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zIstanbul Insider

6 days

6 Day Small Group Escorted Tour

Small Group Discoveries for our World Travelers

  • Get to know the ancient history and enduring traditions of this exotic city as our engaging Trip Leader guides your discovery with in-depth sightseeing tours and unique cultural encounters.
  • Discover the appealing flavors of home-style Turkish cooking during a hands-on culinary class with your hostess at her home in the stylish Nişantaşi district.
  • Learn about traditional Turkish arts and try your hand at calligraphy or paper marbling at Caferaga Medrese, an esteemed center for the study and preservation of Turkey’s ancient culture.
  • Sit down to convivial meals with great city and water views when we take you to lunch and dinner in some of Istanbul’s finest restaurants.
  • Marvel at seven centuries of Ottoman glory and wealth at the legendary Topkapi Palace, including a guided visit inside the fabled Treasury.
  • Discover 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site c

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Day
1

Welcome to Istanbul, Turkey!

Check in to the landmark Pera Palace Hotel. Meals D

Day
2

History and culture in historic Istanbul c

Full day sightseeing begins with the Roman Hippodrome, testament to the city’s ancient origins. Then tour the Hagia Sophia, the great Byzantine basilica built in the 6th century. Marvel at the six-minaret silhouette and lovely interior of the Blue Mosque before lunch at Hamdi, an historic restaurant with great views over the city. In the afternoon, a specially-arranged hands-on workshop introduces you to the ancient Turkish arts of calligraphy and paper marbling. End your day at the bustling Grand Baazar, home to thousands of friendly merchants selling carpets, jewelry, leather goods and spices! Meals B,L

Day
3

The tastes and colors of Turkey

This morning we’ll take you to a private home in the city’s elegant Nişantaşi district for a cooking class with your hostess. Learn about the fresh ingredients and exotic spices used in daily home cooking and sit down to a congenial lunch, featuring the dishes you’ve prepared. An afternoon visit to the Spice Bazaar is a fitting way to cap off your foray into the tastes and smells of Turkey . Meals B,L

Day
4

A day at leisure

Take advantage of your hotel’s delightful heart-of-it-all location to explore this friendly city at your own pace. Tonight we’ll take you to the island of Sauda for a wonderful meal in the middle of the Bosphorus. Dine on traditional Turkish cuisine, either seafood or kebabs, and enjoy magnificent evening views over both the European and Asian shores of this exotic city. Meals B,D

Day
5

The glory of the Ottoman Empire

Your guided tour of the Topkapi Palace takes in the fabled Treasury and its priceless collection of sultans’ riches, including the crown jewels and ancient Chinese porcelains. Enjoy lunch in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and visit the Chora Museum, renowned for its amazingly preserved frescoes and mosaics from the 12th and 14th centuries. Meals B,L

Day
6

Depart Istanbul or travel on to Cappadocia, Ephesus or the Coast!

Your tour with us finishes this morning. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Travel on to ancient Ephesus & Pergamum

3 Day Small Group Post-Trip Extension

Our easy-to-add extension includes your flight from Istanbul to Izmir and all on-tour transportation, 2 nights deluxe hotel with daily breakfast, 2 lunches and extensive escorted sightseeing.

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Day
6

Fly to Izmir and tour Ephesus

At the conclusion of your Istanbul Insider tour, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Izmir, a bustling port city on Turkey’s picturesque western coast. Upon arrival, join your experienced and knowledgeable guide for a comprehensive tour of ancient Ephesus, entering through the Magnesian Gate. Continue along the ancient marble road to explore the city’s many monuments - including the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus and the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika.

Visit the House of the Virgin Mary before sitting down to lunch in the charming hilltop village of Sirince. Then visit the 6-domed Basilica of St. John, constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Return to Izmir for a comfortable stay at the deluxe Swissotel Grand Efes. Meals B,L

Day
7

Explore Pergamum

After breakfast, your guide will be waiting to lead you on a fascinating excursion to the ancient Greek city of Pergamum. Your in-depth visit includes the impressive Acropolis, the Red Courtyard located in the lower Roman city and the Asklepion, an ancient healing center and sanctuary dedicated to Aesklepios, the son of Apollo who was revered by the ancients as the God of Healing. A village lunch is an opportunity to savor Turkish cuisine and engage with local residents. Return to your deluxe hotel in the heart of bustling Izmir. Meals B,L

Day
8

Depart Izmir

We’ll take you to the airport this morning for your onward flight. Meals B

Explore Magnificent Cappadocia after Istanbul

4-day Small Group Post-Trip Extension

Our easy-to-add extension includes roundtrip flights from Istanbul, all on-tour transportation, 3 nights hotel, 7 meals and extensive escorted sightseeing.

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Day
6

Fly to Ankara and travel to Cappadocia

At the conclusion of your Istanbul Insider tour, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Ankara. Upon arrival, visit the Anatolian Civilizations Museum before sitting down to lunch at Cengelhan Restaurant, a local favorite. Continue to Cappadocia and check in to the enchanting Museum Hotel, set on a hilltop with magnificent views over the dramatic landscapes of the region. Meals B,L

Day
7

Cappadocia from above and below!

An unforgettable day begins with an early morning hot air balloon ride over the dramatic, rocky landscapes and valleys of Cappadocia. Return to your hotel for breakfast and then set out again mid-morning to visit the astounding Kaymakli Underground City, where early Christians hid from persecutors. In the quiet village of Aravan Evi, we’ve made special arrangements for you to enjoy a mid-day meal with a local family. Enjoy an afternoon winery visit and wine tasting before visiting Uchisar. En route back to the Museum Hotel, you’ll stop at a lookout point which affords unforgettable views over the Pigeon Valley. This evening, we’ll take you to an ancient caravanserai to witness the mesmerizing ceremony of the Whiling Dervishes. Meals B,L

Day
8

Goreme Open Air Museum and Walking Tour with Mehmet

After breakfast, set out with your guide to explore the Goreme Open Air Museum, where ancient Christian churches are decorated with marvelously preserved frescoes. In one of the region’s picturesque valleys, you’ll enjoy a delightful picnic lunch. Afterwards, join Mehmet – a colorful local personality – for a guided walking tour arranged especially for our small group. His knowledge of the region and its hidden valleys is unsurpassed and this 60 to 90-minute walking tour is sure to be one of your most memorable travel experiences. This evening you’ll dine at Elai, one of the finest restaurants in the area. Meals B,L,D

Day
9

Return to Istanbul

After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your included return flight to Istanbul. Meals B

Cruise the spectacular Turquoise Coast of Turkey

4-day Small Group Post-Trip Extension

Our easy-to-add extension includes roundtrip flights from Istanbul, 3 nights aboard a traditional motored wooden sailing yacht (a Turkish gulet) and all onboard meals.

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Day
6

Fly to Bodrum and begin your sailing adventure!

At the conclusion of your Istanbul Insider tour, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your included flight to Bodrum. Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the harbor to board your Turkish gulet, a traditional motored wooden sailing yacht. Meet your captain and crew and enjoy a welcome drink as you begin your voyage along Turkey’s spectacular Turquoise Coast. Meals B,D

Day
7

Sailing and exploring along the coast

A delightful day of sailing and motoring takes you across the lovely Gulf of Gokova to Knidos, an ancient city which has historically separated the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. It has two ancient harbors and your mooring position offers unforgettable views over ancient Greek and Roman ruins. There’ll be time for a relaxing swim as your crew prepares an unforgettable evening meal which you’ll enjoy on deck in the fresh sea air. Meals B,L,D

Day
8

Your voyage continues

Another spectacular day takes to Orak Island and the charming town of Ciftlik. As the afternoon unfolds, you’ll continue your sailing and motoring back toward Bodrum Harbor. Meals B,L,D

Day
9

Back to Istanbul

Bid farewell to your captain and crew this morning. Upon disembarking in Bodrum, you’ll be escorted back to the airport for your return flight to Istanbul where our tour services end at the airport. Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Florence

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel with a choice of fine hotels, breakfast daily, sightseeing, and private car transfers

Budapest

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, chauffeured airport transfers and city sightseeing with your own personal car, driver and guide

Prague

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package with a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, chauffeured airport transfers, and in-depth private car sightseeing with our experienced resident guide at your side.

MapSearch

Ask about international air service on Lufthansa, including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.

Extra nights are available before or after your tour.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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