Days
12
Price from
$2,870CAD

Discover the flavours, culture and history of Turkey on this gastronomic adventure

Tantalise your senses as you travel on a gourmet’s dream holiday. Snack on gozleme in Selcuk, enjoy street food in Istanbul, taste tea in Bursa and sample local olive oils and wines in Ayvalik and Cappadocia. There are plenty of ancient historical sites to explore in Selcuk and Ephesus and the stunning countryside makes for the perfect backdrop for discovering the very best of Turkish food and culture.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Country
Turkey
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Gourmet
Code
PEGF
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
3 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Sip a cup of freshly brewed Turkish coffee in Istanbul's iconic Egyptian Spice Bazaar

  • Explore Ephesus from Selcuk, followed by a feast of gozleme, one of Turkey's most famous food exports

  • Dine at one of Cappadocia's best contemporary Turkish restaurants, set within a converted caravanserai (traditional inn)

  • With hands-on cooking classes, you'll learn the secrets of Turkey's age-old culinary traditions. Try your hand at Central Anatolian cuisine and multi-layered baklava

  • Enjoy a wine tasting as you overlook the incredible landscape of Cappadocia at sunset

  • Wander about stalls selling foraged wild greens, signature regional cheeses and locally sourced honey at Ayvalik's wonderful Thursday markets

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please be aware that in many countries dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, simply contact your agent at the time of booking for further information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed!

  • A good overall level of health and fitness is required for this trip, as there is a fair amount of walking involved in exploring sites such as Ephesus and the Goreme Open Air Museum. Be sure to bring sturdy walking shoes and adequate sun protection.

  • There is one quite long train trip on this itinerary – an overnight journey from Izmir to Konya. It's a very comfortable ride, however.

Itinerary

Arrive in Istanbul and settle into your hotel. In the evening there will be a welcome meeting in which you will meet your trip leader and group. Please check the hotel noticeboard for the exact time of the meeting. If you arrive early enough, explore the streets and take in the city's extraordinary combination of eastern and western influences. In the evening, dinner will be held in a popular local 'meyhane' (Turkish tavern) in the vibrant Beyoglu area. Sample some meze (small savoury dishes), accompanied by a glass of raki, and get to know your fellow travellers.

Notes: If arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport (IST), you will be met and transferred to your starting hotel. If arriving at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) airport, please make your own way to the hotel (unless you have booked a transfer).
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Meyhane Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
After breakfast you will take a tasting tour through Istanbul’s celebrated Egyptian Spice Bazaar. Discover the secret to selecting the freshest spices and enjoy a strong Turkish coffee accompanied by a 'tulumba' (a Turkish dessert consisting of fried batter covered in syrup). Continue your walking tour around Sultanahmet and Eminonu, taking in some of the most iconic sites of the city. You will see Suleymaniye Mosque as well as the Hippodrome. Your leader might also point out some street food specialties along the way. Local favourites include barbecued corn and roasted kestane (chestnuts), and, of course, Turkish delight. Your walk concludes at the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar), where you can explore the narrow alleyways and various wares for sale at your leisure. In the late afternoon you will have the option to take a food tour on the Asian side of the city, or meet up with a local family for a home-cooked dinner. Alternatively you may wish to reserve a table at one of the city’s excellent restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Street food walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast, drive to Kabatas, then take a ferry to Bursa. You will arrive in time for lunch. Feast on Bursa’s most renowned local dish – the İskender kebab. Named after its creator, İskender Efendi, this famous north-western Turkish kebab was first seen on the menu in the late 19th century (İskender's family still owns the founding restaurant here). In the afternoon your leader will take you on a walk around the town and illuminate a few things about the city's rich and varied history. There are a number of elegant mosques, such as the beautiful Yesil Camii, as well as an intriguing covered bazaar and some teahouses filled with locals. Your walk will include a stop at a traditional teahouse for a taste of this important Turkish cultural pastime. After dinner you will be invited to attend a Dervish (Sema) Lodge where you'll witness a Sema performance.
Accommodation
  • Kervansaray City Hotel, or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Whirling Dervishes at Teke in Bursa
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast, make the drive to Ayvalik (approximately 5 hours). The city takes its name from the Turkish word for quince (ayva). Explore the cobbled backstreets and their beautiful old houses and cafes. The village is set around a harbour and looks out to the Aegean Islands, so it's a great place to eat, drink and relax. The region surrounding Ayvalik is a major producer of olives and olive oil, and pretty olive groves line the hills. In the afternoon you will visit a purveyor of local olive oils and enjoy a tasting. Then it's time to taste some locally produced liqueurs. In the evening your leader may suggest you try a corbasi (soup restaurant) for dinner, or perhaps the local favourite, Ayvalik Toast.
Accommodation
  • Deniz Hotel, or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a morning stroll around Ayvalik’s weekly market, savouring treats like locally produced honey, foraged wild greens, handmade yufka (a kind of filo pastry used in baklava), nuts and spices. Your leader will purchase a selection of the best produce for a picnic lunch. You will enjoy this lunch on nearby Cunda Island overlooking the sea. Cunda Island was once inhabited by a significant Greek population, and some Greek orthodox churches remain. On Cunda Island you will also visit a purveyor or cheeses and yoghurts. Cunda is famous for its dairy farming, and here you will find a variety of delicious dairy products that you won’t be able to taste anywhere else. Try the ‘Kefalotori’ kelle peynir (a cheese made of sheep and cow’s milk, special to the Balıkesir region), or Izmir tulum peyniri (a very sharp and salty cheese), among other specialties. If you are still hungry, perhaps stay on the island and enjoy a repast of fresh Aegean seafood at one the restaurants that line the waterfront.
Accommodation
  • Deniz Hotel, or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ayvalik - Market tour and Cunda Island picnic
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Head to Selcuk (approximately 3 hours). Home to the Isa Bey Mosque and the Grand Fortress, Selcuk is steeped in culture, tradition and history. The town itself is usually undisturbed, which gives you the opportunity to experience the 'real' Turkey. Selcuk is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Temple of Artemis – although today only a single pylon remains. This evening you will visit the local village of Sirince. This authentic Greek Ottoman village seems to have been overlooked by modern development and is a photographer's dream. Settlers to this region post World War I and the Turkish War of Independence where responsible for reviving the local wine industry, made from fruit grown in this area. Enjoy a wine tasting and consider buying a bottle to take with you. Then walk up a gentle slope through cobbled streets and alleys to an atmospheric garden cafe. Here your host will introduce you to the making of an important Turkish dish, manti, (Turkish stuffed dumplings). Try your hand at making manti, then enjoy them with the traditional accompaniments of tomato sauce and yoghurt.
Accommodation
  • Hitit Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus Archaeological Site
  • Sirince - Fruit wine tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Rise early and visit the Ancient Site of Ephesus, the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Once the capital of Roman Asia Minor, Ephesus has a fascinating history spanning over 1,500 years. Take a guided tour of the site with a local expert who will bring this ancient place to life. The theatre is well preserved (and regularly hosts concerts), but it is perhaps the magnificent library that will take your breath away. Lunch is served in a nearby family-run restaurant where gozleme – the famous and very popular Turkish stuffed pastry – is the specialty. Here you will be treated to a demonstration of how this renowned dish is created, before enjoying a gozleme feast. After lunch you will travel to Bodrum (approximately 3 hours). This delightful southern Agean town by the sea is also home to another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Mausoleum of Halikarnassus (built after 353 BCE). This evening you will take an orientation walk around the city, finishing at the Cevat Şakir Cadddesi. The surrounding alleys and streets off this main thoroughfare host the local fish markets and there are a number of meyhane (taverns) where you can select your own ‘catch of the day’ and have it prepared and cooked for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Manastir Hotel, or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bodrum - Baklava cooking class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast, join a cooking class to learn how to make one of Turkey’s most famous desserts – baklava. Although the history of baklava is not well documented, the oldest recipe that resembles the modern day incarnation is a baked and layered honey-covered dessert that dates back to Roman times (2nd century BCE). You will soon learn that this delicious treat is quite technical and time-consuming to make. In the afternoon, take some time to explore. Visit the Crusader-built Bodrum Castle (Castle of St Peter) and marvel at its towers, dungeons and battlements; see the ancient shipwrecks and treasures at the Castle’s Museum of Underwater Archaeology; or view the impressive Bodrum Amphitheater which is cut into a hill above the city. Perhaps stop in at a traditional Hamam (Turkish Bath) to relax before your overnight train journey. Towards evening, drive to Izmir for a light dinner (optional), before boarding an overnight train at 8.30 pm bound for Konya in the Central Anatolian region of Turkey.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Konya at 7.30 am. Enjoy a brief stop here for breakfast and to stretch your legs, then drive to Goreme (approximately 3 hours). This town is the gateway to Cappadocia. Shaped by wind and water, the otherworldly rock formations of Cappadocia have to be seen to be believed. On the way to Goreme you will visit the underground city of Derinkuyu. Large enough to shelter around 20,000 people, this 60-metre deep subterranean world is awe-inspiring. Built in the 7th and 8th centuries, the city included wine and oil presses, cellars, refectories, stables and chapels. Arrive in Goreme by early afternoon. After an orientation walk around the village and some time to refresh, you may choose to dine on a meal of testi kebab at a restaurant. This is a classic Central Anatolian dish, consisting of pieces of lamb or chicken cooked in a tall elegant clay pot, the top of which is smashed off just prior to eating.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel, or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, continue your discovery of Central Anatolian cuisine in a half-day cooking class. You will even have the opportunity to use a tandir, a traditional Turkish oven. Enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch. Cappadocia, thanks to its rich volcanic soil, lays claim to fertile orchards and vineyards. In the evening you will drive to one of Cappadocia’s most famous local wineries. Learn about the local wine industry (which is over 4,000 years old) as you sample regional varieties. Then take a scenic walk (approximately 1 hour) through the Rose and Red Valleys, passing Byzantine rock tombs, cave churches and many unique rock formations. Conclude your evening with a glass of wine and a snack while watching the sun set over this dramatic landscape.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel, or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cappadocia - Central Anatolian cooking class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
For early birds, there is the option of rising before dawn to take an awe-inspiring hot-air balloon ride over the astounding landscape of Cappadocia and witness an amazing sunrise in the process. Those preferring a more leisurely start to the day can relax over breakfast before leaving the fairytale landscapes of Cappadocia. After breakfast you will visit the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex made up of churches, rectories and dwellings. Your final dinner on the trip will take place in one of Cappadocia’s best restaurants. It's set in a converted 250-year-old caravanserai (traditional roadside inn) and has a sophisticated, modern take on traditional dishes.
Accommodation
  • Heybe Hotel, or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
Optional Activities
  • Hot air balloon Goreme - EUR165
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your journey comes to an end on arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) at around 3.30 pm.

Notes: To allow for delays, it is important not to book any international flights for before 6 pm. 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Overnight train, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel, Overnight train

Included Activities

  • Istanbul - Meyhane Dinner
  • Istanbul - Street food walking tour
  • Whirling Dervishes at Teke in Bursa
  • Ayvalik - Market tour and Cunda Island picnic
  • Ephesus Archaeological Site
  • Sirince - Fruit wine tasting
  • Bodrum - Baklava cooking class
  • Goreme - Derinkuyu Underground City tour
  • Cappadocia - Central Anatolian cooking class
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum

Reviews

Our Gourmet Explorer Turkey trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 3 reviews in the last year.

Gourmet Explorer Turkey, May 2016

Erin Taylor

Gourmet Explorer Turkey, May 2016

Cheryl Forbes

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Essential Trip Information

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