Turkey Encompassed Tour with Intrepid Journey: A Full Tour Overview

by Conquerer
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Turkey is a spot that has all the time held a certain quantity of fascination for me. I fell in love with Istanbul by way of books lengthy earlier than I ever visited – after which fell in love with the precise metropolis itself in 2012 once I spent a too-brief few days there, absorbing all of the sights and sounds and smells I might handle.

These first encounters with Turkey have been memorable, and I all the time knew I might be again sometime.

That day got here in 2019, once I determined to ebook a tour round many of the nation with Intrepid Journey – and my dad determined to come back with me.

Views in Istanbul
Views in Istanbul
Amanda and Dave in Cappadocia
Dad and I in Cappadocia

Is Turkey secure to journey to?

I bear in mind the very first time I deliberate to go to Istanbul, again in 2012 once I was a graduate scholar. All my grad faculty mates have been satisfied I used to be going to be kidnapped or murdered, and my mother and father weren’t too enthusiastic about it, both.

Turkey has been within the information for all kinds of various (unfavorable) causes in the previous couple of years; the whole lot from political protests to terrorist bombings have made the entrance web page. In 2019 (when my dad and I have been there, in reality), Turkey launched airstrikes throughout the border right into a Kurdish-controlled a part of Syria.

These kinds of issues are undoubtedly price being conscious of, however should not a cause to keep away from Turkey, for my part.

You need to keep away from any areas of lively battle and protests, after all, however the overwhelming majority of locations you are prone to go to as a vacationer in Turkey should not going to hold any substantial dangers of violence – not more than touring wherever else in Europe or the US.

Amanda at Library of Celsus in Ephesus
Me feeling very secure within the ruins of Ephesus.
Kaleköy village in Turkey
A sleepy Kaleköy – not scary in any respect.

The most important threats to security you want to fear about as a vacationer in Turkey are issues like pickpockets and scams – annoying, however in the end not harmful.

If I am being sincere with you, in 2019 I visited each Istanbul and Rome inside the area of every week, and I felt a lot safer strolling down the road alone in Istanbul.

Turkish persons are not their authorities, and are extremely sort and welcoming in my expertise.

Amanda by the Bosphorus in Istanbul
Actually felt extra comfy right here than in some components of Rome!

RELATED: 8 Issues That Stunned Me About Touring in Turkey

Do you have to ebook a tour in Turkey?

Turkey is a wonderful place to ebook a guided tour. I’ve traveled to quite a lot of locations solo (together with to Istanbul!), however typically I actually admire having another person fear about all the small print of a visit for me so I can simply take pleasure in it.

And in a spot like Turkey, the place there’s simply SO MUCH to see and do, I knew happening a tour could be probably the most stress-free technique to actually dive in.

Indicators a Turkey tour is likely to be best for you:

  • You need to see quite a lot of the nation – Turkey covers greater than 300,000 sq. miles, and its landscapes embrace the whole lot from mountains to salt flats to the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea. I knew I needed to go to Istanbul and Cappadocia and the Mediterranean coast, however I additionally knew there have been loads of superb locations I did not even find out about. Occurring a tour is a good way to see somewhat little bit of the whole lot, and go to locations you in any other case would possibly miss.
  • You are involved about security – In case you’re in any respect involved about touring alone, or simply touring to Turkey basically, then happening a tour the place you’ve an area information and the data of a tour firm is a good way to assuage a few of these fears.
  • You do not need to do the planning – I would not say Turkey is a very tough place to journey, however planning a visit to a spot with a distinct language and tradition can typically simply be daunting. For longer journeys the place I need to go to numerous locations, I like the benefit of guided excursions.
A beach on Turkey's Turquoise Coast
When another person handles the planning, you possibly can simply sit again and revel in!

Occurring a tour was additionally excellent for my dad and I. It was a great way to meld each our journey kinds, and we had a built-in group of individuals to hang around with. Excursions might be a wonderful possibility for multi-generational journey.

The Turkey tour I selected

My dad and I traveled with Intrepid Journey, my go-to tour firm for small group excursions. I have been on many Intrepid excursions all world wide, and they’re merely among the finest. You may all the time rely on a assorted itinerary, information, like-minded journey companions, and a dedication to accountable tourism when touring with Intrepid.

The tour I selected was the Turkey Encompassed tour, which is a 15-day tour that covers a LOT of floor. That is one in all Intrepid’s “Consolation” excursions (that means personal transport and barely nicer lodging), however the price ticket may be very affordable – the tour often prices lower than $2500 USD.

I selected this Turkey tour principally due to the itinerary, and the entire inclusions. You may try the itinerary right here.

Turkish flag in Cappadocia
A tour is a good way to see Turkey.

Intrepid provides different Turkey tour choices to go well with different budgets and journey kinds, although. Another good ones embrace Better of Turkey (a funds model of the 15-day tour) and Premium Turkey in Depth (a extra luxurious model of the 15-day tour).

In addition they provide extra specialty excursions like this Turkish coast crusing journey, in addition to shorter journeys that simply present you Turkey’s main highlights.

Turkey Encompassed tour: A full evaluate

So what’s the Turkey Encompassed tour with Intrepid Journey actually like? And, extra importantly, would I like to recommend it to others? Learn on to search out out!

What makes this tour stand out?

Intrepid has quite a lot of Turkey excursions to select from, but it surely wasn’t tough to slender it down and choose Turkey Encompassed. A few of the issues that make this tour stand out embrace:

The itinerary – This one has somewhat little bit of the whole lot, from mountaineering in Cappadocia to strolling the traditional ruins of Ephesus to spending time on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. It additionally contains stops in cities like Konya and Beypazari that you simply would possibly in any other case skip. I additionally admire that you simply spend multiple night time in a number of locations, which helps break up among the longer driving days.

Rock formations in the Rose Valley in Cappadocia
Rose Valley in Cappadocia
Market street in Baypazari, Turkey
Market avenue in Baypazari, a city I might have by no means visited alone.

The inclusions – I am going to go into extra element about what all is included later, however Intrepid’s Consolation type journeys embrace quite a lot of actions, in addition to airport transfers and personal transport across the nation. This implies you do not have to fret about bringing a ton of additional spending cash since issues like strolling excursions, museum entry, and a few meals are already included.

The place do you go on this tour?

Word: Once I did this tour in 2019, the itinerary was ever so barely totally different. The tour used to spend one night time in Fethiye and solely two nights in Goreme/Cappadocia. Now, you spend 3 nights in Goreme they usually’ve lower out Fethiye – that is based mostly on suggestions from previous tour company, and I feel it is a terrific change as a result of Cappadocia is so magical. (It additionally goes to indicate that Intrepid listens to suggestions from its vacationers!)

The Turkey Encompassed tour focuses on the western half of the Anatolian peninsula, touring in a clockwise route from Istanbul. Cities and cities you will go to embrace:

  • Istanbul (beginning and ending level)
  • Beypazari
  • Goreme
  • Konya
  • Antalya
  • Kas (a fantastic little city on the Mediterranean)
  • Pamukkale
  • Selcuk (base for visiting Ephesus)
  • Canakkale
  • Gallipoli
Uchisar Castle in Cappadocia
Cappadocia: all the time a favourite.
Square and mosques in Konya, Turkey
Studying about Rumi and Sufism in Konya.
Mediterranean sunset in Antalya
Sundown in Antalya
Amanda at Pamukkale in Turkey
Me splashing round within the travertine terraces in Pamukkale.

Our tour additionally included stops at unbelievable Roman ruins, wine tasting in somewhat city known as Sirince, a stroll by way of the ghost city of Kayaköy, and extra.

The itinerary already appears to be like fairly packed, however know that your tour chief will all the time have some shock additional stops so that you can take pleasure in, too.

Sunset at Antiphellos Ancient Theatre in Kaş
Watching the solar set from the Antiphellos Historical Theatre in Kas.
Lycian rock tombs near Fethiye
Lycian rock tombs we stopped to see close to Fethiye.

What is going to you do on this tour?

I feel the higher query is: what WON’T you do on this tour? Day by day comes with one other cool factor to see or do.

My high 3 tour highlights have been:

1. A day spent crusing the Turquoise Coast

The rationale this tour takes you to the tiny coastal city of Kas is in an effort to spend a full day trip on a ship on the Mediterranean. This a part of Turkey is called the Turquoise Coast or Turkish Riviera, and this was in all probability my favourite day of the journey!

We swam, visited some historical ruins, and loved having an entire boat only for our group.

Boat on the Turquoise Coast in Turkey
Having your personal boat on the Mediterranean is not too unhealthy!
Simena Castle ruins in Turkey
We climbed as much as the Simena Citadel ruins.
Amanda swimming in the Mediterranean
Me swimming within the Med – sure, it was heat sufficient in October!

RELATED: Why You Must Know About Turkey’s Turquoise Coast

2. Mountaineering in Cappadocia

There’s so much to see in Cappadocia, from underground cities to cave church buildings. My favourite exercise there was the guided hike we went on in one of many valleys. (On my tour, we hiked within the Rose Valley, however you would possibly hike elsewhere.)

Being dwarfed by bizarre rock formations was actually cool, and each my dad and I agreed we might love to return and do extra mountaineering there.

Hiking in the Rose Valley in Cappadocia
Mountaineering beneath historical caves within the Rose Valley.
Dad hiking in Cappadocia
Dad mountaineering in Cappadocia – on the time, he mentioned this was his favourite factor we did in Turkey!
Amanda hiking in Cappadocia
Me on a path in Cappadocia.

3. Visiting Ephesus at dawn

A go to to Turkey would not be full with no go to to the ruins of Ephesus, an historical metropolis that dates again to the tenth century BC.

Our information obtained us up additional early so we have been the primary tour group by way of the gates when the positioning opened, and it meant we had the unbelievable Library of Celsus all to ourselves because the solar got here up.

Lone tourist at Ephesus
Can you see Dad all by himself within the ruins of Ephesus?
Library of Celsus in Ephesus
The primary rays of solar on the Library of Celsus

Different issues we did that have been included within the tour value have been:

  • A fast metropolis tour round Istanbul, together with a go to to the Blue Mosque
  • Entrance to the Residing Museum of Beypazari
  • Visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum
  • Derinkuyu Underground Metropolis tour
  • Entry to the Mevlana Museum in Konya
  • A strolling tour and go to to the Antalya Museum in Antalya
  • Go to to Hierapolis and Travertines Nationwide Park in Pamukkale
  • Fruit wine tasting in Sirince
  • Guided tour of the battlefields on the Gallipoli Peninsula
Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli
Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli
Statues at the Antalya Museum
The Antalya Museum was actually cool!

There have been a number of non-compulsory extras on this tour, too, which the vast majority of us determined to do. These included:

  • Ballooning in Cappadocia – Properly, all of us signed up and TRIED to go ballooning in Cappadocia. Sadly, the climate didn’t cooperate, and balloons didn’t fly in any respect whereas we have been in Goreme.
  • Going to a Whirling Dervish ceremony
  • Attending a Turkish people dinner/present (I’ve some GREAT video clips of my dad dancing with a stomach dancer from this)
  • Touring the ruins of Troy
  • Entry to additional historical websites just like the Darkish Church in Cappadocia, Aspendos Theatre (one in all my FAVORITE add-on stops), and historical homes in Ephesus
Whirling Dervishes in Turkey
Whirling Dervishes (and do not thoughts all of the telephones – pictures weren’t allowed besides throughout this quick bit on the very finish)
Aspendos Theatre in Turkey
On the high of the superb Aspendos Theatre.

We have been additionally given free time in lots of cities to do no matter we needed. Some folks visited seashores, some booked hammam or spa companies, some (like my dad and I) visited extra ruins and historic websites.

Generally we caught collectively as a full group, whereas different occasions we broke off into smaller teams to do extra exploring.

Basilica of St John ruins in Selcuk
One of many issues my dad and I did on our personal was go to the ruins of the Basilica of St. John in Selcuk.

Who will you journey with?

Intrepid Journey focuses on small group journeys, and the Turkey Encompassed tour has a most group measurement of 12. We had virtually a full group in October 2019, with 11 of us touring collectively.

Our group was made up of a mixture of solo vacationers, {couples}, and mates/household touring collectively. Like on most Intrepid journeys, ages ranged from 20s to 60s, and we hailed from a number of continents (North America, Europe, and Australia).

Intrepid Travel group in Turkey
Our group (plus information and driver) in Cappadocia
Intrepid group at Pamukkale in Turkey
A few of our group splashing round at Pamukkale.

Word that in case you’re touring solo you’ll often be paired up with one other solo traveler of the identical gender to room with, until you pay the only complement charge.

Who’s the information?

Intrepid all the time hires native journey leaders who dwell in (and most often have grown up in) the nation you are visiting.

Our information was Atahan (Atta for brief), who was a younger, soft-spoken Turkish man who my dad was all the time complimenting on figuring out all the perfect locations to eat.

Atta acted as our information at lots of the historical websites we visited, and was a wealth of information when it got here to the historical past of Turkey.

How will you journey?

Mountain pass in Turkey
The highway we drove on have been fairly good!

Since it is a Consolation type journey, we traveled in a non-public van the entire time, with one driver for many of the journey. We had two totally different vans, although, and I will be sincere that the primary one wasn’t very comfy on account of a scarcity of leg room. Fortunately our second van was a lot better!

This specific itinerary is all driving (some others would possibly embrace quick flights or practice rides), however I truly appreciated this as a result of it meant we obtained to see a lot of the Turkish countryside.

(And, in case you are curious, roads within the western half of Turkey have been very nice and well-maintained from what I noticed!)

The place will you keep?

Hotels in Kas, Turkey
Resorts in Kas

Intrepid Journey all the time books mid-range lodging, often within the 2-3 star vary. Plenty of the properties you keep in are small, and often family-run; you will not be staying in any chain accommodations right here!

In Turkey, the usual of accommodations is fairly related regardless of the place you might be. In every single place we stayed had decent-sized rooms, pretty agency mattresses, and an included breakfast unfold.

Intrepid would not all the time use the very same accommodations on each tour, however among the ones we stayed in that I assumed have been notable included:

  • Haze Resort in Istanbul – That is the beginning/ending level of the tour, and the rooms listed here are good with massive loos. The resort additionally has a fantastic breakfast terrace, in addition to a very nice rooftop restaurant.
  • Empire Cave Resort in Goreme – This character-filled resort was a 7-minute stroll to the city heart, and really quiet. The rooms have been massive and the breakfast unfold right here was particularly good.
  • Puding Resort in Antalya – This huge resort had up to date rooms, a pool, and good courtyards. It was additionally simple strolling distance to the harbor and previous city.
  • Amazon Petite Palace in Selcuk – Our group was the one one staying at this small, Turkish type resort. The proprietor was tremendous good, and it was inside strolling distance to many of the essential websites on the town.
Empire Cave Hotel in Goreme
Empire Cave Resort in Goreme
Room at Puding Hotel in Antalya
Room at Puding Resort in Antalya
Pamukkale hotel pool
Pool at our resort in Pamukkale

The one grievance I had about among the locations we stayed on this journey was the truth that non-smoking rooms in Turkey do not all the time imply that somebody hasn’t smoked in them. Cigarette smoking remains to be actually widespread on this a part of the world, and among the rooms I stayed in did odor like smoke to me.

What is going to you eat?

Turkish meals is superb, and you may count on to eat quite a lot of it on this journey. On multiple event, my dad requested if we had by accident booked a meals tour as a result of we appeared to be consuming a lot.

Delicious Turkish meal

Most individuals affiliate Turkish meals with kebabs, but it surely’s SO rather more than that. In reality, as a result of Turkey is a reasonably massive place with numerous influences from different cultures over the centuries, every area focuses on one thing barely totally different.

Some meals you possibly can count on to attempt on this journey embrace:

  • Gözleme (a stuffed flatbread-like pastry dish)
  • Manti (tiny meat-stuffed ravioli in a yogurt sauce)
  • Karniyarik (stuffed eggplant)
  • Pottery kebab in Cappadocia (mainly a stew-like dish cooked in a clay pot that you simply break open to eat)
  • Pide (Turkish pizza)
  • Roasted chestnuts (a preferred avenue meals snack in Istanbul)
  • Recent carrot juice (a specialty in Beypazari) and recent pomegranate juice
  • Desserts like baklava, semolina halva (an excellent candy paste), and naturally Turkish Delight

While you’re on the coast, you can even anticipate finding recent seafood dishes at actually affordable costs.

Fresh fruit juice in Turkey
We have been consuming fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice day by day!
Gözleme being made in Turkey
Anticipate to cease someplace for made-to-order gözleme.

How a lot cash do you want?

Plenty of issues are included on this tour, however you will have some spending cash for meals (solely breakfasts and three lunches are included), ideas, and any non-compulsory actions you need to add on.

Turkey makes use of the Turkish Lira (TRY) as foreign money, and you’ll want to have some for meals, ideas, and buying. In greater cities, Euros and USD can also be accepted for bigger purchases (like if you are going to purchase a carpet or ebook a balloon trip).

For meals, count on to spend the equal of $10-$25 USD per individual on lunch and dinner.

Tipping is not as engrained in Turkish tradition as it’s in close by Center Japanese nations, however a 5-10% tip is regular at eating places (and you will need to use money).

Fresh-made manti in Turkey
Recent-made manti dish.

Intrepid Journey additionally recommends tipping tour leaders and drivers; they advocate $1-$2 per individual per day for drivers, and $3-$4 per individual per day on your information. I often set this cash apart at dwelling earlier than I depart (they often do not care in case you tip them in native foreign money, Euro, or USD).

And for among the non-compulsory extras you would possibly need to add on to your journey, listed here are some pattern costs:

  • Ballooning in Cappadocia – 195 Euro (money or bank card)
  • Whirling Dervishes ceremony – 25 Euro/$30 USD
  • Darkish Church entry in Cappadocia – 25 Lira (lower than $3 USD)
  • Swimming in Cleopatra’s Pool in Pamukkale – 50 Lira (about $6 USD)
  • Entry to the Basilica of St. John in Selcuk – 25 Lira (lower than $3 USD)

Another historical websites we visited (like Aspendos Theatre, Troy, and many others.) had an entry charge of lower than 50 Lira ($6 USD).

Cleopatra's Pool in Pamukkale
You may swim in Cleopatra’s Pool in Pamukkale.

It is also price noting that bank cards are broadly accepted all through Turkey, and ATMs are simply accessible in most cities in case you do end up needing extra cash. (Simply make sure you alert your financial institution that you will be utilizing your card overseas!)

RELATED: Journey Guidelines: 11 Issues to Do Earlier than Occurring an Worldwide Journey

What do you have to pack?

Turkey is a Muslim-majority nation. However the overwhelming majority of the nation is way much less conservative than you in all probability suppose.

Whereas girls do have to cowl their hair, shoulders, and knees when visiting mosques, they will roughly put on no matter they like elsewhere with out getting stares or any verbal abuse. (The one exception is in Konya, which is a extra non secular metropolis than the others you go to on this tour; there, you are suggested to cowl your shoulders and knees in public.)

In any other case, what you pack will rely upon what time of 12 months you are visiting Turkey.

Amanda at Tuz Golu salt flats in Turkey
My typical outfit in Turkey in October (additionally, how cool are the Tuz Golu salt flats?).

Summers (June-August) get extremely popular in central Turkey and on the coast, whereas winters (November-February) might be both moist or snowy relying on the place you might be.

Once I visited in October, it was cool up within the mountains (cool sufficient to wish a jacket most nights), however nonetheless heat sufficient on the Mediterranean coast to go swimming.

Some issues on my must-pack listing for Turkey embrace:

  • Comfy clothes – You spend quite a lot of time in autos on this journey, but additionally quite a lot of time strolling by way of cities and historic websites. You’ll want to pack clothes that is comfy for all of it. Since I used to be touring within the autumn, I packed principally leggings and clothes and issues I might layer, plus a jacket. In case you’re touring in summer time and need to gown conservatively-but-cool, I like these colorful maxi dresses and these light-weight palazzo pants.
  • A shawl or two – Scarves are a journey must-have for me. They will enliven any outfit, and are additionally nice in a spot like Turkey to additional aid you cowl up if you want to. If you need your scarf to do double-duty, try Speakeasy Journey Provide’s hidden pocket scarves.
  • Good strolling sneakers – You do quite a lot of strolling on a tour like this! I took two totally different pairs of sneakers with me: my Teva Verra walking sandals, and my SUAVS Zilker shoes (light-weight sneakers you can put on with out socks and throw within the washer while you get dwelling!). Ensure you have at the very least one pair of sturdy sneakers for mountaineering in Cappadocia.
  • A sunhat – Particularly in case you’re touring through the summer time! I like this packable one by Wallaroo.
  • A reusable water bottle – Some faucet water just isn’t secure to drink in Turkey, however most accommodations you keep at can have purified water out there so that you can fill your personal bottle from. I like my CamelBak Chute.
  • A primary-aid equipment – I all the time inventory mine with issues like chapstick, ache killers, Pepto Bismol, Imodium, rehydration salts, movement illness capsules, and a few Band-Aids.
Amanda in a Turkish ghost town
Leggings, an extended t-shirt, and my SUAVS.
Amanda at Pamukkale
I am a agency believer you are able to do so much in a gown!

BONUS: A Skyroam system – In case you do not need to depend on patchy resort wifi, you would possibly need to look into touring with a moveable wifi hotspot like a Skyroam. Skyroam works by connecting you to an area cell community, no SIM playing cards required. You should buy or lease a tool, after which buy day passes or sure quantities of knowledge, solely paying for what you utilize. You may join as much as 5 units to a Skyroam, which is ideal in case you’re touring as a pair or a household. Learn more about Skyroam here.

RELATED: Journey Necessities: The Prime 12 Issues I Can’t Journey With out

Any downsides to find out about?

As a result of this journey covers quite a lot of floor in simply two weeks, there ARE some lengthy days spent on the highway. The common driving time on days while you’re transferring from one metropolis to the following is 4-5 hours – however there are all the time sightseeing and meals/bathroom stops each couple of hours to interrupt up the drive.

I might additionally say that, whereas Intrepid categorizes this journey as a 2 (out of 5) on their bodily ranking scale, you DO should be in first rate bodily form and able to strolling a good variety of stairs and over uneven floor to essentially take pleasure in this tour. (The Derinkuyu Underground Metropolis tour and visits to Sirince, Ephesus, and most websites in Cappadocia all require numerous strolling and have steps/steep inclines.)

Derinkuyu Underground City
Visiting the Derinkuyu Underground Metropolis is cool, however could also be bodily difficult for some.

Lastly, it is price noting that this tour solely provides you the briefest introduction to Istanbul. In case you’re curious about exploring extra of this fascinating metropolis, I might undoubtedly plan to increase your journey and spend a number of additional days there on the finish!

A word on visas and insurance coverage

You almost certainly WILL want a visa in an effort to enter Turkey as a vacationer.

Residents of some nations (together with the US) can nonetheless get visas on arrival in Turkey, however you are inspired to use for an e-visa on-line earlier than you allow dwelling as an alternative. E-visas might be utilized for on-line by residents of many nations.

A Turkish e-visa is legitimate for 180 days from no matter begin date you specify in your software, and also you’re allowed to truly be in Turkey for 90 of these days. These visas at present value $50 for US residents.

Apply for your Turkish visa here. (That is the official authorities web site.)

Istanbul from the Galata Bridge
Istanbul, as seen from the Galata Bridge

Intrepid Journey additionally requires you to buy journey insurance coverage earlier than your journey (which I might extremely encourage even when it wasn’t required). I like to recommend shopping for protection by way of World Nomads. They provide probably the most inexpensive fundamental journey insurance coverage on the market.

Is that this tour price it?

In my view, sure. The Turkey Encompassed tour is a good introduction to Turkey, taking you to all of the highlights you’ll seemingly need to see on a primary go to to the nation.

This tour does have some lengthy driving days, however all of the inclusions and total itinerary make up for this. Each my dad and I actually loved our time in Turkey!

READ NEXT: My Prime 10 Favourite Journey Recollections from Turkey

Have you ever ever thought-about reserving a tour to Turkey?

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