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What People Are Saying About Us

We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

Roger Soder
Seattle, WA
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6-time honoree Travel + Leisure's World's Best Tour Operators awards

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Exotic Istanbul, including Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia
  • Private Bosphorus cruise
  • WWI battlefield of Gallipoli
  • Ruins at ancient Troy, Pergamum, Ephesus
  • Rustic village of Sirince
  • Four-night “Blue Voyage” aboard privately chartered gulet yacht
  • Cruising to secluded coves and hidden sites
  • Opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, hiking
  • Sunken Baths of Cleopatra
  • Ancient site of Perge
  • Antalya’s acclaimed Archaeological Museum
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Istanbul, Turkey

Day 2: Arrive Istanbul We arrive in Turkey’s cultural and spiritual heart today and transfer to our hotel located near Taksim Square, the heart of modern Istanbul. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned; on our own we can explore the area surrounding our hotel or simply relax. Dinner tonight is on our own.

Day 3: Istanbul We get our first real taste of this city straddling two continents today as we set out on a walking tour along lively pedestrian Istiklal Street, lined with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and late Ottoman-era buildings. We see the acclaimed mosaics and frescoes at Chora Church (now Kariye Museum) then take a panoramic drive along Istan­bul’s Old City walls. Then we visit intimate Rustem Pasha mosque, with its exquisite Iznik tiles, followed by the renowned Spice Market. After lunch on our own here, we take a private cruise on the Bosphorus, the waterway that separates Europe from Asia. This evening we take a short walk to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner of traditional Turkish fare. B,D

Day 4: Istanbul Today we encounter Old Istanbul, beginning with the ancient Roman Hippodrome, the 3,500-year-old obelisk brought from Egypt in 390 CE. Next we visit the Blue Mosque, with its 20,000 blue Iznik tiles and signature six minarets. We then visit the renowned Museum of Turkish & Islamic Art, housing priceless artifacts from the 8th to 20th centuries. After lunch at a local restaurant we con­­tinue on to Hagia Sophia, the 6th-century church that was Christendom’s most important before becoming a mosque in the 15th century. B,L

Day 5: Istanbul This morning we tour splendid Topkapi, for 400 years the palace of Ottoman sultans that today ranks among the world’s richest museums. We continue on to the Basilica Cistern, the marble-columned underground chamber that provided water to Istanbul in antiquity. Our next stop is the Grand Bazaar, the covered market housing some 5,000 shops along 60 “streets.” The remainder of the day and evening is free for independent exploration. B

Day 6: Istanbul/Gallipoli/Troy/Assos Leaving Istanbul this morning, we travel to the northern Aegean Coast for a brief visit to Gallipoli, haunting site of 31 Allied cemeteries from World War I. Then we ferry across the Dardanelles to Troy, once believed to exist only in Homer’s epic poem until the present site was discovered in the 1870s. After touring here we con­tinue south to Behramkale, ancient Assos, where we spend the night. B,L,D

Day 7: Assos/Pergamum/Izmir Today we ex­plore one of Turkey’s most spectacular ancient sites: windswept Pergamum, a major power in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, with a wealth of Hellenistic ruins. Then we continue on to Izmir. B,L,D

Day 8: Izmir/Ephesus Few ancient sites com­pare to Ephesus, the world’s best-preserved class­ical city which we explore today. Dating to at least 1300 BCE, Ephesus was Asia Minor’s largest metro­polis and principal port. Our tour includes the Terrace Houses, the recently restored “houses of the rich,” with their outstanding mosaic floors and frescoed walls. Then we enjoy lunch in the rustic village of Sirince. B,L

Day 9: Izmir/Göcek Today we journey south to coastal Göcek, stopping along the way at a carpet factory to watch a demonstration of this age-old craft. Late afternoon we board our gulets. B,L,D

Day 10: Cruising – Aga Limani/Cleopatra Baths Our route for the next few days is along the stunning coastline Antony is said to have given Cleopatra as a wedding gift. We begin our “Blue Voyage” this morning as we cruise to the hidden cove of Aga Limani. From here we have the option of taking a three-hour hike to the Greco-Roman ruins at Lydea, ending at the Sunken Baths of Cleopatra. Set in a breathtaking inlet, the Baths offer crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling. Those who prefer a less strenuous day can stay aboard the gulets as we sail to the Sunken Baths. B,L,D

Day 11: Cruising – Göcek/Dalyan This morning we disembark and coach to Dalyan, an envi­ron­­mentally protected area known for its loggerhead sea turtles. Here we board a small skiff for a trip through an intriguing maze of channels. At the Lake of Koycegiz we see well-preserved ancient Lycian rock tombs on the hills above us. B,L,D

Day 12: Cruising – Gemiler Island/Kayakoy Today we cruise to Gemiler Island to tour its 6th-century Byzantine monastery. Then we coach to the Greek “ghost town” of Kayakoy, abandoned after World War I and now preserved as a historical monument. We explore the town and its churches then return to our gulets for our last night on board. B,L,D

Day 13: Fethiye/Antalya We cruise this morning to Fethiye, where we disembark then set out by motorcoach through the Taurus Mountains for Antalya. We reach the seaside city in time for lunch and a visit to the acclaimed Archaeological Museum. B,L

Day 14: Antalya/Perge This morning we tour the ruins at Perge, an ancient Greek city once among the world’s prettiest and most prosperous. Then we return to Antalya for a walking tour of its charming Old Town, including Hadrian’s Gate and the lovely Yivli Minare (Fluted Minaret). This afternoon is at leisure before tonight’s farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 15: Depart for U.S. This morning we board an early flight for our return to the United States. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven or cobblestone streets and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 13 nights’ accommodations: 9 nights in Deluxe and unrated hotels; 4 nights aboard privately chartered gulet yacht
  • 30 meals: 13 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Apr 11
Apr 18
Apr 25
Oct 17
Oct 19
Oct 24
May 2
May 4
May 9
Oct 3
Oct 5
Oct 10
May 16, 23
May 30
Aug 29
Sep 5, 12
Sep 19
Sep 26
Boston, New York,
Washington, DC
$3,592$3,792$3,992
Chicago, Houston,
Los Angeles, Miami,
San Francisco
$3,892$4,092$4,292
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Charlotte, Dallas, Phil
$3,992$4,192$4,392
Cinc, Cleve, Denver, 
Detroit, Minn, Orlando,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
Seattle, Tampa
$4,092$4,292$4,492

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $397, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $795. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Business Class upgrade (subject to availability) on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: $3,895 per person

A visa is required for this tour. Odysseys Unlimited will provide information about visa requirements upon reservation.

Accommodations
    Divan Istanbul, Istanbul / Days 2-5 / Deluxe

    The stylish Divan Istanbul stands on the site of the old Divan Hotel near Taksim Square, the heart of the city’s social, cultural, and business life and close to shops and restaurants. Blending traditional Turkish architecture and cultural accents with contemporary amenities and service, the 191-room Divan has three restaurants; bar; patisserie; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; fitness center; spa with sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, massage and beauty treatments, and indoor swimming pool. Well-appointed guest rooms are air-conditioned and have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Nazlihan Hotel, Assos / Day 6 / Not rated

    This rustic harborfront hotel is in a remote and dramatic Aegean setting. The hotel has two restaurants and a bar. Air-conditioned guest rooms are decorated in authentic Turkish décor and include private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone. Please note that guest rooms are quite small, and there is no elevator. Lodging alternatives are limited in this region of Turkey; while your one-night stay in this unique location should be quite enjoyable, the amenities (and overall quality) at the hotel will be lower than elsewhere on your tour.

    Swissôtel Grand Efes, Izmir / Days 7-8 / Deluxe

    Centrally located in downtown Izmir and surrounded by landscaped gardens, the Swissôtel Grand Efes overlooks Kordon seafront promenade and the Aegean coast. This contemporary hotel offers two restaurants, bar, and café; fitness center; spa with steam bath, Turkish bath, salt pool, and Jacuzzi; wellness center; shopping arcade; Internet access; laundry services; tennis courts; and indoor and outdoor pools. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Gulet Yacht, Gocek / Days 9-12 / Not rated

    A beautifully crafted motorized sailing vessel built of teak wood with a pointed fore and round aft, a private gulet yacht is the most authentic and relaxing way to cruise the Turquoise Coast. A large foredeck gives everyone ample space to sit and watch the Mediterranean coastline; in the evening, you may choose to stay up here and sleep under the stars. Dinner each evening is outside on deck under cover, as the ship’s cook prepares meals praised for their quality and freshness. All guests stay in small private cabins, each equipped with a shower and toilet. On board, you’ll also find swimming and snorkeling equipment, perfect for late afternoon dips after you’ve anchored for the day.

     

    Average Length:85 feet
    Average Width:21 feet
    Sails:Mainsail, Genoa
    Motor:MAN 350HP

    Please note that, while the gulets are built to reflect the design of traditional Turkish fishermen’s sailing vessels, their primary means of movement is by motor. The actual amount of time spent under sail may be very limited and is often based on local weather conditions and the captain’s discretion. Also, electricity on board is provided by a generator and thus the amount of hot water may be limited during busy periods (especially in the morning).

    Akra Barut, Antalya / Days 13-14 / Deluxe

    Located just outside of Antalya’s city center, the Akra Barut is set on the Mediterranean, overlooking both the sea and the Taurus Mountains in the distance. The hotel is fully equipped with three restaurants and two cocktail lounges; internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; market; fitness center; spa; outdoor pools; tennis courts; and private platform beach. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, coffee- and tea-making facilities, balcony, and phone.

    Uchisar Kaya Hotel, Cappadocia / Extension / First Class

    Located near the town center of Uchisar, close to shops and restaurants, the 73-room Uchisar Kaya Hotel is partially carved from the rocks of Cappadocia. The hotel offers a restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, sauna, Turkish bath, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and outstanding views of Cappadocia’s Goreme Valley. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Cappadocia

4 days/3 nights for $795 total price
Single Supplement: $145

We explore the bizarre rock formations and underground cities of Cappadocia and the Goreme Valley.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Private motorcoach transportation Antalya/Cappadocia
  • 3 nights’ accommodations in Cappadocia at Uchisar Kaya Hotel (First Class)
  • 9 meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Extensive included sightseeing: rock churches of Goreme Valley (including open-air museum), Kaymakli’s underground city, Zelve Valley, Avanos, and troglodyte villages of Cavusin and Uchisar
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Extension not available on Sep 6 departure.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Akin Aykurt

”Akin is a true gem! He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous, and very efficient. I learned so much, deepened my understanding of Turkey, and had fun.”
Ruth Clayton
Chula Vista, CA

Ali Dogan

“I can’t imagine a better tour director. Ali combined tremendous knowledge, good humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, and efficiency all together. Most of all he was a pleasure to be with.”
Mark & Pat Allen
Montague, MA

Kaan Gulcur

“His knowledge of ancient sites was wonderful. I cannot stress enough how much we appreciated his sense of humor. His knowledge of Turkish society, culture, customs was very much appreciated. I would rate him as Excellent PLUS.”
Roy Mason
British Columbia, Canada

Ahmet Memis

“Ahmet is probably the most knowledgeable tour director we have ever had, including numerous adventure travel guides. He is funny, well organized, and thoughtful.”
Charles & Joanne Young
Brooklyn, NY

Salih Orgun

“There are not enough adjectives to describe just how excellent Salih is. His vast knowledge and his communication skills made our experience most enjoyable.”
Jon & Linda Killmer
Scottsdale, AZ

Gokhan Ozagacli

“Gokhan was superb! How is it possible to find such a knowledgeable tour guide? He spoke in depth on a broad range of subjects.”
Mary Ellen Wheeler
Fredericksburg, VA

Mustafa Ozcan

“He was the best tour director we have encountered. Very professional and knowledgeable.”
Charles & Joanne Knauss
Spencertown, NY

Ridvan Uyanik

“Ridvan is an exceptional individual. His mastery of English language and customs, as well as his in-depth knowledge of history and anthropology were the highpoints of this tour. He is a tremendous asset for your tours.”
Karen Holmen & Anthony Nardecchia
White Bear Lake, MN

Sezai Esfak Vardioglu

“Sezai’s manner was friendly, his organization was perfect in every way, he kept the tour on time, moved us in and out of the sites before other tours to avoid crowds, and never faltered in his responsibility to ensure our tour would be memorable.”
Carol Gillis
Carpentieria, CA

Hasan Yeniocak

“Hasan was a walking encyclopedia of history, culture, arts, and all things Turkish – very helpful, accommodating any request or need!”
Pamela McClary
New York, NY

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Orhan Pamuk
Istanbul, Memories and the City
Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk writes with dazzling grace of the city of his birth, a magical place of crumbling mansions and Ottoman riches.

Richard Stoneman
A Traveller’s History of Turkey
An accessible, well-written overview of Turkish history from the Paleolithic to the present.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide Turkey
Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book provides a thorough overview of history, traditions and sights.

Freytag & Berndt
Turkey Map
This shaded relief map includes a detailed map of Western Turkey (1:800,000) on the reverse.

Fodor’s Istanbul’s 25 Best
This slim guide with a pullout map covers with style what to see, where to go and what to do.

John Freely
The Western Shores of Turkey, Discovering the Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts
An excellent overview of the ancient sites of the Turkish coast from Istanbul to Gallipoli, Antioch, Pergamum, Ephesus and Halicarnassus.

Ayla Esen Algar
Classical Turkish Cooking
Algar’s enchanting cookbook includes easy-to-follow Turkish recipes and delightful vignettes about their traditional origins. Everything we’ve made has been fantastic!

Robyn Eckhardt
Istanbul and Beyond, Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey
The most extensive Turkish cookbook to date. Beginning in Istanbul, journalist Robyn Eckhardt and her husband take a culinary adventure through Turkey’s lesser-known provinces, plus Syria, Iran, Iraq, Armenia and Georgia.

Roger Crowley
1453, The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
In this well-paced history, Crowley recounts the dramatic events leading up to and surrounding the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

John Julius Norwich
A Short History of Byzantium
A richly detailed and evocative history of the span of the great empire from the 4th to the 15th century, brimming with intrigue, palace revolution and treachery.

Seton Lloyd
Ancient Turkey, A Traveller’s History
A lively tale of cultures and conquest, from the Hittites to St. Paul, that illuminates the living past of Turkey’s archaeological treasures. This classic by Professor Lloyd, first director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara is now in a 25th anniversary edition.

Stephen Kinzer
Crescent and Star
This insightful, anecdotal report on contemporary life, culture and politics in Turkey comes from a former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief who is especially attuned to the powerful geographic position of Turkey and its multiple identities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Jason Goodwin
Lords of the Horizons
Goodwin artfully combines his modern travels with scholarship, history and reflection, capturing the outrageous personalities, events and vagaries of the ancient Ottoman Empire.

Lyn Rodley
Cave Monasteries of Byzantine Cappadocia
A professor of Byzantine Studies, Lyn Rodley puts the rock-cut monasteries, hermitages and complexes of Cappadocia into historical context in this scholarly account, first published in 1985.

Freya Stark
The Lycian Shore
The Lycian coast and hinterlands are thoroughly explored in this reprint of a classic account of a 1950s journey by the stalwart Freya Stark, one of our heroines. Heading south from Smyrna, Stark explores rock tombs of Xanthus, shores of the Dalyan River, Hellenic cities of Termessos and Perge and other sites along the Aegean.

Louis De Bernieres
Birds Without Wings
De Bernieres offers sweeping historical scope, memorable characters, drama and many new vocabulary words in this stupendous novel set in Anatolia during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Angie Brenner, Joy Stocke
Anatolian Days & Nights
When Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner meet on the balcony of a guesthouse in a small resort town on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, they think they have only a mutual friend and a summer dream in common. Soon, they discover a shared love of travel, history, culture, cuisine and literature – and begin a ten-year odyssey through Turkey.

Mary Lee Settle
Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place
Settle’s captivating travelogue is a richly detailed portrait of contemporary Turkey, its people, monasteries, myths, archaeological treasures and living traditions. Exemplary.

Jason Goodwin
The Janissary Tree
With beautiful descriptions of Istanbul and its palaces, this engaging and bizarre historical mystery will keep you reading. The Ottoman Empire mysteries continue with The Snake Stone and The Bellini Card, set in 1840s Venice.

Rose MacAulay, Jan Morris (Introduction)
The Towers of Trebizond
Mixing high farce, archaeology, history and lively travel writing, Rose MacAulay’s impossibly witty short novel is back in a new edition. Originally published in 1956, the book follows the adventures of English missionaries traipsing across Turkey from Istanbul to Trebizond.

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