in Gejibiyiru near Antalya, and the balloon ride in Cappadocia were the best activities during my time in Turkey. For the tour, my favorite moment was quieter. Mert told us wearing traditional scarves over head and shoulders would be seen and appreciated as respectful when we visited Rumi's memorial, so I did ... and that plus my tiny handful of Turkish words led to my eventually being introduced to a whole Turkish family! Very special, since none spoke English."

Hampton

Benicia, CA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour. I was very pleased with it. Our guide, Mert, was outstanding, the activities were all interesting, the group was cohesive, the bus driver was timely and always had the bus cool for us after hot walks. The tour highlighted many areas of Turkey, giving me a taste of many places and sights. If I had not spent 5 days in Istanbul before the tour, I might have appreciated more time there, and I would have liked to spent more time in Konya.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The biggest "wow" was the ballooning over Cappadocia, which was an optional activity. But almost all of the activites and historic sights were "wows," the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Rumi's tomb, the cave churches, underground city and homemade lunch in Cappadocia, the farmer's market in Korkuteli, Hierapolis, Aphrodisias, Ephesus -- they were all "wows.""

Steve

Palm Springs, CA

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was the usual outstanding that we always expect on RST. Great guide, interesting and comfortable hotels, efficient use of our time. We are vegans and our guide went out of his way to make sure there were vegan choices available for all of the group meals. The bus was very comfortable, with lots of extra space. We felt very confident in our driver. Stopping frequently for rest stops that usually coincided with an interesting sight. We remain loyal Rick Steve's people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite time of day was sitting up by the Blue Mosque in the evening for the call to prayer. It was always so magical with the echoing of the musical call coming from all of the mosques in the area. During the twilight of the day, with all of the interesting people wandering around, colorful fountains and lit up mosques the air was suddenly filled with lyrical prayer emanating from the mosques and echoing around the area. It was a magical time and a real WOW moment for me."

R Keith

Vernon, BC

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent experience. I have already recommended it to several friends. Clearly a lot of detailed planning goes into these tours to ensure the richest cultural, historical and culinary experiences. We were treated to a variety of pleasing encounters with locals who invariably made us feel welcome. The outstanding example was an arranged lunch at a Turkish home, humble but heartwarming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to prioritize but I would include walking around Ephesus, crawling through the underground city, the Hot air balloon ride over the Fairy Chimneys and of course the touring the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia. So many "wow" moments."

Edward

Central Islip, NY

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is my fourth Rick Steves tours.As with all Rick Steves tours,it was well organised and orchestrated. Alp was knowledgeable with different history of Turkey.He gave superb directions and overall lay out of the land prior to all the visits to the main attractions. Group members are very cohesive and the whole tour went smoothly despite some unplanned "emergencies".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon with the Butterfly group in Cappadocia. Well planned. We were airborne to get a glimpse of the sunrise over the horizon. The underground city was another vow moment.The guide was a local expert who has all the details down packed.I learned a lot from that visit."

Carol

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Anyone can travel place to place, but to come home feeling that you've experienced a country in some depth (as much as you can in a far too short two week period), is a different matter altogether. The heat was stunning, our group diverse in personalities and needs, and our schedule intense, but we will remember our visit to Turkey in August/ September 2015 as one of our favorite trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many!: our stay in the Greek village of Mustafapasa; a gracious welcome & lunch prepared & served to us by a Muslim woman in her home, & the experience of dervishes in an ancient caravansarai at night...magical. I think most travelers don't realize that Turkey is much more than Istanbul and resort towns; I loved its rural villages, mountains & broad valleys, & the opportunity to visit country markets & historical sites alike. We came home with greater understanding of Turkey and its people."

Susan

Estero, FL

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and both my husband and I were very impressed with the pace, the itinerary, most of our accommodations, and our guide, Alp. We liked that most of our hotels were family owned or small boutiques, and their locations were conducive to walking even without a guide. Also, it seems that great attention was given to when we visited certain sites so that we missed the cruise ship crowds or the heat of the day. This make the experience much more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sites in Turkey were all wonderful - from the Blue Mosque to Ephesus and having lunch with Fayihe. However, my "WOW" was the peaceful demonstrations in Turkey after the PKK shot the 16 Turkish soldiers. I never felt at danger. IAlso, i was continually amazed at the acceptance of diversity in Turkey, and their treatment of stray dogs and cats. Our guide, Alp, demonstrated this continually."

George

Estero, FL

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Turkey was amazing, and our guide, Alp, made it even more enjoyable. He kept the group well informed and was very knowledgeable about Turkish life, history, and politics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick a favorite as we loved almost everything we did, but Ephesus was probably the highlight for me. The ruins were so extensive that it was easy to visualize how it must have appeared in Roman times. The terrace houses were amazing, considering that they were built about 2,000 years ago and had features that would be considered upscale today."

Marshall

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Turkey tour was fantastic! We had a great guide (Gokalp, also know as Alp), and a great group of people. Our group ranged from young (one couple was celebrating their honeymoon with a tour of Turkey) to those of a "certain age" who had Turkey on their "bucket list". Our group really bonded over the two weeks, and I already miss them!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many WOW moments to single one out. Many varied experiences, from the surreal to the serene and spiritual."

Sharon

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best. Trip. Ever. As richly colored and intricate as the famous Turkish carpets - and just as tightly woven, this RSTBD tour (#4) was our favorite for many reasons, including layer upon layer of interwoven sights, sounds, tastes, political intrigue, religious influences seen in a new light, 'eureka!' moments - and so much more! I came away with: a) enough familiarity to assuage apprehension, and, b) a growing determination to return (a plot!). My interest in Turkey is piqued!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 'aha' moment for me was in the Terrace House 2 excavation in Ephesus. It was there that I 'saw' the people of 2000 (MOL) years ago, as we looked at spacious, beautiful and inviting living spaces, with mosaics on floors, painted decorations on walls, sophisticated 'indoor plumbing systems' - luxurious Roman living quarters! I could almost see little children dashing around, adults excited about village happenings ...! Retrospectively, then, the other historical sites took on new meaning!"

Marie

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour experience was sensational. I have never been on a tour before but my husband and I have done a lot of traveling on our own. He can't travel anymore and I am not done yet. I thought the tour was very well organized and I loved having choices of activities. The amount of time devoted to each activity seemed just right for me. It was great fun and almost a party all the time due to the spirit of this particular group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Almost without question my favorite "wow" moment was the balloon ride over Cappadocia. Seeing the landscape from that perspective was inspiring and incredible peaceful. I was an experience of a lifetime."

Ira

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Remarkable Wouldn't have been known about it things We've used Rick Steves books for our European travels; in comparison to having an experienced guide was simply like having a checklist of things to do and the optimal way to do them - where to go, when to go (and when to NOT go) WOW - Details, logistics, things we saw, places we went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The depth and structure of the tour. We had the framework to do what we wanted to do and when we wanted to do it. You knew how to effectively manage expectations - what you would (and wouldn't) do .. and what was expected of us. All we needed to do was know when we had to get on the bus! On other trips, I had to deal with traveling from city to city - which bus or train station, how to get there, getting to the hotel, and the process of checking in and getting settled."

Colleen

Vernon, BC

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was delightedly surprised by how much I enjoyed this tour through Turkey. I am not usually a 'tour' kind of person but this incredible adventure we took together was full of learning and laughs and fun. Our guide Alp brought history alive for us and encouraged us to think and ask questions. All in all it was fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments. The balloon ride in Cappadocia The Chora museum mosaics Walking the ancient streets of Ephesus Goreme cave churches The Konya bazaar"

Carolyn

Savannah, GA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best trip I have taken. Tour guide was extraordinary. Filled us with many interesting facts as well as thoroughly explained the history of the various areas we visited. Plus he has a wonderful sense of humor. Loved Turkey and miss the lovely "Call to Prayer" each day. Accommodations and food were excellent. Tour well organized with enough lecture time mixed with visits to sites and free time. A ++ for this tour. Interested in another next summer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list. Fabulous tour."

Betsy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first travel tour, I was reluctant to not be on my own schedule. Loved every minute of it. It was friendly, efficient, informative and fascinating. Everything was well organized and well thought out. A good pace and variety of experiences. I was also reluctant to travel with 23 other strangers and thought it would slow things down. I was wrong again. Our tour guide got everyone moving and out the door with no waiting for stragglers, so no one straggled! The group got along well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia region!!!"

David

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was wonderfully organized. Our guide was great at getting us into sites before the big crowds. Guide was also very well informed on a variety of subjects. He actively engaged questions and discussion

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon ride, Turkish bath, Roman ruins"

William

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. The tour guide, Taylan, knew well above what I thought any tour guide would, and he never couldn't answer a question.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Capadoccia, seeing the sun rise over the hills and reflect off of all the balloons."

Lynette

Olympia, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was fantastic! I knew very little about Turkey before I went. I got to experience a lot of aspects from the big cities to the small towns. From traditional arts to new arts. From old history to modern history. I was very hesitant to go on this tour because of all the time spent on the bus. Taylon used the bus rides to give us history, explain his perspective and the bus drivers perspective, talk about any and all things that pertained to his country. The bus rieds were great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The way the group was super friendly and helpful to each other."

Kathleen

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When I saw this big box, I started a little tome about how surprised and delighted we were with our group, Taylan and Hailee, and especially, Turkey. But, alas, I had to erase it when I ran out of characters. This saves you from reading my list of superlatives! Overall experience: SPLENDID! We are re-living our incredible experiences every day. Thank you, Rick Steves, for inventing a company that offers amazing adventures that leave us feeling like it was all designed just for us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Farmer's Market in the Turkish town. No other tourists were there. Taylan assigned us the task of purchasing a gift for our 'buddy'. So much fun! I'd go back there once a week, if I could."

Patricia

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Itinerary: Well planned, varied and captured highlights. Pace: just right. Fellow travelers: to a person, terrific people and fun companions. Unexpected: a gaggle of young people; nice for our grandson. Guide: superlative. Kind, knowledgeable, funny, helpful, sensitive, open and a lover of Turkey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow: balloon ride. Meaningful: visit with the imam. Shallow: a couple of shopping experiences."

Mina

Woodland, CA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide was knowledgeable and was able to accomodate different levels of activities and interests. It was very interesting to see the cultural differences from USA and Turkey but in other respects we are all the same. I was especially grateful to Mert for assisting Larry and I after I fell and had to go to emergency room in Antayla.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia & Ephesus but enjoyed it all."

Nancy

Fairfield, IA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!! We normally prefer to plan and execute our own travel, but we didn't want to tackle Turkey on our own. SO glad we took this tour -- got an incredible experience of the country with a terrific and knowledgeable guide. Can't imagine a better way to see Turkey. Recommending it to all our friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning over Cappadochia. A peak life experience."

Roger

Fairfield, IA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was definitely outstanding. Mert was a fantastic guide. His talks on the archaeology and history and politics of the area were so amazing that they sometimes followed by applause from our group. I knew little about Turkey before our tour, and I now get to explain Turkey to my friends at home. I really love and have a great appreciation for Turkey after this trip. It exceeded all my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick. The balloon ride and tour of the underground city in Cappadocia were both amazing. Touring the ancient city of Ephesus was amazing, particularly with Mert's great perspective. And in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace were all amazing too. And the question session with the young Imam was very sweet and memorable. As was the lunch at Mert's friends home in Cappadocia. Everyday of the tour was wonderful, so it's hard to pick a favorite time."

Leena

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked this tour a lot. One of the best experiences I have ever had. I took Globus tour last year and compared to Globus, this tour was far more fun and organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"MY "wow" moment was that the hotel had the room keys laid out when we arrived. We did not have to stand in lines to check in with our passports. The lunch at the old lady's house was the highlight of the whole trip. I got to experience the local culture. The country did not appear to be a Muslim country. Blue Mosque on one side and Haghia Sophia on another side is breathtaking."

Ashok

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall experience was excellent. The highlights are: -- Tour guide Mert's immense knowledge and great people skills -- Well planned activities

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus was my most favorite tourist site"

Wendy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being my first Rick Steves tour, the adjectives can't describe the experience, but awesome, breathtaking and impressive can be some with which to start. The tour exposed me to a culture and a country about which I was naïve. Aferin, to the entire Turkey tour staff!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment could easily be the hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, but it takes second to the interaction with the people of Turkey. I was interviewed by school girls for their English homework; I was even asked to be in a selfie photo with some young girls in the Aya Sofya. But the most moving was sitting with the Imam listening to his answers to our questions and listening to him sing a prayer. I felt it encompassed the travel philosophy of Rick Steves."

Dan

Blue Island, IL

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Mert, our tour guide was most entertaining, informative and caring; we covered quite a bit of geography and history which would not have been possible on our own; the group meal events were authentic and entertaining. Group members were interesting and considerate. We may have seen one too many architectural sites. In general, i was very pleased with this tour especially sharing the experience with my son.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the balloon ride; getting up at 3am and having checked off one of the last items on my 'bucket list' witnessing an Orthodox service and contasting it with a Roman Catholic service"

Charles

Philomath, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time on a tour, traveled to 40+ countries previously, so was a little skeptical to be hooked in with a group. This ended up being top 5 if not the best experience traveling ever. I credit this mostly to Mert and the RS philosophy of travel. Mert's command of every aspect of the different cultures " culture never dies" and open minded viewpoints, made the on bus "lectures" and guided tours completely captivating . Wish college history classes could have been 1/2 this good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to beat the balloon ride over Cappidocia for a wow!! I've always wanted to experience the city of Istanbul and it exceeded all expectations . What a great great city. Again Mert made it come alive and educated us on its history."

David

Decatur, GA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

After 2 previous RS tours I got what I expected and hoped to get, an intensive exposure to Turkey and its culture. So I got what I signed up for. RS tours are an experience not a vacation, so I was really ready for the down day in Antalya and time away from the group when it came. I feel like this tour really put Turkey "on the map" for me. I had been somewhat apprehensive before the trip that it would stretch my comfort level too much in a cultural sense, but that was not the case.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually there was no real Wow moment. My favorite little experience was being approached by a gaggle of high school girls out on a day trip who came over to engage us in conversation to practice their limited English. Their enthusiasm and happiness was quite infectious. I hope we reciprocated as well!"

Phillip

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was an exciting adventure, covering a well-selected cross-section of Turkey efficiently. It was fascinating to learn about this nation's long history at the boundaries between Europe and Asia as well as Christianity and Islam, not to mention its young demographics and vibrant economy. Being there during parliamentary elections gave us a chance to observe a significant political turning point as the PKK lost its dominance. A great value for the money.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments: Mert's guided tours of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Chora Church and his lectures on the bus, especially when he linked different eras as mortar links bricks Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia Lunch with Fahriye in her three-generation farm home and Q&A with imam in Guzulyurt Carpet Weaving Cooperative (and its sharp contrast with rug vendors in Istanbul) Cruising on and swimming in the Mediterranean in Antalya Turkish bath in Antalya Ephesus"

Lynn

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. I had never done an organized tour before and had some concerns re wasting time waiting for other members, having too many shopping stops, etc that I had heard from friends who had taken tours. None of that came true. It was very well organized and the other tour members were prompt and courteous to all. We had travelled for years using Rick's recommendations so the travel style fitted us well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Ephesus. Having heard about it since childhood in church and having a daughter and son in law who are pastors, it really made the history come alive and Mert certainly helped with that. Having a guide with his wealth of knowledge was marvelous."

Therese

Philomath, OR

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'll be honest. When my husband suggested we go to Turkey and Greece, I was ecstatic because I've always wanted to tour Greece. Turkey wasn't a country I longed to visit. To my utter amazement I found the culture, people and the food in Turkey totally captivating. Turkey stole my heart! I credit our tour guide extraordinaire, Mert, for much of how I feel. More about him later. The tour itself was organized in such a way that all we had to do was relax and enjoy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment happened during Mert's incredibly informative yet succinct "Culture Never Dies" lecture. It was an amazing feat to boil down years of history into that detailed talk complete with humor "like Jesus, like Moses"....I'll always remember that talk with our brilliant tour guide Mert."

Bill

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was excellent. The sights, Turkish people, itinerary, hotels, food, the schedule adjustments to accommodate weather and educational narratives were all outstanding. The pace comfortably allowed for both group and individual explorations and recreation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in an Old Town rooftop restaurant as the calls to prayers alternated between the Blue Mosque and Ayasofya."

Stephen

Signal Mountain, TN

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent overall! All compliments, no complaints. The guide (Taylan) was terrific, informative, helpful, accommodating, ... The hotels were very good, as were the meals. We enjoyed out fellow travelers. All was as advertised in all the preliminary brochures. We would do another Rick Steves' tour in a heartbeat. Several of of our fellows were on their2nd, 3rd, ... RS tours and I understand why!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two: First, the guide was exceptional. Second, Ephesus."

Sandra

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was very interesting and enjoyable: the ancient sites that are open air museums, the mosques and Islamic sites, the colorful markets and the friendly Turkish people. This tour covers a lot of area and some longer travel days, yet the itinerary and activities are well-designed to mitigate these longer days. The tour has a good balance of free-time for exploration and informative, guided experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cappadocia area and particularly, the hot air balloon experience over this fairy tale landscape was spectacular and well worth the early morning wake-up!"

David

Olalla, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Turkey tour was overall an excellent exposure to that lovely and diverse country. The incredible history and wonderfully friendly people of this influential country stands out In our travels. Our guide, Taylan had a wealth of knowledge, was entertaining and enhanced our experiences greatly. I felt we were fortunate to have an assembled group of congenial travelers as everyone seemed to be very amiable and considerate towards their traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to single out just one but the hot air balloon trip and sunrise over the Cappidoccia region was stunning."

Tsun-chiu

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was great. We learned a lot about Turkey's culture and history which are very different from the other countries that we has visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery of Cappadocia and Pamukkale."

Robert

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed learning more about Islam, the mosques were breathtakingly beautiful, and the countryside was scenic from rolling hills, mountains, and lakes. The people were friendly, helpful, and welcoming sometimes to the point it no longer felt sincere; even housewives we met wanted you to buy their handicrafts. I just didn't feel there was enough substance to justify six very time consuming bus rides in the 10 days beyond Istanbul.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride in Cappadocia was breathtaking. Weather greatly hampered our available activities in Cappadocia, but the underground city tour and the limited visit to the Fairy Chimneys were great. Lunch with Fariye and her daughter in her home. Interaction with a group of high school students at Pamukkale."

Norman

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour, and I was concerned about traveling with a group. The philosophy of a "group/individual" tour proved to be just what I wanted. I appreciated the convenience of having all of the logistic taken care of along with the freedom to strike out on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Most of what we experienced was expected: Aya Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Cappadocia, Hieropolis, the Sema ceremony, Ephesus. The Chora Museum was an unexpected treasure."

Sara

Signal Mountain, TN

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hesitant to take a tour as opposed to using a Rick Steves' guidebook, my husband Steve and I decided, since we wanted to go somewhere with an entirely different culture and language, that this was the time to try it. We received worry-free traveling, visits with local people, plenty of time to explore what we wanted by ourselves, and a well-prepared, knowledgeable guide who added immeasurably to our experience. It was the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I lwas wowed by so many things-- the underground city of caves, the Ankara Archeological Museum, the visit with the imam, the stay at Mustaphapasha, Ephesus, the balloon ride, among others-- that it is hard to select. If pushed, I would tie together the underground city of caves and Ephesus. I gained so much knowledge about and respect for these ancient peoples and the area in which they lived."

Duncan

Tsukuba,

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Learned buckets and really enjoyed the whole experience - especially the wonderful group of people we were with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many for 500 characters."

Debra

Holland, MI

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was an "eye-opener" in so many ways. We had never traveled in a predominately Muslim country before this tour and we have always traveled on our own. Although we will still travel on our own we will definitely be returning to Rick Steves again when traveling. I thought our guide was beyond fantastic! His knowledge of his country was endless whether it was historical, cultural, geographical or political. I always felt that he gave us a true opinions of how the Turkish people felt.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia was my "WOW" moment. The company that we flew with was really organized. Our balloon pilot was very competent and a pretty funny guy, all at the same time. Flying over the valley watching the rock formations, seeing the shadow of our balloon and listening to the quietness of the morning while watching the sunrise is a memory that will never fade!"

Diane

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steve's tour and it did not disappoint. It was comprehensive of history, historical sites, religion, every day life, and just plain fun. Alp was a very good guide who had the ability to adjust the itinerary to meet the groups needs and avoid unnecessary delays. The people on a tour can make or break the tour our group was best, respectful of others and always on time, and a group that really likes to laugh and have a good time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamukkale with it's hot spring pool and swimming among the old ruins in the rain was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the Turkish bath, experiencing it as a local and not in some tourist trap area made it even more fun."

Ginnie

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was a satisfying experience. I wanted to learn more about the modern day Turkey and how people live in a secular society that follows mostly the Islamic faith. I would say that I have a 'peek-a-boo' view of that in Istanbul. It works out just fine at least from this tourist's perspective. I appreciate the visit and discussion granted to us by the Imam of the Mosque at Guzelyurt. I also enjoyed the hot air balloon ride, my first ever. I enjoyed the time spent at Ephesus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from the hot air balloon ride."

Elizabeth

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Turkey is an explosion of sights, sounds, & taste. It is like an open air museum melded with culture, history and politics . You don't need to enter a single building to enjoy the art around you but you really should! From the stunning mosques to mesmerizing landscapes to charming people every part of the country reveals different character and charm. I have been planning a trip to Turkey in my mind since I was 17. I have no idea why I waited so long but I do know I will return!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can anyone choose just one? Cappadocia - Magical (Balloon, Fahimi, Hike, Suleman) Istanbul during the day - Amazing Istanbul in the evening - Electric Ephesus - Mystical"

Melinda

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed our tour of Turkey. It was exotic but totally comfortable and very educational as well! It was a very good way to see a country we knew little about and did not want to necessarily navigate independently. There was enough free time to explore a bit on our own, but also enough structured time to learn about the Turkish culture and history. The group was very compatible. The length of the tour was about right..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say that probably the time in Cappadocia was the most memorable just because it was so different from our lives here in the U.S. Both where we stayed at the Old Greek House and the Hot Air Balloon Ride were extremel "wow" moments! Walking around the little village where the Old Greek House is was quite a once in a lifetime experience! And eating lunch with someone who lives there really cemented the experience in our memories! Touring Istanbul was also very interesting and fun."

Richard

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic, well organized, tour touched on the highlights of Turkey. Tour guide was very knowledgeable, wasn't afraid to tackle tough questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the additional balloon ride in CDappadocia--everyone on our tour took part in this adventure."

Wallace

Hickory, NC

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was much better than I expected! Attention to detail was superb, we were never kept waiting for connecting transportation, and our guide was the best! He was well-prepared, knowledgeable,gave clear instructions, had a great sense of humor, and connected personally with members of our group. Many "extras" were included which I did not expect, and they made the tour more complete. The evening in Konya was our least favorite. Not much instruction.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hot air balloon ride!"

Robert

Atlantic Beach, FL

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was by far the best run tour I have been on. I certainly would recommend Rick Steves Best of Turkey tour to anyone. And if I take another tour in an area that Rick's company cover, I would do the Rick Steves version of it without hesitation. The hotels, meals and experiences were far above what I expected, especially given the price paid. I consider it a bargain. The tour completely changed my preformed views of Turkey.

Dana

Coupland, TX

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I highly recommend this tour. My husband and I normally travel independently (using Rick's books!) We were pleased to find that this tour combines the best of independent and group travel. Having a bus and guide and travelling companions was great, but we had plenty of freedom also and didn't feel like we were being herded from place to place. We did spend quite a bit of time on the bus, due to the long distances, but there was a rest stop every couple of hours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to choose a favorite moment. We really enjoyed everything. In addition to the amazing historical and natural sites visited, we appreciated the opportunities to better understand the Turkish people and their culture and religion."

Melinda

Santa Ynez, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a good group of people with an excellent guide. Turkey surprised me in its beauty, culture, people, food, and history. The bus time was filled with pertinent information about what we will see, extra opportunities available, as well as explaining the history and culture of Turkey. Did not mind the drives at all. The tour was well paced and I enjoyed my day off in Antalya. I appreciated the free time we had in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Balloon Ride over Cappadocia. The Underground Cistern. The Blue Mosque, both inside and from a distance. The ruins at Ephesus."

Karen

Goleta, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey exceeded my expectations. The country is so diverse and beautiful and its people are quite welcoming. Our tour guide, Taylan, was a wonderful guide and provided us with a lot of the history of his country and its customs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many but since I need to pick one, it would be ballooning over Cappadocia on a beautiful sunny morning. The ruins of Ephesus are a close second."

Sandra

Albany, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I fell in love with Turkey and this was all facilitated by our guide and the itinerary. The itinerary gave us a balance of landscape, urban vs. rural, mediterranean vs. lush, verdant mountain terrain, busy city populace vs. shepherds on a mountainside. We learned about ancient peoples who traversed the country and the current inhabitants. We experienced the culture first hand, food, music, dance, religion, etc. Our guide was spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The landscape was overwhelmingly beautiful. Also the twenty-five desperate persons from all over the US and one from Australia could feel like family after such a shot time together."

Ron

Woodside, CA

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In the past we have always fully planned our own travel tours, so this was our first "package tour," and we're so glad we used Rick Steves. Everything was first rate -our guide, comfortable and interesting accommodations, the guided sight-seeing, group meals and recommendations for dining on our own, the travel arrangements, and a great group of fellow travelers as well. Turkey, being a little more exotic than our European travels, was perfect for a well-organized and well-executed trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are just too many to mention."

Tammy Mi-Ling

Hurtsville,

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour enables me to better understand the Turkish culture, customs, history and the Muslim religion better. This experience makes the Turkey tour special and different from all the other tours I joined over the last 10 years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ancient city of Ephesus. We arrived there early to avoid the crowd. We were the first tour group there and walking down Curetes Street towards the Library of Celsus was amazing. The place was empty with no tourists! This moment was priceless! We felt we were in another time zone!"

Alan

Placentia, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent tour guide....one night in a hotel didn't work for me.....two nights should be minimal stay! Too many early mornings!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turkey is a wow country.....Yaren explanations of Turkey's future....two very different paths ahead for it!"

James

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour. It was a lovely introduction to a country that seemed very foreign and exotic even to a seasoned traveler. The itinerary was awesome but could have used one more day in Istanbul. We did add a day prior to the tour but still ran out of time in the city. Our guide was great, driver was awesome (Osman).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, our guide, Yaren was the wow moment for the trip. After our first two guides (Ferdi - Best of Europe in 21 days - 2006 and Peter - Best of Eastern Europe 2008), the bar was set VERY high. Yaren blew them away. More below."

Thomas

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose this tour based on the high recommendations a year earlier from tour members we met during our Rick Steves "My Way Spain" tour. We were not disappointed. We saw and experienced a wide variety of what Turkey has to offer visitors. Visits to local markets were fun and interesting, a good way to interact with locals. (But, by the end, seeing another Arch. museum was low priority.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul ... always wanted to visit this historic and fascinating city! We only saw a very very small part of this HUGE city, but I really felt like I had visited someplace different and "away"."

Mindy

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had very little previous knowledge about Turkey or it's history or people. This tour was a whirlwind of information about many aspects of Turkish life. From ancient history to current politics to what it's like to be a secular Muslim nation to learning about Islamism at all, this tour was more than just a lot of very cool sites to see (although it was also that). It gave me what I wanted in terms of context for the cities and places we saw. I loved that about this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First, let me say, there were SO many "wow" moments on this tour. But if forced to choose, I would have to pick Hagia Sophia. In addition to being incredible in size and grandeur, it is such a cool juxtaposition of historical layers visible in one place."

Darlene

San Jose, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third Rich Steve's Tour and they have all been wonderful. The style and philosophy of RS Tours are just the right fit for me. This tour was especially memorable because of our guide, Mert Taner, a great group of travel companions, and the beautiful surprise that is Turkey!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick a favorite, but the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia and the tour of Ephesus will never be forgotten. And every time I heard the call to prayer at 5:00 a.m. I thought "Wow, I really am in Turkey!" and didn't mind at all."

Kris

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very good time. Enjoyed meeting the other tour participants and seeing so much of Turkey in less than two weeks. Mert was a great tour guide - always providing helpful tips, supporting individual tour members, and providing very interesting history, culture and language lessons in transit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hor air balloon ride in Cappadoccia"

Marietta

Bradford, PA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful mix of historical, cultural, social experiences. Our tour guide, Mert, must have related the same information to several groups already this season, and yet, as he talked to us, his enthusiasm and energy gave the impression that he was sharing the information for the first time--it was fresh and enthusiastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the sun set from the terrace of the Upper Greek House. Quiet, peaceful."

Lori

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steves Tour and definitely the most intense--intellectually, politically, culturally, spiritually, even socially. Part of this has to do with the fact that it's Turkey, a country that is just about as diverse and evolving as any country on the planet. But it's also in large part due to the knowledge and experiences that our guide Mert delivered to us en force. He also created a particularly close and caring "team" (he called us) of tour mates.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Tinaztepe Caves, hike through the Cavusin village in Cappadocia, Ephesus (especially the excavation of the Terrace Houses)"

Jeff

Oakland, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The biggest downside to the trip was the length of time spent on the bus (> 40 hours), although I am not sure how you can make it better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air ballooning in Capadocia"

Danielle

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Turkey tour with Mert surpassed all of my expectations. The curated list of activities was just perfect, I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them. There are some long drives, but they are split up into rest stops and fascinating ancient sites, making them seem much shorter. The drives also gave Mert time to give us more information about the history and people of Turkey in relationship to the sites we were seeing. I just can't recommend this tour enough!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've been on a balloon ride over the Napa valley and thought that was wonderful. The scenery of Cappadocia, the colors of 99 other balloons, the sunrise . . . it blew that ride away. It also had the added benefit of providing us with the most spectacular vacation photos we've ever taken."

Tara

Springfield Gardens, NY

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Mert was an amazing tour guide. It was like being in school and relearning things I had forgotten years ago. This was the first tour I have tken where the tour guide was so knowledgeable. It made the experience richer and more fulfilling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappadocia & Ephesus!!!!! These two places were why I decided to go to Turkey in the first place. I was able to tick them off the bucket list. The entire tour was full of little a-ha moments, though. It made me want to go back and visit!"

Eleanor

Oakland, CA

Tour: 04/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' tour and I am quite impressed overall. I have traveled with 2 other organizations in groups to Peru and Japan. Because of current events such as Angela Merkel visiting Istanbul, our schedule had to be rearranged more than once without missing a beat. I couldn't have arranged a better comprehensive overview of Turkish landscape and culture given the the time constraints. The buddy system worked well to keep everyone together and form a cohesive group quickly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" was the tulip displays in Istanbul and Konya."

Stan

Piedmont, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very knowledgeable, experienced and capable guide in Taylan. Not only did he present history and geography facts thoroughly, he timed his talks to each locale so as not to be 'TMI', too much information. He represented Turkey in a fair and compassionate manner, not an easy task given today's world political situation. We enjoyed the small group dynamics and the passion for travel of our fellow tour members. This is our first Rick Steves Tour; don't think it's our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pauline's wow moment was optional balloon ride over Cappadocia, where she had to overcome fear of flying. Stan's wow moment was the calcified cliffs near Pumukkale along with the archaeological site of Hierapolis."

Louvina

Fresno, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide, interesting sites, lots of time on bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hot air balloon in Cappadocia--not included in tour"

Constance

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day, every hour was filled with interesting sights, sounds, tastes and experiences with real, local residents. Taylan was an excellent guide, always telling us ahead of time what was coming up next, what to expect, and reassuring us that he would remain nearby when we were "on our own". His knowledge of the history, culture, archeology, government systems, etc. was comprehensive. What sets Rick Steves tours apart are the unique experiences with local people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Only one? We had so many! Our hike through the valley in Cappadocia, visit with the Imam, visit to the archeological museum in Ankara, Pamukale & Hieropolis and the five levels of residential restoration in Ephesus. Every day had a "wow" experience."

Maxine

Point Roberts, WA

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our third RS tour and each one somehow gets better and better....cannot believe that is possible but it is true. Despite the snow, heavy rain etc. we enjoyed our tour a l00%. At the end of the day we depend so much on our tour guide and he was amazing and outstanding....the knowledge and understanding of the history and the politics was overwhelming. You are lucky to have him, really lucky.....but we were even more lucky.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite WOW moment was taking the balloon ride in Cappadocia....it felt like Walt Disney had built the site it was so extraordinary and fairyland like."

Marguerite

Louisville, CO

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderfully enjoyable tour. I find I like the tours that utilize coach for transportation. Taylan was very patient, kind and enlightening on the country and it's people. He was professional and tried to meet physical needs of any of his group. The choices of restaurants presented a tasty overall presentation of the local foods. Most of the hotels were comfortable and I only felt "unsafe" in one that had a towel near the opening between the door and outside alley.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say I had a "wow" moment. I loved Istanbul and was completely amazed at the size, but also the overall feeling of acceptance in Turkey."

Jeffrey

Louisville, CO

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steve's tour and we had a great time. The tour was very well organized and we felt safe and secure the whole time. We learned a lot about Turkey and now realize that many of the American perceptions of the country and region are poorly founded. The people of Turkey were very welcoming and friendly. Our guide did a great job explaining the culture and history. Our only complaint was related to the quality of some of the hotels we stayed in. They were substandard.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a "wow" moment. The time we spend in Cappadocia was particularly interesting. The hot air balloon ride was a lot of fun. The ancient ruins in Ephesus were also great."

Charlene

Apo, AE

Tour: 04/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed this tour more than I thought I would. We had a good tour group and Taylan was great. Turkey is a very interesting country. It has a lot to offer in terms of history, culture, historical sites and unique landscape. I loved the interaction with the locals - the imam and the luncheon in Cappadocia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two - the hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia and our visit to Pamukkale. They were both awesome."

Susette

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time learning about all aspects of Turkish life past and present. The people were so welcoming, the landscape was amazing, and our guide did an exceptional job of leading us through many varied experiences and teaching us about Tukey's history and current culture. I came home with a much more enlightened understanding of this vital part of the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all so WOW! If I had to pick one, it would be the hot air balloon experience in Cappadocia. Well worth the extra cost, and a once in a life time experience. The last day in Kusadasi we wandered through the small shops near our hotel and met so many great people. My husband was convinced to get a haircut and shave. Something else neither of us will ever forget."

George

Reno, NV

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We come to expect RS Tours to have a schedule we can set our clocks on. From 1st meeting everything seemed OFF schedule. No city walk-about 1st night and Bosphorus Cruise last Istanbul day to meet bus on the Asian side. No Local Guides. We enjoyed our tour because of our Traveling Friends and meeting new friends. We are not your normal tourists, we are not grumps; we study the history & culture before visiting. Quite important on this trip because Turkey is feared and misunderstood.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not a single WOW! Looked forward to a Sunrise Mass Ascension of Balloons floating over Fairy Chimneys. What we got was a late start in a vacant field with no balloons around and a skydiver getting HIS WOW MOMENT at our expense! Nice flight; BUT, not a WOW experience. Most memorable, impromptu meetings- Potato workers sharing their breakfast, a Shepard in a sport coat tending his flock and cafe workers helping us understand the food. Sending pictures to each. Our Driver, Raphet was a WOW!"

Kathleen

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, a enthusiastic and charming guide we knew as Alp. Second, a wonderful group of cohesive people who all had fascinating travel and life stories. Third, was the well-planned trip to wonderful places in Turkey. The bus rides were terribly long so took up much of our "free" time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The underground city of Kaymakli Yeralti Sehri which developed to eight layers below ground where 5,000 people could hide for months during the Christian period. The maze of rooms and tunnels was amazing and even more amazing the hidden shafts for fresh air and deep wells for fresh water. In addition, there are several of these and they date back to the early Bronze Age. Wow!!"

Joanne

Reno, NV

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We chose Turkey to learn. We learned the language, pored over Tom Brosnahan, Insight books, reference tapes and CDs but our particular tour and guide fell short of adding to that experience perhaps due to his lack leading tours outside Istanbul and Turkish culture. Turkey has a rich and diverse culture and we couldn't possibly know enough. Our post-tour experience to Izmir, Bergama, Foça, Assos and Troy great-we needed more time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stopping at a local potato shed. Totally impromptu, but having tour members sit and have tea and breakfast was priceless-and we are sharing photos with them by e-mail! Several Shopkeepers also asked for photos by email. This culture is spot-on social media--even in the far out regions. The aha moment was realizing that women don't just cover themselves with black dresses. The clothing is beautifully top stitched and accessorized. Black dresses vary by region. Meeting Mert in Cappadocia great!"

Sasha

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour experience. It was a great combination of visiting and learning about a new place, interesting sites and cities, meaningful interactions and experiences, a tour group that clicked well and a guide who had a good command of all aspects of his job. Much of the trip was full of unexpected experiences, in the best possible way. This was a busy fast paced trip which I really enjoyed (but with options always to go at the pace that worked best for you).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really loved my time in Istanbul and am glad a went a few days early. I also enjoyed leaving the group for an afternoon and hiking on my own in the Cappadocia area. I loved many of the stops we made two and from cities, it was always a surprise and stops made the journey go quicker. I have traveled all of the world and Turkey is now one of my most loved trips, I really enjoyed it all."

Nancy

Roseville, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This trip was more of a cultural immersion than alot of wow sights. I really enjoyed all of Turkey, especially Istanbul and Cappadocia. Hearing the call to prayer was just so incredible, no matter what city we were in. To fully appreciate Turkey, I participated in all of the cultural offerings: the Whirling Dervish performance in an old caravanserai, a traditional Turkish bath experience, boat ride in Antalya on the Mediterranean and the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments: the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was over the top spectacular. And the Whirling Dervish performance in an old caravanserai was just mesmerizing, from the music to the dancing to the chanting. Just loved it!"

Stephen

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the tour especially since it was a different experience than previous trips to Western and Eastern Europe. The locals were very friendly maybe a little too friendly(carpet salesmen!). The ancient ruins, museums, mosques, lunch at locals house, and scenic areas of Turkey all added to the experience, although we did deviate from the schedule and seemed a little rushed at times. The food was very good, hotels were fine and the bus driver was the usual RS high standards.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not one clear outstanding wow moment for me but I enjoyed the historic sites and Istanbul the best, epecially Basilica cistern and our half day at Ephesus. The balloon ride was a little disappointing since it was not clear to us that the pilot would be following a different course for the skydiver. We missed out on the sunrise flight surrounded by balloons. I believe a different city than Antalya should be chosen for the "vacation from the vacation" because it was very touristy to me."

Brian

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From Brian & Carol We enjoyed the trip, "Alp" was had a great deal of information about the sites and was spontaneous. For example we really liked the seeing the farmers in their potato underground storage. We liked everyone who was on the tour with us. We felt that we had plenty of time for seeing everything. We enjoyed most of the Group meals and the recommendations were good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Brian: I really was wowed by the whirling dervishes. I also liked Hierapolis Carol: Cappadocia and Ephesus Brian also enjoyed meeting the staff at the hospital in Ku?adas?"

Jennifer

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 04/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed learning about such a very exotic part of the world. I felt that I gained great understanding of the social and political history of the area as well as getting to meet and talk with a lot of local people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed by many of the experiences we had there- the cities with such a mixture of old and new, the hike through the fairy chimneys, the ancient ruins and the amazing history"

Lee

San Jose, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

OMG! The tour was about in the top 10 experiences of my life, birth of my children being number 1!! I went with no expectations and with my ignorance about Turkey, I was pleasantly surprised every day. I appreciated how well organized each day was and the thoughtfulness to the timing and scheduling of activities. I have been used to traveling on my own using RS books, but having most of the decisions planned and made for me was a tremendous treat and a true vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very hard to answer because I found myself being "wowed" everyday. I would think at the moment that this had to be the greatest experience ever, and then the next day would occur and I found myself saying "wow" all over again."

Eileen

Los Gatos, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was such a wonderful place to visit! The country, people, food, sights and experiences were magnificent! Mert was a walking encyclopedia and he handled all the many details of the trip efficiently and expertly. I couldn't have been more pleased. I would go again tomorrow!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were so many it is hard to choose. Every day I said, "well, this is the high point of the trip!", until I gave up. Hagia Sophia, the cisterns, the fairy chimney formations, the open air museum in Goreme, the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, Ephesus and Aphrodisias to name a few. Visiting the imam and the Turkish family for lunch were very high on my list."

Robert

Bakersfield, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was really great - all the locations were perfect, the bus traveling was fine, the hotels were good to great, and the biggest asset of ALL was our tour guide Mert.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: Blue Mosque, the open markets, the carpet demo, Cappadocia and meeting with the Imam, lunch with the three Muslim ladies."

Judie

Lutz, FL

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So incredibly informative on all aspects of Turkey - Turkish life, Islam, politics, family life, etc. Much of the appeal of this trip had to do with our tour guide, Mert , who is outstanding - and the country of Turkey is outstanding as well. I heard many negative comments before the trip from "friends and acquaintances" but none from folks who had traveled there before - I share the positive sentiments of these people as Turkey is simply a wonderful country as are its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a "wow" but my favorite experiences were exploring the ruins, especiallt Ephesus."

Joan

Bakersfield, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was everything we expect from a Rick Steves tour - and more! Turkey has such a rich history, and the tour highlighted all of the various eras in its past...the early settlements (the REAL cradle of civilization!), the Greek and Roman heritage, the Byzantine empire, the Ottomans, and Ataturk's modern secular nation. But the gorgeous scenery, geography, mountains, agriculture were wonderful and unexpected. We had a congenial group of fellow travelers - and made life long friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, I expected it to be the balloon ride over Cappadocia, but sadly the weather did not permit this. But even without the balloon ride, Cappadocia region was a "wow" experience from start to finish. Cave dwellings in every conceivable location, Goreme world heritage site, the lovely fairy chimneys. I loved every minute. There were many other fabulous moments...lunch with a Turkish family, the gorgeous mosques of Istanbul, standing in a caravanseri used by Marco Polo. Wow!"

Benjamin

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Full of enjoyment. Wonderful sights (and sites); excellent companions; nice accommodations; Turkish people very welcoming; great food. The itinerary and pace were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mert, our wonderful guide, was my constant wow moment. He is very knowledgeable; has the ability to communicate very well; is proud of Turkey and its people; he is kind and caring (to the tour members and the many people we came in contact with ... especially children and young people); and well organized. My knowledge and appreciate of Turkey from Mert extended to -- history, religion, economics, current society, family life, food, architecture, medicine, educations, and much more."

Debra

Tampa, FL

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best tour ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many"

Theodore

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleased at how efficient the tour was. I was originally concerned that there would not be enough time at each sight, but not having to figure out how to get around and receiving information from an expert while at each place made the most of the seemingly limited time spent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara. Even the building itself is amazing. And I had been afraid that the day in Ankara was going to be a waste!"

Mary Sharon

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WONDERFUL! Mert set the tone. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge & enthusiasm for Turkey. He totally wowed us at every turn with his vast knowledge and love for his country. He brought an understanding of the people of Turkey through their history & religions. He was simply amazing. All our group was awesome. We bonded immediately & all seemed to share a great love for culture & knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Ephesus. The ruins were fantastic. Mert's explanation of the antiquities was superb. The working archaeological site was fascinating."

Allen

Camden, SC

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our seventh tour with Rick. Turkey is terrific! The antiquity was amazing. We learned a lot. Our guide Mert was very knowledgeable about all of Turkey. This was truly "Europe through the back door". Some days were very long. Would have preferred to add a day or two to the tour so days could be shortened and have more down time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being invited into a local's home for a meal and discussion with four generations of the same family. Fascinating interplay among the generations. Ephesus and Istanbul were special."

Matt

Clarkesville, GA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fascinating, fun, educational experience. Unlike any of my previous travels. The only negative was the weather, but then there's no controlling that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too hard to pick."

Susan

Tampa, FL

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guided Best of Turkey tour sold me on guided Rick Steves tours. I learned more about Turkey, its history and its people than I ever anticipated. Highlights were our visits to the ancient ruins and the visits with the Turkish people we could spend time with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can only pick ONE? In Ephesus I could "see" an ancient city come to life, but I loved meeting and talking to the family in Cappadocia and our conversations about a woman's life in contemporary Turkey the most."

Sally

San Jose, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing, I loved every bit of the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, I find it hard to choose. Having lunch prepared, and meeting the 4 generations of women that live in the home was a highlight. The women were so welcoming, the food was delicious, and they were so open to answering our questions about Turkish family life. Their responses were informative, and also showed a delightful sense of humor! The Easter Sunday spent in a mosque talking with the imam was also very special. He was so open, informative, and such a friendly, charming man."

Kathleen

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 03/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had no idea what to expect, but if I had, it would have exceeded all my expectations. The cities were exotic and interesting, the food was fabulous, the people were friendly, the tour group was copacetic and the tour leader (Mert) was absolutely outstanding. His knowledge, and his ability to transmit that knowledge and understanding to us, was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hands down, Ephesus."

Sue

Ridgeland, MS

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

So glad I made this trip. Taylan was very a knowledgeable tour guide for the areas we visited. Our bus driver was a fantastic driver. Very difficult areas to drive such a big bus. Very nice bus to travel in. What a beautiful country! I was very disappointed with hotel, Ninova in Antalya. Shower overflowed into bathroom every time you took a shower. Toliet did not work for better part of one day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride over Cappadocia and the beautiful vistas we saw driving throughout Turkey."

Maureen

North Ridgeville, OH

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey was a beautiful country with incredibly friendly people. Our tour enabled us to see a variety of sights in different parts of the country. I enjoyed having free time to explore and never felt rushed at any of the sights. Our fellow travelers were interesting and fun and our tour guide was terrific. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The balloon ride was definitely a "wow" moment. The landscape of Cappadocia is so amazing and our excellent balloonist brought us through little valleys as the sun rose. What an experience!"

Don

Seattle, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The main sights I had planned to see (Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, Ankara Museum, Capadoccia, Pamukkale, and Ephesus) were all I had hoped for. In addition, I gained insights into Islam and Turkish history that enriched the tour experience immeasurably. The logistics for the tour were well planned, and both the tour guide's expertise and accommodations exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Neolithic displays at the Museum of Anatolian Peoples gave me a new appreciation of the capabilities that people possessed around 6,500 BC and their mental landscapes."

Jacquelyn

Coupeville, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful.. No complaints at all. Every day was a new adventure. The conversations on the bus with our guide were interesting and educational. There was the right amount of 'doing planned activities' and free time. Our guide also had great suggestions for us when we did have unplanned time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of 'wow' moments. Hot air balloon ride, Turkish bath, the caves.. But the best day was the day we had lunch with our tour guides friend in her home. What a lady! A lesson in how we are all more alike than different."

Lois

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although I had read the material about the tour, I really did not know what to expect, not having been on a tour before. Each day was well planned and Taylan was flexible about making changes in the schedule when the weather wasn't cooperating. Taylan was very knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus!!! The other ruins were interesting, but the size and amount of excavation were a surprise to me."

Phil

Louisville, KY

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First tour we've ever done. Exceeded expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Simply having lunch at someone's home, can't remember her name, but a delightful lady in a small town in Capadoccia."

Maureen

Northampton, MA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I chose your tour because I wanted to see the country not just big cities. I came away with a sense of a world and people I had not known before. Now when I hear about Turkey I think of the people i met and their lives

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the lunch meeting in the home of a local woman who told us about her life and shared her view of the world around her and the morning meeting with a local Imam in his mosque It gave me a sense of the people and their daily lives . How they saw the world from their place in it. It's times like these that make travel mind expanding"

Angie

Houston, TX

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Turkey is a special country, and I hope it continues on that path. The people manage to mix the old and the new with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wows: Meeting with an interesting and informative imam Soaring over the volcanic rock formations in Cappadocia in a hot air balloon Riding an ebike along the coast in Antalya Learning about the skills in producing Turkish carpets and pottery"

Robert

Taos, NM

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was truly an eye-opening exposure to a country of unsurpassed physical beauty as well as friendly, gregarious people. Henceforth, I will be an unofficial ambassador for the country of Turkey and for Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ephesus. The other ruins that we visited were amazing, but they were only previews of the grandeur of Ephesus."

Marsha

Rieux,

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour for three major reasons: an excellent itinerary, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Taylan, and 23 other tour members who were always ready to embrace new experiences. The hotels were generally very good, as were the group meals. As a way to see the highlights of a country as big as Turkey, I don't think you could improve on the itinerary, without adding more time to the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I lived in Turkey from 1960-1967, and saw all the areas we visited then, so I was more interested in revisiting familiar things, like the friendliness of the Turkish people, the delicious food and talking to my fellow group members about their experiences. Unfortunately, my "wow" moments have to do with the unchecked development and urban sprawl that characterizes all of Turkey's large cities. For that reason, our time in the little town of Mustafapasa was my favorite."

John

Horsham, PA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour met and exceeded my expectations. I would recommend this tour to anyone. This was our first Rick Steve's tour and only the second tour we have taken first was to Egypt. My wife and I wanted to go to Turkey, but were hesitant to go on our own. We would not have seen as much if we had been on our own. Since we usually travel independently, it was nice to have everything worked out for us on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Balloon ride in Cappadocia."

Betsy

Horsham, PA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had a great time! This was our 1st RS tour, and our 2nd tour ever, as we usually design our own trips. Long fans of RS on PBS and his books, we felt that a trip to Turkey would be better for us using his experience and knowledge to guide us. Our guide was terrific, the bus driver was an ace, and the other tour members were fun and interesting. The trip is as described, lots of walking, stairs and fitness required. The estimates of walking were correctly listed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had thirteen days of "wow" moments. Each day stands out. Meeting the people was a highlight. Our interview with the Imman was enlightening, our lunch at a local home was delightful and authentically "through the back door"."

Diane

San Diego, CA

Tour: 03/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We covered a lot of territory, both physically and historically.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the balloon ride and also was blown away by the museum of ancient Anatolian civilizations in Ankara."

Jane

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a toss up among my first view of the interior of Hagia Sophia, the interior of Chora Church (both in Istanbul) and the painted church caves in Cappadocia. I confess, I'm interested in early Christian history and Turkey has many important sites."

Mary

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic. The whole group was very much together. This tour was out of our comfort level at first, but not now. We went a few days early and took a ferry to an island to meet retired American friends.Our guide, Alp, was fantastic, so entusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful. The driver was outstanding esp. in snow. Debi Jo made sure we were on time, etc. very friendly and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Istanbul with its Mosques, cats, and dogs. Seeing ancient times is way beyond history in school. What an inspiration to read more! I did read Pamuk's Istanbul his memories of growing up. That helped for modern times. The new building outside the city was beyond belief."

Kathy

Greenville, NC

Tour: 03/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Two weeks of non-stop fun and learning! We were incredibly impressed with the Rick Steves tour model. The group was lots of fun and good travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An overall "WOW" was how superlative this tour is! In every way, we were pleasingly impressed! It was exceptionally well organized with great use of time. When improvizations had to be made, they were well executed. Turkey was chock full of superlatives ... we had no idea and learned soooo much!"

Weather

Turkey / Istanbul

Istanbul Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

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

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Consider flying into one city and out of another (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). It's easiest to fly into Istanbul and home from Izmir (or Athens if you're exploring the Greek Islands — see below). Departures from Izmir may require a connection and an overnight stay in Istanbul. However there are some international departures that avoid this extra stop, so have your travel agent check for the best options.

Tour members who would like a ride to Izmir's airport can accompany our tour bus the last morning of the tour, Day 13. The bus will leave the tour hotel in Kuşadası immediately after breakfast around 8 a.m., arriving at the Izmir airport by 10 a.m. If you are flying out of Izmir on the last day of the tour, you'll want to book a flight that departs around 10:30 a.m. or later.

You may save money by purchasing this airline ticket prior to leaving home if your flight dates and plans are finalized. You can check schedules and purchase tickets at Turkish Airlines (www.thy.com/en-INT), Atlas Jet (www.atlasjet.com), and Onur Air (www.onurair.com.tr/onurair) or have your travel agent check for the best options. If your plans are not finalized, you will also have opportunities to purchase this airline ticket at a travel agency in Turkey. See your hotel directions and Best of Turkey Sightseeing Guide for more details.

If you plan to travel on to the Greek Islands after the tour and fly home from Athens, please note that ferry schedules can vary and weather delays and strikes are not uncommon. Prepare to be flexible. Please wait until you get to Kuşadası during the tour to purchase your ferry ticket to Samos. Your guide will explain how to obtain these ferry tickets. If you have time constraints, a flight may be preferable to the ferry for your journey to Athens from the Greek Islands.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Istanbul before your tour begins, use Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Turkish, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing that we will not do as a group: Istanbul Archaeological Museum (includes Tiled Kiosk and Museum of the Ancient Orient); Yerebatan Underground Cistern; Çemberlitaş Hamam; Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent; Galata Tower; and Dolmabahçe Palace. For details, please see Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook.

For more pre- and post-tour travel information, please visit our Turkey guides' website at www.srmtravel.com.

Packing

In Turkish mosques, women are expected to cover their heads with scarves. You may want to pack a scarf or purchase one in Istanbul. In addition, many of the ancient sites do not have much shade and you may want to consider packing a hat and sunscreen. Also, this tour has several opportunities for swimming. You may wish to pack a swimsuit and perhaps a lightweight microfiber towel.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick’s packing tips.