Turkey Tours – Istanbul and Beyond

Turkey Tours – Istanbul and Beyond

Turkey is a large country that is mostly in Asia but has a small area in Europe with the famous city of Istanbul located on it.  The country has been a historic crossroads for many civilizations including the Ancient Greeks and Romans and has lots of stunning locations to visit.  These Turkey tours include the best of history, religion and, natural scenery that the country has to offer.

Turkey Tours – Istanbul

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and has a long and famous history.  It was first known as Byzantium then later Constantinople before becoming Istanbul when the capital was moved to Ankara in the 1920s.  This means there are many famous historic sites spread around a very modern city.

Where to stay in Istanbul

Istanbul Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

Skip the queue tours are the perfect way to see the best attractions without having to stand in those long queues!  This tour includes a skip the queue pass for Topkapi Palace, the administrative centre for over 400 years to the Ottoman Sultans.  The package includes a one hour-long guided tour of the balance where you can learn the most important parts of the building’s history and the people who used it.

Istanbul: Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus

The Bosphorus is the area of water that separates Asia from Europe and this tour lets you see the sights from it while enjoying a luxury meal.  The tour passes locations such as the Dolmabahçe Palace as well as Çırağan Palace, now a stunning hotel.  You can also see the bridges across the Bosphorus including the Boğaziçi Bridge.  You will also enjoy a series of traditional Turkish dances and musical performances before the meal and unlimited drinks throughout.

Istanbul: Full-Day Small Group City Highlights Tour

This Istanbul tour includes the highlights of the city and involves only a small group, so you get the best enjoyment from the guided tour.  It starts with Hagia Sophia, once the largest cathedral in the world than to the Blue Mosque with its 20,000 blue tiles.  You will then visit the Hippodrome of Constantinople with features such as the German Fountain before taking lunch in a local restaurant.

After lunch, visit the Topkapi Palace, headquarters of the Ottoman Sultans and see the manuscripts, jewellery and other treasures it holds.  Finally, visit the Grand Bazaar with over 5000 shops before returning to your hotel.

Turkey Tours – Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a historic area of Turkey that is famous for its stunning scenery including fairy chimneys and mountains as well as cave cities.  Many people combine visiting Cappadocia with a trip with Istanbul as transport links between the two are good.

Cappadocia: Hot Air Balloon Flight

Because Cappadocia has such unusual scenery, one of the best ways to really make the most of it is from the air.  And a thrilling hot air balloon ride is also the best way to do this.  Popular Turkey tours for this area always include a hot air balloon ride!  With this tour, you will start early with coffee and watch the balloon prepare before rising to around 1000 feet for the best views of the area.  The tour will last around an hour (weather permitting) before having a glass of champagne on landing.

South Cappadocia Full-Day Green Tour with Trekking

This tour includes a bit of trekking and the best of the natural landscape of the area.  You will first visit the Derinkuyu Underground City, the largest of the underground cities which was originally home to 20,000 people.  Then take a 4km trek through Ihlara Valley and see the various cave churches there.

Next, you will visit Belisirma, a traditional Anatolian village and have lunch before touring the churches.  Stop at Selime to see more amazing rock-cut churches before finishing the tour in Goreme.

Around Turkey Tours

While Istanbul and Cappadocia might be two of the most popular parts of Turkey, there are also lots of other areas to explore and these different Turkey tours give you a taste of them.

Full-Day Orak Island Boat Trip from Bodrum

This day tour leaves from Bodrum in the Aegean region of Turkey.  You will first stop at Red Bay where you can swim in the stunning waters.  Next travel to Orak Island and have around two hours to relax and enjoy the beaches.  After this, you will visit 2-3 other bays in the area depending on the conditions.  Lunch is provided then Turkish tea on the afternoon while touring the coastline.

From Side: Full-Day Jeep Safari with Lunch

Side is in the Antalya Province of Turkey and this tour is a great way to see one of the best features in the area.  The tour starts with a jeep ride through the Taurus Mountains with professional drivers.  Then visit the villages of Sartlar and Isiklar where you can see the mosques and learn about the local traditions.  Try some local bread and watch an animated show – you can even try donkey riding!

After this visit Manavgat Waterfall, one of the most picturesque spots around Side.  Have lunch by the waterfall and visit the small zoo there before returning to Side.

Sapadere Canyon Full-Day Sightseeing Tour from Alanya

The Sapadere Canyon tour departs from Alanya City and travels around 25 miles to the canyon.  You can see the well-maintained wooden walkways and see the stunning landscape.  The tour includes a 7-hour long visit to the area with an English speaking guide and includes lunch in Sapadere village.  You will see all the waterfalls in the area, and you can even swim in the water if you are brave enough – it does get rather cold.  You will also stop at the Guceler cave (Smurffs cave) where you can see stalagmites and stalactites.

Private Ephesus Tour From Kusadasi Port with Lunch

Ephesus was an important centre in both Roman and Ancient Greek times and has many amazing monuments left to visit.  This guided tour starts from Kusadasi and includes the House of the Virgin Mary.  This was where Mary was brought by the Apostle John after the Resurrection of Christ and where she lived for the rest of her life.  A small shrine was found in the house and it was later recognised by the Vatican.

See the marble streets with its columns, visit the temples and fountains that date from ancient times and also the Temple of Hadrian, Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre.  You can also see the Basilica of St John before returning to Kusadasi where you have the option to see a Turkish carpet being made.

You might also like to read about Istanbul to Cappadocia and Cappadocia tours.

What to pack for the Middle East

Consider packing conservative clothing and a shawl or headscarf for women if you would like to visit religious places. Some comfortable sandals work well in the Middle East as it can be hot so they will let your feet breathe. It can get extremely hot in some parts of the Middle East and so sun cream is essential.

It’s a good idea to pack conservative clothing for the Middle East. Avoid short skirts and low cut tops or spaghetti straps. Comfortable trousers and linen tops are great. Long skirts and Maxi dresses also work really well and are comfortable with the hear. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and pack your prescription sunnies if you have those!

Booking your Flight

I recommend EDreams, Opodo and Skyscanner for booking the best flight deals online. You can select variables on dates and also whether or not you want to fly direct.

Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always use ad recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:

Templeseeker

Hi, I'm Amy Trumpeter and I have over 25 years of travel experience. I love seeking out temples, Churches and other religious and historical buildings. I write mainly about Asia, Europe and North Africa. My BA (Religions and Theology) and MA (South Asian Studies) were gained from the University of Manchester. Come and join me on my templeseeking journey around the world!

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