TURKEY: Boutique VIP Culinary & Cultural Tour - 11 days
Destinations: TURKEY: Istanbul | Cappadocia | Bodrum | Istanbul
Tour Grading MODERATE: Suitable for travellers with an average level of fitness and mobility
Tour Commences In: Istanbul
Number of Days: 11 days / 10 nights
Accommodation: 5, 4 & 3+ Star Modern & Boutique Hotels
Leaders: Professional Food & Wine Specialists
Tour Concludes In: Istanbul
Tour Style: Luxury / Deluxe Escorted Small Group Tour
Meals: Breakfasts; 10: Lunches; 9: Dinners; 5:
Transportation: Luxury / Deluxe private chauffeur driven air-conditioned vehicles
Our culinary & cultural tour is hosted by food & wine specialists to ensure you experience Turkey through the eyes, and tastes of its people and sample the amazingly diverse food and culture of this melting pot that is Turkey.
Meet the local people and share their stories, cuisine and passion for living - like you have never done before. Visit local markets and ethnic restaurants and delight in the sounds and sights at the meeting of two continents. This is a wonderfully inspiring cultural and foodie tour. Join us and share our passion.
- Private international and domestic airport arrival and departure transfers for all guests
- Domestic Airfare – Economy Class – Istanbul – Kayseri / Bodrum – Istanbul
(Price and availability for upgrade available on request)
- Luxury private air- conditioned vehicles for all our transportation
- Luxury, classic or boutique Hotel accommodation available
- Meals as indicated. "B" Breakfast "L" for Lunch and "D" for Dinner
- Private services of food & wine specialists
- Licensed professional tour guide in English language for cultural sights
- Admission fees to all activities, tours, excursions and entrance fees as noted in the program
- An exclusive information travel package
Available on Request;
- International Airfares
- Single room surcharge
- Pre and post tour programs TBA
- Travel Insurance – Worldwide Travel Insurance
Day 1: Sunday : Istanbul:
Day 2: Monday: Istanbul:
Day 3: Tuesday: Istanbul:
Day 4: Wednesday: Istanbul – Cappadocia;
DAY 5: Thursday: Cappadocia:
Day 6: Friday: Cappadocia – Izmir – Alaçatı:
Day 7: Saturday: Alaçati:
Day 8: Sunday: Alaçatı – Ephesus – Bodrum:
Day 9: Monday: Bodrum:
Day 10: Tuesday: Bodrum – Istanbul:
Day 11 Wednesday: Depart Istanbul:
All our hotels are excellent four and five star boutique hotels. We highly recommend our hotel as they have excellent services and facilities. All rooms have modern facilities, private bathrooms with double & two twin beds. Triple share accommodation may also be available and consists of two single beds plus a rollaway/fold-up bed.
Climate & Clothing:
In summer the weather in Turkey is hot and humid, the temperature between July and September averaging 82°F (28°C). Summers are relatively dry, but rain does occur all year round. During winter it is cold, wet and often snowy. Snowfalls tend to be heavy, but temperatures rarely drop as low as freezing point. The general rule is to bring comfortable clothing including lightweight cottons. Comfortable walking shoes are essential as is a light waterproof jacket. We provide a detailed packing list to all our guests prior to departure.
Currency & Money Matters:
The official currency is the New Turkish Lira (TRY), which was introduced on 1 January 2005, whereby six zeros were dropped from the TL and the sub-unit New Kurush was created. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at some banks and currency exchange offices, but are not as welcome as cash or credit cards. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.
The electrical current in Turkey is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.
You must obtain Comprehensive Travel Insurance as a condition of travelling with Boutique Tours & Travel. We recommend that you purchase insurance at the time of Booking.
Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.
Our hotels offer a wonderful selection of dishes at their buffet breakfasts with a wide variety of both menu and venue for lunches and evening meals.
Medical Services & Facilities:
Our hotels have access to a doctor if required. They can also assist guests with purchasing of medicine. The international hospitals in Turkey are very good and have western trained medical and surgical specialists. Dental care is also available.
Passports & Visas:
To enter Turkey you require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry and with at least two blank pages. A visa is required for most guests. Apply Here https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
Pre & Post Tour Accommodation:
Boutique Tours & Travel suggests that you may like to arrive a day before the start of your tour to allow time to relax and refresh. You are also very welcome to linger longer after the tour is completed.
Boutique Tours & Travel has negotiated special overnight rates at this hotel for both pre and post tour accommodation. Please ask for details at time of booking. Local tour guides are also available on request.
We welcome single travellers and we are able to arrange single accommodation. We negotiate strongly to keep single supplements at a reasonable cost. If you wish to share a room, we will endeavour to match you with another single guest and adjust the costs accordingly and refund any costs after you return home. We accept no responsibility for the suitability of a room partner.
Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs or any other arrangement should be advised at time of booking. Please note that every effort will be made to secure your special request; however, they cannot always be guaranteed.
Turkey standard time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)
Our small group tours provide you with a good balance of group activity and personal discovery.
We generally use modern deluxe minibuses for tours. We also walk where and when it’s suitable.
Water & Beverages:
Our hotels offer bottled water and bottled water is provided throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this tour.
Day 1: Sunday: Istanbul: (D)
Arrive at Istanbul, Atatürk International Airport, where you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel.
Istanbul, the only city in the world built on two continents, provides a unique link between East and West. The guardian of the treasures of three great empires, Napoleon once said that if the world were a single state then its capital would be Constantinople.
Turkey is an extraordinary country with a myriad of dazzling highlights, hidden gems and full of mystical charm. The mere mention of Turkey conjures up tantalizing visions of stunning skylines of domes and minarets, sultans, harems and hamam, Ottoman palaces, bazaars, belly-dancers and spectacular Roman ruins.
You may wish to arrive a day earlier. Please contact us to arrange this.
This evening we have organized a Welcome Dinner at a private home that includes a hands- on cooking class learning to cook home-style, family recipes and taste what you have cooked. This is truly unique opportunity to experience Turkish hospitality and local home life. (dietary requirements can be noted at the time of booking)
Day 2: Monday: Istanbul: (B/L)
Today you will visit the Blue Mosque, a famous 17th century mosque that dominates the Istanbul skyline, then visit the St. Savour in Chora Museum, known for its magnificent mosaics and frescoes dating from the 11th to the 14th centuries. "Chora" means outside the walls or in the countryside, which the church certainly was when it was built originally; however, it was enclosed within Istanbul's walls no later than 413 AD and the church you see today was actually built in the 11th century. For four hundred years it was a mosque and now it is a museum; virtually all of the famous mosaics and (less renowned but just as striking) mural paintings date from about 1320, having been restored between 1948 and 1959 under the auspices of the Byzantine Society of America.
We will then proceed to our lunch in charming restaurant, whose dishes reflect the eclectic nature of the Turco-Ottoman neighbourhood. The restaurant specializes in fine Ottoman court cuisine. Extensive research was undertaken prior to the opening of the restaurant from kitchen registries deep in the archives of Topkapı and Dolmabahçe Palaces, relevant documentation was found in Istanbul's Beyazıt and Millet libraries.
After lunch you will take a private cruise along the Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe from Asia. En route enjoy the view of the old yalıs (wooden houses on the water) and the 15th century Fortress of Rumelihisar. Dinner on your own.
Day 3: Tuesday: Istanbul: (B/L/D)
This morning you will be picked up, early and taken on a short ferry ride to the European side of Istanbul. You will stroll through 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 a Spice shop for spice tasting and discover some typically Turkish delicacies. We will then take you on a tour of three of Istanbul’s iconic monuments.
The Rustem Pasha Mosque,another skillful accomplishment of the architect Sinan, the Rustem Pasha Mosque was built in 1561 on the orders of Rustem Pasha, Grand Vizier and son-in-law of Suleyman the Magnificent. Exquisite lznik tiles panel the small and superbly proportioned interior.
The Hagia Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom, which was a church (circa 548 AD), then a mosque and now a museum.
The Underground Cistern built by Emperor Justinian to provide water for the city of Constantinople. It is difficult to describe the beauty and uniqueness of this experience. Descending a few flights of stairs underground you will suddenly be amazed to see stately, ancient columns, small bridges, lights and to hear classical music sung by Luciano Pavarotti. The main hall is 230 x 460 feet, supported by over 400 columns and with many vaults. Truly amazing!
For lunch you will taste delicious kofte- meatballs at a specialized restaurant operating since 1920. Last, you will continue to explore ninety-two streets of the famous Grand Bazaar.
Dinner this evening will be in an old restored Sultanahmet house, serving delicious appetizers and healthy fresh fish.
Day 4: Wednesday: Istanbul – Cappadocia; (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will depart to visit some specialty shops as we walk 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 an Otterman restaurant. The dishes are prepared according to the original customs and beliefs. The ingredients used in these 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 visit the Topkapı Palace the first residence of the Ottoman Sultans and in the evening head to the airport for our flight to Cappadocia.
After lunch we will visit the Topkapı Palacethe first residence of the Ottoman Sultans and in the evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to Cappadocia.
You will be transferred to our cave hotel upon arrival. A light dinner will be served.
DAY 5: Thursday: Cappadocia: (B/L/D)
Derived from the ancient Hittite word “Katpatuka”,Cappadocia is commonly believed to mean “Land of the Beautiful Horses”, and it is a fitting tribute. These days Cappadocia is more celebrated for its lava-sculpted topography and dawn skyline dappled with hot air balloons than horses, but historically the region was renowned for its deep equine connections.
In Cappadocia we will focus on the very particular culture and foods of Anatolia.
Today we will be cooking lunch in a village home with a local family. They will show us how to make lentil patties stuffed vine leaves and manti, a traditional dish whose heritage stretches back in to the Central Asian origins of modern Turkey. You will taste what you have cooked for lunch.
After lunch we will introduce you to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at Dervent Valley, and then head to the 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 ChimneysValley, we drive further to Avanos.
At Avanos, a centre of terracotta art since 2,000 BC, you will see a demonstration of pottery making in a traditional workshop, where the family has been making pottery for many generations. Then we will try our hands at it under the supervision of a master potter. This is also a great spot to shop for pottery.
Before dinner we will stop at a winery. This is the biggest and oldest winery (since 1943) in Cappadocia. We will tour 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.
Day 6: Friday: Cappadocia – Izmir - Alaçatı: (B/L/D)
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 a champagne celebration!
After breakfast you will continue your day with a hike in 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, and get the chance to buy some of these works of art.
Later this afternoon we fly to Izmir then drive for about 1 hour to Alaçatı.
Day 7: Saturday: Alaçatı: (B/L)
After a leisurely morning we will drive to a fruit and vegetable farmers market where all produce is freshly picked in the early morning. Then we will sit down and enjoy a family style late lunch at a local’s home, accompanied by a selection of award winning local wines while enjoying the wonderful views of the region.
After lunch we will stop at some vineyards for wine tasting. These vineyards are 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 vineyards are located near the Aegean coast, where they have been practicing viticulture over centuries. Following this wonderful culinary experience we return to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or explore the cobblestoned streets of this quaint seaside resort, winding between the stone buildings, and settle down in one of the village square’s coffee houses to chill out. Dinner on your own.
Day 8: Sunday: Alaçatı – Ephesus – Bodrum: (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast we will proceed to visit the ancient archaeological ruins of Ephesus, featuring the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of ancient world.
We will then proceed to Kusadası for lunch at one of the best restaurants in the area. After having a delectable feast, we will take you around the garden so you will see how they dry their vegetables under the sun, how they make tomato, pepper paste, pomegranate molasses and the making of many different organic jams. We will then tour a 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. We continue our drive and end our day with a light dinner in Bodrum.
Day 9: Monday: Bodrum: (B/L)
Today after a delicious homemade breakfast with freshly baked bread, olives, honey, kaymak (rich clotted cream) jams, cheeses (cow and goat) eggs and sausages in a village nearby. Then we will go around the Bays on a typical Turkish wooden yacht.
Traditional wooden yachts first built in Bodrum for fishing and sponge hunting, but with the rise of the Blue Cruise concept, they became spacious motor- sailing yachts for people to enjoy a cruise in the untouched bays around the Aegean coast of Turkey. It is a perfect way to enjoy swimming in the blue waters as well as to try more of the local cuisine. After the cruise we will return to the hotel. Dinner on your own.
Day 10: Tuesday: Bodrum – Istanbul: (B/L)
In the morning we will stop at a Turkish Delight manufacturer to watch a demo on Turkish Delight production. Then we will proceed to our cooking class where you will be guided through the delicious secrets of regional Aegean cookery with its accent on olive oil and fresh herbs. You will then taste what you have prepared at a sumptuous lunch.
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, and 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. Later we will take a late flight to Istanbul.
You may wish to continue on a journey from here. Please contact us to discuss this option
Day 11: Wednesday: Depart Istanbul: (B)
Following breakfast it is time to say farewell to acquaintances, new-found friends and Turkey.
Today is at your leisure before transferring to the airport for your onward or homebound journey.
Depending on your departure itinerary, you may have time for some last-minute sight-seeing or shopping. We are able to organise a private guide to accompany you.
Some guests may wish to stay another day or more in this amazing country; please don’t hesitate to contact Boutique Tours & Travel for further travel arrangements.
OPTIONAL PRE or POST TOURS
GALATA and PERA – Half Day Tour
After breakfast we will depart to visit the Galata Tower and its environs.
We will have our morning tea at a typical Pera Style house and enjoy pleasant conversation, delight in the warmth and friendly hospitality of your host.
Towards the end of the 19th Century, the district of Beyoğlu-Pera was an elegant residential district mainly populated by the minorities and foreign diplomats. The very first stone and brick houses were built there. Annie's house is a town house built by her great grandfather in 1880. The architectural style is typical for that period - four floors, with a curving interior wooden staircase, a light well, a bay window, and high ceilings. It has been restored, but a lot of the furniture is in the style of Napoleon III and art nouveau. This tour will also give you a chance to taste delicious Black Sea cuisine.
SAILING TO THE PRINCE’S ISLANDS – Full Day Tour: (L)
Today we take you on a unique cruise in the Sea of Marmara to the Princes’ Islands aboard our sailboat as you enjoy the expansive view of Istanbul’s shoreline. After a one and a half hour sailing tour, we will dock at Burgaz, one of the prettiest of the Princes’ islands. The Princes’ islands are where Istanbullus go to escape hectic city life for a day. These islands are an oasis of peace and quiet where the only sounds you will hear are bicycle bells and the sounds of horse hoofs. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the main transportation on the islands.
We will have lunch at a dockside restaurant where the menu will include an assortment of mezes and fresh fish in season. You can even have a swim at one of the creeks around the Princes’ Islands depending on the weather. You will be transferred back to your hotel upon disembarking at the marina.
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The Ultimate Foodie Experience;
If you are a ‘Foodie’ and like to eat / cook / explore then Turkish foodie tour of Turkey MUST be on your bucket list. We had such a memorable, fantastic, scrumptious, enjoyable experience that words can't describe it! Not only did we get to do the sites in Istanbul, Cappadocia and the south coast but we also ate at authentic (not the touristy places) gourmet restaurants that served regional fare. In addition, we got hands-on cooking lessons in homes and restaurants learning how to make family recipes and of course, eating the results of our work. In the process we met some wonderful people. The Turks are a warm, friendly, hospitable people and meeting them this way made us feel welcome and so much at home. We truly did not want to leave.
Jane S. - Brisbane