Turkish Odyssey

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • International flights New York-Istanbul, Izmir-New York
  • Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-flight Istanbul-Cappadocia
  • 11 nights in First Class accommodations that evoke the local character
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 25 meals: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners (including a home hosted dinner, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Bottled water, coffee, and tea with all breakfasts & dinners.
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Discover Istanbul’s extraordinary sights including the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia and the Hippodrome.
  • Hunt for gourmet spices in the fragrant Spice Market in the Old City - your guide will teach you the “in’s and out’s” of shopping in the market.
  • Tour the astounding Topkapi Palace with its background of harem intrigue and power politics
  • Enjoy a private boat cruise on the legendary Bosphorus passing fortresses, summer palaces and old wooden houses.
  • Explore the underground city of Kaymakli in Cappadocia, once refuge for over 5000 people.
  • See the extraordinary “fairy chimneys” and the Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Enjoy Turkish home-brewed tea and conversation during a visit to a local home in the village of Beysehir
  • In Antalya, visit the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos as well as the Antalya Archaeological Museum with its life-size statues of gods and goddesses.
  • Dip in the hot thermal pools at Pamukkale’s “cotton castle” of cascading snow-falls.
  • Walk along the ancient roads in Ephesus, one of the best preserved ancient cities – history will come alive!
  • See the House of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed that she spent the last years of her life.
  • You’re invited to a specially-arranged home hosted dinner with a local family in Cappadocia.

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    DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for Turkey
    Depart for Istanbul, Turkey. Your overnight flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for the journey

    DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Istanbul
    Welcome to Turkey! Arrive in Istanbul, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone. Tonight, a Welcome Cocktail and Dinner with your fellow travelers celebrates your arrival in Istanbul
    Overnight: Ramada Istanbul Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
    Meals: Dinner

    DAY 3, Saturday - Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar
    Following breakfast, begin a full day of sightseeing at the Blue Mosque, the only one in the world with six minarets, shimmering with over 21,000 blue Iznik tiles. Next, visit the Hippodrome. Inspired by the Circus Maximus in Rome, the Hippodrome served as a stadium for chariot racing and public gatherings. Next, we visit the Hagia Sophia, Greek for “Church of the Divine Wisdom”. Erected in 537 AD, the church created by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian was later proclaimed as a mosque following the Muslim occupation of Constantinople. It served as Istanbul's most revered mosque until the 20th century, when Kemal Atatürk, recognizing its world-historical significance, proclaimed it a museum. Stop for lunch in a local restaurant before ending the day at the Grand Bazaar. Explore the labyrinth of streets and passages with more than 4,000 shops displaying jewels, leathers, carpets and more
    Overnight: Ramada Istanbul Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 4, Sunday - Gourmet Hunt in Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Topkapi Palace
    Begin today's touring in the Spice Market, a haven of common and rare spices from around the world. Take part in a gourmet hunt for spices among the many shops and vendors. You'll have the opportunity to interact with locals and learn the basics of shopping in such a lively atmosphere. After leaving the spice market, we board a boat for a private cruise that crosses the legendary Bosphorus. Photo opportunities abound in the Strait's natural beauty, the 15th century Rumelihisari Fortress, summer palaces and the old wooden houses. The cruise ends at the fishing village of Sariyer near the Black Sea. Then, we arrive at the astounding Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans between the 15th and 19th centuries. The jeweled turban crests, silken caftans and priceless Chinese porcelains of the palace bear witness to the grandeur of a bygone era. The porcelain collection in the Palace museum is arguably the finest anywhere outside of China
    Overnight: Ramada Istanbul Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

    DAY 5, Monday - Flight to Cappadocia, Kaymakli Underground City, Ayvali Village
    Depart Istanbul by flight to Cappadocia. Upon arrival, explore Kaymakli, once an eight-story underground city that was refuge for over 5000 people, half of which is open to tour. The people of Kaymakli constructed their houses around nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. Continue to Ayvali Village, tucked away from the crowds, which still has an untouched style of living. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with produce grown on their own Eco Garden. Balance of the day at leisure
    Optional: Whirling Dervishes Performance (PM)
    Overnight: Tourist Hotel, Cappadocia
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 6, Tuesday - Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag Valley, Enjoy Home Hosted Dinner
    Enjoy a full day exploration of Cappadocia. Visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site, resembling a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own church. The museum showcases 11 early Christian rock-cut churches containing spectacular frescoes with vibrant colors still luminous after standing for centuries. On to the Pasabag Valley with its earth pillars in the midst of a vineyard, also called Monks Valley. In Pigeon's Valley (Guvercinlik) we visit the area that housed countless pigeons during ancient times; villagers used the droppings as a fertilizer for the land. End the day with a visit to a nearby carpet shop for a hands-on experience and lesson in how fine Turkish Carpets are created. In the evening, we are invited to join a local family for a specially arranged home-hosted dinner and conversation
    Overnight: Tourist Hotel, Cappadocia
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 7, Wednesday - Avanos, Valley of the Fairy Chimneys
    Following breakfast, we begin our day with a drive to Avanos, a center for carpet weaving and pottery crafts. You can see the pottery craftsmen using the same techniques as the Neolithic men of Anatolia, namely the ancient revolving potter's wheel. You'll even have a chance for to try this technique for yourself! Then continue via Urgup to the Dervent, also called the “Valley of the Fairy Chimneys.” Enjoy the very special experience of wandering through the valley and climbing the hillsides with the unusual chimneys. Afternoon at leisure in Cappadocia
    Optional: Hot Air Balloon Ride (AM)
    Optional: Walking with Mehmet (PM)
    Overnight: Tourist Hotel, Cappadocia
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 8, Thursday - Travel to Konya, Mevlana Museum, Tea with Locals in Beysehir, Antalya
    Depart Cappadocia and travel to Konya. First, visit the Sultanhani, a prime example of the Seljuk-Turkish caravansari, with its lofty, portal framed by massive walls; its stone-paved courtyard surrounded with rooms that served as treasury, refectory, hamam, mosque, shops and sleeping quarters. Next, take a visit to the Mausoleum of Mevlana and the museum at the Mevlana convent in Konya. Proceed to the Karatay Theological School to see the beautiful collection of colorful tiles on display. Then, enjoy a specially arranged visit for our group to a local home in the village of Beysehir. Meet with the residents, share tales and conversation, and enjoy home-brewed Turkish tea. Continue to Karatay Medrese to see some of Konya's Seljuk Turkish tile work. At the end of the day arrive in Antalya, the trendy “resort capital” on the Turkish Mediterranean coast for overnight
    Overnight: Marmara, Antalya
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 9, Friday - Perge, Aspendos, Archaeological Museum
    Begin today's venture at ancient Perge, founded around 1500 BC by the Hittites and later occupied by the Romans. See the ancient theater, stadium, towers, and unusual Hellenistic-Roman towers leading to an impressive street once lined with shops. Then, continue on to Aspendos, known for its huge theatre seating over 30,000 people, and its beautiful fountain. All of these ruins have remained from the Roman period and the theatre is still being used for contemporary concerts. Our next stop is the Antalya Archaeological Museum, one of the most important of museums in Turkey. It houses 13 exhibition halls and an open-air gallery, with statues of ancient gods and goddesses. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in this vibrant seaside city on the Mediterranean Sea. (PLEASE NOTE: Due to renovations, April 24 & May 1 departures will visit Perge, the Kursunlu Waterfalls and Hadrian's Gate instead of Aspendos and the Archaeological Museum)
    Overnight: Marmara, Antalya
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 10, Saturday - Aphrodisias, Travel to Pamukkale
    Today we travel to ancient Aphrodisias, one of the finest archaeological sites of Anatolia, still only partially excavated. The name of the city is derived from the familiar and storied Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, also called Venus by Romans. Here, under Greek and Roman rule a center for the arts once prospered. After lunch at a countryside Anatolian restaurant, we continue to Pamukkale to see the cascading snow white “cotton castle”. Visit the impressive ruins of Hierapolis, where the hot thermal baths were once considered sacred. Continue to your hotel in Pamukkale for overnight
    Overnight: Pam Thermal Hotel, Pamukkale
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 11, Sunday - Izmir City Tour, Museums of Archaeology and Ethnography
    Today we travel to Izmir. The tour begins with expansive panoramic views of the city and the Bay of Izmir from the walls of Kadifekale, an ancient fortress built by Alexander the Great. Tour the Museums of Archaeology and Ethnography, then visit the symbol of Izmir, its magnificent Ottoman Clock Tower. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps re-visit some of the sights, or just relax in this scenic seaside city. Check into your hotel for overnight
    Overnight: Swissotel Buyuk Efes, Izmir
    Meals: Breakfast

    DAY 12, Monday - Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary, Izmir
    An extraordinary day at the ancient city of Ephesus. The ruins at Ephesus are the best preserved in the region and one of the most beautiful cities in antiquity. Once a flourishing port, Ephesus witnessed successive settlements at many different times in history. As you walk along the marble and cobblestone streets see the Great Theatre that once seated over 20,000, the Library of Celsus, the baths and the grand Temple of Artemis. Proceed to the House of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed that she spent the last days of her life. Lunch at a local restaurant in Sirince Village. All the narrow streets of the village are filled with different handicrafts, including olive oils, other local specialties and the renowned locally-produced wine. Tonight, we meet together for a farewell dinner in a local Izmir restaurant. Take some time to share travel memories with the group and bid farewell to Turkey
    Overnight: Swissotel Buyuk Efes, Izmir
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 13, Tuesday - Depart Turkey
    After breakfast, transfer to the Izmir airport for your flight home
    Meals: Breakfast

    Whirling Dervishes Performance
    Whirling Dervishes PerformanceDay #5 01 Jan 2014 - 31 Dec 2015           $45
    Also known as the "Sema Ritual", Whirling Dervish performances began with the inspiration of Mawlana Jalaleddin Rumi who is one of the greatest mystical poets of Islam. The Mevlevi Sufi order was founded to follow his teachings. The captivating dance of the whirling dervishes, which displays infinite spinning in perfect harmony, is part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. It is a rare opportunity to experience a seven-century old ritual, featuring beautiful costumes, live music with flutes, string and percussion, and the amazing sight of the Dervishes whirling on the stage.

    Pickup details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.
    Cappadocia Balloon Ride
    Cappadocia Balloon RideDay #7 01 Apr 2014 - 31 Dec 2015           $225
    Depart early in the morning for a fantastic hot air balloon tour that takes you soaring over the magnificent Cappadocian landscape with its incredible fairy chimney rock formations. A hot-air balloon flight is unique from all other methods of flying in that there is no sensation of motion, creating an experience of tranquility unlike any other. Traveling at heights of up to 1500 feet, the feeling is both serene and sublime. Within moments of lifting off, drift over the treetops and discover the spectacular landscape from an unrivaled perspective. The deep canyons and lush, fertile valleys of Cappadocia provide an ideal setting for a memorable flight and it may even be possible to pick apricots from the trees when they are in season.

    Departs at 5:00 am. Approximate tour duration is 3.5 hours.

    Please note that the take-off time and the duration of the flight may vary due to weather conditions. Balloon rides will vary between 50 & 75 minutes according to the wind.

    If the weather conditions are determined to be less than optimal, the flight may be canceled.
    Half Day Cappadocia Walking Tour with Mehmet
    Half Day Cappadocia Walking Tour with MehmetDay #7 01 Apr 2014 - 31 Dec 2014           $39
    Walk with Mehmet this afternoon, a famous local man who knows the region and valleys better than anyone. He will reveal some of the unknown secrets of Cappadocia on this walk.

    Pickup details to be advised locally.
    Dates & PricesLand OnlyAir & Land
    Dates & PricesLand Only
    Dates & PricesAir & Land
    This package is currently unavailable. Please check back later or call Discovery Tours for more information.

    Click a date to book online.


    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours, Turkey visa fees and gratuities for guides/ tour managers.

    Additional Information:
    Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers, but does include intra-flight from Istanbul-Kayseri.
    Arrival and departure transfers are only included with arrival into Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST).

    Entry Requirements:
    Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

    Is This Trip Right for You?

    This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 3-4 hours on our feet during tours. The pace is fast, with 1 one-night stay, 2 two-night stays, and 2 three-night stays. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep steps or mountain trails. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

    Getting Ready to GoAbout Your FlightsArrival and DepartureAccommodationsAt Your Destination

    Know Before You Go
    Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
    Getting Ready to Go
    Passports and Visas
    It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.

    Entry Requirements:
    US citizens require a passport valid for six months beyond travel dates.
    Turkey Visas - Effective April 10, 2014 an advance e-visa is required and “sticker type” visas can no longer be obtained on arrival at the airport in Istanbul. See https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ for more information and to obtain a visa. Visas are not required for sea cruise passengers who purchase shore excursions to Kusadasi and Istanbul. When entering Turkey via a land border crossing, a pre-obtained e-Visa is also required. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 612-6700, or the Turkish consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or New York. Information may also be found at turkey.org.

    Trip Preparation
    A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks.

    Cell Phones & Calling Cards
    You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.

    When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

    Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another
    When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number.
    For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must drop this starting digit when dialing the number.

    Wireless Internet Access
    Passengers traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels and/or cruise lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Availability of WiFi varies by country, hotel and/or cruise line. Even if WiFi is available, signal strength is subject to local conditions and not guaranteed. Internet availability on cruises is unpredictable due to the ship frequently changing locations while sailing through multiple countries. Passengers requiring internet access may seek out internet cafes or may be able to locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.

    Staying Healthy While Traveling
    All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or theWorld Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

    There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

    • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
    • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
    • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
    • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
    • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
    • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.

    Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.

    Climate & Clothing
    We ask tour members to refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes and/or personal products containing excessive fragrance, in respect for other clients on the tour bus who may be allergic.

    Turkey - Spring: 50°F-65°F; Summer: 70°F-90°F; Autumn: 55°F-75°F; Winter: 40°F-55°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather coat. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts.

    Turkey Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/mediterranean/default.aspx#turkey-weather