Kick off your trip in Istanbul with some Grand Bazaar and Old Town times. Head to Gallipoli then on to Ayvalik for some delicious treats. Next up is ancient Selcuk and Greco-Roman Ephesus, then Pamukkale for healing natural pools, Konya for Whirling Dervishes, and Cappadocia for slightly phallic, lunar-like landscapes. Awkies.
Mother Nature was in a good mood the day she created Love Valley in Cappadocia. Sometimes referred to as ‘Turkey’s Undies’, it consists of a bunch of phallic rock structures sprouting up all over the countryside. You could say there’s a stiff breeze in the air.
Day 1-2 - Istanbul
We've found accommodation right near the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market (so you won't have to lug your treasures very far). Convenient, no?
- 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 or indulge in a traditional hamam (Turkish bath)
Day 3 - Gallipoli - Eceabat
No jokes about Gallipoli. If you choose to take the optional trip to Troy, however, you're free to remember Brad Pitt's terrible accent in the movie and laugh yourself silly.
- 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
Day 4 - Ayvalik
We suggest you devote this day to finding the best burek of the trip. Or the best kebab. Or the best baklava. Maybe just devote this day entirely to food. Your local guide can help.
- Drive to Ayvalik
- 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 - Ephesus - Selcuk
Ephesus is the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world. Antony and Cleopatra lived here for a while, as did the Virgin Mary. These days it would be known as something of a hotspot.
- Take a local bus to Selçuk
- Explore nearby Ephesus - perhaps the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world (optional)
- Walk the marble streets once trodden by Antony and Cleopatra and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and the restored Library of Celsus
Day 6 - Pamukkale
This place is so pretty Walt Disney would be jealous he didn't invent it. Apparently the thermal waters can cure asthma, but bring your inhaler just in case.
- Set off on a morning orientation tour around Selçuk, a town full of history
- 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
Day 7 - Konya
Konya is home to the famous Whirling Dervishes. Please note that most of the whirling takes place behind closed doors. You won't see people spinning randomly on the street.
- Catch a bus to Konya, a town that dates back to Roman times
- Seize the chance to visit Mevlana's Mausoleum and the museum housing manuscripts of his works (optional)
Day 8-9 - Cappadocia
Explore Cappadocia, the lunar-like landscape in the interior of the country. Moon boots optional.
- Visit the underground city of Derinkuyu – a marvel that descends 60m below the surface (optional)
- Drive to the top of the trail at the beginning of the Akvadi (White Valley)
- Walk amongst fruit gardens and vineyards
- Take in Uçhisar and visit the village and high viewpoint known as The Fortress (optional)
- 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 (optional)
Day 10-11 - Cappadocia - Istanbul
Jess said her favourite part of Istanbul was the Basilica Cistern. After the initial shock of discovering it's not a giant toilet, she described it as "...amazing, creepy, Medusa head, fishy, haunting, lovely". Jess has a way with words.
- Spend a free day exploring the Cappadocia region
- Perhaps stop by the Göreme Open Air Museum - always worth a visit (optional)
- Farewell Cappadocia and make the long journey by overnight bus back to Istanbul
- The trip ends on arrival in Istanbul (between 7am and 8am), but there are plenty more kebabs to be eaten if you're thinking of sticking around a bit longer
What to Know
Local leader, accommodation and transport.
- International flights, arrival & departure transfers, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals (where not listed as included in the itinerary), drinks, optional additional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature, entrance fees.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 10 Aug 2014 - 20 Aug 2014 4 places left US $900 Book Now 24 Aug 2014 - 03 Sep 2014 1 place left US $925 Book Now 21 Sep 2014 - 01 Oct 2014 Available US $985 On Sale Sale: US $837 Book Now 12 Oct 2014 - 22 Oct 2014 Available US $900 Book Now 22 Mar 2015 - 01 Apr 2015 Available US $875 Book Now 23 Apr 2015 - 03 May 2015 Fully Booked US $1,125 Contact us 03 May 2015 - 13 May 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 10 May 2015 - 20 May 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 17 May 2015 - 27 May 2015 Available US $900 Book Now 24 May 2015 - 03 Jun 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 31 May 2015 - 10 Jun 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 07 Jun 2015 - 17 Jun 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 14 Jun 2015 - 24 Jun 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 21 Jun 2015 - 01 Jul 2015 Available US $925 Book Now 28 Jun 2015 - 08 Jul 2015 Available US $925 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.
Benjamath - Australia, 23 Mar, 2013
the bus ride from konya was so long. a waste of a day. perhaps do a night bus?
Martin - Switzerland, 23 Mar, 2013
Great trip as expected from Geckos! Got a much better impression of Turkey than I had before. Perfect balance between sights, food and free time and very nice group atmosphere too!
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What to know
Special Anzac Day departure
The 23 Apr 2014 departure ties in with ANZAC day at Gallipoli and the night of Day 2 will be spent sleeping under the stars in Anzac Cove instead of a hotel in Istanbul.