Wonders Of Turkey

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Regional Journey

Wonders of Turkey (Winter 2019 2020)

Duration: 11 days Visiting: Turkey

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Gifted with natural and ancient wonders, discover Turkey's finest gems including Göreme, the white terraces of Pamukkale and Ephesus, dating back to the 10th century B.C.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Istanbul.

    Welcome to a land rich in archaeological sites, historic monuments and a huge variety of spectacular scenery. On arrival at Istanbul airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. At 18:30, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner and get to know your fellow travellers over a pleasant evening.

  2. Day 2

    Gallipoli and Anzac Cove.

    Drive along the shores of the Sea of Marmara to the Peninsula of Gelibolu, better known in the west as Gallipoli. Here are the battlefields where, for nine disastrous months during the Great War, Anzac troops fought unsuccessfully to gain control of the strategic Dardanelles Strait. Visit Anzac Cove and Lone Pine Cemetery. From Eceabat, a 30-minute sea crossing to Çanakkale takes you from one continent to another as you leave Europe for Asia.

  3. Day 3

    Troy, Pergamon and Izmir.

    Journey to Homer’s legendary city of Troy, where archaeological excavations have established nine levels of habitation, including the great city that was captured in 1200 B.C. with the famous Trojan Horse. A huge replica of this stands beside the city’s ancient walls. Continue to Pergamon, the seat of an ancient kingdom. Visit the Asklepion, one of the most famous shrines and therapeutic centres in the ancient world. Carry on to the cosmopolitan coastal city of Izmir that overlooks an inlet of the Aegean.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    Ancient Ephesus and Kusadasi.

    Visit the Archaeological museum at Selçuk where many of the excavated artefacts of Ephesus are displayed. Explore Ephesus itself, one of the world’s finest archaeological sites. Walk through the colonnaded Arcadian Way, take in the splendid facade of the Library of Celsus and see the huge Amphitheatre. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, spectacularly situated above the Ephesus ruins, and head to the lively coastal town of Kusadasi.

  5. Day 5

    The Pools of Pamukkale.

    Follow the Maeander River Valley - so full of twists and turns it gives us the word ‘meander’ - to Pamukkale, famous for its dazzling chalk-white array of fantastic limestone terraces. See the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Why not take advantage of your hotel's thermal pools and spa facilities? Follow the Maeander River Valley full of twists and turns to reach a local organic farm. You will be met by the Farm Director who will take you on a walking tour and head to the fields where you will experience picking fruits or vegetables. After, enjoy a Farm-to-Table lunch made with the fresh produce found on the farm.

  6. Day 6

    Konya, the Whirling Dervishes and Cappadocia.

    Head to Konya, the old capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire and home to the mystic Whirling Dervish sect. Visit the Mevlana Tekke, a museum and national monument with its beautiful fluted turquoise dome. See the Karatay Medrese and Ince Minaret before travelling across fertile plains to Urgup, in the heart of Cappadocia. En route, visit one of the best preserved Seljuk caravanserais in Anatolia.

  7. Day 7

    The Underground Cities of Cappadocia Experience.

    In the morning, enjoy an experience to Göreme, a region of striking volcanic landscapes. See rock-hewn churches decorated with ancient wall paintings, some of which you can view in the open-air museum. Continue to the Pasabag Valley where the scenery is dotted with mushroom-shaped 'fairy chimneys' and troglodyte dwellings and explore the underground city of Ozkonak. After stopping at a Turkish Carpet center, experience Turkish hospitality first-hand when you visit a village house, home of a Cappadocian local for decades. Enjoy dinner at the hotel followed by a cultural night at a 13th century Seljuk caravanserai. Witness a spectacular Sema performance of Whirling Dervishes - followers of Sufism, which developed from devout followers of Islam.

  8. Day 8

    Ankara.

    Learn about pottery making in Avanos and continue to Ankara. Visit the Hittite Museum and Anit Kabir, the Mausoleum of Atatürk, Turkey's greatest modern leader.

  9. Day 9

    To Istanbul.

    Enjoy a scenic journey through the Turkish countryside to Istanbul.

  10. Day 10

    Istanbul & the Ottoman Empire.

    Visit the Blue Mosque with its beautiful tiles and the Hippodrome, where Roman chariot races were held. Explore Hagia Sophia, now a magnificent museum, before continuing to Topkapi Palace, a walled city perched above the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Your Local Expert will give you a full explanation of the time-honoured ritual of bargaining before you move on to the Grand Bazaar! Finally, embark upon a cruise along the waterway of Bosphorus. Travelling towards the old city from close to the Black Sea, the scenery complements the grandeur of the Ottoman palaces, old mansions and fortresses. In the evening, join your fellow travellers for your Celebration Dinner at a colourful local restaurant.

  11. Day 11

    Farewell Istanbul.

    After breakfast, a transfer will deliver you to the airport for your onward travels.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Cappadocia: A Cappadocian local who has lived in the city for decades, invites you into their cave house. Take the opportunity to learn more about their life.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gallipoli: Pay your respects at Anzac Cove and Lone Pine Cemetery.
  • Dardanelles: Enjoy a short voyage between continents from Europe to Asia.
  • Troy: Visit this ancient sight fabled to have been destroyed over love and view the huge reconstructed Trojan Horse.
  • Pergamon: Led by your Local Expert, visit Asklepion, one of the most famous shrines and therapeutic centres of the ancient world.
  • Izmir: Explore this city with your Travel Director.
  • Selçuk: Visit the Archaeological museum housing many of the artefacts from Ephesus.
  • Ephesus: Discover one of the world’s finest ancient sites. Led by your Local Expert, walk the Arcadian Way, see the Library of Celsus and Amphitheatre and visit the House of the Virgin Mary.
  • Pamukkale: See the cascading Cotton Castle of milky white travertine pools and the ancient ruin of Hierapolis.
  • Konya: Accompanied by your Local Expert, visit the beautiful Mevlana Tekke museum for an insight into the mystic Whirling Dervishes. See the Karatay Medrese and Ince Minaret.
  • Anatolia: Visit a well preserved Seljuk Caravanserai.
  • Cappadocia: Visit a Turkish Carpet centre.
  • Göreme: With your Local Expert, explore the underground cities, rock-cut churches, fairy-tale chimneys and the Pasabag Valley.
  • Avanos: Learn about pottery making.
  • Ankara: Discover the mysterious Hittite civilisation and visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk.
  • Istanbul: Visit the Blue Mosque and explore Hagia Sophia. With your Local Expert, gain an insight into the lives of the Ottoman Sultans during a private tour of the fabulous Topkapi Palace. Later, enjoy a relaxing cruise past Ottoman palaces, old mansions and fortresses. Visit the Hippodrome, see the Bosphorous and the Golden Horn. Then you are given a complete guide on how to haggle in the Grand Bazaar.
  • Scenic Drives: Enjoy the passing scenery as you travel past the Sea of Marmara, Peninusula of Gelibolu, Maeander River Valley and Urgup.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Pamukkale: Head to a local organic farm where you will be treated to a Farm-to-Table lunch made with the fresh local produce.
  • Cappadocia: After dinner, enjoy a spectacular Sema performance of Whirling Dervishes at a 13th century Seljuk Caravanserai.
  • Istanbul: Toast the culmination of your travels with a lively Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Breakfasts (B), 6 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee. Highlight Festive Dinner: 28 Dec New Year's Eve in Kusadasi.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Canakkale: The modern Kolin Hotel is located near the city centre and is right on the shores of the Dardanelles Straits. Facilities include a fitness center, Turkish bath, sauna, jacuzzis and pools.
  • Izmir: The Swissotel Buyuk Efes, Izmir is centrally located, offering spacious, comfortable rooms and luxury facilities.
  • Kusadasi: Enjoy stunning views of the Aegean Sea from the Charisma De Luxe Hotel. Facilities include a Turkish bath, sauna, indoor pool, fitness suite and massage center.
  • Cappadocia: At the Alfina Hotel Cappadocia, experience troglodyte life in a cave room with all the amenities of modern accommodation.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with onboard washroom. Alternate vehicles without onboard washroom or 40 seats may be used on occasion.
  • On departures with 8 or more guests, personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • Complimentary transfers from/to Istanbul Airport are available on arrival and departure days, or with additional accommodation booked through Insight Vacations.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Accommodation

 

Grand Hyatt Istanbul

Istanbul (Traditional) - Turkey

Centrally located and just a few minutes from Taksim Square, the Grand Hyatt Istanbul is a luxurious retreat from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city. Rooms are tastefully decorated and the outdoor pool is perfect to relax beside after a busy day of sightseeing. Complimentary WiFi means you'll be able to share all your adventures with friends and family back home.

Kolin Hotel

Canakkale (Traditional) - Turkey

The modern Kolin Hotel is located near the city centre and is right on the shores of the Dardanelles Straits.

Swissotel Büyük Efes, Izmir.

Izmir (Traditional) - Turkey

The Swissotel Büyük Efes, Izmir is centrally located, offering spacious, comfortable rooms and luxury facilities.

Charisma De Luxe Hotel

Kusadasi (Traditional) - Turkey

Enjoy stunning views of the Aegean Sea from the Charisma De Luxe Hotel.

Doğa Thermal Health & Spa, Pamukkale.

Pamukkale (Contemporary) - Turkey

A hotel which provides features of Denizli's local and business world that makes for an incredible stay.

Alfina Cave Hotel Cappadocia.

Cappadocia (Historic) - Turkey

At the Alfina Hotel Cappadocia, experience troglodyte life in a cave room with all the amenities of modern accommodation.

Ankara HiltonSA.

Ankara (Contemporary) - Turkey

Discover a contemporary hotel in the centre of historic Ankara. Feed the ducks in Kuğulu Park, shop in Karum mall, or watch the street life from an Ankara patisserie.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11475 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 15 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It would be nicer if we could have stayed at least two nights in some of the cities to allow us to enjoy more of the culture, people, sites and places.

    Service: Both Orhan (Tour Director) and Erdal (Driver) were excellent, professional, approachable and efficient. Orhan was very knowledgeable and we had enjoyed his hilarious and interesting travel anecdotes. Erdal was very skilful with his driving but more important was his ability to keep us safe.

  • 14 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Too many hours spent driving. The days were long and we arrived at our hotels quite late in the evenings. As a result we didn’t get to see any of the cities. I would have like to see a little more of Istanbul, not just visit the popular tourist sites.

    Service: Yes I would recommend , ——-however I didn’t book my trip directly with the Insight vacations office in Johannesburg as I didn’t find them very pleasant when I booked my previous trip with them. I booked my trip with a travel agent at corporate traveler. The service on the tour, from the Tour director (Orhan) and Driver (Erdal) was excellent. Both gentlemen were very pleasant; knowledgeable and helpful

  • 19 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Loved everywhere we went on the itinerary (western/coastal and central areas), but Izmir, Kusadasi, Ankara, and especially Cappadocia were my favorite cities. Of course, Istanbul is always a highlight, and has some of the most famous sights (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar to name only a few), and they were beautiful and very well-worth the visit. However, the real highlights were all of the famous ancient ruins, like Ephesus, Troy, Hierapolis, Pergamum, and so many more that were not on the itinerary...an incentive to return!

    Service: Our tour guide, Daghan, was so thorough, knowledgeable, friendly, and gave personal attention...it felt almost like a custom, private tour. Also, he went out of his way to help organize and coordinate the hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia for some members of the group.

  • 16 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I got to see and appreciate Turkey and Insight helped give me this experience. The trip was well planned and the accommodation and meals were all great. For me there was a nice balance of daily trips. I also have to mention again just how wonderful our tour guide was and just how passionate he is of his country.

    Service: An excellent trip. The accommodation, food, daily tours, comfortable bus could not be faulted. The tour guide, Daghan was amazing and his great sense of humour and professionalism made the trip very memorable. He is truly as asset to Insight and his skill in bringing a bunch of strangers together as one is a remarkable gift. This is the 2nd Insight bus tour I have been on and would have no hesitation in recommending Insight as the way to travel.

  • 07 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Would have liked less time in salesrooms and more time in world class sites eg. only one hour to visit one of Europe's finest museums - the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara - yet we spent more than 2 hours in a so called pottery factory that displayed little more items than we could buy, and have bought already, at home in Australia from the local Turkish shop. in 9 days we visited 3 salesrooms, and only the carpet one was a cultural experience, but it went far too long as well. We go to a new country to experience the unique cultural opportunities not go shopping! It is this feature of tours that turns me off from spending any more of my hard-earned money on Insight and other companies.

    Service: Arrangements went as planned, in a professional manner.

  • 07 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary explored beautiful sites in Turkey, making this a very memorable vacation. I was able to see and appreciate the beauty and culture of the country. I would recommend others to visit Turkey as well, especially with Insight.

    Service: Our tour guide Daghan did an excellent job taking care of us, making sure we were safe and happy and getting most out of the trip as possible. He is one of the best tour guides we have ever had, if not the best. His humor, approachability, knowledge, and excellent service really improved our experience on this trip.

  • 05 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Overall the itinerary was great. The travel director gave much useful information at each destination. The only big disappointment was the optional experience, the cultural folklore show, which was not professionally performed by the performers. Guests were also made to clown around with the performers. It was unenjoyable, a pain to watch and not value for money.

    Service: Both the travel director and the driver did a great job. Overall the tour was an excellent learning experience. However, Insight Vacations could improve on the following, similar to the practice adopted by Trafalgar, for a more seamless travel experience: 1. Travel Director to provide email contact to guests prior to commencement of tour. This is useful and essential as guests could contact the travel director in case of arrival delays or emergency issues. 2. To provide a seat rotation chart on a daily basis, instead of relying on the guests' initiatives, because sometimes, some guests refuse to co-operate and this would lead to some misunderstanding and unhappiness for other guests. Finally, the optional experience which was the cultural folklore show was a great disappointment, as the guests were poorly entertained by the performers who were not very professional. Guests ended up having to entertain themselves in between performances instead of being entertained. Moreover, the performers also clowned around with the guests instead of providing a more polished entertainment. Would not have signed up if we had known that the show was not professionally entertaining.

  • 03 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We saw many famous sites and look forward to go back and see the rest

    Service: Dahan was an excellent guide and Tour leader worked continually to make the tripe a true experience , Murat, our driver was safe , hard working and always happy and polite. Great trip.

  • 03 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: perfect number of days. another iterinary would be the path of St paul in turkey. like a religious pilgrimage.

    Service: I expected Turkey to be a third world country and to my amazement, it was the exact opposite. I learned a lot about the rich history and people who strived to make it one.The food was awesome, so many choices. but most of all , our tour director Daghan was very knowledgeble on TUrkey. I have endorsed this trip to my friends.

  • 02 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great itinerary. Enjoyed everything.

    Service: Insight did a great job in organizing a very interesting tour. Enjoyed every minute. Our tour guide, Dahan, was superb and made the trip that much better. He was very knowledgeable and overall a great people person.

  • 02 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: For the limited time we still got to see most of the major sights of Turkey.

    Service: Excellent liaison. Excellent driver. Fantastic Tour Director. Great itinerary. Great accommodation.

  • 02 December, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Our travel director was very knowledgeable and I feel I learned a lot about Turkey. I would love to see more but I understand safety is an issue in certain areas.

    Service: The service was outstanding! We were taken good care of. Our Tour Director was one of the best we’ve ever had. I would definitely travel Insight in the future.

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