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Aegean Legacy Tour

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Aegean Legacy OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

13 days

Istanbul to Istanbul

From £1489.00

£1265 (p/p)

Country(ies): Turkey

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 20

Accommodation: 3-4-star hotels & gulet sailing boat

Meals:

Transport: A/C minibus & gulet sailing boat

Highlights: Gallipoli Battlefields, Ancient city of Troy, Calcium Travertines of Pamukkale, Hieropolis, traditional Gulet Cruise along the Mediterranean coast, Fethiye, Cappadocia, Goreme Valley

This tour spends 13 days exploring some of Turkey's main historic and cultural highlights, combined with drives and a 3 night Gulet cruise along the beautiful Mediterranean coast.
Starting with a tour of the exciting city of Istanbul, where Europe meets Asia, we head next to the Gallipoli peninsular and the important ANzac day battlefields and memorial sites. Turning south we drive down the Mediterranean coastline with stops at the ancient sites of Troy, Pergamum and Ephesus before arriving at the seaside town of Kusadasi. Next we'll take a relaxing 3 night cruise in the Gulf of Fethiye on a traditional Turkish gulet. We'll visit lots of secluded bays and have plenty of stops to swim in the clear waters, visit tiny local villages and relax on board.
Time to head inland next, as we visit the tiered calcium Travertines and Pamukkale, and the Roman spa city of Hieropolis. A drive along the ancient Silk Road to Cappadocia follows, with a stop at Sultanhani Caravansary and the Mevlana Museum in Konya on the way. While in Cappadocia we'll stay in a boutique 'cave hotel' and tour the spectacular natural scenery of Goreme Valley, see the famous 'fairy chimneys', and explore the many levels of one of the regions underground cities. A final day's drive takes us back to Istanbul with a stop on the way at Ankara where we visit Anitkabir, mausoleum of the famed Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The tour runs during the warmer months, from late April through to October, with accommodation in comfortable mid-range hotels, and on board the Gulet (where may people often choose to sleep under the stars on mattresses on the deck of the boat).

ITINERARY

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Day 1:   Arrive in Istanbul, transfer to hotel

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Istanbul for the start of your trip. There will be a welcome meeting at 7pm in the hotel reception where you can meet your guide and the rest of the group. Extra nights in the hotel in Istanbul are available before the tour starts if you would like to spend some more time in this fascinating city. 

OVERNIGHT:

Istanbul 4-star hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Single room supplement (TUSGAL)
Extra day in Istanbul - pre-tour


Day 2:   Istanbul, old city tour, optional Bosphorous cruise

Our trip begins this morning with a fully guided tour of the old city of Istanbul. Lying across two continents this historically important city played an integral role in the development of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. We visit the 17th century Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofya museum and explore the former residence of the Ottoman Sultans at Topkapi Palace before ending at the famous Hippodrome.In the afternoon there is an optional cruise on the Bosphorous, the stretch of water that divides the city, connecting the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and separating Europe from Asia. 

OVERNIGHT:

Istanbul 4-star hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3:   Gallipoli battlefields and memorials tour

We depart Istanbul this morning for the drive to the Gallopoli peninsular where we will receive a fully guided tour of this important World War I battlefield site. Although home to some of the fiercest fighting during the War, today the site is full of poignant memorials set against a subdued wooded landscape. Our tour will include the Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair memorials, ANZAC Cove, Johnston Jolly, The Nek and will will provide a chance to see the original trenches and tunnels used during the war. We'll spend the night in nearby Canakkale. 

OVERNIGHT:

Canakkale hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4:   Tour of Troy and the Acropolis of Pergamum

This morning we make the short drive to the ancient city of Troy. Lying undiscoverd until midway through the 19th Century the excavations here brought the legend of the Trojan horse and the poems of Homer back to life. We then continue our drive south to the impressive acropolis of Pergamum. Here we enjoy a full tour of the site including the Temple of Trajan and the famous library which is believed to have rivalled the library of Alexandria and helped shape Pergamum into a renowned cultural and political centre.We'll then continue south along the Mediterranean coastline to the town of Kusadasi with its popular beaches and marina. 

OVERNIGHT:

Kusadasi 3-star hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5:   Ephesus ancient site, Temple of Artemis, Wine tasting

After breakfast we drive to the Roman site of Ephesus. The city at one time housed 250,000 people and is regarded as one of the best preserved ancient cities in the whole Mediterranean region. We visit the Temple of Artemis, and explore the ancient marble streets of this ruined Roman city. This afternoon we visit the fruit wine growing village of Sirince and learn about the history of carpet weaving in Turkey.
This evening we'll visit a local vineyard and learn about how wines have been produced in this region over the centuries. You can taste 3 iwnes from the local region in the vineyard garden before we return to our hotel in Kusadasi. 

OVERNIGHT:

Kusadasi 3-star hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6:   To Fethiye, start Gulet Cruise

We drive further south this morning and the port town of Fethiye. Here we'll board our Gulet in Fethiye Harbour at around 3pm. After introductions on board as we set sail, you'll have time to enjoy some swimming or snorkeling in Turunc Bay or Tarzan Bay. The boat will cruise on past several small islands through the Gulf of Fethiye towards Tersane Island (Dockyard Island). Here you should be able to explore the ruins of an old Greek town and naval shipyard. We'll spend the night on board the boat in one of the sheltered bays.
Fully staffed and housed with individual en-suite double cabins these vessels offer us the perfect chance to unwind and enjoy the sunshine. Twin bedded cabins are not generally available, but most people tend to spend the nights sleeping under the stars on matresses on the deck of the boat. 

OVERNIGHT:

On board Gulet at Tersane Island

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7:   Gulet cruise, Gocek Bay

You can take an early swim before breakfast if you wish today, after which we will sail on around the coastline to Hamam Bay. This large bay is surrounded by pine trees and is famous for the ruins of Cleopatra’s Baths which was possibly destroyed by an earthquake in the region. Legend has it that Marc Anthony built the bathhouse here as a wedding gift for Cleopatra, even having golden sands imported from Egypt. The site was chosen because a hot water spring was found above the bay, supplied by the thermal waters of a crater lake in the mountains north of the bay. Stories tell of the couple visiting here on what would have been their honeymoon.
We'll then continue our cruise to Sarsala Bay from which a pleasant 45 minute hike brings you to an ancient Lycian town which has several walls with inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BC. Our day's cruising then finishes at Bedri Rahmi Bay, named after the famous Turkish writer and painter, Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu. On one of his cruises in 1973 he painted a fish on a rock in the bay and it has since been renamed after him. The bay is protected and surrounded by pine trees, olive trees and oleander flowers. You can find several Lycian rock tombs hidden in the trees and some historians believe this is the location of the ancient Lycian town of Crya. We'll overnight here. 

OVERNIGHT:

On board Gulet in Bedri Rahmi Bay

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8:   Gulet cruise back to Fethiye

We'll sail on through the Gulf today, passing Gocek and Yassica Islands. One of these islands, Saytanli Ada, is said to be the place the devil chose to live when he was denied entry to heaven. Some of the islands are very close together and can be swum between. There are several ruins on the island and in the waters between them, suggesting they used to be connected. The area is not under protection and there are safe anchorages and secluded sandy beaches making them a great place to swim, soak up the sun, or take your snorkelling gear and swim over the ruins. We have one final stop today at Red Island (or Kizilada in Turkish). The island is known for the red colouration of its rocks and hillside which become even more pronounced as the sun sets. The island is popular for both swimming and walking, with the hilltop protecting the beaches and bays from the wind. Finally we'll return back to Fethiye harbour for our last night on board.

OVERNIGHT:

On board Gulet in Fethiye harbour

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9:   Pamukkale and Hierapolis

We will see a display of locally handcrafted leather goods this morning before heading inland to Pamukkale, site of the well known white calcium terraces known as Travertines. Pamukkale translates as 'cotton castles' and the naturally occurring geology here has created cloud like formations unlike anywhere else. We also tour the ancient city of Hierapolis twhere and you can can enjoy a dip in the hot thermal pools lodged amongst ancient columns left by the Romans who used the pools for their therapeutic powers.

OVERNIGHT:

Pamukkale 4-star hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 10:   Follow the Silk Road to Cappadocia

We'll follow the route of the ancient Silk Road today as we head into central Turkey and our next destination, Cappadocia. Along the way we will stop to visit the Sultanhani Caravansary, and also the Mevlana museum in Konya. This evening there is an optional traditional Turkish folklore evening which is always a lot of fun.  

OVERNIGHT:

Boutique cave hotel in Cappadocia

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11:   Cappadocia tour, Goreme Valley & underground city

Today we set out to explore the beautiful and surreal landscape of Cappadocia. Unlike anywhere else on earth, this bizarre setting is full of improbable rock formations and underground villages. Often described as the jewel of Turkey we have a full tour here to visit Goreme Valley and the aptly named 'fairy chimneys' of Pasbag before hearing underground to explore the subterrenean churches and fortresses used by Christians to avoid persecution over a thousand years ago.
In the evening, there is an optional Turkish folklore experience, belly dancers included- a chance to end off the day in a memorable way.

OVERNIGHT:

Boutique Cave hotel in Cappadocia

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 12:   Drive to Ankara and Istanbul

We leave Cappadocia early this morning and drive to Turkey's capital Ankara to visit Anitkabir, mausoleum of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the country's famous leader during the Turkish war of independence and the founder of the modern Turkish republic. The mausoleum is one of Turkey's best examples of modern architecture and sits on a hill overlooking the city. From here we continue back to Istanbul for the final night of the tour. An optional morning flight to Istanbul is available from Kayseri in Cappadocia to avoid the long drive today (please contact us for current flight times and prices). 

OVERNIGHT:

4-star hotel in Istanbul

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 13:   Istanbul. Free time, departure airport transfer

The tour ends in Istanbul today, and your time is free for some last minute shopping or sightseeing until we transfer you to the airport for your departure. Extra nights in hte hotel in Istanbul may be added on request. 

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Istanbul - post-tour


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Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • All transport and transfers
  • 24-hour airport arrival and departure transfer service
  • Services of a local tour leader throughout
  • Entrance fees to various sites
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tipping kitty

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guide, driver & gulet crew
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Note: Gulet itineraries are subject to change at very little notice due to weather conditions and other local logistical reasons. While overnight stops may take place in different bays, the same overall experience is maintained. 

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Dates and Prices

Seasonal departure dates are given below. The tour can also be run privately for groups on other dates taking a whole gulet as a charter. 

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

27th of Apr 2023

9th of May 2023

£1489.00

£1265
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1st of May 2023

13th of May 2023

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8th of May 2023

20th of May 2023

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11th of May 2023

23rd of May 2023

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15th of May 2023

27th of May 2023

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22nd of May 2023

3rd of Jun 2023

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25th of May 2023

6th of Jun 2023

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29th of May 2023

10th of Jun 2023

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1st of Jun 2023

13th of Jun 2023

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5th of Jun 2023

17th of Jun 2023

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12th of Jun 2023

24th of Jun 2023

£1599.00

£1359
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15th of Jun 2023

27th of Jun 2023

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19th of Jun 2023

1st of Jul 2023

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26th of Jun 2023

8th of Jul 2023

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3rd of Jul 2023

15th of Jul 2023

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10th of Jul 2023

22nd of Jul 2023

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17th of Jul 2023

29th of Jul 2023

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24th of Jul 2023

5th of Aug 2023

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31st of Jul 2023

12th of Aug 2023

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7th of Aug 2023

19th of Aug 2023

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14th of Aug 2023

26th of Aug 2023

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21st of Aug 2023

2nd of Sep 2023

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28th of Aug 2023

9th of Sep 2023

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4th of Sep 2023

16th of Sep 2023

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11th of Sep 2023

23rd of Sep 2023

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18th of Sep 2023

30th of Sep 2023

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21st of Sep 2023

3rd of Oct 2023

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25th of Sep 2023

7th of Oct 2023

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2nd of Oct 2023

14th of Oct 2023

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5th of Oct 2023

17th of Oct 2023

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9th of Oct 2023

21st of Oct 2023

£1489.00

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12th of Oct 2023

24th of Oct 2023

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19th of Oct 2023

31st of Oct 2023

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Accomodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often use on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (TUSGAL)

From £599*

Single room supplement (TUSGAL)

Min numbers: 1 *Based on 1 person/s


This tour is based on twin/double shared hotel rooms. This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.

Note: Single supplement prices may vary seasonally.

Extra day in Istanbul - pre-tour

From £45*

Extra day in Istanbul - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 *Based on 2 person/s


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

Our tours in Turkey use a range of hotels at the local 3, 4 and 5-star level with some boutique style properties also used on some tours. Please check the Accommodation section for more information on the normal hotels used on this tour. This list is given as a guide though and hotels may change from time to time to others of a similar standard.
Accommodation levels and hotels are slightly different in Turkey to general Western standards. We regularly inspect all the hotels we use to ensure that the service you receive is as close as possible to your expectations. Please check your hotel room when you first arrive (hot water, cleanliness etc.), as our rep or your guide will be available to assist in case of any problems.

Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.

We will contact you with your arrival hotel details normally a couple of weeks before departure.

Check-in Times: Official hotel check- in times in Turkey are between 14.00 and 15.00. However, we do always try to ensure that if you arrive early, you can check into your room as soon as possible. We can nearly always get you into your hotel rooms well before midday, but please understand that it is out of our control if the hotel is full and it takes a little longer. You will have full use of the hotel facilities while you wait if there is a short delay.


  2. Language - Turkey

The official language of Turkey is Turkish. In addition, between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the population speaks a different mother tongue, usually Kurdish or Arabic. Turkish words are spelled with an adapted Roman alphabet. The language is phonetic; each letter has only one sound that is always pronounced distinctly.

You'll find you won't have much of a problem with the language barrier. English is well communicated by many Turks. Below you will find some important phrases that will have you sounding like a Turk in no time!

Yes = Evet (eh-vet)                                                No = Hayir (hah-yuhr)
Maybe = Belki (behl-key)                                         Please = Lutfen (loot-fen)
Thank you = Tesekkur (tesh-eccur)                          Pardon me = Pardon (phar-don)
Who = Kim (kim)                                                    When = Ne zaman (neh zah-mahn)
Today = Bugun (boo-ghoon)                                   Yesterday = Dun (dhuen)
Tomorrow = Yarin (yar-in)                                        I'm sorry = Ozur dilerim (oz-oor del-eh-rim)
Help = Imdat (eem-daht)                                         Police = Polis (po-lis)
Hello = Merhaba (mehrhaba)                                    Goodbye = Hoscakal (hosh-cha-khal)
Good night = Iyi geceler (ee-yee geh-jeh-lehr)           How are you ? = Nasilsin ? (nah-sil-sihn)
Open = Acik (ach-oek)                                             Closed = Kapali (kap-ah-lee)
Bad = Kotu (koh-too)                                              Good = Iyi (eeh-yea)
Hot = Sicak (sijark)                                                  Cold = Soguk (sooh-ook)
Bill, please = Hesap lutfen (hesarp, lewtfen)                My name is Paul = Ismim Paul (Eas-meem Paul)
I am a vegetarian = Vejeteryanim (vej-e-tar-ian-eam)   I need a doctor = Doktora ihtiyacim (dohk-tor-ah eeh-tee-yajum)
Do you speak English ? = Ingilizce biliyor musun (een-geal-je bee-leh-your-moe-sean)
I don't speak Turkish. = Turkce bilmiyorum (Terkche-bil-me-you-room)
I don't understand = Anlamiyorum (ahn-luh-mee-your-room)


  3. Turkish Gulets

Spending a few days on a traditional Turkish gulet (a handmade, motorised wooden yacht) is one of the highlights of exploring Turkey. You can enjoy plenty of swimming and snorkelling and explore loads of natural and historical sites along the way. As you cruise you can sunbathe on the deck, or read a book or play games on the cushioned seating in the shadow of the aft deck.

Most of the gullets we use feature an interior salon/bar area, both indoor and outdoor eating areas, and a fully equipped galley. The most common gulets have 4 to 10 double cabins, which can accommodate 8 to 20 people. All cabins have ensuite toilet & shower facilities. Single or twin bedded cabins are not generally available unless we have an odd number of people travelling so be prepared for a same-sex room share if you are travelling alone. This being said, most people choose to sleep under the beautiful Mediterranean sky on mattresses on the deck, and only use their cabins as a wardrobe.

The gulets we use are motorised pleasure craft with sails, and while they can manoevre under sail, the majority of the time the motor will be used. This is particularly the case during July and August when winds are very low. Strong winds also cause them to bank steeply and so time actually under sail is generaly very limited. These are not sailing vessels where you are expected to help with the rigging or take part in sailing as an activity. 

The gulets come with facilities for both outdoor and indoor dining. There are freezers to keep drinks cold, a CD player (so bring your music!), snorkels and masks, fishing lines and some board games.

You will need to bring your own beach towel, soap, shampoo and other personal items with you. Charging points are available for your electronic devices on deck and in some cabins (you will need to bring an adapter).

Health & Safety:
A dinghy with outboard, a ship-to-shore radio, mobile telephone and life jackets are also provided. Lifejackets are stored under your bed inside the cabin.
Please keep away from ropes and hawsers while sailing. Do not jump into the sea while the engine is running. In case of fire please check the position of your nearest life jacket and fire extinguisher - alert everybody on board and put on your life jacket immediately.
All the gulets we use are government approved with fully qualified captains.

Accessibility:
The boats we use are not suitable for passengers with special mobility needs. Embarkation gangways do not fit all types of wheelchairs and cabin bathrooms and staircases have restricted space and are generally unsuitable for people with limited mobility. 
If you have other physical disabilities please contact us with any queries. It is expected that any passengers requiring special attention, assistance or treatment will be travelling with an escort. 


  4. Transport

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. The distances involved in Turkey mean that we use private vehicles and tourist coaches throughout this tour.


  5. Transfers

All our Turkey tours (except tours which feature Gulets) include an airport meet and greet and transfer service on the first day of your tour. This is available from/to both of Istanbul's airports; Istanbul Ataturk (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen (SAW). Our representative will be holding an Encounters Travel signboard with your name displayed for easy identification. If you can't find our representative, our emergency contact numbers are given in your tour confirmation voucher.

No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to incorrect flight details being provided or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.

If your flights arrive/depart before/after the tour starts/ends then we will be very happy to arrange additional accommodation and airport transfers for you. We will aim to book these in the same hotel as the main tour, though this will be subject to availability (upgraded hotels are also available on request). If you do not book your additional accommodation through us, then our arrival/departure service is not included and you will need to make your own airport transfer arrangements.

Welcome meeting: Our group tours will commence with a welcome meeting at 7pm in the reception of your hotel, where you will have the chance to meet your guide and the rest of your tour group. For those arriving after 7pm, details regarding Day 2 activities will be left at reception.


  6. International flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Nearly all our Turkey tours start and finish in Istanbul and are served by Istanbul airport (IST). Transfers from other airports are also available on request but may incur an extra fee. 

We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued. 
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket. 


  7. ANZAC Day Departures

ANZAC Day means many different things to different people. To some it is a true memorial service to pay respects to and remember family members or countrymen who lost their lives defending their homeland in World War I, while to others it symbolises a sense of community or belonging to the New Zealand and Australian way of life. For non Anzac nationals it remains a moving and important ceremonial day that brings thoughts of the sacrifices that previous generations have made for us, wherever we may come from.

Whichever may apply to you, this is a very special event that brings together many thousands of people every year on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsular on the western coast of Turkey.

We run special ANZAC day departures on all of our Turkey tours. The standard itineraries for each tour are adjusted slightly on these departures to coincide with the memorial services and to make the most of your time at Gallipoli. These special departures are indicated on the dates & prices table for each tour. Due to demand, group sizes on these dates may increase to a maximum of 45.

All of our ANZAC departures arrive at Gallipoli Cove early in the afternoon on the 24th giving us enough time to visit the museum and secure space for our groups. We then spend the night outdoors at the Cove waiting for the evocative dawn service to start. Afterwards, depending on the makeup of our group, the Australians will head to Lone Pine and the New Zealanders to Chunuk Bair for their country’s individual memorial service. Rest assured though that these special departures are not just about the ANZAC service. They all have their standard itineraries built around the service so you will still get to experience the history, culture and amazing sites that Turkey has to offer.


  8. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our Turkey group departures to have a maximum of 20 travellers (Anzac Day departures may be larger).

In Turkey we provide fully trained, local English-speaking guides for all of the sightseeing tours. Our local reps in all the towns and cities en-route are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour. At Encounters Travel we try to use local Turkish guides and reps as much as possible. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing. 


  9. Entrance Fees

The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit.

Camera Fees: Photography is restricted in various ways at different sites. Often flash photography is often forbidden to protect the exhibits and ancient pigments, and sometimes cameras are not allowed in at all. Please respect these rules as they are there partly for your benefit. Tickets are not required for normal cameras, but if you have a video camera, if its use is permitted there will normally be a charge.


  10. Tipping

Tipping or Bahsis (bahk-sheesh) is common practice in Turkey, as a sign of appreciation for services provided for everything from table service in a restaurant to a massage in a Turkish bath. Wages for service staff in Turkey are very low and tips are a necessary supplement to meagre incomes.. Your tour price includes a contribution to various tips that your tour guide and driver will make along the way to ensure the smooth running of your tour.

This tipping kitty does not cover your tour guide or driver though. You may therefore wish to tip them at the end of the time they spend with you.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget and your satisfaction with the service provided. We are often asked to provide a guide however:

Restaurants and taxis: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. For more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour guide or tour leader. We suggest around GBP 1.50 / EUR 2.0 / USD 2 per person per day for local guides.

Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however GBP 1.50 / EUR 2 / USD 2 per person per day is generally appropriate.

Gulet Boat Trips: If you are travelling through Southern Turkey on a Gulet boat trip we suggest GBP 1.50 / EUR 2 / USD 2 per person per day for the boat staff.

Tour guide: As a guideline we suggest around GBP 20-35 / USD 35-50 / EUR 25-45 per person for the whole tour, but this is ultimately up to you.


  11. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.
You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for Turkey are Hepatitis A and Tetanus.

More information is available here: Turkey
Malaria map - there is low risk malaria in some south eastern regions, not visited on our tours.
Yellow fever certificates are not required.


  12. Passports and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Turkey, and need to obtain it in advance online through http://www.evisa.gov.tr. Applicants just need to log on to the following link, provide the requested information, (after the application is approved) make online payment and download their e-Visa. More information is available here  http://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa

From the 2nd March 2020 all UK nationals will not need to obtain a visa for Turkey (for visits of up to 90 days in each 180 day period). This will also apply to citizens of the Schengen area countries Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland.


  13. Time

Turkey Time is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments of 1 hour are applied, starting at the end of March and finishing at the end of October.


  14. Money - Turkey

The Turkish lira was re-valued at the end of 2004 to become the ‘New Turkish Lira’. The word ‘New’ has now been dropped, and we are back to ‘Turkish Lira’ again (TRY).

It is normally cheaper to convert money to Turkish Lira in Turkey than at home. Using an ATM or a credit card will often get you the best possible exchange rates; the post and telephone office (PTT) and banks offer very reasonable rates, too. Try to use ATM machines that are attached to banks while they are open, so that if your card is swallowed you can go into the bank and get it released back to you.

It is difficult for us to specify the money that you will spend per day, however, as a general rule USD 20-50 per day can provide you with additional meals, tipping, snacks & drinks. Should you wish to purchase many souvenirs or other luxuries, of which there is a diverse range, you will have to budget for these.

A mixture of cash and credit cards are the best forms of currency. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants, bars and pubs. MasterCard and Visa are most welcomed; American Express cards work at some ATMs and AmEx offices. Credit cards are also useful for cash advances, which allow you to withdraw Lira instantly from associated banks and ATMs throughout Turkey. Cash cards and ATM’s are widespread in most of Turkey including in Istanbul, Canakkale, Selcuk, Marmaris, Pamukkale, Fethiye, Kas, Cappadocia, and Ankara.


  15. What to take

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Turkey. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: Turkey’s climate changes drastically, with cold winters and hot summers. In western Turkey from late March to May, spring brings with it average temperatures of around 15C, though the weather does gradually warm up with sunny days interspersed with rain showers. From May to the end of October, the climate is hot and sunny, getting cooler as the year progresses. In Central Turkey around Cappadocia, the climate is cold with regular snowfalls from the end of November until late February. With spring the weather warms and the snow disappears altogether, though it still remains cold at night and first thing in the morning. Summer starts from May onwards, with temperature reaching around the mid 30’s. The East of Turkey from late May has warmed up considerably, and stays hot until late September with sunny days, but the night time temperatures start to drop. By the end of October you can expect the first of the winter snows. So you must pack for cool and potentially wet conditions late in the year.
Modesty rates highly in some parts of Turkey, especially for women and in the East, so please ensure clothes are loose fitting and not too revealing. Loose shorts are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (your shoulders should remain covered). In Eastern Turkey villages, and any mosques throughout the country, legs and arms should be covered. Attidudes are more relaxed in the seaside resorts.

Other items: We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.


  16. Dates & Prices

We run regular small-group departures on this tour between April and October. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of two people, subject to availability on the Gulet cruise section. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.


  17. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  18. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

Covid-19
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website


  19. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  20. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  21. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  22. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign


  23. Voltage

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

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