Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 20
Accommodation: 4 to 5-star hotels
Transport: A/C minibus
Highlights: Istanbul Old City, Gallipoli Battlefields, Troy, Pergamum, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Pamukkale - Calcium Travertines, Hieropolis
This 8-day tour is the perfect introduction to Turkey. We begin in the ancient city of Istanbul, which still today forms a bridge between east and west as it has for centuries. We'll explore the city highlights, and get a first taste of delicious Turkish food, setting out to visit the cemeteries and war memorials at Gallipoli. After visiting Anzac Cove, we cross the Dardanelles by ferry and visit the archaelogical site of Troy (with its rather more modern wooden horse). Our next highlight is the hilltop ruins of Pergamum, and then the amazing Roman site of Ephesus, one of the best preserved Roman cities in the whole of the Mediterranean. We head inland from here to see the strange calcium travertines at Pamukkale and Roman Hieropolis, before driving back to Istanbul via Bursa. Your tour ends back in Istanbul where you can add extra days if you wish to explore the city further.
If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.
Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Istanbul for the start of your trip.
Single room supplement (TUSGTT)
Extra day in Istanbul - pre-tour
Our trip begins this morning with a full day tour 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.
We depart Istanbul this morning for the drive to Gallopoli where we will receive a fully guided tour of this 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 as well as The Nek and Gallipoli Museum. There will also be chance to see the original trenches and tunnels used during the war before we head to our hotel in Canakkale.
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 acropolis of Pergamum. A former kingdom 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.
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 Mediterranean. 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.
We travel east this morning to Pamukkale, site of the well known white calcium terraces known as Travertines. Pamukkale translates as 'cotton castles' and the naturally occuring geology here has created cloud like formations unlike anywhere else. We then head to the ancient city of Hierapolis to enjoy a dip in the hot thermal pools lodged amongst ancient columns left by the Romans who used the pools for their therapeutic powers.
Heading off in the direction of Istanbul we drive through the rural Turkish countryside this morning on the way to the ancient city of Bursa. The former capital of the Ottoman Turks, we will visit the ornately decorated Green Mosque and explore the bustling streets of the Silk Bazaar before returning to Istanbul this afternoon.
Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing and shopping in Istanbul before we transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
Extra day in Istanbul - post-tour
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often 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.
Sirkeci Mansion Hotel
This is a small, intimate hotel found in the Sirkeci district of Istanbul, close to the famous Blue Mosque. Its facilities include a restaurant, rooftop terrace, and bar, as well as a full range of wellness facilities, including Turkish baths.
Located within walking distance of the famous Blue Mosque, this is a small and charming hotel in Istanbul. Accommodation consists of several types of well-appointed rooms. It features a restaurant, bar, and rooftop terrace, as well as several wellness facilities, including a spa, gym, and Turkish baths.
MD Barbaros Hotel
MD Barbaros Hotel is located in the Turkish city of Canakkale, in a central location close to several attractions. It has 64 fully-equipped, air-conditioned rooms, as well as a range of modern facilities.
MD Barbaros Hotel is found in the heart of Canakkale, a city in northwestern Turkey. Several attractions are nearby, including the Archaeological Museum, Mirrored Bazaar, and Cimenlik Castle. The 64 rooms are air conditioned and fully-equipped, featuring TVs, WiFi, hairdryers, fridges, safes, and complimentary bottled water. There is a restaurant, as well as room service, and complimentary breakfast is served from 7am until 10.30am.
Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel
This 4-star hotel is found in the centre of Kusadasi, directly across from the main beach promenade. It offers views of the Aegean Sea from its roof terrace and some of the rooms. It also features a rooftop pool and bar, conference rooms.
Ilayda Avantgarde is a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Kusadasi. It is right across from the main beach promenade and provides ocean views from the rooftop terrace and several rooms. Facilities include a Starbucks coffee shop, conference rooms, and a rooftop bar and pool. The rooms feature all amenities needed for a comfortable stay.
Colossae Thermal Hotel
Featuring thermal pools, an outdoor swimming pool and spa centre, this large hotel offers comfortable accommodation just a couple of miles from the ancient city of Hierapolis. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel.
This 5-star hotel is situated close to the ancient city of Hierapolis and the travertines of Pamukkale. It features a full range of facilities, including a spa, business centre, restaurants, bar, fitness centre, and Turkish baths. There are 310 rooms of various types, each well-appointed and with WiFi access.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre 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.
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.
Our tours in Turkey use a range of hotels at the local 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 will wait in the hotel reception for at least 15 minutes to help in case of any problems.
We will contact you with your arrival hotel details normally a couple of weeks before departure.
Rooming Arrangements: Single, Twin, and Double bedded rooms are available in all of the hotels used on these tours. If you are a single traveller who is happy to share then please let us know and we will aim to pair you up with another travellerer of the same sex. If this is not available then the single supplement will be added to your booking, but will be refunded if we are later available to arrange a share. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.
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.
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.
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)
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.
All our tours 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.
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 (dedicated Anzac Day tour groups may be larger).
In Turkey we provide a fully trained, local English-speaking guide for all of the sightseeing tours. Our local reps in some of the towns and cities en-route are also at your service. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
We run regular small-group departure on this tour all year round starting on a Saturday with additional departures on Tuesdays through the summer months. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 20. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.
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.
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 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.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
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.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
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.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
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.