Day 1 ISTANBUL
21 Oct Monday
Arrival in Istanbul , the only city in the world built on two continents, providing a unique link between East and West and guardian of the treasures of three empires of which she has been the capital. Napoleon said that if the world were a single state then its capital would be Constantinople. Even today, amid the traffic-choked streets of modern Istanbul, among the high-rises, the steep alleys and the glowing ancient churches and mosques, you can still feel exactly what he meant.
Welcome dinner at one of Istanbul’s fine restaurants. ( D)
Overnight in Istanbul
Day 2 ISTANBUL Introduction to Istanbul Highlights
22 Oct Tuesday
Today you will visit St. Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom, the Blue Mosque, a 17th century mosque that dominates the skyline of Istanbul and the Byzantine Underground Cistern. For lunch you will taste delicious kofte- meatballs at a specialized restaurant operating since 1920.
After lunch you will visit the magnificent Topkapi Palace, the residence of the sultans for almost three centuries. Last, you will continue to explore ninety-two streets of the famous Grand Bazaar.
You will then proceed to your Hands on Turkish cooking class at Selin's authentic Turkish home. In the evening you will enjoy dinner and taste what you have cooked. You will have dinner at a Turkish home and enjoy wholesome home cooked specialties. A truly unique opportunity to experience Turkish hospitality and local home life.
Overnight in Istanbul ( B,L,D)
DAY 3 ISTANBUL Two Continents Two Historical Markets
23 Oct Wednesday
Today you will tour the Spice Bazaar and stop at shops for tastings. The bazaar is often referred to as the "Egyptian Market" due to the fact that spices used to come to the market from India and Southeast Asia via Egypt. Despite the fact that the bazaar is becoming more touristy, there is still plenty to discover for the "foodie." We will stop at shops tasting and discovering some typically Turkish delicacies.
You will then get on board a local ferry and disembark on the Asian side of Istanbul. After visiting some specialty shops walking through the colorful market of Kadiköy –an open air street market, very different from the Spice Market and more in tune with the way most Istanbullus cook and eat. Lunch will be served at one of Turkey’s foremost cooks restaurant. The chef is devoted in letting the world know about the glorious food of his homeland. The ingredients used in the dishes travel from South Eastern Anatolia to arrive at your plate in Istanbul: aromatic red pepper, pistachios,chickpeas, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. After lunch we will take ferry back to the European side.
Late afternoon we will head to the airport for our flight to Cappadocia.
We will be transferred to our hotel upon arrival .
Overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 4 CAPPADOCIA- Ecological farm – Cooking with local villagers – Winery visit
24 Oct Thursday
In Cappadocia we will focus on the very particular culture and foods of Anatolia.
We’ll begin with a visit to an ecological farm and then continue with cooking in a home with village women.They will show us how to make gozleme , stuffed vine leaves and manti, a traditional dish whose heritage stretches back in to the Central Asian origins of modern Turkey. Lunch will be in the home of your hosts with her family , grand sons and everybody.
Then we will introduce you to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at Dervent Valley, and we head on to Zelve Open Air Museum, which is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements of Cappadocia. Seeing the best examples of the fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy Chimneys Valley, we drive further to Avanos. From here you will stop at Avanos, a centre of terracotta art since 2,000 BC, for a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Then we will try our hands at it under the supervision of a master potter.
Before dinner we will stop at a Winery. This is the biggest and oldest winery (since 1943) of Cappadocia. We will have a detailed tour of the winery while tasting their local wines. The Öküzgözü-Bogazkere combinations (grapes native to Turkey) are quite promising.The family-operated winery is located underground, carved in natural rock. This natural cellar also provides excellent storage conditions for the wine.
Overnight in Cappadocia
Day 5 CAPPADOCIA – Optional Baloon ride – Red Valley - Göreme
25 Oct Friday
Early morning optional balloon ride - transfer to the balloon launching site to meet the balloon crew. The gentle and stable wind conditions are ideal during the first few hours of the day in Cappadocia. It is also the ideal time for photography,with splendid colours and contrasts. The deep canyons and gentle winds carry you over places that could never be reached except by balloon. After flying over Cappadocia for about one hour, you will land to an awaiting champagne breakfast!
After breakfast you will continue your day with a hike the picturesque Red Valley. Then make your way back to the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century. After lunch in a local restaurant you will then explore the underground city of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements.
Then while sipping your wine you will enjoy a demonstration and explanation of Turkish carpet making techniques, symbols and different types of carpets.
Overnight at Kale Konak Hotel or similar (B,L)
Day 6 CAPPADOCIA – IZMIR – URLA – ALAÇATI
26 Oct Saturday
Today you will take an early morning flight from Kayseri to İzmir.
Upon arrival we will drive throug İzmir towards Urla 35 km to İzmir accompany you to the quaint seaside town of Urla where an old fashioned slow and relaxed lifestyle still exists.
The history of Urla goes back to 3000 BC. Founded as a result of the Dorian and Achaean migrants to this region by the Ionians, the town was ruled by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans respectively.
One of the twelve Ionian cities, Clazomenai was founded in the area just in front of the modern Urla Quay. It was then moved to the island off the quay for protection purposes against the Persian attacks. Of the city which has been proven to have been founded centuries before the Hellenic civilisation through archaeological findings, the coastal parts were called Clazomenai and the inland parts Vourla. Wine production started in Urla in the 4th millennium BC. The people of the city then erected olive oil mills (oldest olive oil workshop excavated on earth is in Urla), produced perfumes and also erected workshops for weaving.
Taking a stroll through the town we will stop at a local bakery where everything is still made by hand with the best quality ingredients. Here we will get to know each other while tasting local delicacies such as homemade pastries, cookies and walnut baklava accompanied by Turkish coffee.
With a short and leisurely walking tour through the Arts Street featuring ceramic, mosaic, woodworking and painting studios, we will enjoy the artwork along with 150 year old stone buildings and the narrow streets of central Urla.
We will then arrive at the fruit and vegetable farmers market where all produce is freshly picked in the early morning. Here we will choose our seasonal produce and fresh cheeses and arrive at the cooking workshop. We will learn how to prepare Aegean style foods featuring the strong influence of the regional culinary heritage using the freshest ingredients and dishes cooked in local extra virgin olive oil.
After cooking a delicious meal together, we will sit down and enjoy a family style late lunch with the food we prepared, accompanied by a selection of award winning local wines while enjoying the wonderful views of the region.
After lunch we will stop by Urlice ,an organic winery. Urlice Vineyards is a family owned and operated boutique winery whose owners, a husband and wife team, oversee the whole vine growing and winemaking processes from the planting of the vines to bottling.
The main goal at Urlice is to express the potential of this ancient viticultural terroir with their vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. Both ancient viticultural techniques and biodynamic laws are respected as well as painstaking efforts to remain chemical–free in the vineyards. In this light, wine making techniques are less interventionist and more dependent on good cellaring practices.
We will drive you to your hotel after the Urla culinary experience.
Overnight in Alaçatı. ( B,L)
Day 7 ALAÇATI - EPHESUS – BODRUM
27 Oct Sunday
After breakfast we will proceed to visit Ephesus, one of the most incredible archaeological wonders of the world.
We will then proceed to Kusadası for lunch in an ecological farm that houses the best restaurant in the area and visit the Oleatrium, an Olive and Olive Oil Museum where we will be travelling 2500 years in time. After having a feast, a small train will take you around the farm so you will see how they dry their vegetables under the sun, how they make tomato or pepper paste, and the making of many different organic jams. The farm tour will end at the museum where you will see how mankind first discovered that olives were edible and how olive oil was used from the beginning of time until today.
You will then drive to a small village in Ortakent, Yarbasan. Each home in this village is a replica of the original ancient homes of the region and has a private pool. After a short rest dinner will be served at one of Bodrum’s popular restaurant, Erenler Sofrasi.
Day 8 BODRUM
28 Oct Monday
In the morning we will depart Yarbasan for a typical delicious home made breakfast in a village nearby. We will then stop at a Turkish Delight manufacturer to produce our own Turkish Delight hands on !!
Lunch will be served at a restaurant where the owner brings together local Bodrum women as his ‘tasters’ to maintain the quality and consistency of his food and personally selects the best olive oil, the freshest herbs and vegetables from the markets.
In the afternoon we will visit The Bodrum Castle that occupies the tip of the wedge-like peninsula at the center of Bodrum and has a massive conglomeration of courtyards, turrets, galleries, sunken gardens to admire the collections of the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, located inside the Castle.
The rest of the afternoon will be free for discovering the center of Bodrum.
Day 9 BODRUM
29 Oct Tuesday
Fishing and sponge-hunting were, in the old days, the major source of income for the inhabitants of Bodrum. With tourism this has changed, but the old trades are still being practiced. This day’s excursion is to Tuzla, where we will participate in old-fashioned fishing. When you go fishing it is natural that you feast on fish at lunch. We will practice that time-honored tradition at a sea-side fish restaurant, where they will regale us with ultra-fresh fish and also show us how to tenderize an octopus (pounding it on the rocks) before using it in a salad. There is a forty-five minute drive each way to this very memorable and increasingly harder- to-find, time-tested culinary experience.
Bodrum was one of the major wine exporting ports in the ancient and medieval times. Today we will be visiting an enthusiastic couple who have started an ecological farm and vineyard, to learn about wine making in the ancient times, to taste their wine and homemade cheese, and all in a breath-taking location surrounded by olive trees.
We will take an evening flight to Istanbul for overnight.
Overnight Istanbul (B,L,D)
Day 10 DEPARTURE ISTANBUL
30 Oct Wednesday
You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.(B)
Tour Cost is USD 3585.- per person
Single Supplement is USD 723.-
Included services are :
Domestic flights ISTANBUL- KAYSERI- IZMIR / BODRUM- ISTANBUL ( Economy class)
All arrival and departure transfers
Accommodation on Bed and Breakfast basis
BLUE HOUSE or similar in Istanbul
KALE KONAK HOTEL or similar in Cappadocia
IMRENHAN HOTEL in Alaçatı
YARBASAN STONE HOUSES in Bodrum
8 days of sightseeing in a deluxe airconditioned vehicle
Private cooking class in a Turkish Home in Istanbul
Private cooking class in a Turkish Home in Urla
Private cooking with villagers in Cappadocia
8 lunches and 4 dinners
Wine tasting in Cappadocia
Wine tasting in Bodrum
Licenced professional tour guide in English language for cultural sights
Transportation to&from restaurants
Entrance fees to all museums ,parks, and historic sights as included in the itinerary .
%18 Vat taxes.
Not included :
Visa fee on arrival to Turkey
Personal travel insurance
Non mandatory but customary tips
Optional balooning in Cappadocia
Alcoholic drinks where not included in menu