Our trips to Turkey offer a variety of sights and activities and exquisite flavors and scents. Walk the back streets of Antalya and take in the intense scent of Jasmine, relish the kick of cardamom in a Turkish coffee or enjoy a first taste of Turkish pide on one of our group tours.
Immerse yourself in the sights, scents, flavors, and activities of Turkey on our many local, small-group trips around the country. Go back in time from long-lost Greek villages to World War II memorials at Gallipoli, marvel at the whimsical turrets of Cappadocia's sand-stone rock-dwellings, or, after long days hiking or cycling, relax in cloud-like pools of mineral water at Pamukkale. Whatever you choose to do, our small group Turkey tours create memories to last a lifetime.
Unsure where to start planning your Turkey trip? We've compiled a list of some of the country's top highlights.
Located in central Turkey, Cappadocia is a fairy-tale land of cone-shaped rock dwellings and lunar-esque landscapes that must be seen to be believed. Take to the skies and soar over it all on a sunrise hot air balloon ride then descend into a myriad of subterranean caverns and tunnels that once formed Kaymakli Underground City. Built by Christians escaping Arab oppression, this otherworldly city among the rocks is now used for hotels, storage areas, and cellars.
Swim, sail, snorkel, and scuba dive your way along the sun-drenched Turquoise Coast on Turkey's southwestern Mediterranean coast. Renowned for its glistening aquamarine waters and golden sandy beaches, this picturesque coastal region is a treasure trove of outdoor adventure and history. Hike through butterfly-filled valleys, explore charming beach towns like Kas, sail along the coast on the famous Blue Voyage Route, visit the stately Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, or look for endangered loggerhead turtles. At every turn, you're greeted by some of the most stunning coastal scenery anywhere in the world, with lush mountains descending to pristine bays ringed by white, sandy beaches.
Following an ancient Lycian trade route along the coast, the 320-mile Lycian Way is one of the most famous long-distance coastal walking paths in the world. Undertake the full route for a 29-day voyage along towering cliffs, secluded beaches, and lost-to-time historic sites, or go on shorter day hikes to scenic viewpoints like Butterfly Valley. Explore the deserted streets of ghostly Kayakoy, peer over limestone cliff tops for far-reaching views across the ocean, hike through lush pine forests and open farmland, swim in the calm waters of Patara Beach, and kick back in a waterfront café in the beautiful port of Kas.
Straddling Asia and Europe on the Bosphorus Strait, the grand, multi-faceted city of Istanbul has been where worlds collide since it was first founded in the 7th century BCE. Glittering mosques with sky-piercing minarets and domes like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque dominate the skyline as architectural marvels blending Ottoman and Byzantine influences. Peruse the wares in the stalls of the kaleidoscopic Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world, feel like royalty walking past the artifacts and grand decor of Topkapi Palace, and take a boat ride on the Strait to take it all in. Istanbul's culinary scene is also a delight, with sizzling street food, traditional Turkish tea, and decadent Turkish delights.
Walking the ancient stone streets of the Roman ruins at Ephesus feels like going back in time. This remarkably well-preserved archaeological site houses many incredible attractions including the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis, and the Great Theater.
Striking white terraces of mineral stone, filled to the brim with thermal water, cascade down the hill at this beautiful town in western Turkey. Best of all, you can bathe in the warm waters while gazing across the countryside beyond.
Famous for the legendary Trojan War, the ancient city of Troy is a must-see on any trip to Turkey. Explore the ruins, walk through the reconstructed ancient city walls, and see a replica of the famous Trojan Horse itself.
Our small group trips to Turkey are popular with couples, friends and solo travelers alike. Everyone who travels with us is looking for a fun and authentic adventure so whether you’re traveling alone, with friends or with family, you’ll most likely make friends along the way. Your local tour leader will ensure you see all of the must-see sights and well as the lesser-known hidden gems of Turkey during the trip and they’ll also look after all of the every-day logistics.
Find out more about this vibrant country and our Turkey tours and trips below.
With temperatures and seasons varying from north to south and between coastal and inland areas, Turkey can be a year-round destination depending on where you want to go.
In general, spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) are widely considered the best times to visit Turkey . Falling during the shoulder season on either side of the summer high season, spring and fall offer the perfect balance of mild temperature and fewer crowds. Shoulder season rates may be less than in high season, however, you do run the risk of encountering some rain in spring and fall.
The summer months are also extremely hot and most seaside towns will be crowded. If you don't mind the cold, visiting Turkey in the winter comes with great deals and rates as well as the chance to see snow in the mountains. If you stick to the coastal regions, wintertime weather is still pretty temperate.
The weather in Turkey varies depending on the time of year and where you are. As a Mediterranean country, in general, Turkey has hot summers and mild winters. Along the southern Mediterranean Coast, you can expect hot summers and moderate winters, but winters in northern and western Turkey come with colder temperatures and even the chance of snow at higher elevations.
Your exact packing list depends on where you're going in Turkey, the time of year, and what kind of activities you plan to do. But here's a general list of Turkey packing basics:.
For more specifics about what to pack, visit the packing section of each Turkey tour webpage.
Some travelers may be wary of visiting Turkey due to its proximity to the Middle East. For the most part, Turkey is a safe country. Travelers are currently being advised to avoid traveling near the Syrian border. But other than that, travelers can feel at ease exploring the country. Turkey is also legendary for its hospitality, so expect to be welcomed everywhere you go.
Turkey is also a safe country for solo female travelers. You can avoid conflict or draw attention to yourself by dressing modestly, following cultural norms, and being aware of your surroundings.
Currently, Turkey doesn't have any COVID-19 restrictions or requirements. Although being up-to-date on your vaccinations is recommended, you don't need to provide proof of vaccination or show a negative PCR test.
You don't need to get any special vaccinations in order to enter Turkey.
Yes, American citizens will need to get a visa for their trip. Turkey offers an easy online e-visa option as well as traditional tourists and visas upon arrival.
Most visitors arrive in Turkey via one of the two international airports serving Istanbul. From there, it's easy to branch out and explore the country thanks to Turkey's well-connected public transportation. You'll find taxis and buses around major cities, and inter-city bus travel is a popular way to get around here. In some cities like Bursa and Trabzon, you can take a dolmus (small cars or minivans that run along set routes) to get around as well.
Ferries run along both the Mediterranean and Black Sea coastlines, and domestic train travel and plane travel are widespread. It's also easy to find car rentals in major cities for exploring.
Not sure if you want to take on Turkey's mass transit on your own? Our small-group and solo travel tours include transportation, arranging transfers, rides, and connections for you.
Tipping isn't mandatory in Turkey, but it is customary and expected. In restaurants, you can tip 10-15%. You should also tip the staff at the hammams (bathhouses). It's not necessary to tip taxi drivers but it's always appreciated.
The exact level of difficulty depends on the tour, but most activities, walks, and cycling routes range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Some multi-day walking tours like the Lycian Way require a good level of stamina and other trips like Active Turkey offer a wide variety of physical activities like kayaking and hiking. Cycling tours like Cycle Turkey do have some elevation gains and varied terrain, but nothing too extreme. You also have the option to choose an e-bike for a power assist on cycling trips.
For the most part, though, individuals in good health and good shape should have no issues on a Turkey tour.
Overall, accommodations, activities, and select private transportation are included across the board. Guided Turkey tours with Explore come with an expert local tour guide as well. Included meals vary by itinerary as well.
With its warm hospitality, overall safety, and mix of cultural experiences and outdoor adventure, Turkey is a great destination for solo, self-guided trips or to go as part of a family vacation. With so many things to see and do, small-group Turkey tours provide you with a structured itinerary and an expert guide but in a small group package for a more personalized, intimate experience. Tours, accommodations, and transportation are also all taken care of, plus free time for shopping or solo time in particular areas makes a Turkey tour an easy choice.
From big wows to hidden gems, our tours leave you feeling that you've really explored.
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7 highlights of Turkey
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