Highlights of Turkey

Highlights of Turkey

8 Days



Highlights of Turkey

8 Days Starting in Istanbul and ending in Dalyan

Visiting: İstanbul, Gelibolu, Troy, Pergamon Ancient City, Selçuk, Pamukkale, Dalyan

Tour operator:


Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 18

Physical rating:

Medium, FullOn

Age range:


Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:
Trip Styles:

Small Group


Sightseeing, Walking

$1235 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$35
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Tour Overview

Discover the contrasts of Turkey and experience its delicious cuisine and captivating culture on this one-week highlights trip that travels down the west coast. Explore the historic city of Istanbul, ancient Greco-Roman ruins and the Turquoise Coast.

Ephesus - Walk the marble streets where Saint Paul preached and see the famed Celsus Library

Pamukkale - Admire the unique white travertine terraced hillside and ancient Hierapolis

Gallipoli - Experience the poignant World War I memorials including the Lone Pine Cemetery


  • Ephesus - Walk the marble streets where Saint Paul preached and see the famed Celsus Library

  • Pamukkale - Admire the unique white travertine terraced hillside and ancient Hierapolis

  • Gallipoli - Experience the poignant World War I memorials including the Lone Pine Cemetery


Expand All
Day 1: Join Trip In Istanbul
Location: İstanbul
Accommodation: Hotel, Monaco

Arrive in Istanbul. As Constantinople, the city was the capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, so today it is steeped in history and fascinating architecture. Modern day Istanbul has much to offer - not least its mouth-watering cuisine and budding cafe culture. The city straddles between Europe and Asia and because of this, it was an important stop on the old Silk Road. It is a melting pot of different cultures and this is demonstrated in its gastronomy. Turkish food is a hearty mix of Middle Eastern, Asian and Balkan style dishes that range from barbecued meat kebabs to vine leaf wrapped vegetable and rice parcels.

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Istanbul at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Istanbul Airport (IST), which is about one hour and 30 minutes' drive or Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), which is around two hours' drive from the city centre, depending on traffic, which can be heavy at times. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

Our conveniently located hotel is within walking distance or a short tram ride of many of the cultural and historical sites in the Sultanahmet district. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore this area. If your flight is arriving earlier today or if you're extending your stay by a night then we'd recommend visiting Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, as it is closed on a Sunday, so there won't be the opportunity to go tomorrow. Located within the walls of Istanbul, there are around 60 streets and over 3,000 shops selling everything from jewellery to carpets and textiles and furniture to local arts and crafts. It's one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. The labyrinth of streets also house two mosques, two hamams (Turkish baths) and an array of restaurants and cafes, so there is plenty to experience in this historic landmark of Istanbul.

Day 2: Explore Istanbul Including The Blue Mosque And Hagia Sophia
Location: İstanbul
Accommodation: Hotel, Monaco
Meals Included: Breakfast

Spend a full day discovering historic Istanbul on foot. Visit the famous Blue Mosque, which gets its name from the vivid blue ornate tile designs and stained glass found in its interior, and the Byzantine Hagia Sophia, which reigned as the greatest Greek Orthodox church for 900 years before later becoming an imperial mosque, and it's now a fascinating and unique museum. Also see the Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in the centre of the city, before heading to the opulent Topkapi Palace, which was once home to the sultans. In the Yeldegirmeni neighbourhood of Kadikoy admire the colourful and expressive street art that has appeared in recent years. Along the way our local Leader will show the range of street food on offer in the city and you'll have the chance to buy lunch.

There's the opportunity to go underground into the Basilica Cistern, to see the ancient columns partially submerged in water that catch the light and reflect in the pools, giving the illusion of being endless rows.

This evening, is free to experience the city's huge selection of restaurants, bars and entertainment. Our local Leader will be able to offer advice based on your preferences.

Day 3: See The Emotive Memorials At The World War I Site Of Gallipoli
Location: Gelibolu
Accommodation: Hotel, Comfort Anzac
Meals Included: Breakfast

Leaving Istanbul after breakfast to drive to the Gallipoli Peninsula. The drive will take us around five hours, but a stop to buy lunch will be made along the way. It was at Gallipoli in 1916 that, after eight months of bloody hand-to-hand fighting and loss of life, the ill-fated Allied campaign was forced to concede victory to the Turks and withdraw. Whilst here visit Anzac Cove - the infamous site of the Anzac landing, as well as the Lone Pine Australian Memorial and Cemetery and the war belongings exhibit in the sobering Kabatepe War Museum.

Later this afternoon we board a ferry to travel across the Dardanelles to Canakkale, where we will spend the night. This port city is off of the main tourist trail and is a good place to sample locally caught seafood for dinner this evening and join the locals taking an evening stroll along the seafront where you can see the Trojan Horse replica, which stands as high as the surrounding buildings.

Day 4: Experience The Ancient Sites Of Troy And Pergamon
Location: Troy, Pergamon Ancient City
Accommodation: Hotel, Cenka
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we will make an early start and leave the hotel at around 7.30am as this is the longest travelling day of this trip. Driving the short distance to the ancient city of Troy where, according to legend, the artful Ulysses devised the wooden horse strategy, thereby ending the 10 year Trojan War. Here, nine ruined cities, one on top of the other, have been uncovered, going back some 5,000 years. Troy VI is the assumed walled city of King Priam (1800-1275 BC), celebrated by the blind Greek poet Homer in the Iliad and all but lost in legend until unearthed by amateur archaeologist Schliemann in 1871.

Boarding our bus again the drive to the Greco-Roman remains found at Pergamon takes around three hours. Pergamon gave its name to and was the source of 'parchment', for which it was famous throughout the Middle East. Visit the striking acropolis, impressively perched above the modern-day town of Bergama, which contains the remains of a library, a theatre, temples and altars.

The drive to Selcuk later this afternoon takes around three hours, but a stop will be made along the way to purchase lunch and stretch our legs. On arrival in Selcuk check-in to the hotel and have dinner this evening.

Day 5: Visit The Famed Greco-Roman City Of Ephesus; Drive To Pamukkale
Location: Selçuk
Accommodation: Hotel, Venus
Meals Included: Breakfast

Spend the morning exploring Selcuk's historic neighbour, the great Greco-Roman city of Ephesus accompanied by a local guide. Visited by Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, and also having inspired Saint Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, this famous Asia Minor seaport reached its zenith in the 2nd century AD. Ephesus became one of the main cultural and economic centres of the ancient world until it went into decline after the 7th century. Saint John spent the last years of his life in Ephesus and wrote his Gospel here. It is believed that Mary, mother of Jesus, also came here with him. Today, its impressive ruins include a theatre, gymnasium, agora and baths, as well as the photogenic intricately carved stone facade of the Library of Celsus. The ruins here are extensive with lots of ornate columns and grand arches to discover.

Before leaving Selcuk there's the chance to visit a traditional carpet weaver and to explore the town. Later this afternoon, drive to Pamukkale (takes around two and a half hours) and check-in to the hotel for the night.

Day 6: Explore The White Terraces Of Pamukkale And Historic Hierapolis
Location: Pamukkale
Accommodation: Hotel, Metin
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning discover Pamukkale, which translates as the 'cotton castle', taking its name from the extensive white terraces that cover the hillside and were created by mineral springs. It's home to one of Turkey's most impressive natural wonders - the 'frozen waterfall'. A boardwalk offers spectacular views of the unusual white cliff face with its crystal blue pools and the huge valley below. Don't miss Cleopatra's Pool - an oasis of beauty with a mirror-like clarity that allows us to see deep down to the ruins below.

Above the white cliff is the ancient spa town of Hierapolis with its well-preserved Roman baths, tombs and an impressive theatre. People have been making the most of Hierapolis' thermal waters since the 2nd century BC to as recently as the mid 20th century when shockingly hotels were constructed on top of its priceless ruins. Luckily, UNESCO World Heritage status saved the site from further damage.

Later this afternoon, drive south to the Turquoise Coast, which takes around three and half hours, to spend the last two nights of the trip in Dalyan - famous for its loggerhead turtles, reed bed estuary and the ancient site of Caunos.

Day 7: Riverboat Trip To Ancient Caunos; Chance To Take A Mud Bath
Location: Dalyan
Accommodation: Hotel, Metin
Meals Included: Breakfast

Formally a fishing village, the small resort of Dalyan is steeped in history. A gentle riverboat trip through the reeds to the ancient site of Caunos gives the opportunity to look out for loggerhead turtles and birdlife along the way. Still under excavation, the ruins date back to 400 BC and include a Roman bath, an impressive theatre and an acropolis. The boat trip continues to the mud baths and hot springs by Lake Koycegiz. Here there is the option to relax and to coat ourselves in the mud which is reputed to have great therapeutic properties, before returning to Dalyan.

Later in the day, there's the chance to take a water taxi down through the reed beds to Iztuzu Beach, to make the most of its glorious golden sand and inviting azure coloured waters.

Chance to visit the Turtle Conservation Centre (DEKAMER) before returning to Dalyan. The conservation centre works to protect the turtle nesting areas on Iztuzu Beach, cares for and rehabilitates injured turtles and also attempts to educate the local fisherman on the importance of using propeller guards.

Day 8: Trip Ends In Dalyan
Location: Dalyan
Meals Included: Breakfast

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Dalyan.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Dalyan at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Dalaman Airport (DLM), which is 30 minutes' drive.

What's Included

  • Fully Guided

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast: 7

    Dinner: 1

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Accommodation

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • Country Entry Visas

  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day


Check out our Q&As

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?


  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?


  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?


  • What is the maximum group size?


  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?


  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?


  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?


  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour


Highlights of Turkey

I thought this was an excellent introduction to th

I thought this was an excellent introduction to the archeological sites of Turkey and really enjoyed the varied schedule winding down towards the end

Dates & Availability

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Saturday - Saturday

May 11, 2024 - May 18, 2024
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Saturday - Saturday

May 25, 2024 - Jun 01, 2024
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Saturday - Saturday

Jun 08, 2024 - Jun 15, 2024
$1370 $1332 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$38 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Jul 20, 2024 - Jul 27, 2024
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 21, 2024
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Sep 28, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Oct 10, 2024 - Oct 17, 2024
$1270 $1235 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$35 (USD)

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May 10, 2025 - May 17, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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May 24, 2025 - May 31, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Jun 07, 2025 - Jun 14, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Jun 21, 2025 - Jun 28, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Jul 05, 2025 - Jul 12, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Jul 19, 2025 - Jul 26, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Sep 13, 2025 - Sep 20, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Sep 27, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

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Saturday - Saturday

Oct 11, 2025 - Oct 18, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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