Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport
Arrive at Ataturk airport and enjoy an included transfer
to your centrally located hotel. Later, we will
meet for awalking tour along Istiklal Street,
a fabled pedestrian promenade for the last 100+
This world-famous, two-mile long avenue, bustles
with people enjoying its restaurants, bars, theatres,
art galleries and boutiques. Stretching fromTaksim
Square to the Galata Tower, the street offers some
of the best well-preserved examples of late-19th-century
Art Nouveau architecture. As we stroll along, you
will marvel at landmarks such as The Flower Passage,
The Produce & Fish Market as well as several
churches and Consulates. We will also stop to taste
some local “street food” and your guide
will point out restaurants that you may enjoy for
Day 2: Istanbul – Full day tour
Our morning begins with an extensive tour of Topkapi Palace, the famous former
residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Next, we visit Sirkeci Railway Station,
the final destination of the Orient Express. We then continue to the Spice
Market, one of Istanbul’s many mesmerizing sights, where we have some
free time to explore this magical market for shopping as well as for lunch
on your own. One of the many choices for lunch in this area is Pandeli Restaurant
with its traditional Turkish menu served under a ceiling of turquoise-colored
tiles and 17th-century bedestens (domes). We then enjoy an hour-long Bosphorus
Cruise along the shores of the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, disembarking
at Uskudar, one of the largest towns on the Asian side of the Strait. We
will visit the produce and fish market and view the Mihrimah Sultan’s
Mosque as well as the Maiden’s Tower, one of the most iconic symbols
of the city. Finally, we return to our hotel with a steamboat ride of twenty
minutes, crossing the Bosphorus once more from Asia to Europe. Tonight, we’ll
enjoy a private cooking lesson and dinner in a Turkish home. This unforgettable
experience includes the opportunity to learn the preparation of some traditional
dishes and seasonal recipes in an authentic Turkish home, enjoying the hospitality
that is innate in Turkish culture. When we say "make yourself at home" in
Turkey, we mean it! Our hostess, Selin, is a local cooking expert, and will
guide you personally through a hands-on experience preparing a Turkish gourmet
menu. Her recipes vary according to the season, using only the freshest ingredients
available. Of course, the very best part is the result: the meal that you’ve
cooked! (B, D)
Culinary experience: Private cooking
lesson and dinner in a Turkish home.
Day 3: Istanbul – Full day tour
This morning, we visit more iconic sites in Istanbul,
including the Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque,
Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern. In the
afternoon, we’ll visit the Grand Bazaar
where the opening scenes of the most recent James
Bond movie, “Skyfall” were filmed.
We have some free time to explore the 4,000+
shops and to also stop for lunch. (One of the
many choices is Seyhmus Kebab restaurant where
you can try classic Turkish kebabs.) We then
drive over the Galata Bridge then drive to the
Galatasaray neighborhood and walk to Pera. Notable
buildings along the way include: several Consulates,
St. Antoine's Catholic Church, the Galata Whirling
Dervish Hall, the Tunel area, Neve Shalom Synagogue
andThe Galata Tower . We visit Galata Tower for
a bird’s eye view of Beyoglu, the Golden
Horn, the Bosphorus, and the historic peninsula.
We end our walk at the Pera Palace Hotel and
have a short drive back to the hotel. You may
also wish to stay here and dine on your own at
any of the local restaurants such as: Kivahan
or Guney (Turkish/Ottoman cuisine), Fureyya (small
fish restaurant) or the Pera Palace Hotel’s
own Agatha Restaurant. (B)
4: Istanbul / Mudanya / Sigi Village / Zeytinbagi
(Trigleia) / Bursa
This morning we travel, via ferry, to the city of Mudanya on the Sea of Marmara.
Mudanya is one of the oldest harbor towns in the province of Bursa, dating
back to the 8th century BC. After seeing the authentic local architecture,
we will enjoy a leisurely drive to Kumyaka (Sigi), an old Greek village, visiting
with sisters Nazligul and Aslihan, who will demonstrate how extra virgin olive
oil is produced in the “old way”. We then continue toZeytinbagi
(Trigleia), another former Greek town, for lunch and enjoy an unforgettable
local meal beginning with traditional cold and hot meze dishes and some seafood
as a main course, all served with wine. The area has been host to various civilizations
since antiquity. Trigleia is the original name of the town, and, although the
name has been changed to Zeytinbagi (olive orchard), it is still sometimes
referred to as Tirilye. We will visit the Bakus Winery, owned by Melih Karaer,
and taste their Bogazkere, Merlot, Cinsault and Cabernet-Sauvignon wines. We
will then continue to Bursa, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire. Bursa
is known for Mount Uludag, a ski resort towering over the city, early Ottoman
Sultans mausoleums, forests, thermal baths, museums, and a covered bazaar famous
for silk cloth. Bursa is also home to some of the most famous dishes in Turkey,
such as: Iskender Kebap (named for Alexander the Great, who apparently loved
this dish), iced chestnuts (kestane), peaches (seftali) and Turkish delight
(lokum). While in Bursa, we will visit the Great Mosque, bazaar district, and
the Caravanserai. We will have an included dinner and an overnight in Bursa.
(B, L, D)
Culinary experience: Enjoy olive
oil tasting in Sigi and lunch and wine in the old
Greek town of Trilye.
5: Bursa / Mt. Ida / Pergamum / Izmir
This morning, we leave Bursa and head towards Aegean coast of Turkey with a
scenic drive and have lunch in a village at the foot of Mt. Ida. This is the
legendary mythological mountain Homer wrote about where Paris grew up and judged
the famous beauty contest. Our host for lunch is Erhan Seker of Zeytinbagi
Restaurant. After lunch and a short nature walk around Mt. Ida, we will continue
onto Pergamum, once the Greek capital of Asia Minor. Here, we’ll take
in the views of the magnificent Acropolis with its great open-air theater that
seats 10,000 spectators, and the marble-columned Temple of Trajan. Below the
theater lies the ruin of the Temple of Dionysus along with the Altar of Zeus.
We continue on to the Asclepium, a sanctuary and healing center built in the
4th century BC in the name of Asclepius, the God of medicine. Later this afternoon
we travel to Izmir where we will spend the night. (B, L)
Culinary experience: On the way
to Izmir we stop in a village at the foot of Mt.
Ida to have a gourmet lunch featuring local dishes
prepared with vegetables of the Aegean coast and
wild herbs gathered from the slopes of Mt. Ida.
6: Ephesus / Sirince Old Greek Village – Full
Culinary experience: we
will visit a typical Greek house in an authentic
where we will savor “gozleme”, a traditional
homemade pancake stuffed with local cheese, “guvec” (a
delicious oven-prepared stew) and freshly-baked “ekmek” (bread).
After breakfast, we drive to the charming town of Selcuk,
gateway to one of the most remarkable sites of antiquity
in the world, Ephesus. It’s grand streets, agoras/markets,
library, theater, the houses of the rich, and many
other features, will show us what a Roman “metropolis” was
really like. For lunch, we drive to an old Greek village
in the hills near Ephesus, Sirince, which was originally
a Greek-Orthodox village, and has a bi-cultural tradition
today. From its beautiful hilltop location, we’ll
enjoy impressive and soaring views of the vineyards
and olive orchards surrounding the village. As we wander
its narrow streets, lined with typical Greek houses,
we come across local women selling handcrafts of all
kinds and other local village products. Here, we have
a chance to socialize with the locals and taste the
delicious Aegean-inspired lunch hosted in a private
home. We’ll make a final stop to visit the Museum
of Archaeology. Overnight in Izmir. (B, L)
7: Izmir / Bodrum - Drive to Bodrum
Visit Sultankoy in Camlik village where we have the
opportunity to learn about local crafts, such as rug-weaving,
and also taste local wine and canapés. We will
then continue onto Bodrum (Halicarnassus), a charming
coastal town situated in the southwest corner of the
Aegean region of Turkey, which offers an excellent
temperate climate. Famous for both its historical importance
and natural beauty, Bodrum is very popular with both
Turkish people and foreign visitors to Turkey. Upon
arrival, we will visit the Museum of Underwater Archaeology
in the Castle of St. Peter. Our farewell dinner will
be served at a cozy restaurant in Ortakent, a small
town located on the Bodrum peninsula. (B, D)
Culinary experience: in the small medieval town of
Ortakent, we meet our host Chef Asli Mutlu and taste
her Mediterranean fusion dishes prepared with local
vegetables, herbs and custom flavors. Chef Mutlu’s
passion for cooking is displayed as she uses fresh
and organic vegetables of the region, and also she
is known to experiment with different ingredients
and methods, perhaps preparing pumpkins with walnuts,
cooked in the Turkish way, and another day, perhaps
an organic salad mixed with herbs. What is always
included in her dishes is the local extra virgin
olive oil. Chef Mutlu carefully researches old recipes
and creates her own take, by using meat, fish and
poultry to cook outstanding meals. The village ambience
and outstanding culinary experience will make this
a truly unforgettable night!
Day 8: Bodrum / Istanbul - Homebound Departure
After breakfast we drive to Bodrum / Milas airport for a flight to Istanbul,
connecting with your homeward flight.
Prices are per person, in USD and based on double occupancy at hotels:
Subject to availability and dates selected
A discount (10 %) applies to the following period:
November 15th to March 15th
Price of the trip package includes:
3 nights Istanbul: Pera Palace Hotel - Golden Horn
View Room (or similar)
1 night Bursa: Hotel Kitapevi - Deluxe Room (or similar)
2 nights Izmir: Swiss Grand Efes Izmir Hotel - Classic
Room (or similar)
1 night Bodrum: Hotel The Marmara Hotel - Luxury
Sea View Room (or similar)
• Domestic flights in coach class (Bodrum to Istanbul).
• Meals as indicated by (B, L, D) - B=Breakfast, L=Lunch,
13 Meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners
(including bottled water).
• Service of a private, licensed, professional English-speaking
guide throughout your trip.
• All transfers and travel by private, modern, air-conditioned,
chauffeur - driven vehicles, appropriate to the size
of your group.
• All entrance fees to the sites and museums mentioned
in the program.
• Parking, ferry, and toll road fees.
• Gratuities at restaurants where a meal is included
in the program.
• Porter fees at airports.
Price of the trip package excludes:
• Airfare for international flights.
• Beverages other than water during included meals.
• Optional gratuities to the tour guide(s), driver(s).
• Tipping for porters at hotels.
• Travel insurance.
• Visas, laundry, and personal items.
Add or subtract the amounts listed to the rates quoted
above for pricing with these alternate hotels:
Istanbul: Bosphorus Neighborhood
The House Hotel (Superior Bosphorus Room): -$125 per
Istanbul: Sultanahmet Neighborhood
Ottoman Imperial Hotel (Premium Room): -$500 per person
We are happy to quote the program based on any of
these hotels or others of your choice.
Call for more information: 1-888-711-4500 (toll-free
in the USA and Canada).