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Turkey - Best Tours & Trips 2019

408 trips to Turkey tours from 76 tour companies. 933 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.
Turkey straddles two continents -- Europe and Asia -- but even the smaller European section, on the western side of the Bosporus, has a strong Middle Eastern feel. The star attraction of the European side is Istanbul, with its iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The Asian side features classical ruins at Ephesus, cave dwellings at Cappadocia, and beach resorts along the coasts. It's a don't-miss destination, whichever continent y ... Read More
All Turkey tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

Company

Flights & Transport

Continents & Regions

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Highlights of Turkey Summer 2019

Trafalgar
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 178 / day
$ 1,425
From : $ 1,753
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • CITY TOUR in Istanbul
  • VISIT the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Basilica, Blue Mosque, Byzantine Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Anzac Cove and the poignant War Cemeteries at Gallipoli, the Asclepion Medical Centre at Pergamon, the ancient city of Ephesus, the Virgin Mary's House at Ephesus, the Cotton Castle springs at Pamukkale, the ruins of the Roman health spa at Hierapolis, the old silk market and the Grand Mosque in Bursa
  • VIEW the Wooden Horse at Troy
Visits:
Ephesus, Istanbul, Izmir, Troy, Turkey
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Highlights of Turkey

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 63 / day
$ 1,479
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Ancient history and monuments of the Ottoman Empire
  • Visit the Roman city of Ephesus
  • Optional balloon ride over Cappadocia
  • Limestone cascades and thermal springs at Pamukkale
Visits:
Ephesus, Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, Turkey
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Treasures of Turkey

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 171 / day
$ 2,399
From : $ 5,897
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore the elegant Blue Mosque
  • Visit to the Spice Market, the exotic food market
  • Cappadocia Rock Formations
  • Enjoys a choice location overlooking Turkey’s fabled Turquoise Coast
  • Explore Ephesus considered to be the world’s best-preserved classical city
  • Visit to the House of Virgin Mary
  • Visit the massive Acropolis, an impressive structure that houses the Temple of Trajan
  • See the Dardanelles, a narrow strait connecting the Aegean and Black Sea
Visits:
Acropolis, Ankara, Antalya, Blue Mosque, Çanakkale, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Istanbul, Izmir, Topkapi Palace , Troy, Turkey
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Anzac Day Tour-11 Days

Travel Talk
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 116 / day
$ 1,274
From : $ 1,720
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Sightseeing of Ancient city of Troy.
Visits:
Istanbul, Turkey
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Cappadocia Trails

7 days
$ 242 / day
$ 1,695
From : $ 2,288
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Visits:
Turkey
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Cruising the Islands of Greece and Turkey

Peregrine Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 448 / day
$ 3,580
From : $ 4,833
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Minimal walking. Motor vehicles for all major parts of trip. Wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Most cruises. Very Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Whether you want to revel in the atmosphere of mykonos or relax on your own at the private paradise at manganari beach, there are plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun
  • Watch the spectacular colours of santorini’s famous sunset bathe the caldera as you enjoy a sunset drink on board with fellow travellers – what could be better!
  • Get off the tourist trail with a stop in amorgos, where a striking 11th-century monastery built into a cliff offers breathtaking views of the aegean sea
  • Brush up on your history and mythology by touring the important archaeological site delos with local guides
  • Cross into turkey to tour the ruins of ephesus and discover the fascinating relics that remain of this vibrant ancient city including the temple of artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world
Visits:
Athens, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Akrotiri, Ephesus, Greece, Turkey
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Turkish Adventure

Contiki
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 137 / day
$ 1,915
From : $ 2,681
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • The Blue Mosque, the Galata Bridge, the Spice Markets - discover Istanbul with our expert local guide
  • See the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Suleymaniye Mosque
Visits:
Bodrum, Istanbul, Izmir, Turkey
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Turkey - Hike, Bike & Kayak

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 108 / day
$ 1,300
From : $ 1,755
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Get a taste of incredible Istanbul and its bustling backstreets
  • Hike and Cycle the Valleys of Cappadocia and picnic amongst a forest of Fairy Chimneys
  • Visit Ephesus’s astounding Roman ruins, where the Greco-Roman world still feels very much alive
  • A kayak trip over a sunken city is the perfect way to experience the lush blue waters of the Mediterranean
  • Hike the famous Lycian Way with breathtaking views of the Turquoise Coast. 
Visits:
Cappadocia, Istanbul, Antalya, Turkey
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Aegean Odyssey Deluxe Summer 2019

Trafalgar
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 355 / day
$ 3,909
From : $ 5,277
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : N/A
Physical Level : N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • CITY TOUR in Athens
    • VISIT the Acropolis in Athens, Mykonos, Milos, Oia on Santorini, Heraklion, Kusadasi
    • VIEW the Parthenon, the Caldera on Santorini and the windmills on Mykonos
    • SEE Hadrian's Arch and the 1896 Olympic Stadium in Athens
    Visits:
    Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Greece, Turkey
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    Treasures of the Aegean – Southbound

    Tauck
    By Tauck
    Preferred
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    14 days
    $ 514 / day
    $ 7,190
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
    Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
    Highlights
    • Guided tour of the Acropolis and visit to Acropolis Museum; exploring Mycenae
    • including Agamemnon's tomb; cruising the Greek Isles; visits to Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque; a boat ride in Istanbul on the Bosphorus; a carpet demonstration in a village near Kusadasi; and a special Greek dinner in ancient Rhodes
    Visits:
    Athens, Bodrum, Ephesus, Epidaurus, Istanbul, Piraeus, Rhodes, Santorini, Greece, Turkey
    View Trip

    Walking in Cappadocia

    Exodus Travels
    Preferred
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    8 days
    $ 147 / day
    $ 1,179
    From : $ 1,592
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
    Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Trek amongst the fairytale rocks of Cappadocia
    • Discover the historic and cultural secrets of this region
    • Visit the underground city of Kaymakli
    Visits:
    Cappadocia, Turkey
    View Trip

    Best of Turkey

    Intrepid Travel
    Premier
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    15 days
    $ 92 / day
    $ 1,380
    From : $ 1,863
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Be mesmerised by the hypnotic rituals of the devout Whirling Dervishes in their home of Konya
    • Explore thousands of years of history hidden within the remarkable ruins of Ephesus, and taste Turkey in the local produce of the mountain village of Şirince
    • Paddle through the magical healing hot springs at Pamukkale and uncover the streets of Hierapolis that Cleopatra once walked
    • Discover the atmospheric remains of a Ghost Village and trek along the ancient trail of the Lycian Way to a lagoon of unforgettable turquoise
    • Set sail on the Mediterranean – explore sunken cities and hike to a knight’s castle
    • Walk into valleys honeycombed with caves churches, underground cities, prehistoric rock formations and fairy chimneys in Cappadocia
    Visits:
    Antalya, Blue Lagoon, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Istanbul, Turkey
    View Trip

    Grecian Dreams Standard (Preview 2019)

    12 days
    $ 296 / day
    $ 3,550
    From : $ 4,793
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : N/A
    Physical Level : N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Athens: See Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus.
    • Corinth Canal: Cross the amazing rock-cut channel dividing the Peloponnese from mainland Greece.
    • Olympia: Join a local chef and savour the regional specialties in a fun, exciting introduction to Greek cooking.
    • Athens: Toast the culmination of your journey in true Greek tradition at a lively Celebration Dinner with wine.
    • Cruising: While cruising, enjoy an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on board daily. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package, featuring a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, and hot beverages.
    • Dining Summary: 11 Breakfasts (BB), 4 Lunches (L), 7 Dinners (D) and 2 Dinners with Wine (DW), all with tea or coffee. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package featuring a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, and hot beverages.
    • Kusadasi: If you choose to visit Kusadasi, your Local Expert guides you through the famous archaeological site of Ephesus.
    • Heraklion: If you decide to visit Samos, you will enjoy free time on the island and while in Crete, join in a guided visit of the Palace of King Minos.
    • Santorini: Your Local Expert takes you to the village of Oia, one of the most picturesque Cycladic village.
    • Mycenae: Meet the artisans of a family-run pottery studio and learn about their unique traditional methods.
    • Athens: Ascend the Acropolis with a Local Expert to admire the Parthenon, built in 5th century B.C., as well as the smaller Temple of Athena Nike and the Porch of the Maidens.
    • Thermopylae: See the Leonidas Monument dedicated to the brave warrior and his 300 Spartans.
    • Meteora: With a Local Expert, visit one of the remarkable centuries-old monasteries of Meteora, teetering on towers of rock and arguably the most spectacular place to visit in Greece.
    • Delphi: With your Local Expert, walk to The Sacred Way once lined with offertory temples. See the reconstructed Athenian Treasury and pass the superb Polygonal Wall to reach the Temple of Apollo, where the people would seek divine wisdom from the mysterious Oracle.
    • Olympia: The stadium of Olympia hosted the ancient Olympic Games and the Heraia, the women's games in honour of Hera. See the Temple of Zeus, athlete's gymnasium and the stone marker where the sprint began.
    • Mycenae: Walk through the Lion Gate past the royal beehive-tombs where Schliemann uncovered golden treasure, while hearing tales of Agamemnon from your Local Expert.
    • Mediterranean Dreams Cruising: Visit the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete and Santorini. Call in at the Turkish port of Kusadasi or the Greek Island of Samos.
    Visits:
    Athens, Olympia, Rhodes, Greece, Turkey
    View Trip

    Spectacular Greece with Island Cruise

    SmarTours
    Premier
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    11 days
    $ 273 / day
    $ 2,999
    From : $ 8,197
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Experience 4-night Greek Island Cruise
    • Visit Mykonos, Ephesus and Santorini
    • House of Virgin Mary (Ephesus)
    • Visit Patmos, Crete and Oia Village
    • Explore Olympia, Mycenae and Rhodes
    • Discover Parthenon (Athens) and Acropolis (Athens)
    Visits:
    Athens, Crete, Delphi, Ephesus, Heraklion, Mycenae, Mykonos, Parthenon, Piraeus, Rhodes, Santorini, Greece, Turkey
    View Trip

    Archaeology of Eastern Turkey

    11 days
    $ 356 / day
    $ 3,915
    From : $ 5,285
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
    Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Watch the sunset at Mount Nemrut
    • Discover the beginnings of civilisation at Göbekli Tepe
    • Harran, the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham
    • Beautiful ancient architecture and frescoes
    • Explore the ancient Zeugma Region
    • Taste Gaziantep’s culinary delights
    • Explore the vast depths of Cappadocia's underground cities
    • Marvel at the world famous “fairy chimneys”
    • The unique city of Çatalhöyük
    Visits:
    Ankara, Cappadocia, Istanbul, Turkey
    View Trip
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    Top Turkey Experiences and Attractions

    Top Turkey Experiences

    Gazing awed at the massive treasures of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul’s Topkapi Museum.

    Marveling over the Byzantine architecture of Hagia Sophia.

    Dining at a rooftop restaurant situated between Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, as the sun sets and the iconic, exotic structures are illuminated.

    Kayak above the underwater, ancient ruins of Kekova, off Turkey’s south coast along the Lycian Trail.

    Riding the ferries across the Bosphorus while crossing from Europe to Asia or vice versa.

    Wandering through the seemingly endless market stalls in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar as persistent salesman hawk rugs, jewelry and souvenirs.

    Watching a whirling dervish twirl and sway for hours on an outdoor stage, seemingly mesmerized by the entrancing rhythms of the sufi music played in the background.

    Making a quick but tasty lunch of a fresh grilled fish sandwich sold at a sidewalk stand near the Bosphorus.

    Attending a Sufi dance performance.

    Taking a hot air balloon ride over the amazing landscape at Cappadocia, where the unusual volcanic rock formations are pocked with underground cave dwellings.

    Staying overnight in a Cappadocia cave hotel in Göreme.

    Taking a self-driving tour through the mountains of Turkey, including Kaçkar, Karçal and Yalnızçam.

    Exploring the old town at Antalya, Turkey’s largest beach resort, situated on a dramatic cliffside perch overlooking the Mediterranean.

    Exploring the underground city of Derinkuyu and its cave system.

    Visiting the ancient city of Ephesus, one of Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a frequent cruise-ship stop.

    Sailing down the Turkish coast in a traditional gulet, a two- or three-masted wooden vessel.

    Soaking in the hot springs at Pamukkale and exploring the nearby Hierapolis ruins.

    Touring the historic Basilica Cistern underground colonnade.

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    Turkey Trip Reviews

    933 Turkey Tour Reviews - Summary 96% Recommend

    4.7 out of 5
    Excellent 678
    Great 220
    Average 22
    Disappointing 7
    Terrible 6
    Value
    4.7
    Guide
    4.7
    Activities
    4.7
    Lodging
    4.7
    Transportation
    4.7
    Meals
    4.7

    Tour Reviews Write a Review

    Great tours

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Great tours and travels services thanks you

    Read more
    Operator Advantage Travel

    I recommend with closed eyes!!! Excellent service

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    At First I was a little afraid to close the cruise for a company I didn't know and even more distance. But I recommend with closed eyes!!! Excellent service. And look I'm detail, boring really.. lol. I traded several emails with Susana. Several questions. And everything responded immediately. Susana is exceptional!! solved flawless everything for our trip! Very Happy!!!

    Read more
    Operator Travel Zone Greece

    The tour was comprehensive and wonderful

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    Being able to experience Gallipoli and learn about the war from a Turkish perspective was invaluable. Our guide Reggie was the best! He was so knowledgeable and friendly, went out of his way to help me during the tour. I have expressed to all of my friends that a tour in Turkey wouldn't be complete without Reggie.
    Thanks for a great tour!

    Read more
    Operator On The Go Tours

    Ancient Lands Moderate

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    GREAT PRICE ON TOUR. CARPET AND RING PLUS POSTCARDS AND TRINKETS ALSO PURCHASED

    Read more
    Operator Trafalgar

    Fantastic tour – loved it!

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    So much fun with friends. Awesome service and guide :)

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    Operator Travel Talk

    Spectacular Greece was Spectacular

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    This was our 3rd trip with smarTours, and we have enjoyed every one of them. We experienced a wonderful variety of sites. There was so much to see and do on this trip. Our guides were excellent, and our tour directors, Granville and Elena, both deserve special kudos for their breadth of knowledge and for making this trip so memorable.

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    Operator SmarTours

    Turkey Tours and Travel Guide

    Turkey Attractions & Landmarks Guide

    Turkey straddles two continents -- Europe and Asia -- but even the smaller European section, on the western side of the Bosporus, has a strong Middle Eastern feel. The star attraction of the European side is Istanbul, with its iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

    The Asian side features classical ruins at Ephesus, cave dwellings at Cappadocia, and beach resorts along the coasts. It's a don't-miss destination, whichever continent you're exploring. 

    Istanbul alone is worth the trip to this fascinating country that spans two continents, Europe and Asia. In fact, greater Istanbul itself spans two continents, with ferry boats making continual trips across the Bosphorus between the western and eastern sides of the city.

    Why Visit Turkey on a Tour? 

    Turkey is a treasure trove of east and west culture, history, archaeology, adventure and cuisine - a delightful way to experience both Europe and the Middle East. Among the top reasons to consider Turkey for a small-group guided tour: the incredible hospitality of the Turkish people, the legendary cuisine, the ancient sites (including many UNESCO World Heritage Sites), varied and awe-inspiring landscapes, historic landmarks and a gorgeous Mediterranean shoreline. 

    Your guided tour of Turkey brings with it some of the most unique travel experiences you’ll ever have. The country sits on the border of Europe and Asia and, as a 99 percent Muslim nation, is home to a huge number of religious sites (it continues to be a top place of pilgrimmage for both devout Muslims and Christian pilgrims).

    Among travelers’ favorite experiences in Turkey are cruising the Black Sea, learning to cook baklava, watching the sunset over the Blue Mosque, swimming in blue lagoons and soaking in thermal hot springs, taking a hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia, exploring underground cave systems and much more.

    Turkey is a must-visit destination for history buffs, foodies, lovers of culture and tradition, and adventure travelers. Soak it all up on a thoughtfully planned, immersive Turkey itinerary from a reputable tour operator - and consider adding on other Eastern European countries, such as Slovenia and Croatia, to make it a grand tour! 

    So why travel to Turkey on a guided tour instead of planning an itinerary yourself? Quite simply, Turkey is so unique, fascinating and different from any other European country that it’s more than worth the time to research a tour operator who can help you navigate your way through and ensure that you get the most bang for your buck.

    Today’s most reputable Turkey tour operators won’t herd you around with 50 other travelers - instead, you can choose from small-group tour companies that focus on senior travel, millennial travel, adventure travel, cuisine, culture, history, photography and more. You’ll travel with like-minded people from around the world, guided by local residents and experts eager to share the best of Turkey with you.

    See Turkey Small Group Tours »

    Plus, with smaller groups and the cache the tour company can provide, you’ll get behind-the-scenes sightseeing privileges, as well as access to more intimate dining establishments and characterful accommodations.

    Whether you’re seeking a two-week, all-inclusive luxury tour package that highlights the best of Turkey, or need help for a weekend excursion to Istanbul, joining a small-group tour will not only likely save you money over making the arrangements yourself, but takes away the headache of said arrangements and any ensuing problems that may arise.

    Turkey’s Top Cultural Attractions 

    With its countless historical and religious sites, world-class museums and ancient cities, Turkey appeals to the culture-seeking traveler. To get the most out of your visit to this fascinating country, consider a package tour focused on Turkish culture.

    The best escorted tours to Turkey will introduce you to the wealth of history, art, cuisine and varying landscapes that make up the country’s melting pot of cultures.

    Top Museums in Turkey 

    Discover the many great private and state museums run by the Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

    The best state museums in Turkey include:

    1. Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul

    2. Hagia Sophia Museum, Istanbul

    3. Mevlana Museum, Konya

    4. Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Istanbul

    5. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

    The best private museums in Turkey include

    1. Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul

    2. Rahmi Koc Museum, Istanbul

    3. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

    4. Pera Museum, Istanbul

    5. Rezan Has Museum, Istanbul

    Discover Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    Small-group tour operators specializing in Turkey will typically include several of the country’s numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in their itineraries.

    Among the top UNESCO cultural sites in Turkey, you’ll see:

    Turkey’s UNESCO cultural/natural sites include:

    • Goreme National Park and Rock Sites of Cappadocia 
    • Hierapolis-Pamukkale 

    And the newest UNESCO treasures in Turkey include:

    • Ephesus, Izmir
    • Diyarbakir Fortress 
    • Archaeological site of Ani, Kars
    • Aphrodisias, Aydin
    • Gobeklitepe, Sanliurfa

    Turkey’s Top Religious Sites 

    One of the top draws for travel to Turkey is the chance to visit a variety of significant religious sites and faith centers. Visit Muslim mosques and other protected sacred sites, making sure to show proper respect when doing so. Among the most popular Islamic religious sites in Istanbul are Topkapi Palace, Eyup Sultan Mosque and Tomb, Suleymaniye Mosque and Blue Mosque.

    For those who would like to explore the Jewish traditions in Turkey, Izmir is a must-see. This is the only city in the world with a number of synagogues in medieval Spanish architectural style - they’re clustered together, creating a unique architectural complex.

    Guided tours of Istanbul focusing on Jewish history may also visit the Ancient Ephesus Synagogue, the Beth Israel Synagogue and the Rosh Ha-Har Synagogue, among others.

    Istanbul itself is home to several Jewish sacred sites as well - if you are interested in Jewish culture and heritage in Turkey, look for tours that include visits to some of the many holy synagogues and the Jewish Museum of Turkey

    Christians consider Turkey the second holy land - while a minority religion in the country, Christianity is noted in its stunning sacred sites, including almost 240 churches.

    Among the most well-known sacred Christian sites in TUrkey are St. Nicholas’ birthplace and church in Antalya, Ancient Nicaea in Bursa, the early Christian settlement in Cappadocia and the Seven Churches of the Revelation (Ephesus, Pergamum, Smyrna, Laodicea, Sardis, Philadelphia and Thyatira).

    What to Know About Turkey’s Whirling Dervishes

    One of the top bucket-list items for a Turkey vacation is seeing a whirling dervish performance. This iconic dance stems from Sufism and the Mevlevi Order, first formed in Konya, Turkey, in 1312.

    What’s a Sufi? Sufis are defined as those who follow the 13th-century Sufi Muslim mystic and poet Jalaluddin Rumi, who first created the whirling dervish ceremony as a form of meditation.

    If you simply can’t leave Turkey without experiencing the whirling dervishes, a few to look for include: 

    1. Galata Mevlevihanesi, Istanbul: This is Istanbul’s first Sufi lodge, where you’ll find informative exhibits, art, photographs, Sufi instruments and more, as well as weekly whirling dervish performances (Sundays).
    2. Sirkeci Train Station, Istanbul: The Oriental Railway built this striking station on the European side of Istanbul in 1890. Whirling dervishes perform several days a week in the evening. 
    3. Hodjapasha, Sirkeci: A former hammam with a visually interesting whirling dervish show, complete with exhibits, satures and a performance.

    Turkey’s Top Ancient Cities and Archaeological Sites

    One of the biggest draws for tourism in Turkey is its wealth of ancient ruins and impressive archaeological treasures. Anatolia, the land that is Turkey today, has a history of more than 10,000 years and is the origin of countless civilizations and empires. Your in-depth guided tour of Turkish history will unveil the marks these cultures have left on the region over time.

    Turkey’s most-visited ancient cities near the Aegean Sea include Ephesus, Kaunos, Knidos, Letoon, Pergamum and Teos.

    Near the Mediterraean, must-see ancient cities include Aspendos, Olympos, Perge, Phaselis, Termessos and Xanthos.

    In central Anatolia, visit the Cappadocia Underground Cities and in eastern and southeastern Anatolia, look for tours of the Ani ruins, the Dara Mesopotamia ruins and the Gobeklitepe Temple.

    Istanbul’s Glories

    Istanbul is rich in architectural and historic treasures. The city’s two iconic landmarks, the enormous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia -- a onetime Greek Orthodox basilica turned mosque and museum -- stand near each other within easy viewing distance of the Bosphorus. With their minarets and domes, especially when illuminated at night, the two help create as distinctive a skyline as any city in the world.

    You could easily spend days examining the wealth of jewelry, china, costumes and carvings at the Topkapi Palace museum, most of them dating from the era of the old Ottoman Empire, which at one point dominated much of Europe and the Middle East. A jeweled dagger featured in the 1964 Peter Ustinov heist film Topkapi remains the top draw.

    Beyond Istanbul

    For the most comprehensive experience, look for Turkey tours that go beyond Istanbul. While no doubt Istanbul is a must-see Turkish city, there is so much more to experience throughout the country, roughly the size of Texas. While Turkey is modernizing by the minute, there is culture and tradition enough to ensure an authentic experience wherever you travel. 

    Look for small-group tours of Turkey that include:

    • Cappadocia: Famous for its fantastical land formations, cave dwellings and opportunity glide above it all by hot-air balloon. This is such a popular activity in Cappadocia that up to 80 balloons take flight on any given morning. 
    • Aphrodisias: an ancient city in homage of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty
    • Troy ruins: sight of Homer’s Iliad
    • Pergamum: home to Hellenistic ruins that overlook the town of Bergama in the Aegean region - don’t miss the Pergamum Acropolis, Asclepion (spa) area and Red Basilica
    • Hierapolis: containing a necropolis - city of the dead - with numerous tombs and a thermal pool 
    • Ephesus: a well-preserved Roman port city famousfor the Temple of Artemis (in Selçuk), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Library of Celsus (take time to explore Selçuk, perfect for Turkey history buffs - the Basilica of St. John, where the youngest apostle is buried, is here as well)
    • Turkish Riviera: azure waters of Turkey’s southwest coast, where wooden boats day cruise from Bodrum and swimming and lazing about is the most effort you might put into your day.
    • Pamukkale: a UNESCO World Heritage town famous for its natural mineral hot springs 
    • Konya: birthplace of Sufism and perhaps the most traditional place to see the whirling dervish - look for Turkey tours that allow for time to visit the Mevlana Museum to learn more about Rumi, Sufism and the former dervish school that used to be on the premises 
    • Kaş: one of the most charming villages in Turkey, located on the Mediterranean coast. Visit Kas with a local guide to get the most out of your visit - they’ll be able to point out their favorite shops and restaurants, as well as set up boat tours to Kalekoy Castle and the Sunken City of Kekova.

    The Turkish Coast

    Much of southwestern Turkey is lined with the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea beach resorts, often packed with Europeans on holiday. The largest is Antalya, whose old section of winding cobbled streets sits on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean and is the site of numerous boutique hotels and chic shops.

    Antalya is said to be the third most visited city in the world after Paris and London, largely based on cruise ship stops and packaged flights from northern Europe.

    Kusadasi on the Aegean coast is another popular resort, but many foreign visitors go there to see the nearby ruins of Ephesus, a 3,000-year-old Greek commercial center that was the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (a single column remains).

    Ephesus later played important roles in the Roman empire and early Christianity, and the ruins of the House of the Virgin Mary are said to be the last home of Jesus’ mother. The most striking ruin is probably the Library at Celsus, whose dramatic facade is still standing, though vast streets lined with ruins of temples and ancient house foundations can hold your interest for hours.  

    Cappadocia

    Cappadocia, a World Heritage site in central Turkey’s Goreme Valley, has become a must-stop on many Turkish tour itineraries. Not only does it contain strange volcanic rock formations produced by age-old forces of wind and rain, but dwellings and even churches have been chiseled out of the soft rocks. You can also find entire troglodyte cities connected by underground tunnels -- some dating from as early as the 5th century AD. Ancient monks decorated many of the chapels with striking Byzantine art.

    Hot air balloon rides have become a popular way to view the unusual valley landscape, and are options offered by many tours.

    Outdoor Adventure Travel in Turkey 

    If your idea of an excellent Turkey vacation includes more days on a trail, on a bike or in the water than in a fancy hotel room, an active travel tour is for you.

    Fortunately, Turkey has many outdoor, active opportunities for the traveler who wants to move, from multi-day treks along long-distance trails to horseback riding in Cappadocia. 

    Here are a few of our favorite ways to experience Turkey on an active travel small-group tour: 

    1. Hike the Lycian Way. This renowned hiking trail is beloved for its amazing views of the Mediterranean, the limestone peaks of ancient Lycia, the ghost village of Kaya Köyü, the remote Seven Capes peninsula, the ruins of Sidyma and so much more. Your hiking tour through this picturesque region of Turkey wanders from Ottoman routes to forested paths to ancient roads, all while offering a glimpse of traditional Turkish life.   

    2. Horseback ride in Cappadocia. Saddle up and take a horseback tour of the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, one of the world’s most dramatic and interesting landscapes. If you’ve experienced the Big Sky of Montana, you’ll love the similar vastness of this Asia region. Most horseback riding tours in Cappadocia will take a circular route through the area into seldom-visited spots away from heavy tourist traffic.  

    3. Walk the Carian Trail. This southwest coastal Turkey hiking trail is bucket-list favorite of trekkers worldwide. Its 800 kilometers wind through the Mugla and Aydin provinces, following in the footsteps of the ancient Carian civilization. This is one of the best hiking tours in Turkey to see traditional boat building, visit historical ruins, gaze out at the Aegean Sea, learn about the region’s agriculture, swim in turquoise waters and experience a gorgeous Mediterranean climate. 

    4. Cycle along Turkey’s southwest coast. Cover miles of Turkish coastline and hinterland per day on a guided bike tour between Dalyan and Kas, perhaps combining your cycle trip with a walking tour of the Lycian Way. Read about the best bike vacations (and other active travel) in Turkey here. 

    5. Try kitesurfing. What to try something new on your Turkey trip? The best place to try your hand at kitesurfing in Turkey is Alaçati. Your outdoor adventure tour operator can bring you up to speed and help you sign up for a first-timer’s course. You’ll be soaring over the Aegean before you know it. 

    6. Go diving in Kas. Considered one of the best dive sites in the Mediterranean, Kas is a must for those who take their adventure travel under the waves. Even if it’s your first time, your tour operator can arrange for certification. Explore rainbow-hued fish, caves and rock formations under the glistening surface of the Mediterranean. 

    7. Kayak along the Lycian Coast. Active travelers who want to get on the water in Turkey don’t have to dive under its surface. Consider a sea kayaking tour of the Lycian coast, one of the prettiest stretches of Mediterranean shoreline. Guided kayak tours of the Lycian region in Turkey will take you around the remote Seven Capes peninsula, to white-sand Patara Beach, past caves and blowholes and through the islands of Fethiye Bay - with plenty of opportunity to jump into the heavenly Mediterranean waters for a refreshing swim.

    8. Visit a Turkish nature park. There are countless protected nature parks throughout Turkey perfect for outdoor activity. Depending on your interest, look for active travel companies in Turkey that utilize these picturesque spots for everything from angling and rafting to wildlife observation and mountain biking. 

    And more … The opportunities for active adventure travel in Turkey are limitless. Take a yoga class facing the Aegean, take to one of the 22 long-distance hiking, biking and horseback-riding trails throughout the country, go mountain biking or rock climbing.

    Upscale outdoor adventure tour companies specializing in Turkey have all the insider tips you’ll need to discover the country’s natural landscape on your own terms and in the way you feel most comfortable.

    Nature and Wildlife Attractions in Turkey

    Beyond its whirling dervishes and Turkish Delight, beyond Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey is brimming with natural attractions and wildlife unlike anywhere else in the world. Discover the country’s 43 national parks and 300 wetland areas on a Turkey vacation focused on active travel, nature and wildlife. 

    Among Turkey’s favorite national parks - and its most beautiful - are:

    1. Goreme: Explore the mysterious and captivating landscapes of Turkey’s Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia. 

    2. Kackar Mountains: The Kackar Range is one of the best places in Turkey for ecotourism and a favorite of nature-loving travelers. 

    3. Dilek Peninsula: Not only is the Diley Peninsula National Park breathtaking, but it is one of Turksy’ most important natural heritage sites, located in the Aydin province in the Aegean region.

    Turkey is also home to more than 300 wetlands, making it the European and Middle Eastern country with the most wetlands. The country is located on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa, so birdwatchers in Turkey flock to the wetlands to view the birds while they’re resting from their long flights. Ask your Turkey tour guideoperator to point out some of the 460 bird species found in the wetlands, many of whom are hosted and protected by the country’s “Bird Sanctuary Project.”

    Turkey’s natural landscapes are as popular with visitors as its cultural and religious landmarks. If venturing out into volcano country, thermal hot springs, beaches and unique land formations is high on your must-see list, look for a Turkey vacation package that includes some of the following: 

    1. Mount Erciyes in Cappadocia: This now-extinct volcano is in central Anatolia. Your small group’s local Turkish guide can help you navigate the mysterious lunar-like landscape of Cappadocia, famous for its fairy chimneys.

    2. Thermal Springs: Thanks to an ancient volcanic landscape, Turkey is rich in thermal springs. Tours focused on active adventure travel in Turkey will have the inside scoop on where to see and soak in these healing waters.

    3. Pamukkale: With its gleaming white tiers over which blue hot springs cascade gently, Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Turkey’s most popular natural wonders. The ancient Romans who lived in nearby Hierapolis visited the pools for their mineral-rich, healing properties.

    4. Mount Ararat: Adventure travelers on vacation in Turkey will love rugged, snow-capped Mount Ararat, country’s highest mountain and source of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

    5. Aegean Sea: The Aegean region is one of the most photographed spots in Turkey, thanks to the flower-bedecked Butterfly Valley - look for the rare jersey tiger butterfly. 

    6. Nemrut Lake: Turkey tours that visit Eastern Anatolia will highlight Nemrut Lake, the world’s second-largest crater lake, and Turkey’s largest. There are steam chimneys, ice caves, hot and cold water to plunge into and soak in, a unique caldera landscape and great birdwatching. 

    Turkey’s numerous natural attractions are - naturally - home to several animal species, many of whom originated here. Wildlife lovers on tour in Eastern Europe will want to ask about the opportunity to view wild Yilki horses, red deer, Mediterranean monk seals, Caretta Caretta turtles, Northern bald ibis birds, Anatolia leopards and Anatolian wild sheep.

    What to Eat in Turkey 

    You’ve made it to Turkey … what to eat? Traditional Turkish cuisine is tops among the many highlights of the country your expert tour guide will enthusiastically share. There’s no cookie-cutter description of Turkish food - instead, you’ll find a melting pot of flavors stemming from Central Asia, the Middle East and the Balkan region.

    Here are a few of the most well-known staples of Turkish food: 

    • Kebaps - Grilled meat on a skewer, most likely lamb or beef, but chicken also widely available these days 
    • Döner - Meat mixed with local herbs and spices, then skewered and grilled vertically
    • Köfte meatballs - Typically ground lamb or mutton with breadcrumbs, onions and spices - Izgara Köfte is a favorite, served with green peppers, dried red peppers and rice or bread
    • Mantı dumplings - Doughy dumplings filled with ground lamb or beef, onion and spices 
    • Sade pilav - A popular side dish, essentially rice and tiny pasta (şehriye) cooked with various vegetables, meats or chickpeas, with a variety of spices 
    • Cacık - A refreshing blend of cucumber, yogurt, garlic and mint
    • Leblebi - roasted chickpeas, with salt, spices, cloves or candy coated 
    • Meze platter - Small dishes or appetizers like dips, purees, salads, meatballs, pastries, cheeses, olives and more.  
    • Imam Bayildi - Entire eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic and tomato

    When touring Istanbul, be sure to sample the abundant street food. There are vendors everywhere you look. Try as many of the following favorite Turkish street foods as you can: 

    • Kebaps 
    • Döner 
    • Börek pastries - ranging from plain to spinach-filled to meat-filled
    • Pide - slightly leavened bread similar to pizza, with a variety of meat and cheese toppings 
    • Mısır -  boiled or grilled corn on the cob
    • Balık ekmek - fish bread - truly, it’s grilled or fried fish stuffed inside a large hunk of bread
    • Simit - a savory sesame-covered roll (think: Turkish bagel)
    • Midye dolma - stuffed mussels
    • Kokoreç - grilled sheep intestines, with a heavy dose of spices, roasted on a skewer

    Souvenirs to Buy in Turkey

    What’s a long-anticipated tour of turkey if you don’t bring home a piece of nostalgia to remind you of your fantastic and enriching days spending visiting this fascinating Eastern European country?

    Look for these fun, quirky and traditional items to buy when you’re in Turkey: 

    1. Turkish Delight: Don’t head home from your Turkey vacation without these traditional sweet treat. Choose from several flavors, including rose, cinnamon and lemon, of this gummy treat. If you’re in Istanbul, stop by Hacir Bekir Efendi’s family shop - the original inventor of the Turkish delight.

    2. The Evil Eye (Nazar Boncugu): Ward off bad luck with this ancient Turkish talisman. If your Turkey tour visits Nazarkoy in western Izmir, you can visit the workshops where many of these evil eyes are manufactured.

    3. Turkish carpets: Bring a long-lasting Turkish carpet home for an everyday reminder of your travels to Turkey. Ask your tour guide for tips before shopping because there are many copycat carpets flooding the market. Your expert local guide can point you in the right direction and help you navigate the traditional carpet choices - given the high price tags, it’s worth it to take the time to do your research. 

    4. Cappadocia clay pottery: Many Turkey vacation packages visit the intriguing Cappadocia region. Shop for red clay pottery, in particular in the town of Avanos on the Red River. Want to give pottery a try yourself? Look for Cappadocia tours that include a trip to a workshop where you can sit down with the artists and give the potter’s wheel a spin yourself. 

    5. Apple tea: The Rize area is Turkey’s tea capital, and although apple tea is a favorite Turkish souvenir, the locals actually take their tea black. Turkish coffee is another go-to souvenir caffeine-lovers - grab one of the small copper cups the locals drink it in as well.

    6. Spices: You’ll be trying a whole range of Turkish cuisine during your small-group tour and, no doubt, looking forward to replicating the flavors when you return home. Shop at the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar of Istanbul for red chili flakes and sumac. Just don’t fall for saffron because most of what you’ll find actually stems from Iran, not Turkey.

    7. Gourd lamps: Less likely to break in your luggage than mosaic glass lamps, gourd lamps are readily available for purchase along the Turkey coastline and are made from dried squash, then decorated with sparkling jewels.

    Top Turkey Travel Companies

    Things to Know Before You Go

    Turkish Currency

    Here’s the lowdown on the currency in Turkey. 

    The currency in Turkey is the Türk Lirası (Turkish lira; ₺). You can expect to pay about ₺7–12 for a beer, ₺50 and up for a flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia, ₺40 for a fish and meze meal and ₺35 for a boating day trip.

    A hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia (a must-do activity in Turkey) runs about €160–175. Many Turkey tour operators will factor these costs into your package rate.

    The lira is available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 notes, as well as coins from 1 to 50 kuruş, plus a coin for 1 lira. If you’re planning to visit the markets, keep a stock of coins and smaller notes for low-priced items - the vendors often do not have correct change. 

    ATMS are available throughout Turkey and most business in metropolitan and heavily visited areas accept credit and debit cards. 

    Hoping to bargain at the bazaar? The vendors are used to haggling, but you may want to ask your Turkey tour guide for local customs. There’s a fine art to bargaining, particularly for higher-priced items in upscale shops. Typically, there is some back and forth and ultimately, a price is agreed upon. It’s not considered good manners to haggle over the price and then change your mind and not purchase anything at the end. 

    When you’re bargaining at a Turkish market, take your time, be polite and consider buying several items at once, paying in cash or using a strong currency. 

    Best Time to Visit Turkey 

    For pleasant weather for your Turkey vacation, the most optimal months to visit are April, May, September and October. You’ll miss the oppressive heat of mid-summer, making sightseeing at ancient ruins more comfortable - although if you’re focusing on a seaside tour of Eastern Europe, you may welcome the high temperatures.

    Turkish tour operators often cite May as a particularly good month to visit for its warm, but not overly hot temperatures, making visits to Ephesus and other sites with little shade more pleasant.

    After October, the temperature drops and it can be off puttingly cold from about November through March, particularly in the interior of the country. Then again, if you’re hoping to beat the crowds during your Turkey tour, then aim for the winter months. 

    Is Turkey Safe to Visit?

    There’s no yes or no answer to the question of Turkey’s safety for tourists. The political climate can be unstable and the news has opened the world’s eyes to the Syrian conflict and the ensuing terrorist attacks in Turkey. While the security of the country has been compromised at times, travelers can still tour Turkey comfortably with reputable tour operators, who will always have your safety and wellbeing top of mind. 

    When you are considering a tour to Turkey, stay abreast of the latest news and government-issued travel warnings. For example, it is not advised to travel within 10 kilometers of the Syrian border and certain cities and regions are considered off limits, including the city of Diyarbakir, and the provinces of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Tunceli and Hakari, where most of the terrorist attacks have occured. 

    If you’re keen to visit Turkey, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the cost and effort to tour a country with an unpredictable political climate, consider purchasing travel insurance. That way, you can choose a tour company for your Turkey tour, make the arrangements, figure out what you want to see and do, and then - if disaster strikes - you won’t have lost your entire investment. 

    Here are a few ideas for staying safe during your Turkey trip

    • Don’t go near any political gatherings or protests and watch the news before and during your tour to be aware of current or developing situations. 
    • Don’t dress in a particularly flashy way or throw cash around. Keep valuables in a safe in your hotel room and wear a money belt.
    • Learn a few Turkish phrases in case you need to ask for directions or need assistance in some way. 
    • Stay with your group tour as much as possible, whether you’re taking a day trip to Ephesus or a multi-day adventure. 
    • Don’t walk alone at night. 
    • Don’t speak ill of the Turkish government - it’s considered a crime. 
    • Be aware that scammers are out there - do a little advance research to see what travelers to Turkey and other Eastern European countries have been experiencing in the weeks before your tour.

    What to Pack for a Trip to Turkey 

    So you’re taking a tour in Turkey? Lucky you! This captivating land of eastern and western culture, history, art, geography, nature and cuisine is brimming with memorable moments.

    To be the most comfortable, here are the top items to pack while you’re traveling in Turkey:

    • Clothing that covers your shoulders and, in more urban areas, your knees (in more rural areas or when traveling on public transit, wear full-length clothing) 
    • A headscarf for visiting mosques (though not required, you will draw less attention to yourself if one is worn)
    • A packable daypack for day trips
    • Hat
    • Walking shoes and casual sandals or flipflops 
    • Layers - the climate can change quite drastically depending on what region of Turkey you are touring 
    • Swimsuit
    • A reusable water bottle 
    • Hand sanitizer and mediation for indigestion 
    • Lightweight scarf or pashmina 
    • Tour operator information, written out in English and Turkish, if possible
    • A Turkish phrasebook or app for your smartphone
    • Power adaptors for your electronics
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug spray 
    • Headlamp 

    Your Turkey tour operator can offer valuable advice on other essentials to pack depending on the region you’ll be visiting and the activities you’ll be doing. Take the time to pick their brains before departure from home so you can arrive with everything you need to fully enjoy your vacation in Turkey. 

    Common Turkish Phrases

    It’s such a welcome and polite gesture to learn a few important phrases in the local language of your tour destination. Try these Turkish phrases during your tour:

    Günaydın: Good morning

    Tünaydin: Good afternoon 

    Tanıştığıma memnun oldum: Pleased to meet you 

    Hoş geldiniz: welcome 

    Buyurun: please 

    Teşekkür ederim: thank you 

    Afiyet olsun: may it be good for you, or enjoy your meal

    Allah Allah: good Lord, oh my goodness, etc. 

    Nasılsın?: How are you?

    Özür dilerim: I'm sorry

    Güle güle: Goodbye

    Evet: yes

    Hayir: no

    Do’s and Don’ts for Traveling to Turkey

    Make the most of your guided tour with these top Turkey travel tips: 

    1. Dress appropriately for a Muslim country. This means that when traveling in Turkey, women should keep their shoulders and knees covered and, when visiting a mosque, consider wearing a headscarf. (Friday is a day of prayer, so do not plan to visit a mosque on that day.)

    2. Be respectful of Ramadan. If you’re touring Turkey during the Islmaic month of fasting, avoid public dining out of respect to devout Muslims. 

    3. Don’t trash talk the government. Seriously. It’s considered a crime to speak ill of Atatürk, the founding father of the Turkish Republic, the government, the Turkish flag and the military.  

    4. Bargain away! The vendors of Turkish bazaars love to haggle over prices, so as long as you do so politely and with good humor, you can have fun with it and feel like a Turkish local. 

    5. Don’t photograph people without permission. Ask your Turkey tour operator about where it’s ok to take a photo and what is forbidden, both in terms of local residents and certain historical and religious sights.

    6. Eat all the Turkish food. Come hungry and try everything! Expect large portions and enjoy the indulgence. Try Köfte meatballs, lamb skewers, Manti dumplings and so much more.

    7. Keep the PDAs … well, private. Public displays of affection are frowned upon throughout Turkey. 

    8. Visit a Turkish bath (a hammam).

    9. Don’t refuse a cup of tea or a gift. The Turkish people are incredibly hospitable and will feel slighted, and justly so, if you turn down a gift. 

    10. Speaking of hospitality, you’ll find that the Turks love to socialize with travelers visiting their country, so take this opportunity to experience a real slice of local life. 

    11. Learn a few phrases in the local language.

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