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Grand Tour of Turkey

15 days
In Turkey, Ottoman domes float against modern skylines. Classic scenes from Greek epics come to life, and bustling bazaars and vibrant street vendors prove variety is the spice of life. From Istanbul to Cappadocia and the ruins of Ephesus, take in the living traditions where East meets West.

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

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets, dirt paths and wooden platforms, with some hills and steps.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 13 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 9 three-course dinners with beer or wine included at welcome and farewell dinners

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of Turkey

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

Welcome to Turkey! Land in Istanbul—one of the world’s only cities that spans 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 of Istanbul’s vibrant streets and historic UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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

• Explore the 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 

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

Canakkale 1 night Hotel info

Day 4: Canakkale via Troy

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out for Canakkale. Along the way, take a quick ferry ride across the Dardanelles Strait and embark on a guided tour of Troy, the city at the heart of Homer’s “Iliad.”

Ephesus Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Ephesus Region via Pergamon

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel south along the Aegean coast to Pergamon. Take a cable car to the top of the Acropolis before continuing on to the Ephesus region, a historic area on Turkey’s west coast.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Ephesus

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take a guided tour of Ephesus, one of the Mediterranean region’s best-preserved ancient Greek cities.

• Discover the major landmarks of Ephesus: the elaborate Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the Great Theatre, which is still in use today

• Travel to the house where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her final days

Pamukkale 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Pamukkale via Sirince

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Head inland and stop in the quaint town of Sirince, known for its wine and olive oil, to get a firsthand look at rural village life. Later, arrive in Pamukkale.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Pamukkale

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Discover Pamukkale, a popular spa town during the Roman times, on a guided tour.

• Visit Pamukkale’s famous travertines—petrified waterfalls of white stone

• Travel to the nearby city of Hierapolis to see the well-preserved ancient ruins 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Pamukkale or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Aphrodisias $35pp* Details

Visit Aphrodisias and marvel at the excavated ruins that bear testimony to an age-old artists' colony. In the late first century B.C., the Roman Empire granted autonomy to the city that honored Aphrodite, goddess of love. Aphrodisias' ancient sculptors created works of stunning beauty out of the glowing marble they found in the nearby mountains, and many of these treasures can still be seen today.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $45)

Antalya 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Antalya

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to Antalya, where a local guide leads you on a tour of the city. 

• Explore the Antalya Museum, an enormous complex with nearly 30,000 antiquities

• Uncover the ruins of Hadrian’s Gate, a remarkably well-preserved triumphal arch

Day 10: Free day in Antalya

  Included meals: Breakfast

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

Optional Excursion - Aspendos & Perge $35pp* Details

After the Trojan Wars, some of the victorious Greek forces stayed in Asia Minor and established new towns for Greek colonists. This excursion will take you to Perge, one of the most successful of these new colonies, which prospered under the patronage of Alexander the Great. The ancient remains of this proud city are extensive, and you’ll have a chance to explore the Great Theatre, the ruined Hellenistic Gates, Roman baths and the impressive stadium. Later, visit the Roman theater at Aspendos, a center of classical drama in the first century A.D. Please note: During the summer months, this region can be quite hot. Please bring sunscreen and sturdy footwear.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $45)

Cappadocia 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Cappadocia via Konya

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Cross the Taurus Mountains to visit the mystical center of Konya, the spiritual home of Sufism and the Whirling Dervishes.

• Learn more about the Dervishes on your tour of the Mevlana Museum, which was once their monastery

• Continue on to Cappadocia and its unearthly rock formations

Enjoy a free evening in Cappadocia or add an optional 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 12: Göreme & Avanos

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Wander through the Göreme Open-Air Museum, comprised of frescoed rock churches dating back to the fourth century. Then, explore the bustling trading center of Pasabag before discovering the distinctive red-clay pottery of Avanos.

Istanbul 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Flight to Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast

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

Later, catch an afternoon flight back to Istanbul.

Optional Excursion - Underground City $35pp* Details

Discover the mysterious underground city of Kaymaklı. This guided tour will expose the secrets of this ancient city brimming below the surface. The underground city consists of 8 floors, 4 of which are open to visitors. Built to house hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people, the city's tunnels and underground rooms boast innovations including a church, a stable, wineries, kitchens and a ventilation system, along with living areas.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $45)

Day 14: Free day in Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a 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 15: 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.

The cultural and economic capital of Turkey, Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia—both figuratively and geographically. Once known as Constantinople, this former capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires has long been a bustling and cosmopolitan crossroads. Experience the intersection of East and West at the Byzantine-built Hagia Sofya, the Ottoman-era Blue Mosque and the exotic Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul 2 nights Hotel info

Day 15: Free day in Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Istanbul.

Day 16: Free day in Istanbul

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy another free day in Istanbul.

Day 17: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Canakkale, Turkey
  • Ephesus
  • Pamukkale, Turkey
  • Antalya, Turkey
  • Cappadocia, Turkey
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

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).

Health

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.

Cuisine

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. 

Transportation

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. 

Electricity

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.

Currency

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. 

Tipping

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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: QC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing Experience

Plenty of people thought I was crazy for travelling to Turkey. What is there to do or see in Turkey, everyone asked. The truth is, there is so much you don't even realize it. From Greco-Roman ruins, amazing food experiences, beaches, unreal landscapes and unforgettable sunsets to the incredibly kind people it is an unforgettable place. From the markets of Istanbul to the travertines of Pamukkale and all the way to the otherworldly rock formations of Capadoccia, every part of Turkey had new and interesting things to offer. We had an amazing group and a fantastic Tour Director in Selçuk. He really went above and beyond and made the entire experience feel seamless.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour and Tour Director!!!

The Grand Tour of Turkey is a fantastic trip for learning the history and culture of this beautiful country. The itinerary includes numerous historical sights as you travel across the country. Our Tour Director, Selcurk, was very organized, extremely knowledgeable, and possessed a warm and humorous personality. He made the bus travel of 2,000 miles a pleasant experience! In addition the bus driver was extremely skilled in navigating the full size bus up and down mountains! This is my sixth trip with Go Ahead Tours and is the best of all. Although family members and friends voiced their concerns about traveling to Turkey, I felt safe and enjoyed the people and the culture of this magnificent country. Selcurk is the best Tour Director of my many trips wit Good Ahead!!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great experience

I can't tell you how many times we heard from friends that we were crazy to be going to Turkey. I'm so glad I didn't listen to them because we had an absolutely wonderful time. Our Tour Director, Suleyman, was great, knowledgeable, well organized, helpful, great sense of humor - just wonderful. This trip has a jammed packed itinerary covering many, many miles, changing hotels every couple of days, lots of walking and climbing thru ruins, so for me it was challenging at times. We had booked all the optionals and had considered canceling some before the tour, but since most were so inexpensive, we didn't and decided along the way whether to go or not understanding that we wouldn't get a refund - our choice. Istanbul is an amazing city modern in many ways & and then so traditional & historical. The Grand Bazaar was quite an experience - be prepared to bargain. And Cappadocia was amazing - nothing like you've ever see before. The Underground City is not for anyone who is claustrophobic but I'm glad I did it. The Whirling Dirvishes were an unexpected treat. Each stop offered a great experience. We stopped at a Turkish rug maker & store and saw young women working on pieces - tying one knot at a time creating beautiful art that you walk on and you'll get to see rugs fly. The people were just wonderful and be sure to accept an offer of tea. I think they wanted to know as much about us as we wanted to know about them. It was a wonderful experience that we'd highly recommend. Never once did we feel in danger or even uncomfortable. As for food, not a great variety and their kebabs are well done but we did have some wonderful meals. So glad we went.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fabulous tour with a great director!

I just returned from this tour. We had a small group(15), so we got to know each other well. Our tour director, Mehmet, was amazing! He knowledge of Turkey kept us entertained and educated during the many bus rides on our tour. The sights in this country are so interesting. Turkey has more Greek ruins than Greece and more Roman ruins than Rome. Istanbul is a city of 18 million people with a lot to offer the visitor. I am especially glad we took the optional Bosphorus cruise the day before our departure. The food was so good and plentiful. Hotel accomodations were likewise excellent, both for quality and location.In my opinion, we Americans that have never been to Turkey are missing an undiscovered gem. It took me a long time to get there, but am so glad I finally made it.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/19/2015

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: IL

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

It appeared that he lacked interest in the group.

The itineraries was excellent. I always feel I have seen the highlights of each place visited. Overall, I will remain a loyal Go Ahead traveler, and one that I will recommend to others. I find that all of my trips have been a wonderful experience with Go Ahead. The restaurants we visited was great and fantastic quality of food. The weather was great, the food was great, I had a wonderful time. I am looking forward to my next trip.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/19/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Ever!

We loved this tour. The history of Turkey as told by Baris, our wonderful guide, was amazing. Museums, ancient cities and country as a whole were fantastic as were all the nice people along the way. Would go back in a minute. We also felt very secure and comfortable.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/22/2015

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fantastic variety of experiences

Of all the Go Ahead trips I've taken, I would rate "Grand Tour of Turkey" at the top of the list for its variety of experiences--from exciting Istanbul to the ancient treasures of Pergamon and Ephesus to the out-of-this-world sights of Pamukkale and Cappadocia to the gorgeous seaside city of Antalya. (While in Antalya, take advantage of some downtime at the beach, and be sure to take a boat ride to see the waterfalls.) I understand there was some question as to whether this tour would run due to unrest in the Middle East and Americans' subsequent concerns. But we felt safe throughout our travels--and while Americans weren't too visible, there were many European travelers. With the exception of one hotel, the accommodations were all perfect, with excellent locations within walking distance of many sights. I wish we could have had more than one night at the Kolin Hotel in Canakkale, as it was the lovliest. On the flip side, I wish we could have stayed somewhere other than the Colossea Hotel in Pamukkale. It may be a top-rated spa hotel, but it nickel-and-dimed us--and its food wasn't very good either. (As an example, it was the only hotel on the whole trip that charged for a bottle of water in the room.) Since Turkey is a very large country, tour participants need to be prepared for some long road trips, with the longest being the day-long drive between Antalya and Cappadocia. Luckily, that day was broken up with a stop in Konya to see the spiritual home of Sufism. It would be nice, however, if a flight could be offered between Antalya and Cappadocia similar to the flight taken from Cappadocia back to Istanbul. I understand that even if that's available, however, it would add to the cost of the trip. Because our group was very small--only 9 people--we rode in a small van rather than a tour bus. This allowed us to go to some areas we might not have been able to if traveling in a large bus. On the other hand, we didn't have wifi on the van like we would have on the bus. I missed that, especially on some of the longer rides when using the internet would have helped pass the time. Wifi was somewhat spotty in some of the hotels in more remote areas. Our tour director, Suleyman did a wonderful job of managing our group, and his knowledge of Turkey--past and present--was truly amazing. Congratulations also go to Can, our van driver, who did a superb job of negotiating some tight driving situtations on this, his first tour with Go Ahead. Thank you again, Go Ahead, for a wonderful look at another part of our world!

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1 / 4

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Excelent guide

Excelent tours

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Tour

My wife and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Turkey. All aspects of the tour provided rewarding experiences. Our group of 10 fellow travelers was a convivial one, and included 7 teachers of various disciplines. The tour director was first-rate, very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. He provided considerable background information about all historical sites visited, and explained many of the customs and cultural aspects of Turkey's citizens. The December time period worked well, as the weather was mostly moderately cool and dry, and tourists were fewer than other times of the year. Overall, we highly recommend this tour.

review photo review photo
1 / 2

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/21/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: ON

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Grand tour of Turkey

It was a great experience we really enjoyed. We normally search, plan and travel our self but Turkey was not easy to do it ourselves. The total cost was very reasonable. We also luck to have a small group of 18 travelers so the movements was easy with no waist of time. Traveling itinerary was much less strenuous than group tour we experienced

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