G Adventures Private Group - Mini Istanbul and Absolute Turkey - Upgraded - September 20 to October 7, 2023

    Culture, History, Beaches, and Man-Made and Natural Wonders

    Begin your trip roaming the palaces and mosques of Istanbul before journeying into the bizarre as you explore otherworldly Cappadocia. From the amazing white cliff waterfalls of Pamukkale to the bustling bazaars of Istanbul, we will show you the region’s hidden gems and make sure your trip burns brightly in your memory long after you've left this crossroads of Asia and Europe.

    While this trip has many inclusions, there are options in Istanbul and Cappadocia for add-on experiences. This is to allow people with different interests, to select what is best for them. And, for instance, if you don't want to do any additional walking in Istanbul on September 23, we can make is such that you just take the Bosphorus cruise with us, if interested.

    Dates: September 20 to October 7, 2023. Excluding international flights, the tour price is $3,638 CAD per person based on double occupancy. Single occupancy is an additional $678 CAD. Single accommodation is not available for the Turkish Village Homestay and our Ottoman Mansion stay in Ayvalik.

    This is a blended trip of two upgraded private tours: an upgraded Istanbul Mini Adventure and Absolute Turkey. 

    Here is a breakdown of the days:

    September 20: Arrival in Istanbul

    On the first day, you arrive in Istanbul and meet our CEO (Chief Experience Officer) around 6 p.m. We'll go out for a dinner with our group. You then partake on two full days in Istanbul.


    • Dinner included.
    • Overnight in Istanbul.

    September 21: Touring Istanbul


    Tour the world-renowned Haiga Sofia. After, explore a lesser-known side of Istanbul's Old Town and visit subterranean Roman and Byzantine ruins, the Hippodrome and the Little Haiga Sofia Mosque. Tonight, opt to visit a hammam (traditional Turkish bath $5 to $40 USD).

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Istanbul.

    September 22: Touring Istanbul


    Enjoy a culinary walking tour of the trendiest districts in Istanbul. Wander through Taksim Square and the lively district of Karaköy on a CEO-led culinary walking tour, sampling local specialties such as baklava and Turkish coffee. Enjoy a sumptuous mezze lunch. Catch a ferry to Kadiköy, on the Asian side of Istanbul.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Istanbul.

    September 23: Istanbul on your Own


    Day on your own - You can sign up for the "Alternative Istanbul Walking Tour and Bosphorus Cruise" ($75 USD pp); "Dolmabahce Palace Visit and Bosporus Cruise" ($85 EUR pp); or "Istanbul Backstreet Walk" (67 EUR pp). We'll meet up with our CEO around 6 p.m. for the start of our "Absolute Turkey" tour.

    Alternative Istanbul Walking Tour and Bosphorus Cruise

    Go even deeper into Istanbul, discovering diverse and lesser-visited districts with your CEO, and some of the best photography spots in the city! Today we will walk along the ancient Constantinople city walls; see Istanbul's best Roman mosaics and frescoes at the Kariye Mosque (formerly the Chora Church); stroll through the photogenic Fener (Greek) and Balat (Jewish) districts, known for their colourful wooden houses; enjoy lunch together; and cruise the Bosphorus Strait for stunning views of Ottoman palaces and the city skyline.

    Please note: this is a full day (6+ hours) day excursion. Lunch is included. Your CEO will collect you from the hotel lobby at 9am. Please bring sunscreen, a water bottle, and modest clothing/coverings for shoulders and upper legs for visiting religious sites.

    Dolmabahçe Palace Visit and Bosporus Cruise

    Ever wonder what life was like for an Ottoman Sultan? Explore Dolambahçe Palace — Istanbul's most lavish residence and home to the leaders of the Ottoman administration from 1856-1923. Featuring interiors decorated by the designer of the Paris Opera, this is a site to be seen. Afterwards, board a boat for a relaxing and scenic cruise along the legendary Bosporus Strait.

    Istanbul Backstreets Walk

    Follow a guide through colourful spice markets, bustling bazaars, and squares nestled in the backstreets of Istanbul. Exploring these lesser known parts of Istanbul will give you a glimpse into the daily life of a local.

    • Breakfast included. If you take the Alternative Istanbul Walking Tour and Bosphorus Cruise, lunch will be included as well.
    • Overnight in Istanbul.

    September 24, 2023: Istanbul to Bolu: Morning on your own or take the Istanbul Orientation Walk


    At this point, you should be more than aquainted with Istanbul. You can take the walk just to reinforce what you've seen or enjoy the morning on your own. In the afternoon, we'll leave for Bolu. It is about a 4 hour drive. It will just be our private group in the vehicle with our driver and CEO. We'll stop as needed to stretch and for bathroom breaks.

    • Breakfast is included.
    • Overnight in Bolu.

    September 25, 2023: Bolu and Cappadocia


    Visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk, the father of the Modern Turkish Republic, en route to Cappadocia region. The Mausoleum of Atatürk is located in Turkey's capital of Ankara and has become one of the sprawling city's must-see locations. We will spend 1 to 1.5 hours there. 

    The drive from Bolu to Cappadocia is about 5.5 hours long where we will be for 2.5 days. There will be plenty of time to tour the area by bike, visit neighbouring villages, trek regional valleys or try a hot air balloon ride.

    During one of the evenings, travel to a nearby village and enjoy dinner with a local family.

    • Breakfast included. Dinner will be included on the day we enjoy homemade dishes and talk with friendly hosts about life in rural Cappadocia.
    • Overnight in Cappadocia.

    September 26, 2023: Cappadocia


    You'll be able to attempt a hot air balloon ride while in Cappadocia. Sometimes they are cancelled due to weather. It was my absolutely favourite hot air balloon ride ever so I'd highly recommend it if you are sitting on the fence. I'd suggest that you try it for the 26th - and if that doesn't work, the 27th and 28th are options. If hot air balloons aren't in your future, that doesn't mean you can't go to the best viewing place to see them. We'll be able to help arrange transportation.

    The day includes a visit to the unbelievable Göreme Open Air Museum. We'll spend 1 to 2 hours there. Be inspired by the natural beauty of the historic Göreme Open Air Museum, a complex of medieval painted cave churches carved out by Orthodox monks. Tour the more than 10 caves on site, and enjoy the color and vibrancy of many of the churches that are up to 1,000 years old.

    The rest of your day is to explore on your own. 

    Included with this tour is the Whirling Dirvishes: Witness this spellbinding dance-like worship, practiced by followers of the Mevlevilik Sufi order.

    Optional activities that you can do today or tomorrow:

    Turkish Baths: 25 EUR per person

    Take along a towel, soap, and shampoo, and enjoy a scrub like no other. Then experience a traditional foam massage, included in the entrance fee. Get some tips from the friendly locals – they’ll show you the correct protocol. Make sure to check the hours as the bathhouses are strictly segregated, usually being used by men in the morning and evenings, and women in the afternoons. 

    Turkish Night: 35 EUR per person

    Attend a "Turkish night" and enjoy a delicious multi-course meal followed by local entertainment. 

    Pottery Centre Visit:

    Learn more about the infamous local art of pottery making and take advantage of the opportunity to create your own masterpiece.

    Carpet Demonstration:

    Enjoy an informative demonstration of one of the oldest art-forms in Turkish history. Gain a greater appreciation for the labour and workmanship involved in weaving rugs and carpets as you learn about the process.

    Hot Air Balloon Ride: 235 EUR per person

    Cappadocia is captivating from the ground, but that’s just the half of it. See the seemingly hand-painted landscapes of Cappadocia as they deserve to be seen, from the air aboard a hot air balloon. Get up early and enjoy a simple breakfast before climbing in the basket and taking to the skies in one of the most favoured places in the world to experience a hot air balloon ride. 

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Cappadocia.

    September 27, 2023: Cappadocia


    Please refer to September 26 activities that you can blend over two days.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Cappadocia.

    September 28, 2023: Cappadocia to Konya

    We'll drive around Derinkuyu to visit one of the underground cities (there are approximately 30 in the region) that were famously used as hiding places for Christians escaping the persecution of the Roman Empire between the fifth and tenth centuries. See how people transferred their surface lives to this underground world – there are cellars, rooms for food storage, kitchens, churches, stables, wine and oil presses, and shafts for ventilation.

    From there, we have a 3.5 hour drive to Güneysınır Community Park. Located in a region prone to drought and economically-dependent on agriculture, Güneysinir is in need of diversified opportunities. G Adventures is investing in an almond plantation that doubles as a community park. While the park will be a beautiful place for travellers and locals to visit, it will also provide a source of shade and water retention, as well as a reliable source of income for the community.

    We'll also explore the interesting Neolithic proto-city settlement of Çatalhöyük – there are no streets, and houses are closely clustered with rooftop access for travel. Witness the cultural evolution from the first settlers in 7500 BC to the remnants of the urban centre we see today.

    • Breakfast and Dinner included:
    • Overnight in a Turkish Village Homestay: Take the opportunity to learn about local Turkish life on this village homestay. Join the group in a community experience; bathroom facilities and sleeping arrangements (in the living room) are shared.

    September 29, 2023: Konya to Antalya

    After a 5 hour drive, we'll arrive in lovely seaside town of Antalya around lunch time.

    With a free afternoon, wander the charming cobbled hillside streets of the district of Kaleici, a great place to stop and have a drink with amazing views of the marina below. For a break from the hustle and bustle, head for the greenery and teashops at one of Antalya's beautiful parks or catch some sun at a nearby beach.

    Spend free time exploring the city of Antalya. Take advantage of its parks and beaches or duck into a museum or two.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Antalya.

    September 30, 2023: Antalya to Kekova

    Our drive to Demre is about 3 hours. Spend the afternoon onboard a boat in the Mediterranean Sea and enjoy a freshly prepared dinner before disembarking the boat and driving to our hotel for the evening.

    We'll drive to the beautiful coastal village of Demre for lunch. It is an approximate 3 hour drive from Antalya. After, board our boat for an afternoon on the Mediterranean Sea. The boat trip includes sailing around Kekova Island, with plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and scenery.

    Later, walk to Simena Castle to enjoy the views and archaeological ruins. Then opt to go for a swim in the crystal clear waters or just relax on deck.

    • Breakfast and Dinner are included. Cold drinks can be purchased.
    • Overnight in Kaş or Kekova.

    October 1, 2023: Kekova to Kaş

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and opt for a swim before we return to Demre, and continue on to the coastal town of Kaş. You'll have free time to explore the cafés lining the cobblestoned streets of Kaş.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Kaş or Kekova.

    October 2, 2023: Kaş to Selçuk


    We'll start the day with a 5 hour drive to Pamukkale, where we will visit for 2 to 3 hours. Tour the white cliffs of Pamukkale to learn about this World Heritage-listed site and natural wonder. Made up of 17 hot water springs, the cliffs are formed when the calcium carbonate hardens with time. Explore the ancient site of Hierapolis built on top of the white "castle." See the large, ancient baths within the city (thought to be evidence that the hot springs of Pamukkale were used as a spa since second century BC).


    We'll then drive to Selçuk, a 3 hour drive.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Selçuk.

    October 3, 2023: Selçuk


    Tour the ruins of ancient Ephesus to get a feeling of what life must have been like during Roman times. Take in its massive, well-preserved theatre, which dominates the view down Harbour Street. See the two-story library, whose façade has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces. Built in AD 125, it once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. We'll spend 2 to 3 hours here.


    After, enjoy a traditional Selcuk cooking class: Learn to cook a delicious traditional meal. Starting at the local market, you will learn about the fresh ingredients needed to create an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert! After creating your meal (with potential vegetarian options), sit down and share with the rest of the class.

    Afterwards, time permitting, walk to the remains of St John's Basilica, visit the Mosque of Isa Bey or wander the streets of this vibrant Turkish town. Or catch a local “dolmus” bus to the picturesque village of Şirince (8 km) to sample some local wine or shop for crafts. For dedicated sunseekers, the beach at Pamucaki is also within reach. See optional tours below.

    Optional Tours or Visits:

    Mosque of Isa Bey Visit Selçuk - there is no charge.

    Expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes here. The centuries-old Isa Bey Mosque on the outskirts of Selçuk to see one of the oldest and most impressive works of art remaining in this region.

    Saint John's Basilica Visit in Selçuk: 8 TRY per person.

    The Basilica was once a grand basilica in Ephesus. Constructed by Justinian I in the 6th century, it was built in where John the Apostle is said to be buried.

    Şirince Village

    Şirince Village is delightful and is only eight kilometers away. You can get there by local bus. Expect to spend 1 to 2 hours there. It is a scenic, Turkish-Greek village that was settled when Ephesus was abandoned; it’s now 600 strong. Wander the narrow village streets filled with people selling handicrafts, olive oil, and local wine. 

    • Breakfast included - as is the meal from your cooking class.
    • Overnight in Selçuk.

    October 4, 2023: Selçuk to Ayvalık

    Today's drive is 2.5 hours. Today we have planned:

    Ayvalik Boat Tour 2h-3h (Weather permitting): Visit secluded bays, explore a nearby island, and, of course, have plenty of time for just relaxing and swimming in the turquoise waters.

    Your G for Good Moment: Çöp(m)adam Visit: Visit the G-supported çöp(m)adam handicraft cooperation. All products are made out of recycled goods and by making a purchase it will directly support the local women who work in the workshop and over time has contributed to over 500 women who have been part of the project.

    Ottoman Mansion Stay Ayvalık: Relax at an overnight stay at a restored Ottoman mansion, and be treated by exceptional hospitality and beautiful views.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight Ottoman mansion.

    October 5, 2023: Ayvalık to Çanakkale


    Today, we will start with a 2.5 hour drive to Troy. Enjoy a visit to the world-famous city of Troy. After exploring the site, continue to the harbour town of Çanakkale, a busy port with a thriving student population. We'll spend 1 to 2 hours there. Expect to walk 1 to 2 kilometers.

    Our drive to Çanakkale will be another 45 minutes.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Çanakkale.

    October 6, 2023: Çanakkale to Istanbul


    On our way to Istanbul, we'll make an early morning visit to Gallipoli, where thousands gave their lives during WWI in the battle of the same name. Take in the sights and learn the sombre story. We'll visit the Gallipoli battlefields on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This is a great complement to any trip to Turkey, even for those not familiar with the Battle of Gallipoli. Tour the grounds to see ANZAC Cove, the war cemeteries, and Lone Pine. Learn how the Turks fought off the numerically superior, but badly commanded, Allied forces who were forced to withdraw nine months later; this battle holds special significance for Australians and New Zealanders, as both nations lost many soldiers.

    We'll then continue on to Istanbul for the opportunity to finish up your sightseeing or get in some last minute shopping.

    • Breakfast included.
    • Overnight in Istanbul.

    October 7, 2023: Depart at anytime.

    • Breakfast included.

    Terms, Conditions and Additional Details

    Solo spaces are limited to 2 on the Istanbul tour and 4 on the Turkey tour.

    • Istanbul: My Own Room (single supplement) CAD 179.00 (in addition to the tour price of $729)
    • Turkey: My Own Room (single supplement) CAD 499.00 (in addition to the tour price of $2909)

    Extras

    Pre Accommodation in Istanbul

    • Single: 90 CAD per room per night
    • Twin/Double: 100 CAD per room per night

    Post Accommodation in Istanbul

    • Single: 90 CAD per room per night 
    • Twin/Double: 100 CAD per room per night

     Alternative Istanbul Walking Tour and Bosphorus Cruise - From $96.00 CAD per person

    Go even deeper into Istanbul, discovering diverse and lesser-visited districts with your CEO, and some of the best photography spots in the city! Today we will walk along the ancient Constantinople city walls; see Istanbul's best Roman mosaics and frescoes at the Kariye Mosque (formerly the Chora Church); stroll through the photogenic Fener (Greek) and Balat (Jewish) districts, known for their colourful wooden houses; enjoy lunch together; and cruise the Bosphorus Strait for stunning views of Ottoman palaces and the city skyline. Please note: this is a full day (6+ hours) day excursion. Lunch is included. Your CEO will collect you from the hotel lobby at 9am. Please bring sunscreen, a water bottle, and modest clothing/coverings for shoulders and upper legs for visiting religious sites.

    Minimum group size: 8

    Required Passenger Details 

    • Full name as it appears on passport 
    • Gender 
    • Date of Birth 
    • Passport number 
    • Passport issue date 
    • Passport expiry date 
    • Nationality 
    • Existing Medical Conditions 
    • Meal Requirements 
    • Emergency contact/ Next of Kin

    It is mandatory for all of our travellers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD.  We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well. (Insurance can be arranged by Penguins2Polarbears with Manulife - or you can obtain coverage through a provider you wish to work with.)

    Cancellation Policy 

    • Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Loss of deposit 
    • Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% loss 
    • Cancellation within 30 days of departure = 100% loss

    If by May 23, 2023, the minimum number of travellers has not been met, the departure will be cancelled. We don't advise to book international airfare until the group has reached this minimum.

    DEPOSIT AMOUNT: $700 per person ($350 for each of the Mini-Istanbul and the Absolute Turkey tour - upgraded)

    FINAL PAYMENT: 60 days before departure (22 July 2023)

    INCLUSIONS:

    Istanbul:

    • Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
    • Old Town Orientation Walk
    • Street Food Dinner Experience
    • Hagia Sophia Visit
    • Old City Underground Tour
    • Hippodrome Visit
    • Culinary Walking Tour Of "Cool" Istanbul
    • Kadiköy Visit

    Turkey:

    • Your G for Good Moment: Güneysinir Community Park , Güneysınır
    • Your G for Good Moment: Çöp(m)adam Visit, Ayvalık
    • Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
    • Your Local Living Moment: Dinner with Local Family, Çavuşin
    • Your Local Living Moment: Turkish Village Homestay, Güneysınır
    • Istanbul city walking tour
    • Visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum
    • Underground city exploration
    • Afternoon boat trip (Mediterranean sea, weather permitting)
    • Ancient Hierapolis and Pamukkale entrance and guided walk
    • Cooking Class in Selcuk
    • Whirling Divershes
    • Ephesus entrance and visit
    • Ottoman mansion stay
    • Troy entrance and guided visit
    • Gallipoli battlefields entrance and guided visit
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

    Accommodations

    Hotels (16 nts), simple village homestay (1 nt).

    Meals

    17 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners

    Allow USD340-445 for meals not included.

    Transportation

    Private air-conditioned van, boat, walking, ferry.

    Staff & experts

    CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout.

    EXCLUSIONS:

    • Entrance fees not listed
    • International air (also applied to trans-border flights)
    • Applicable tourist visas
    • Incidentals
    • Mandatory Travel Insurance
    • Airport taxes
    • Tips or gratuities
    • Beverages
    • Meals not mentioned above
    • Optional tour or optional admissions


    Enquire for the offer now!

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    * This offer is subject to availability and can be withdrawn or varied without notice.