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TURKISH ODYSSEY

Turkey

Whether it's ancient wonders,  archaeological sites, sailing around the Turquoise Coast, sampling the legendary Turkish cuisine or just simply getting off the well trodden tourist track, come with Gypsian on a mythic  adventure and discover a Turkey you never new existed!

 

Upcoming Tour Dates

10 May -  29 May 2022

AUD $9,549 per person, twin share

13 September - 2 October 2022

AUD $9,549 per person, twin share

 

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Istanbul - Arrival

Our group tour commences this evening in the vibrant city of Istanbul with its' backdrop of minarets and domes. After our welcome meeting there is the opportunity to sample Turkey's famous Ottoman fare. A great start to a fantastic tour of Turkey.

DAY 2

Istanbul

This city is a treasure trove filled with attractions to discover. Today a city tour taking in the Blue Mosque with its six minarets, cascading domes and blue-tiled interior. After lunch the imposing Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman Empire for centuries with impressive views over the Bosphorus.

DAY 3

Istanbul

With so much to see in Istanbul we are going to spend another full day exploring this fascinating city. We'll start with a visit to Aya Sofia, Byzantium's magnificent dedication to the new religion of the empire. Though originally built as a Basilica, it was later converted to a mosque and is now a museum, the perfect mixture of Ottoman and Byzantine culture under a single cupola. After lunch we'll visit Dolmabahce Palace, home to the last five Sultans of the Ottoman Empire and an homage to European architecture. Tonight there's the option to dine at one of Istanbul's finest restaurants.

DAY 4

Istanbul - Bursa

An early start this morning as we catch our high speed ferry across the sea of Marmara to the original capital of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa. Nicknamed the "Green City", Bursa lives up to its' name with parks and gardens at every turn. After our morning walking tour, why not shop for silk scarves in the beautiful old silk market before enjoying a traditional Turkish bath at the healing thermal springs. This evening we'll feast on a delicious local specialty - Iskender Kebap, before having the privilege of watching a Whirling Dervish ceremony at a local Dervish lodge.

DAY 5

Bursa - Gallipoli- Canakkale

As memorable to Turks as it is to Australians Gallipoli saw the birth of two nations emerge from the ashes of World War 1. An emotional afternoon as we tour the battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula.

DAY 6

Canakkale - Troy - Pergamon - Selcuk

Making our way down the coast today our first stop is the ancient city of Troy. Originally made famous in Homer's "Iliad" and immortalized on film by Brad Pitt, the site of Troy dates back over 5000 years. Later we catch our first glimpse of the Aegean before stopping in the resort town of Ayvalik for lunch. This afternoon we will visit the ruins of Pergamon with one of the steepest theatres in the region. Overnight Selcuk.

DAY 7

Selcuk - Sirince - Ephesus - Selcuk

Offering some of the finest ruins in the Mediterranean Ephesus needs no introduction. Before visiting this wonderful city there's the opportunity for some local wine tasting and a delicious lunch in the once Greek village of Sirince. Getting up and close to the local cultures and people is when you will see the true benefit of our small group tours of Turkey.

DAY 8

Selcuk - Pamukkale - Fethiye

A visit today to the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale. This natural phenomena formed by the calcium-rich cascading waters of the thermal springs is a truly spectacular sight! There is also the opportunity to visit the ancient necropolis of Heiropolis. After lunch we will drive to the costal town of Fethiye where we will enjoy a fresh feast at the local fish markets

DAY 9

Fethiye

This morning we will make our way to the eerily abandoned village of Kayakoy once home to part of Turkey’s sizeable Greek population but is now litt le more than a‘ghost village’. This picturesque town was abandoned during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey during the 1920’s.With restaurants overhanging the gushing stream we’ll have lunch at the magnificent Saklikent Gorge and the option to walk through the gorge.  Saklikent is the perfect way to while away an afternoon.

DAY 10

Gulet

The start of our ‘holiday’ within a holiday, this morning as we board our Gulet. This will be our home for the next three nights as we spend our days relaxing and enjoying the beautiful waters of the Turkish Mediterranean.

DAY 11

Gulet

Wake up at leisure and enjoy a delicious Turkish breakfast as we cruise the coast,  stopping to cool off in a secluded bay, the clear turquoise waters beckoning temptingly. If you're feeling energetic, step ashore for another coastal walk with incredible views, or simply remain on board and relax with a book or another swim.

DAY 12

Gulet

Spend another tranquil day on Mediterranean waters. The only way to tell the time will be the passing of the sun and the gastronomic delights served aboard our gulet. Today there's the option to go ashore in the small coastal village of Ucagiz and walk a small part of the Lycian Way to the castle at Simena, built by the Knights of Rhodes.

DAY 13

Kas - Antalya

Often described as the Turkish Riviera Antalya is a vibrant city with a charming old quarter, its winding streets filled with stalls and boutiques and hidden restaurants with some of the most stunning views of the Mediterranean.

DAY 14

Antalya

If you really feel the need to stretch you legs after all that R&R on our gulet, you’ll relish the opportunity to visit Termessos, an ancient Greek city with, in our opinion, the most spectacular ancient theatre in the region. This afternoon sit back and soak up our last views over the Mediterranean before we head inland tomorrow to the plains of Central Anatolia.

DAY 15

Antalya - Cappadocia

A full day on the bus today as we make our way from the coast through the Taurus mountains and across the plains of Central Anatolia. With scenery this stunning you certainly won’t be bored! This afternoon we will visit Sultanhani Caravanserai one of the stops on the old Silk Road, before arriving into the delightful town of Ortahisar, right in the heart of Cappadocia. Ortahisar is a traditional village with only a small number of very special boutique hotels. Whilst some villages in the region have, unfortunately, surrendered completely to tourism, Ortahisar is an authentic gem right in the heart of this spectacular region.

DAY 16

Cappadocia

The option this morning is to start your day with the best view in town – in a hot air balloon drifting over the surreal lunar landscape of Cappadocia! After breakfast we will head to one of Cappadocia’s underground cities which was originally constructed by the Hittites but subsequently used by Christians who were being persecuted by the Romans. From here we’ll visit Soganli, a little-visted open air museum with an impressive collection of churches carved out of the soft volcanic rock. This evening perhaps enjoy the chance to sample a local specialty – testi kebab – slow cooked meat or vegetables baked in a clay pot.

DAY 17

Cappadocia

Our second full day in Cappadocia, today we will find out more about Turkey’s most famous pieces of art: their carpets! This is an excellent opportunity to learn a little bit more about what’s under your feet from an expert who has been collecting pieces for more than 25 years. Free time for lunch and perhaps, if you’re keen, an optional visit to Goreme’s Open Air Museum with its astounding churches covered in beautiful frescoes. This afternoon we have a unique opportunity to explore the surrounding valleys full of marshmallow rock formations and fairy chimneys either on foot or, for the more adventurous, via horseback before finishing our time in Cappadocia with sunset views and some of the most delicious, home-cooked fare you’ll taste all trip!

DAY 18

Cappadocia - Safranbolu

Today we bid goodbye to Ortahisar and it’s fairy chimneys and head towards the Black Sea region and the 19th century town of Safranbolu. This evening there’s the chance to sample delicious lokum (Turkish Delight) as we wonder the cobbled streets of this charming town before we head back to the converted Ottoman Mansion that is our home for the next two nights.

DAY 19

Safronbolu

Located in a valley, the UNESCO Heritage Listed town of Safranbolu is truly a hidden gem. The old town itself is full of 19th century Ottoman mansions, several of which have been maintained to give us a glimpse of life during that time. It is also one of the best places on the trip to do your souvenir shopping as the narrow streets are lined with vendors selling everything from wooden puzzles to handmade shoes!

DAY 20

Safronbolu - Istanbul

A late breakfast this morning before our drive back to arguably the most beautiful city in the world, Istanbul. Tonight we enjoy a banquet fit for an Ottoman Sultan.

DAY 21

Istanbul - Departure Day

Today we say farewell to new friends as our tour concludes after breakfast.

 

What's Included

Accommodation

20 nights twin-share accommodation with private facilities in boutique or special class hotels; 12 nights boutique or special class hotels, 3 night on traditional Turkish Gulet, 3 nights in a Cave Hotel in Cappadocia, 2 nights in a converted Ottoman mansion in Safronbolu

Transport

In a private, air-conditioned minibus

Included Meals

20 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners

Transfers

Arrival and departure transfers from Istanbul International Airport

Tour Leader

Services of an experienced Australian Tour Leader

Local Guides

Services of professional English-speaking local guide/s

Entrance Fees

To all sites listed in the itinerary

 

What's Not Included?

  • International flight

  • Insurance

  • Visas and  Departure taxes

  • Tips and gratuities for driver and guide

  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary 

  • Fees for optional activities

  • Drinks and Items of a personal nature

 
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Embracing the Cuisine and Culture of Turkey

A World of Endless Travel Possibilities

Cuisine

For us Turkish cuisine is one of the most appetising and rich cuisines we have ever tasted and trust us Turkish people are extremely passionate about their food. Turkish cuisine is a delicious mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Balkan influences, seasoned liberally with the robust flavours of a nomadic past.  Their food is nourished by its’ individual regions therefore varies across the country.    Because of Istanbul’s multicultural structure almost all kinds of cuisines can be tasted.Some of our favourites are:-

Breakfast - cheeses, Kaymak (buffalo cream), hazelnut paste, honey, olives, dried beef pastrami, simit, menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs) washed down with traditional Turkish tea (cay)

Lunch – traditional Turkish lahmacun  (Turkey’s take on pizza and the ultimate street food) topped with either spicy lamb 

Dinner – It’s impossible to start a meal in Turkey without the ubiquitous mezze, or Turkish dips.  Don’t be fooled, this is nothing like your local trio-of-dips platter back home.  Earthy roast beetroot salads, cacik with minted garlic and thick.

Some highlights on our Turkish Odyssey tour

Istanbul

Despite its' enormous size and bustling population, Istanbul has a welcoming vibe that leave visitors with lasting memories of their time there. It is the melting pot of civilizations and has been a capital for the world's two biggest empires: Byzantium and The Ottoman. It is the only metropolis in the world lying on two continents and the only place on earth to drink your coffee in Europe whilst enjoying the views of Asia.

Bursa

Bursa was a prominent stop on the Silk Route trails between east and west and its’ central city area is brimming with finely restored buildings from its’ majestic era. The Central Bazaar is a vast labyrinth of covered market streets with caravanserais (hans) now home to the many shops within this area.  Although Konya  (home base of the Mevlevi Sufis) is the most famous city to watch the dervishes whirl, Bursa also has an active Mevlevi cultural center, and visitors are welcome to come and watch the sema (the religious ceremony of the whirling dervishes).

Ephesus

The ancient Greek city of Ephesus was built in the 10th Century BC and was home to over 300,000 people at its' peak. A succession of empires from Neolithic to Roman to Ottoman have ruled over Ephesus and the well-preserved ruins are one of the most incredible sights in Turkey. The highlights of Ephesus are the magnificent Library of Celsus, built to store 12,000 scrolls and one of the most impressive buildings of the Roman Empire, the Great Theatre, the Terraced Houses and the Temple of Hadrian.

Sirince

The lush greenery of the natural setting of Şirince is complemented beautifully by the two-storey architecture of the buildings in the village. From afar the village looks like a painting and its' homes are as enchanting from afar as they are up close. The homes are connected through winding cobbled streets that are narrow and make you feel like you're traveling back in time to a world before cars and modern industry.

Fethiye

Fethiye is much more than just the Blue Lagoon, that spectacularly turquoise poster child of Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Fethiye is rocky cliffs, pine-clad mountain ranges, offshore islets that speak of ancient civilizations and dusty villages where tourism is still a twinkle in the locals' eyes. It's the quiet serenity of a sunset over the ghost village of Kayaköy, set in a valley amidst the piney mountains and it's the blissful solitude of a swim in one of the innumerable unspoiled crystalline coves many inaccessible by land. 

Cappadocia

One of the most beautiful and rugged regions of Turkey is in the region of Cappadocia. Prehistoric cave homes carved into the mountains, hot air balloon rides, medieval churches still intact, painted frescoes, breathtaking mountain ranges in hues of white, red, rose, and green, vast underground cities, mountain top villages with merchants selling local crafts and merchandise and richly flavoured spiced foods are just some of the outstanding things that make Cappadocia an unforgettable destination.

Safranbolu

Safranbolu is best known for its' 1994  UNESCO World Heritage list for its' well preserved Ottoman era houses and architecture. The old town has many well-preserved buildings, including; a museum, 25 mosques, 5 tombs, 8 historical fountains, 5 Turkish baths, 3 caravanserais, a historic clock tower, a sundial and hundreds of houses and mansions. There are also ancient ruins throughout the old and new towns.