Historically rich with its medieval Ottoman period and chronicle of Gallipoli, and fashionably chic with the cosmopolitan buzz of Istanbul and celebrity getaway of Antalya, Turkey is an unmissable country that overflows with character. It is where Noah’s Ark (allegedly) landed, Santa Claus originated and Hemingway was inspired. It's a place where the yin and yang of old and new complement each other - contemporary galleries stand next to cathedrals, stylish cafes sit alongside bazaars and trendsetting bars float over turquoise waters. Travel from Istanbul through the very best of Turkey - Gallipoli, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Antalya, and Cappadocia.
Ages: 15 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (11nights), Pension (1 nights), Boat (1 night)
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul, a bustling mega-city with a population of over 12 million people, with a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored. If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer, you will find taxis available on arrival at Istanbul Airport. Make sure you agree the price before you set off into town. Your hotel is located within walking distance of all the main sights, so if arriving it's easy to soak up the atmosphere and explore on foot. There are no formal activities planned for today, so you may arrive at any time. If arriving early a visit to the exotic Spice Market and the famous Grand Bazaar is recommended. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. Originally founded by Greek settlers over 2000 years ago, Istanbul originally went by the name of Byzantium, then Constantinople when the Romans made it the capital of their eastern empire. This evening, meet your leader and fellow travel companions at a welcome meeting at 6pm (details will be posted on the hotel noticeboard). After the meeting, maybe gather together your new friends and seek out some Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe.
Meet your local guide early this morning to journey in the footsteps of the city’s most famous ruler and conquer Istanbul in just a day. Head to Sultanahmet (the Old City, formerly Constantinople), where ancient empires based themselves and historical sites intertwine with backstreets filled with hidden gems. Gaze upon the beauty of the cascading domes of the Blue Mosque, so called for the blue tiles found on its interior walls. When not erecting splendid buildings the Byzantine Emperors loved a bit of entertainment, and the hippodrome was their stadium. Inspect some of the decorative statues and obelisks that remain from a time when this now tree-lined land would hold thousands of chariot racing fans. Then get into some good-natured haggling with local artisans in the Grand Bazaar, packed with over 3,000 stalls of handcrafted jewellery, textiles and books. In your free time in the afternoon, maybe visit the jaw-dropping giant church/mosque/museum of the Hagia Sofia, whose stunning construction is said to have changed the history of architecture, or discover the stories of sultans at the Topkapi Palace. There’s plenty of time to relax with a steam, sauna and massage at a traditional Turkish hamam, explore more, or just sit at a cafe and take in the unique atmosphere. Istanbul offers a plethora of great eating spots and lively night venues; your tour leader knows all the best places, so they can recommend some great options.
Head for the shores of Gallipoli, a place of immense significance for Australians and New Zealanders, and a spot of pilgrimage and reverence. Gallipoli was the site of the Anzac landings in 1915 and one of the Allies' great disasters in the First World War. Gallipoli was the plan created by Winston Churchill to end the war early by creating a new front that the Central Powers could not cope with. You’ll see the battlefields of Nek and Lone Pine, and be amazed at how this now serene coastline once saw such brutal scenes of war. Look down upon the rough and barren hills and gullies that sadly became the graveyard for so many thousands of young men from both sides. Tour the former battlefields and encounter remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. Hear stories of the heroism and camaraderie that unfolded among the tragedies, and take the time to read moving inscriptions etched onto a sea of gravestones. There will also be the option to visit the Kabatepe Museum, which includes interactive presentations of the battle, as well as numerous relics from the campaign. Then, take the short ferry ride from Europe to Asia, across the Dardanelles to Canakkale, a charming traditional fishing town that has a great range of dinner and nightlife options, not to mention medieval ruins to explore. Travel time today: approximately 5.5 hours
After breakfast, take a local bus to the traditional farming village of Selcuk. Selcuk will be your base for exploring the nearby ruins of Ephesus, where you’ll walk in the footsteps of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. Selcuk is culturally rich but relatively undisturbed, so this is an opportunity to experience the ‘real’ Turkey. This afternoon take a guided walk of the town and the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill, where several historical buildings lie. You’ll see the Isa Bey Mosque, a beautiful example of 14th century Seljuk Turkish architecture, and the imposing Byzantine citadel of the Grand Fortress. Just below the fortress are the ruins of the Basilica of St John, built by Justinian I in the 6th century. According to Christian tradition, St John came to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary from Jerusalem, and lived here until his death sometime around AD 100 – and the basilica stands over his believed burial site. Selcuk is also home to one of the ancient world's Seven Wonders – the Temple of Artemis – although, sadly, only a single pylon remains. Travel time today: approximately 6.5 hours
This morning you may wish to discover the ancient city of Ephesus with, your Tour Leader will suggest an optional tour or your can just jump a "dolmus" (local bus) and head out to explore on your own. This is one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world; founded by Ionian Greeks in the 11th century BC, brought to full flower under Roman rule, and always an important religious centre. You will be amazed by the sophistication of this ancient city, which had running water, public toilets, in-house heating, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved, but it’s the magnificent library that’s going to astound you. You can also choose delve deeper into the area’s fascinating history with the artefacts of the Archaeological Museum, the ruins of the Basilica of St John. Later this afternoon you may choose to visit the nearby village of Sirince and taste some locally produced fruit wines. This authentic Greek Ottoman village seems to have been overlooked by modern development and is a photographer's dream.
A train ride inland through mountainous landscapes brings you to one of Turkey's most photographed sites, Pamukkale, which literally translates to “cotton castle”. Here spectacular natural hot springs with high calcium bicarbonate content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving bright white deposit terraces (the ‘cotton’). It's been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC. Though you won't be able to bathe in these travertines, you can take a walk through them (after removing your shoes), and these pools are said to fix up any circulation and digestion problems. Take some time to visit the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis and take a dip in what used to be Celopatras’s old pool – the transparent water-filled pool, sculpted as a gift from Marc to Cleo, is stunning. You can also check out the other ruins of the city – Hierapolis is known for its abundance of temples and religious structures, vast necropolis and strange tombs, and the amphitheatre shouldn’t be missed. Travel time today: approximately 4 hours
Head for the coast and take a local bus to Ölüdeniz, whose azure lagoon and scythe-shaped beach is described as 'the Eden bestowed by God to the world'. Pack sunnies, sunscreen and swimmers, and spend the day discovering all new shades of blue while taking a dip in this little slice of paradise. There's plenty of time luxuriate at the three-kilometre-long beach, which has the appearance of a natural lagoon with warm lapping water, before transferring to your hotel in the quaint town of Fethiye. Enjoy the laidback atmosphere of Fethiye and treat yourself to some delicious homemade Turkish lemonade. If there’s time, visit nearby Kayakoy. Once a ghost village, its ancient stone houses were abandoned after their Greek inhabitants left Turkey during the great population exchange of the 1920s. This evening, enjoy a walk by the harbour and look up to see massive rock cut tombs, check out the Lycian sarcophagi scattered around the town, try local seafood and join in with the thriving nightlife. Travel time today: approximately 4 hours
This morning you’ll take a local bus to Uçagiz one of the southernmost bit of Turkey. Board a boat for a memorable voyage along the Turquoise Coast, viewing some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world. You’ve got a tough day ahead: you’ll cruise to the sunken cities around Kekova Island, from where remains of mysterious civilisations can be viewed just below the surface of the water. You’ll also take a walk up to nearby Simena Castle, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding bays and islands. There are also numerous Lycian rock tombs to be explored here. Spend your time on the beautiful azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea swimming, relaxing and exploring the natural and historical sites along the way. At night, indulge in unforgettable feasts before being lulled to sleep by sultry Mediterranean breezes. Travel time today: approximately 4 hours
Disembark the boat in Uçagiz this morning after breakfast, then make your way to Antalya, the largest city on the western Mediterranean coast. The city will be your base for the next two nights. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya thanks to cobblestone streets, the old city, the marina, and the Taurus Mountains in the distance. Wander the old streets, exploring the town's mix of urban sophistication and old-world charm. You might want to check out Kaleici – the old city area that’s now a historical zone and protected from modern development – and see relics of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman occupation. With its palm-lined boulevard, internationally-acclaimed marina, old castle, and sapphire waters of the Mediterranean, Antalya is a great place to kick back. Travel time today: approximately 3 hours
With your accommodation located in the wonderfully preserved old city district of Kaleici, this is a great place to start your exploration on this free day – though your leader can give you all manner of tips. The old city wraps around a splendid Roman-era harbour with cliff-top views of hazy-blue mountain silhouettes. Just outside of the central city is one of Turkey's finest museums. The Antalya Museum is a great opportunity to learn more about the Mediterranean and Pamphylia regions of Anatolia, with some 5,000 works of art and artefacts on display. The beautifully preserved statues in the Hall of Gods, Heracles now among them, are not to be missed. You can choose to visit the some impressive sites further afield, including the ancient cities of Aspendos and Side. Aspendos is know for it’s beautiful intact Roman theatre – perhaps the best preserved in the world – while Side away from the tourists is awash with colonnaded streets and Hellenistic and Roman ruins. For those after a nature fix, Duden Waterfalls, about 12 kilometres north-east of town, is a lovely spot to relax, and the popular Konyaalti and Lara beach are close by. 38 kilometres from Antalya, the ancient city of Termessos has the most dramatic location of any ancient city in Turkey, sitting in the heart of the spectacular Güllük Dağı National Park. Otherwise, stay in Antalya and soak up the charms of this seaside town.
This morning take a local bus away from the coast and move inland to Konya on the plains of the Anatolian steppe. While it’s a long day of travel, the diversity of the scenery will keep you entertained as you cross the Toros Mountain range. Konya is the perfect opportunity to sample a traditional Turkish city where mainstream tourism is yet to arrive. The city is closely linked with the Whirling Dervish sect of Islam developed by in the 13th century by Celaleddin Rumi (or Mevlana), considered one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Celaleddin developed a philosophy of spiritual union, captured in his poetic writings, the greatest of which, ‘Mathnawi’, is still revered today. Mevlana (‘our master’) as he came to be known, believed that music and dance represented a means to induce an ecstatic state of universal love and divine union, and devised the whirling sema ritual. In the town you can visit the original Tekke of Mevlana, which holds many dervish religious relics and is also the final resting place for the master himself. Get your bearings on an orientation walk with your leader to Aladdin Hill in the centre of Konya. On the side of the hill are the sheltered minimal remains of the palace of the Seljuk Sultans of Rum, while beneath the Alaettin Mosque are artefacts dating back to the Stone Age. Enjoy a refreshing tea in one of the many tea gardens, and later this evening try some central Anatolian cuisine. Travel time today: approximately 5.5 hours
This morning after breakfast, depart by local bus; Cappadocia is waiting for you. In the heart of Cappadocia, the town of Goreme lies in a fantastic region of cones, needles and columns, fashioned by nature from the soft volcanic tuff rock. It's honeycombed with caves scooped out to make churches and dwellings that are known as fairy chimneys and castles.In times of peace, the people in this region lived on the land, but in times of war or persecution they took to living underground. When you arrive in Goreme, you can stretch your legs and take an orientation walk with your trip leader. Then grab a beer, or a tea, or perhaps a strong Turkish coffee if you need a pick-me-up (Turkey is the land of beverages, especially the hot variety). Don't forget to pack sturdy, well worn-in walking shoes or boots and a comfortable daypack for exploring the valleys of Cappadocia. Travel time today: approximately 3.5 hours Notes: Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey is a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape to see this otherworldly scene at sunrise. Those who are interested in this optional extra will have a truly awe-inspiring experience. The cost of this activity varies depending on what type of flight you choose. This activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
Today is free for you to explore a landscape that needs to be seen to be believed. Cappadocia's main attraction is the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum. It’s a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings, and one of the earliest centres for religious education. There are at least 10 churches and chapels in the museum area, dating between AD900 and 1200, each one named after a prominent attribute by the local villagers, who were exploring these caves long before there was an entrance fee. The best of the churches are the Chapel of St Basil, Apple Church, Sandal Church, Chapel of St Barbara, the nun's convent and the Buckle Church. You can also explore the underground cities. Beneath Cappadocia’s rock formations is a network of fascinating subterranean cities, which housed up to 10,000 people each. The largest are almost ten levels deep, with narrow passages connecting the floors like hamster tunnels. If you’re a hiker then choose to walk the valleys of Red, Rose, or Love, where you’ll explore fairy chimneys, deserted rock cut homes, and churches with frescoes. Otherwise, you may want to take a local dolmus to Avanos and the red river, which for centuries has provided the local residents with clay to make the magnificent earthenware pottery that the region is famous for. Your leader is available to make suggestion and help organise your day excursions. They may even suggest a group tour of the region. Don’t leave town without trying the famous ‘pottery kebab’.
Today is departure day, your trip ends after breakfast this morning. Hotel check out time is 11.00am
- Cappadocia - Valley Walk
Golden Horn Hotel - Istanbul
Hocapasa Mah. Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No 9
Phone: +90 2125141544
Phone: +90 384 271 2039
A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available: Day 8 Overnight Boat (1 night).
There is a welcome meeting at 6.00pm on day one.
Most entrance fees are not included. If you wish to take part in these activities, you pay these fees as you go along.
Departure 22nd April 2020 ERRS200422 - This Departure of Turkey Explored includes attendance at ANZAC Day commemorations for 2020. We would also like to advise that attendance at this event requires an attendance pass. We recommend applying for this pass in advance at the links below. Passes are available in electronic format if you are travelling and unable to receive your pass it will be emailed to you. It will also be necessary to carry this pass and your personal identification at all times whilst on site. For those that arrive without a pass you can apply before the tour departs Istanbul OR at the coach registration upon arrival, however these passes will not be guaranteed, and will be dependent on site capacity.
Please note that passes may not be available until 60 days prior to the event. We encourage anyone attending this service to check for regular updates at:
This trip finishes on day 15 in Cappadocia, there is no included transfer back to Istanbul. Overnight buses are readily available for booking and Cappadocia is serviced by two airports, Kayseri and Neveshir. Additional accommodation is available for pre-booking with your booking agent.
We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Turkey before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Turkey, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.
SAFETY IN TURKEY: We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We have links to all major travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting your trip on our safety page (link above). The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team, and we’re able to quickly change arrangements if for any reason we become concerned. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately. Whilst travelling in Istanbul before, after or during your tour we would recommend avoiding crowded areas like Taksim Square, Galatasaray and Kadikoy Meydan after 6.00pm especially on a weekend. If using public transport in the city please refer to http://www.iett.gov.tr/en for the latest updates and announcements.
As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Australia: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Belgium: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Canada: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Netherlands: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
USA: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Most nationalities require a visa to enter Turkey. Visas must be obtained through the e-Visa system. To apply for an e-visa, please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least two weeks before you arrive in Turkey. This multiple entry e-Visa costs USD60 as is valid for 90 days. Please note, visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
Some countries do not require a visa at all. This includes passport holders from New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to three months. We recommend all nationalities check with their local consulate o embassy as this information can change.
Entry Requirements – Passport Validity:
Foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days validity beyond the expiry date of their visa.
Why we love it
Explore the continent-straddling metropolis of Istanbul, and step back in time to when it was Constantinople with the backstreets of the Grand Bazaar, the majestic Blue Mosque, and in the taste of real Turkish Delight.
Reflect on battles fought and lives lost with a moving visit to the Gallipoli Peninsula, a serene stretch of coastline where it's now hard to picture the horrors of war.
Hike into the Valley of Love in Cappadocia and be wowed by the fantastical natural sculptures of spires, domes, and pinnacles.
Be lured by the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean and laze the days away in Antalya.
Is this trip right for you
The weather can be hot in July and August, but this is also the best time to enjoy the clear water of the Mediterranean – don’t forget your swim gear.
This trip gives you lots of control over your travels, with some included site visits and lots of choices for your free time. If you want expert local advice and like to get off the beaten track, then this trip is for you.
This trip is part of our Basix range: local experiences, local guide, local transport and clean comfortable hotels, all with minimum impact and maximum sustainability – the responsible way to travel.
You’ll need your walking shoes, a hat, some sunscreen, and a daypack to explore the historical sites. All site tours are guided, but you can wander at your own pace if you prefer.
The included Southern Coast Cruising overnight excursion is on board a traditional boat called a 'gulet'. Sleeping arrangements will be multi-share: the group will sleep on the deck of the gulet where you can stargaze and fall asleep to the sounds of the gently lapping Mediterranean. All bedding is provided. The gulet has shared bathroom facilities. You'll perfect the beach-style hairdo, as there is limited fresh water for rinsing off salt water.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Food and dietary requirements
Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements.
Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.
Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).
The Official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY). Most goods and services can be paid for using the local currency. The EUR is also acceptable as is the USD. For the supply of everyday services like meals and general shopping we recommend the local currency.
ATMs are widely available in all major towns and cities throughout Turkey. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.
Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you are happy with the services provided, a tip is an appropriate way to thank them. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This amount is usually €2-4 per person/per day.
This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline of €2-4 per person/per can be used. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.
There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip, they can be a fantastic memento of your trip, and often these purchases help to support local artisans.
Your Leader may suggest visits to different stores during your tour. Rest assured that these vendors have been selected by our team on ground. They provide good service and good quality products at fair market prices. It also means that after sales service is available should you get home and have a problem with your purchase. Some visits may be included as part of your itinerary where we feel the making of the craft is relevant to the destination and interesting for everyone to visit. If this is the case you are under no obligation to purchase anything, simply enjoy the demonstrations and learning about the local craft. We do also encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
TRAVELLERS TO TURKEY PLEASE NOTE:
Turkey is often misjudged when it comes to the cost of goods and services and prices can vary considerably, between regions. Cities like Istanbul and Antalya are very European and as such the standard of restaurants and cafes is very high and the cost equivalent to its European counterparts. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and markets is still inexpensive and lots of fun. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Turkey to be a budget destination.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
GENERAL PACKING LIST:
• Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document.
• Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets.
• Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
• Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both.
• Power adaptors
• Insect repellent
• Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
• Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)
• Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
• Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates
• Wind and waterproof rain jacket
• Toiletries/travel wipes
• Travel Towel
• Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.
• Camera with spare memory cards and batteries
• Swimwear (itinerary dependant)
• Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination.
On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg.
CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc.
Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line.
We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.
Climate and seasonal
Turkey is a large country split into seven regions, as a rule of thumb the Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have typical Mediterranean climates with hot summers and mild, wet winters. In the east it is more mountainous with warm summers and very cold, snowy winters. Central Turkey (Cappadocia) ,has low rainfall and very dry hot summers and cold or very cold winters.
Istanbul and coastal centres can experience very high humidity.
Winter (approx. November to February) can be very cold. Not all of our hotels have heating so consider bringing thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period. Summer (approx. June to August) can be very hot. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. Please consider the seasons when planning your trip.
In 2020, the important month of Ramadan or Ramzan in Turkey will be in progress from 23 April through until 23 May, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival or Bayram in Turkey will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.
Ramadan month can differ from country to country and region to region, it can be a wonderful inclusion in your vacation. If you have concerns about travelling at this time, please check with Intrepid or your booking agent before your departure.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:
Intrepid's Local Operator: +905326412822
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
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