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Turkey: Istanbul & the Landscapes of Cappadocia

9 days
Get to know the culture that developed at the intersection of East and West in Istanbul, a city that effortlessly blends the ancient and the modern. For a retreat from the bustle, escape to Cappadocia’s lunar landscapes, where you’ll explore the region’s rock-hewn villages and steep-peaked terrain.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 7 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine at the welcome and farewell dinners

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Overnight flight

Board your overnight flight to Turkey today.

Istanbul 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Istanbul

Included meals: Dinner

Land in Istanbul—one of the world’s only cities that span two continents—and meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Istanbul

Included meals: Breakfast

Take a tour through Istanbul’s vibrant streets and historic UNESCO World Heritage sites.

• Visit the Hippodrome, once the social center of ancient Constantinople

• Explore the breathtaking Blue Mosque, named for the blue tiles adorning its interior

• Enter an elaborate underground cistern built by Emperor Justinian I

• Discover the former residence of Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace

Cappadocia 3 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Flight to Cappadocia

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, fly to the captivating region of Cappadocia for a guided tour.

• Explore Pigeon Valley’s dramatic canyon and rock formations

• Take in sweeping city views from atop Uchisar Village 

• Walk through the moonscapes of Avcilar Valley

Enjoy a free afternoon in Cappadocia or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Whirling Dervishes $39pp* Details

The Sufi Muslim sect known as the Whirling Dervishes was founded in the 13th century by Mevlana Rumi. They were named after their elaborate dance-like ritual, which honors the movement of the Earth. Learn more about this fascinating ancient faith and its modern-day practitioners during this cultural performance.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $49)

Day 5: Avanos, Çavuşin & Pasabag Valley

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel deeper into Cappadocia, where you’ll wander among the region’s surreal landscapes and learn about its living traditions.

• Venture to the villages of Avanos and Çavuşin with a guide and meet local potters

• Look back in time as you explore the 1,000-year-old carved-rock churches found in the Göreme Open Air Museum

• Travel into the Pasabag Valley, also known as the Monks Valley, to explore the region’s famed “fairy chimneys”

• Learn the history and artistry behind one of Turkey’s most popular exports—its brightly woven rugs

Day 6: Free day in Cappadocia

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend the day exploring Cappadocia on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Underground City and Keslik Monastery $25pp* Details

Get a feel for what life was like when Turks and Greeks lived side by side in the former Ottoman vil­lage of Sinasos, known today as Mustafapaşa. After walking among the town’s Grecian-style homes and past its two soaring minarets, set out to explore the village of Cemil, known for its ancient churches built into the surrounding mountains. Afterward, make your to Cappadocia’s famed rock-carved Kes­lik Monastery, before concluding the day delving into the cavernous tunnels of the Kaymakli under­ground city. The widest of Cappadocia’s 36 under­ground cities, Kaymakli was originally used as a secret hideaway from invaders and later expanded to contain nearly 100 tunnels, complete with wine cellars, kitchens and stables, some of which are still in use today.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $35)

Istanbul 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Flight to Istanbul

Included meals: Breakfast

Fly back to Istanbul, and get reacquainted with the city as you discover its most iconic sites.

• Step inside the Hagia Sophia, which held the title of the world’s largest cathedral for nearly 1,000 years

• Haggle with the locals in the Grand Bazaar, a legendary souk that boasts over 5,000 vendors

Day 8: Free day in Istanbul

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in Istanbul or add an excursion.

Later, say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Bosphorus Straits Cruise $55pp* Details

Cruise through the Bosphorus Straits, looking out on decadent Ottoman palaces and imposing medieval castles as you journey through the narrow waterway that separates Europe from Asia. On your way, you’ll stop to visit the famous Egyptian bazaar, known as the Spice Market. After returning from your cruise, sit down to a lunch of Turkish specialties. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent. In some cases, dinner will be offered instead of lunch.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Day 9: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in Istanbul.

Add Istanbul $249 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Perfectly positioned between East and West, Istanbul has remained Turkey’s cultural and historical heart for centuries upon centuries, from the rise and fall of one empire to the next. Spend two more nights in the City of the World’s Desire getting a taste for the local spice of life. Order up a glass of raki, walk the walls of ancient Constantinople, drift along the Bosphorus and leave feeling like a true İstanbullu.

Istanbul 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Free day in Istanbul

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Istanbul.

Day 10: Free day in Istanbul

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend the day exploring on your own.

Day 11: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Cappadocia, Turkey
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Turkey, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. Effective in 2014, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain an electronic visa through the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website prior to arrival in Turkey. The cost of a visa for entry into Turkey is $20 USD for U.S. citizens and $60 USD for Canadian citizens (payment is subject to change without notice). If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).


There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Turkey. Especially during the summer months, take proper care for sun exposure. While no vaccinations are required for entry, be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel recommendations. Avoid drinking the tap water in Turkey.


Turkish food is invariably fresh and very carefully prepared. Sourdough bread with sheep’s cheese and olives, as well as jam or honey, is typically eaten for breakfast. A midday meal or dinner often starts with a meze, a plate of varied appetizers, such as cheese pastry rolls, pickled vegetables and potato fritters. You’ll also see salads served with dips made of eggplant, beans or red caviar. On the coast, fish is an excellent choice, especially tuna, turbot and sardines. Meat eaters should try lamb kebabs, available in a wide variety of types, each with a different sauce or dressing. The national drink is tea, which comes in various flavors. Turkish coffee is extremely strong and thick. 


Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Istanbul. There’s also an included flight from Cappadocia to Istanbul. All other included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation. Istanbul has an extensive—and remarkably inexpensive—transport system of bus, tram, train and metro lines. Purchase all-inclusive passes for the best deal and try to avoid peak periods of travel, when walking is probably your best bet. 


Turkey operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

Turkey is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 7pm in Istanbul.


The Turkish lira is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Turkey, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take credit cards and dollar bills in small denominations. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. Exchange small amounts of Turkish lira at one time in order to compensate for inflation. 


At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Shopping on Tour

Please note that some excursions may include a stop at a market or specialty store. Go Ahead Tours has no relationship with these vendors and encourages you to research specialty items you’re interested in purchasing abroad before you leave to ensure you receive the best quality.

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