Istanbul & Coastal Turkey 10 days
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Straddling continents and cultures, Turkey blends elements of Asia and Europe into an intriguing, exotic mix. On this tour of coastal Turkey, you'll discover bustling bazaars and Ottoman architecture alongside Greco-Roman ruins and Aegean resorts. Learn how this country at the crossroads has long been a bridge between east and west, from Ancient Greece to the Ottoman Empire to the present day.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
8 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 7 three-course or buffet dinners with beer or wine on Days 2 and 9
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
The intersection of East & West
Haggling at the Grand Bazaar & Spice Market
Surprising, sophisticated Istanbul
Ancient ruins that date back 2,000 years
Hot springs & cool scenery at Pamukkale
Hookah pipes & Turkish Delight
Overnight Flight1 night
Istanbul2 nights - hotel info
Call it Byzantium, Constantinople or Istanbul—you’re here
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Istanbul, crossroads of East and West as well as the world’s only city that spans two continents. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or begin acquainting yourself with Istanbul. Meet your fellow travelers at your welcome dinner this evening.
Discover a cultural crossroads that straddles Europe and Asia
Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia
Your Tour Director acquaints your with Istanbul on this morning’s sightseeing tour. You’ll visit the city’s Hippodrome, the breathtaking Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia. About 1,000 years older than St. Peter’s in Rome, this awe-inspiring building was the pride of Christendom until the city fell to the Turks in 1453. Spend the evening as you like or join our Whirling Dervishes: Sufi Mystics optional excursion.
Whirling Dervishes: Sufi Mystics $35* pp
The Whirling Dervishes are devoted adherents of Sufism, a mystical interpretation of Islam. For centuries, they've been known for their sema, the spinning dance that inspired their colorful nickname. The sema is full of symbolism, and you'll gain an appreciation for this distinctive communion with the divine at tonight's performance.
Canakkale1 night - hotel info
Kusadasi2 nights - hotel info
Trace Greek history from the Troy’s ruins to Pergamon’s acropolis
Pergamom cable car
Today begins with a guided sightseeing tour of Troy, the legendary city at the heart of Homer’s Iliad. Next, continue to Pergamon. A stronghold of the Greek Attalid dynasty, this was once one of the world’s most magnificent cities. Here, you’ll visit the Acropolis before continuing on to Kusadasi for an included dinner this evening.
Find the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Ephesus ruins, House of the Virgin Mary
Today’s excursion introduces you to one of the Mediterranean region’s best-preserved classical cities, Ephesus, once a sacred center for the cult of Artemis. Your guided tour highlights the city’s major landmarks: the elaborate Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the Great Theatre, which is still in use today. Leaving Ephesus, you’ll then travel to the house where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her final days. Afterward, join our optional excursion to the town of Sirince for a firsthand look at rural village life in Turkey. Dinner is included tonight.
Village of Sirince $25* pp
The peaceful village of Sirince lies in the hills outside of Ephesus. Known for its homemade wines, olive oils and needlecrafts, Sirince offers a taste of rural life far removed from the bustle of Turkey’s cities. On a walking tour led by your Tour Director, stroll past some of the country’s best-preserved 19th-century architecture and enjoy panoramic views of peach orchards and olive groves.
Pamukkale2 nights - hotel info
Make a pilgrimage to the Temples of Athena and Apollo
Travel to the ruins of Priene, which was once an important harbor. Priene is also home to a ruined Temple of Athena. Continue on to the ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, one of the Hellenic world’s most important oracles. Arrive later in Pamukkale, where dinner is included tonight.
Soak in hot springs in an otherworldly limestone-terraced landscape
Discover why Pamukkale was a popular spa town during Roman times on a visit to the city’s famous travertines—petrified waterfalls of white stone pocked by natural basins filled with warm mineral water. Afterward, journey to the well-preserved ruins of Hierapolis nearby. Hierapolis was established as a thermal spa at the end of the 2nd century B.C., and the ruins of baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site. Enjoy a free afternoon to soak in the Pamukkale hot springs or join our optional excursion to Aphrodisias. Dinner is included tonight.
Aphrodisias $25* pp
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.
Istanbul1 night - hotel info
Cruise between two continents along the Bosphorous Straits
Fly to Istanbul, where you’ll have the choice of joining afternoon excursion to Bosphorus, also known as the Istanbul Strait. This boundary between European Turkey and Asian Turkey connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Later this evening, reflect on your journey at an included farewell dinner.
Bosphorus Straits Cruise $55* pp
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.
Extend Your Stay
Add Istanbul $249*
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.
Istanbul2 nights - hotel info
Passport & Visa
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 your return home. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Turkey. The cost to purchase a visa upon arrival in Turkey is $20 for Americans and $60 for Canadians (payment in USD only and subject to change without notice). If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Turkish Consulate.
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.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Istanbul. There is also an included flight from Denizli (Pumakkale) to Istanbul. All other included transportation on your tour 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.
Clothing & Packing Tips
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be ready for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
The Turkish lira is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Turkey rather than at home, 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 and 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 lira at one time to compensate for inflation.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is 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.
Alabaster carvings, brightly glazed ceramics, gold, silver, leather goods and carpets are the most sought-after goods in Turkey. The established method of shopping in the bazaars is by haggling. (Bear in mind that if you haggle and the trader agrees to your price, then you are expected to buy).
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
A Mosaic of Magic
It is impossible to name any one element of the trip that was "best'. partly it is a cleverly constructed tour that builds to a climax, and also because Selcuk, our guide was like a master magician, unveiling wonders, one at a time, with a near theatrical flourish. Hgia Sophia--magnificent; Pergamon spectacularly dramatic on its mountaintop; the Library of Celsus and Great Theatre of Ephesus--awesome; Aphrodisias--a gem (I just needed more time in the sculpture museum); the Bosporous cruise at sunset--picture perfect. Selcuk was also masterly in the places he coise for us to eat along the way that made you feel like you were REALLY in Turkey. All this served with a flourish of charm, humor and knowledge that made it one of the most complete trips ever. I took a ton of pictures, but the only way they could adequately encapsulate the trip would be to make them into a huge collage or weave them into a rug. Wait! I forgot to mention the visit to the rug-making school. Oh, well. Go see for yourself.
Istanbul and coastal Turkey
Turkey is a fascintaing and energetic country. The history is complex and was well covered by our tour guide. Mehmet was well spoken, personable, and knowledgeable about historical and contemporary Turkey. The only drawback were the couple of long journies between sites when a good part of the day was spent in the van. A helpful piece of information would have been the layout of the Grand Bazaar; I did not realize there were quite a few entry/exit gates and did not note the gate number when I entered. Got pretty well lost, finally found an exit that brought me near to a familiar street.
Istanbul & Coastal Turkey - great time!
Overall, an excellent tour. Our guide was wonderful, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable. The diversity of sights and experiences really made the tour special. I liked the fact that most meals were included (although the hotel buffets can be very similar from night to night). When meals were not included, our guide always brought us to very nice, unique places featuring Turkish (not American) food. I especially liked the Bosphorus Cruise and our day in Pamukkale. The only negative was the long bus rides. It would have been helpful if this was more explicit in the tour description. I would have appreciated more walks and physical activity on some of the days. The beautiful weather, small tour group, and top-notch guide were pluses.
Our tour director/guide, Secil was just fabulous. She was very courteous and extremely helpful during the whole tour, could not find a better tour director/guide no matter how hard you try. She spoke very good English and had no trouble communicating with members of the tour. I believe we also had the best driver in Turkey as well. The tour was well laid out and the pace of the tour was good. Secil was very knowledgeable of the places visited. October is a good time to travel in Turkey. Weather was outstanding. Pamukkale is must stop and don't forget your camera and bathing suit. If you have the time to get into the water, do it! The Virgin Mary's House is also a must visit for a quiet and serene spot.
Istanbul and Coastal Turkey
Our tour guide, Mehmet, was exceptional. Enjoyed everything but the long rides in the van. Wonderful sights in a country populated by very friendly people. Our fellow travelers provided stimulating, easy conversation.
Turkey Trip 2012
Enjoyed the trip. Would have preferred mixing in one or two small towns or cities with the ruins. Day after day of ruins was a bit overwhleming and upon returning home, it's difficult to remember what was what. The guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant. She wasn't always the best organized, however. She left batteries for the head sets on the bus and on several ocasions walked so far ahead that those further behind did not know where she was or which way to turn. These are fairly minor points as I did enjoy the trip and am already looking at other GoAhead trips.
Istanbul and Coastal Turkey
I enjoyed the exotic flavor of the architecture, art, scenery, and food. I appreciated the sociability of our multi-aged fellow travelers. I am grateful for the expert and congenial shepherding of our tour director. It was an unforgettable experience for a reasonable price.
Istanbul and Coastal Turkey
We saw fascinating scenery and leaned so much history and cultural information. Our guide was extremely knowledgable, personable, and helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of the other travelers of varied ages. The trip will afford us pleasant memories for the rest of our lives. Thank you!
Worst Return Trip Ever!
A 1:15 A. m. wake up call to get to the airport for a 5 o'clock take off. A 4 hour layover in Fanfurt, followed by a 4 hour layover in Newark plus an additioal 2 hour delayed flight. All in all, we did not get into Omaha until after 11 o'clock. In addition to the long flight and delays my wife and I were placed in seats separate from each other (Same thing on the way over). The same thing happened to the couple traveling with us. We were not able to change seat arrangements prior to the scheduled departure. I know you try to get the most economical seats to keep prices down, but this type of scheduling and being separated from ones spouse is ridiculous. You can do better than that!!!!
Istanbul Costal Tour
No doubt the best tour I have ever had. The guide was also the best. The history of the country and his humor he had when telling stories. He focused on important details and made every site so interesting. I was sorry it was over so soon. If I would have known I would have taken the extended tour. Good job.