Ultimate Turkey

From Istanbul to Istanbul

Visiting: Istanbul, Ankara, Göreme, Güneysınır, Antalya, Kekova, Kaş, Selçuk, Ayvalık, Çanakkale, Kars, Van, Mardin, Kâhta, Şanlıurfa


Tour Operator: G Adventures

Physical rating: 2 - Light

Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans

Group size: 1 - 15

Age range: You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.

Tour operated in: English


Prices From:

Tour Overview

Combining the best of western and eastern Turkey, this comprehensive adventure offers a sweeping view of this fascinating country. From the architectural highlights of Istanbul's long history, make your way east for a glimpse of Turkey’s less travelled and more traditional side. Explore exotic covered bazaars and mud brick cities, and experience life in a place where time seems to stand still. From its incredible Mediterranean beaches to the unreal fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and giant stone heads of Nemrut Dagi—uncover all that Turkey has to offer.

Highlights

  • icon Cavusin Your Local Living Moment: Turkish Village Homestay
  • icon relax on an overnight boat trip
  • icon watch the sunset over Nemrut Dagi surrounded by mysterious rock sculptures
  • iconDine in a local family home and taste regional delicacies
  • icon Güneysinir. Istanbul city walking tour. Visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum. Traditional dinner with local family (Cappadocia). Underground city exploration. Village homestay. Overnight boat trip (Aegean sea
  • iconDine in a local family home and taste regional delicacies, relax on an overnight boat trip, explore ancient ruins and bargain in bazaars, watch the sunset over Nemrut Dagi surrounded by mysterious rock sculptures, marvel at the landscapes of Cappadocia
  • icon Ayvalik Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Local Living Moment: Dinner with Local Family
  • icon marvel at the landscapes of Cappadocia
  • iconYour G for Good Moment: Çöp(m)adam Visit
  • icon explore ancient ruins and bargain in bazaars
Show all

Itinerary

Map Image
icon Day 1: Istanbul

Location: Istanbul

Arrive at any time.

There are no activities planned until our evening welcome meeting. After the meeting, opt to join your CEO and fellow travellers for dinner.

ACTIVITY: Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.

icon Day 2: Istanbul/Ankara

Location: Istanbul

Meals: BREAKFAST

Enjoy an orientation walk around Istanbul before moving on to the capital city of Ankara.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy an orientation walk of Istanbul. Each walk varies, allowing your CEO to show off their favourite spots around the city. Pass by city highlights such as the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia (also known as the Aya Sofya), and the Blue Mosque. Walks may also include the atmospheric Spice Bazaar or breathtaking Grand Bazaar.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

icon Day 3: Bolu/Cappadocia

Location: Ankara

Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER

Drive to the Cappadocia region. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Transfer to the town of Göreme, the base for exploring Cappadocia. With 2.5 days free to explore, there will be plenty of time to tour the area by bike, visit neighbouring villages, trek regional valleys or try a hot air balloon ride. During one of the evenings, travel to a nearby village and enjoy dinner with a local family.

Additional Information: The local dinner may take place on any night in Göreme based on the family's availability.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Enjoy seasonal homemade dishes, and talk with friendly hosts about life in rural Cappadocia.

ACTIVITY: Visit the monumental tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the republic of Turkey. Learn about his significance to gain more insight into your Turkish exploration.

icon Day 4: Cappadocia

Location: Göreme

Meals: BREAKFAST

Enjoy an included visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum before free time to explore this unique region. Opt to see it from above on a hot air balloon ride.

Outdoor enthusiast? Hire a bike to get around on two wheels or join your CEO on an optional trekking tour through one of the beautiful valleys of the region. If you want to go further afield, take a local bus to explore nearby villages.

Additional Information: If you pre-booked the Cappadocia hot air balloon ride, you will be flying today (weather permitting).

ACTIVITY: Be inspired by the natural beauty of the historic Göreme Open Air Museum, a complex of medieval painted cave churches carved out by Orthodox monks. Tour the more than 10 caves on site, and enjoy the color and vibrancy of many of the churches that are up to 1,000 years old.

FREE TIME: Free time to explore the region any way you like.

icon Day 5: Cappadocia

Location: Göreme

Meals: BREAKFAST

Enjoy an included visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum before free time to explore this unique region. Opt to see it from above on a hot air balloon ride.

Outdoor enthusiast? Hire a bike to get around on two wheels or join your CEO on an optional trekking tour through one of the beautiful valleys of the region. If you want to go further afield, take a local bus to explore nearby villages.

Additional Information: If you pre-booked the Cappadocia hot air balloon ride, you will be flying today (weather permitting).

ACTIVITY: Be inspired by the natural beauty of the historic Göreme Open Air Museum, a complex of medieval painted cave churches carved out by Orthodox monks. Tour the more than 10 caves on site, and enjoy the color and vibrancy of many of the churches that are up to 1,000 years old.

FREE TIME: Free time to explore the region any way you like.

icon Day 6: Cappadocia/Konya

Location: Göreme

Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER

Explore one of the many underground cities in the region. Visit Konya before spending the night in a local Turkish village. Experience a homestay as the guest of a local family.

Depart Göreme and head to an underground city to explore. Have a quick lunch before journeying to the region of Konya. Travel about 1 hour to a local village for a cozy homestay. On the way, visit Catalhoyuk, a uniquely well-preserved Neolithic site. Upon arrival in the village, learn about local life and enjoy a home-cooked dinner.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Visit one of the underground cities (there are approximately 30 in the region) that were famously used as hiding places for Christians escaping the persecution of the Roman Empire between the fifth and tenth centuries. See how people transferred their surface lives to this underground world – there are cellars, rooms for food storage, kitchens, churches, stables, wine and oil presses, and shafts for ventilation.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Explore this interesting Neolithic proto-city settlement – there are no streets, and houses are closely clustered with rooftop access for travel. Witness the cultural evolution from the first settlers in 7500 BC to the remnants of the urban centre we see today.

ACTIVITY: Take the opportunity to learn about local Turkish life on this village homestay. Join the group in a community experience; bathroom facilities and sleeping arrangements (in the living room) are shared.

icon Day 7: Konya/Antalya

Location: Güneysınır

Meals: BREAKFAST

Wander the lovely seaside town of Antalya.

Arrive at Antalya around lunchtime. With a free afternoon, wander the charming cobbled hillside streets of the district of Kaleici, a great place to stop and have a drink with amazing views of the marina below. For a break from the hustle and bustle, head for the greenery and teashops at one of Antalya's beautiful parks or catch some sun at a nearby beach.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

FREE TIME: AFTERNOON Spend free time exploring the city of Antalya. Take advantage of its parks and beaches or duck into a museum or two.

icon Day 8: Antalya/Kekova

Location: Antalya

Meals: BREAKFAST, DINNER

Enjoy a freshly prepared dinner before sleeping aboard a boat under the stars on the Mediterranean Sea.

Drive to the beautiful coastal village of Demre for lunch. After, board our boat for an unforgettable night on the Mediterranean Sea. The boat trip includes sailing around Kekova Island, with plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and scenery. Later, walk to Simena Castle to enjoy the views and archaeological ruins. Then opt to go for a swim in the crystal clear waters or just relax on deck.

Additional Information: The evening may be very cold— please come prepared with appropriate shoes and clothing. We will provide bedding but it is recommended that you bring a personal sleep sheet to place inside.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Come aboard for an overnight trip off the gorgeous coast of Turkey (dinner is included and cold drinks can be purchased). Sleep on deck under the stars, with mattresses and full bedding provided; there is a toilet and an open-air (cold) shower on board. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the crystal clear waters Turkey is famous for.

ACTIVITY: Climb the hill to reach a medieval castle used by the Byzantines in Simena, a beautiful ancient city that dates back to fourth century BC. Find ruins of a Roman settlement, including a small amphitheatre. Take a few moments to look out at the gorgeous view of the quiet harbour below.

icon Day 9: Kekova/Kaş

Location: Kekova

Meals: BREAKFAST

Opt for a morning swim and some relaxation before travelling on to Kaş.

Wake up on board and enjoy breakfast in the fresh morning air. Opt for a swim before returning to Demre, and continuing on to the coastal town of Kaş.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

FREE TIME: AFTERNOON Spend some time exploring the cafés lining the cobblestoned streets of Kaş.

icon Day 10: Kaş/Selçuk

Location: Kaş

Meals: BREAKFAST

Guided walk of Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis en route to Selçuk.

Leave the beautiful sea behind and head to Pamukkale, passing through fruit orchards on the way. Visit the famous white cliffs of Pamukkale and the ancient site of Hierapolis before continuing on to Selçuk.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Tour the white cliffs of Pamukkale to learn about this World Heritage-listed site and natural wonder. Made up of 17 hot water springs, the cliffs are formed when the calcium carbonate hardens with time. Explore the ancient site of Hierapolis built on top of the white "castle." See the large, ancient baths within the city (thought to be evidence that the hot springs of Pamukkale were used as a spa since second century BC).

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

icon Day 11: Selçuk

Location: Selçuk

Meals: BREAKFAST

Visit ancient Ephesus. Optional visits to St John's Basilica and the Mosque of Isa Bey as well as the nearby picturesque village of Şirince.

Visit the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Ephesus. After, head to town and enjoy some free time to explore. Opt to pre-book a traditional Selcuk cooking class, walk to the remains of St John's Basilica, visit the Mosque of Isa Bey or wander the streets of this vibrant Turkish town. Or catch a local “dolmus” bus to the picturesque village of Şirince (8 km) to sample some local wine or shop for crafts. For dedicated sunseekers, the beach at Pamucaki is also within reach.

ACTIVITY: Tour the ruins of ancient Ephesus to get a feeling of what life must have been like during Roman times. Take in its massive, well-preserved theatre, which dominates the view down Harbour Street. See the two-story library, whose façade has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces. Built in AD 125, it once held nearly 12,000 scrolls.

FREE TIME: AFTERNOON Your free time is just that — yours. Use the afternoon to explore the area any way you like.

icon Day 12: Selçuk/Ayvalık

Location: Selçuk

Meals: BREAKFAST

Spend the night in a converted Ottoman mansion. Visit the G-supported çöp(m)adam handicraft workshop during an orientation walk of Ayvalik, before enjoying free time in the surrounding area or opting for a boat trip or visit to the beach.

Ayvalik’s blend of Ottoman architecture, cobblestoned streets, and attractive harbour make this stop a highlight. The beach of Sarimsakli is a quick bus ride away and the harbour in town offers short cruises. After exploring, head down to one of the waterside restaurants for a sunset drink or meal. Then enjoy the hospitality and beautiful views from the family-run pension in a restored Ottoman mansion.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

FREE TIME: AFTERNOON Ayvalık is the perfect place to explore — check out nearby beaches or wander the city and shop.

ACTIVITY: Visit the G-supported çöp(m)adam handicraft cooperation. All products are made out of recycled goods and by making a purchase it will directly support the local women who work in the workshop and over time has contributed to over 500 women who have been part of the project.

ACTIVITY: Relax at an overnight stay at a restored Ottoman mansion, and be treated by exceptional hospitality and beautiful views.

icon Day 13: Ayvalık/Çanakkale

Location: Ayvalık

Meals: BREAKFAST

Visit the ancient city of Troy en route to Çanakkale.

Enjoy a visit to the world-famous city of Troy. After exploring the site, continue to the harbour town of Çanakkale, a busy port with a thriving student population.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: See historic Troy, made famous by Homer’s “Iliad,” (and more recently by Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt). Tour the city that, for centuries, was regarded as just a myth, until its ruins were found in in the mid-19th century. Imagine what a great city this must have been, while taking a tour of the remains. Don't miss the chance to have a photo taken with the Trojan horse.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

icon Day 14: Çanakkale/Istanbul

Location: Çanakkale

Meals: BREAKFAST

Guided visit of the Gallipoli battlefields. Continue on to Istanbul for more sightseeing.

Continue the journey to Istanbul where there will be the opportunity to carry on sightseeing.

ACTIVITY: Visit this moving and beautiful site, a great complement to any trip to Turkey, even for those not familiar with the Battle of Gallipoli. Tour the grounds to see ANZAC Cove, the war cemeteries, and Lone Pine. Learn how the Turks fought off the numerically superior, but badly commanded, Allied forces who were forced to withdraw nine months later; this battle holds special significance for Australians and New Zealanders, as both nations lost many soldiers.

TRANSPORT: Transfer to ferry.

TRANSPORT: Get to the next spot on your route aboard a convenient and efficient ferry boat.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

icon Day 15: Istanbul/Kars

Location: Istanbul

Meals: BREAKFAST

Fly to Kars and visit the pinkish stone ruins of Armenian cathedrals, homes, fortresses, and palaces at nearby Ani, the former capital of the Armenian Empire. Opt to visit the Kars Castle for panoramic views of the city.

Located near the Armenian border, the city of Kars offers a mixture of cultures and a wealth of stone structures and colourful houses. Enjoy a visit to Ani, once the capital of the Armenian kingdom. The city was renowned for its sizeable population and variety of religious structures.

TRANSPORT: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.

ACTIVITY: Be transported to centuries past visiting historical Ani. Once the capital of the Armenian Empire, Ani was located at the crossroads of many important trade routes. When the medieval city was flourishing, the buildings were some of the most complex and beautiful around. Walk among hundreds of churches that rest in ruin today – the abandoned city creates a dramatic setting against the surrounding landscape.

icon Day 16: Kars/Van

Location: Kars

Meals: BREAKFAST

See Ishak Pasha Palace and Mount Ararat en route to Van, the cultural centre of the area's Kurdish majority. Opt to visit the ruins of the Fortress of Van.

See Ishak Pasha Palace, perched high on a hilltop, and soak in the views of Mt Ararat en route to Van. The afternoon is free to explore this dusty frontier town. Opt to visit the women's co-op or purchase one of the beautiful carpets the region is known for.

TRANSPORT: The journey includes a stop at the Ishak Pasha Palace.

FREE TIME: AFTERNOON Spend some time on arrival visiting the women's co-op or shopping for carpets.

icon Day 17: Van/Mardin

Location: Van

Meals: BREAKFAST

Travel to Mardin early in the morning. En route, enjoy an Akdamar Island boat trip and church visit before exploring Hasankeyf.

Mardin is a great place to experience a local hammam, or Turkish communal bathhouse. In the evening, opt for a local dinner in a beautifully restored caravanserai, an ancient inn for traders and their animals.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Come aboard for a memorable boat trip to Akdamar Island on beautiful Lake Van. Tour the island's historic sites, and see the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross, built between AD 915-921.

ACTIVITY: Visit this ancient town in the Batman Province of Turkey. Take some time to learn about the region – with dozens of archaeologically significant sites, there's much to take in.

icon Day 18: Mardin

Location: Mardin

Meals: BREAKFAST

Take an orientation walk in old Mardin. Visit Deyrulzafaran Monastery before spending some time getting to know the city.

The beautiful and ancient hilltop town of Mardin is a real treasure. The stone houses and castle ruins set the scene. Wander the bazaar, sample some local treats, and soak in the views.

ACTIVITY: Take a tour of the impressive Deyrulzafaran Monastery, a main attraction in Mardin, and well worth a visit. Soak in its remarkable history. Founded in 493 AD on the site of an older temple whose remains are still visible, this beautiful and important building was the home of the Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church until the 1920s.

FREE TIME: AFTERNOON Enjoy some time to explore this beautiful city.

icon Day 19: Mardin/Kâhta

Location: Mardin

Meals: BREAKFAST

Travel to Kahta and explore the area around Mt Nemrut. Visit the Karakus Tumulus (Women's Monument), Severan Roman bridge, and the site of ancient Arsameia at the giant burial monuments.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Take a tour of historical sites in Kahta and the surrounding area. See the Karakus Tumulus (Women's Monument), relics of a supposed ancient burial site. While it was common that males of the royal family had their tombs in their ancient capital city, the funerary mounds found on top of Mt Nemrut are believed to be the burial monuments for the royal women. Visit the Severan Bridge, at 34.2m (112 ft) it is the second-largest arched bridge built by the Romans, and still remains in very impressive shape for being 2,000 years old. Also, take in the ancient city of Arsameia, once the capital of the ancient Commagene kingdom, its rulers built the giant temple and tomb at the top of Mount Nemrut.

ACTIVITY: Visit one of the must-sees in Turkey – Nemrut Dagi and the many statues at its peak. Walk about 15-20 mins to reach the mountain's summit, and learn about the fascinating history behind this site -- it's basically one man's (King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene) celebration of himself. Watch the sunset amid the giant fallen heads of 2,000-year-old statues, and enjoy a simply unforgettable experience.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

icon Day 20: Kâhta/Şanlıurfa

Location: Kâhta

Meals: BREAKFAST

Visit beehive houses at Harran. Enjoy a guided walk to Golbasi Park and the covered bazaar of Urfa, the supposed birthplace of Abraham and an important Islamic place of pilgrimage.

A world away from Istanbul, exotic Şanlıurfa gives you the chance to experience some true Middle Eastern flavour. Visit Harran, famous for its beehive houses. Later, back in Urfa, visit Golbasi Par. After, explore the town’s fascinating covered bazaars, taking the chance to enjoy a glass of sweet tea and, perhaps, a game of backgammon in a local tea house.

ACTIVITY: Begin the day with a visit to Harran, famous for its unique beehive houses. See how the houses are constructed entirely without wood or nails, and designed to be cool in summer and warm in winter. It must be a winning formula as they have been built using the same design for at least 3,000 years. Some houses were still in use as dwellings until the 1980s, but now most of Harran's population lives in a newly built village nearby.

TRANSPORT: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

ACTIVITY: Tour Golbasi Park, a beautiful parked that’s steeped in legend and historic symbolism. Explore the surrounding mosque complex, then enter the cave that is thought to be the birthplace of biblical Abraham. Join the many pilgrims at the pond below in feeding the sacred fish, which are believed to have helped save Abraham from death later in his life. Don't miss wandering the stalls of Sanliurfa’s bustling covered bazaars. Meet locals, take in everyday life in this vibrant town, and shop and stroll until your heart’s content.

icon Day 21: Şanlıurfa/Istanbul

Location: Şanlıurfa

Meals: BREAKFAST

Fly back to Istanbul where the tour ends on arrival at the airport. Onward travel can be booked for 5pm or later.

We highly recommend booking pre- or post-accommodation to fully explore this vibrant city.

TRANSPORT: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.

What's Included

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    Accommodation

    Hotels (18 nts), boat (1 nt, multi-share, hotel stay if inclement weather), homestay (1 nt).

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    Meals

    20 breakfasts, 3 dinners

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    Harran beehive houses visit

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    Mardin orientation walk and sights

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    Your Local Living Moment: Dinner with Local Family, Cavusin

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    Your G for Good Moment: Cop(m)adam Visit, Ayvalik Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Local Living Moment: Dinner with Local Family, Cavusin Your Local Living Moment: Turkish Village Homestay, Guneysinir

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    Visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum

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    Village homestay

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    Istanbul city walking tour

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    Hasankeyf visit

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    Traditional dinner with local family (Cappadocia)

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    Your Local Living Moment: Turkish Village Homestay, Guneysinir. Istanbul city walking tour. Visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum. Traditional dinner with local family (Cappadocia). Underground city exploration. Village homestay. Overnight boat trip (Aegean sea, weather permitting). Ancient Hierapolis and Pamukkale entrance and guided walk. Ephesus entrance and visit. Ottoman mansion stay. Troy entrance and guided visit. Gallipoli battlefields entrance and guided visit. Stone ruins of Ani visit. Ishak Pasha Palace entrance and visit. Akdamar Island boat trip. Hasankeyf visit. Mardin orientation walk and sights. Nemrut Dagi excursion including Karakus Tumulus, Severan Bridge and Arsameia. Harran beehive houses visit. Golbasi park and Sanli Urfa bazaar guided walk. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

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    Troy entrance and guided visit

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    All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

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    Underground city exploration

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    Stone ruins of Ani visit

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    Gallipoli battlefields entrance and guided visit

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    Ancient Hierapolis and Pamukkale entrance and guided walk

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    Golbasi park and Sanli Urfa bazaar guided walk

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    Akdamar Island boat trip

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    Overnight boat trip (Aegean sea, weather permitting)

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    Your G for Good Moment: Cop(m)adam Visit, Ayvalik

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    Ottoman mansion stay

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    Ephesus entrance and visit

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    Nemrut Dagi excursion including Karakus Tumulus, Severan Bridge and Arsameia

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    Internal flights

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    Ishak Pasha Palace entrance and visit

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    Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group

Transport

Private air-con bus, boat, plane

Meals Included

20 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Accommodation

Hotels (18 nts), boat (1 nt, multi-share, hotel stay if inclement weather), homestay (1 nt).
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