Ottoman is not Just a Footstool
Start in Istanbul before heading off to explore Gallipoli, Eceabat and Ayvalik (think cobblestones and cafes). Next up you’ve got Selcuk, Pamukkale and Fethiye for amazeballs Greco-Roman ruins, healing pools and beach. Sail the Turquoise Coast (literally TURQUOISE). Head to Antalya and Cappadocia for penis-shaped rocks (among other things) then head back to Istanbul via more villages, valleys and awesomeness.
In the Ottoman Empire, condemned government officials who were sentenced to death could run for their lives. Literally. They were allowed to challenge their executioner to a foot race from the palace to the Fish Market Gate. If they made it before the executioner, they would be banished instead of executed. Too bad if you forgot your runners.
Day 1-2 - Istanbul
Check out the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome (sadly, there’s no actual hippos here). Your hotel is right in the thick of the action so you won’t have to walk far for your first kebab of the trip.
- Arrive in Istanbul and perhaps visit the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market
- Meet the tour guide and fellow travel companions at an evening welcome meeting
- Head out on an optional group dinner, a good introduction to some fabulous Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe
- Take a guided tour of the treasures of the Old Town including the iconic Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome
- Explore under your own steam in the afternoon
- Perhaps barter for a bargain, enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus (optional) or indulge in a traditional Turkish hamam (optional)
Day 3-4 - Gallipoli - Eceabat - Ayvalik
Drive to Gallipoli and wander around the famous battlefields - it's hard not to feel moved. Take a ferry across the Dardanelles to Canakkale. Optional trip out to Troy, Brad Pitt’s long gone but it’s still worth a visit.
- Take a bus to the shores of Gallipoli, a place of immense significance for Australians and New Zealanders
- Cross the Dardanelles by ferry to accommodation in Çanakkale
- Optional excursion to Troy, where you can explore the ancient ruins
- Take an orientation tour of Ayvalik and view its Greco-Ottoman houses, cobblestone streets and lively cafes
Day 5-7 - Selcuk - Pamukkale - Fethiye
Meet the locals on a bus to Selcuk. Walk in Cleopatra’s footsteps at the Greco-Roman site of Ephesus. Then find out why the hot spring city of Pamukkale is known as 'cotton castle'.
- Take a local bus to Selçuk
- On arrival we explore nearby Ephesus - perhaps the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world
- Walk the marble streets once trodden by Antony and Cleopatra and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and the restored Library of Celsus
- Travel to Pamukkale with its natural pools, shelves and ridges
- Perhaps explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, known for its abundance of temples and religious structures
- Head for the coast and take a local bus to Ölüdeniz, described as 'the Eden bestowed by God to the world'
- Plenty of time to enjoy a swim at the three-kilometre-long beach
Day 8-9 - Turquoise Coast
The sunken city of Kekova Island sits just under the surface of the water. Did you know the colour turquoise was named after Turkey? This is why.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Board a boat for a memorable voyage along the Turquoise Coast and view some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world
- Cruise to the sunken cities around Kekova Island from where remains of mysterious civilisations can be viewed
- Walk up to nearby Simena Castle, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding bays and islands
- Perhaps explore some of the numerous Lycian rock tombs
- Spend some time on the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea
- Swim and explore the natural and historical sites along the way
- Indulge in feasts before being lulled to sleep by Mediterranean breezes
Day 10-11 - Cirali - Antalya - Cappadocia
It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya (unless your finger is over the lens) thanks to cobblestone streets, the old city, the marina and the Taurus mountains in the distance. Head to Zencefil café for a karniyarik -roasted eggplant split down the middle and stuffed with chopped beef, onions, tomatoes and spices.
- Disembark the boat in Uçagiz and head to Antalya
- Stop by Olympos en route and see the flames of Chimera
- Press on to the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Phaselis
- Take a local bus to Cappadocia
- Stay and explore Cappadocia for the next three nights
Day 12-13 - Cappadocia
Penis-shaped rocks, fairy chimneys and underground cities. Cappadocia’s got it all.
- Drive to the top of the trail at the beginning of the Akvadi (White Valley)
- Walk amongst fruit gardens and vineyards
- Arrive in Uçhisar and visit the village and high viewpoint known as The Fortress
- Take a stroll in Pigeon Valley before heading back to Göreme
- Enjoy free time to experience Göreme’s nightlife
- Perhaps attend a traditional Whirling Dervish 'Sema' performance
Breakfast | Dinner
- Visit the underground city of Derinkuyu – a marvel that descends 60m below the surface
Day 14-15 - Cappadocia - Istanbul
Go eight floors underground at Derinkuyu – one of Cappadocia’s 36 underground cities. Take the bus to Istanbul and celebrate your arrival back in Europe with a fresh fish roll on the Galata bridge.
- Drive to the start of Pasabaglari (Priest Valley) and follow a trail to the picturesque village of Cavusin
- Walk through Kizilcukur (Red Valley)
- Take an overnight bus back to Istanbul
- The trip ends upon arrival in Istanbul (between 6am and 7am).
What to Know
• Gecko's expert English-speaking local tour guide.
• Visit to the battlefields, monuments and cemeteries of Gallipoli.
• Boat trip on the Turquoise Coast, sleeping under the stars on a comfortable mattress on the boat deck.
• Time at the natural pools, shelves and ridges of Pammukale.
• Walks in the lunar-like landscape of Cappadocia including: Akvadi (White Valley), Pigeon Valley, Pasabaglari (Priest Valley) and Kizilçukur (Red Valley).
• 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 3 dinners, one of which is a traditional Turkish dinner as guests of a local family.
• Visits to one of the greatest Greco-Roman sites in the world – Ephesus to the Lycian city of Phaselis.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Istanbul; underground city of Derinkuyu; Konya; and Ayvalik.
• Free time to explore Istanbul, Antalya, Fethiye and Selçuk.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, entrance fees (except for Ephesus and Derinkuyu), visas, pre-tour or post-tour accommodation, additional meals (including some meals on boat), drinks, optional sightseeing tours, travel insurance, tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 23 Apr 2014 - 07 May 2014 On Request US $1,895 Contact Us 03 May 2014 - 17 May 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 On Sale Sale: US $1,212 Book Now 10 May 2014 - 24 May 2014 7+ Available US $1,560 On Sale Sale: US $1,248 Book Now 17 May 2014 - 31 May 2014 7 Available US $1,605 Book Now 24 May 2014 - 07 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $1,605 Book Now 07 Jun 2014 - 21 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $1,560 On Sale Sale: US $1,170 Book Now 14 Jun 2014 - 28 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 On Sale Sale: US $1,287 Book Now 28 Jun 2014 - 12 Jul 2014 5 Available US $1,515 Book Now 05 Jul 2014 - 19 Jul 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 Book Now 12 Jul 2014 - 26 Jul 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 On Sale Sale: US $1,363 Book Now 26 Jul 2014 - 09 Aug 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 Book Now 09 Aug 2014 - 23 Aug 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 Book Now 23 Aug 2014 - 06 Sep 2014 5 Available US $1,605 Book Now 06 Sep 2014 - 20 Sep 2014 7+ Available US $1,605 Book Now 27 Sep 2014 - 11 Oct 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 Book Now 11 Oct 2014 - 25 Oct 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 Book Now 18 Oct 2014 - 01 Nov 2014 7+ Available US $1,515 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Ottoman is not Just a Footstool
Julia - New Zealand, 3 Sep, 2013
Guide was great and the whole trip ran really smoothly. He was very keen to show us Turkish culture and he was extremly knowledgable. I feel as if I saw a lot of Turkey in 15 days, however at times I felt as if too much was being crammed into the days. It was great to have recommendations of places to eat etc from our guide, however occasionally it would have been good to be able to make up our own minds.
Ottoman is not Just a Footstool
Paula - United Kingdom, 1 Jan, 1970
We really enjoyed this trip - lots to see and do. Cappadocia was just the best!
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What to know
The 23 Apr 2014 departure ties in with ANZAC day at Gallipoli and the night of Day 2 will be spent camping in Anzac Cove. This departure have a surcharge.