The crossing point of ancient civilizations; the pinnacle of decorative arts; the home of cave-dwellers and palace builders: Turkey has it all. We’ll explore Istanbul’s cosmopolitan mix of modern arts and ancient architecture, the cave villages of other-worldly Cappadocia, and the sun-kissed beaches of the Aegean. In the treasured family gardens and orchards of Anatolia, we’ll discover how to make luscious delicacies from traditional organic staple foods at the hands of master cooks. Like all Girls' Guide trips, we'll stay in exquisite hotels that express the characteristics of the area. We’ll see how the beauty of nature has inspired the decorative arts that are still part of daily life. We’ll learn from artisans who are taking these centuries-old crafts seamlessly into the present. This is the trip of a lifetime!
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Check-in at the Bank Hotel in the vibrant Karaköy district. The hotel is housed in an old bank building designed by Antoine Tedeschi in 1867 and recently renovated to provide a luxurious stay that we'll enjoy for two nights.
We'll gather for a welcome drink in the lobby after checking in. Then, we'll head out for dinner to plan our expedition to the Grand Bazaar, the world's first shopping mall.
A delicious Turkish breakfast will provide us with the energy to explore the historic districts of Sultanahmet/Fatih in Istanbul. Our first stop is at the Blue Mosque. The beautiful hand-painted tiles that resemble the open sky will amaze you. Afterward, we'll visit the ancient and impressive Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest and most magnificent buildings we've ever seen.
We'll stop for a quick and easy lunch while we explore the Grand Bazaar and its vast collection of antiques, jewels, shoes, and lanterns. Our guide will help us to find hidden gems and the items we discussed yesterday. With over 4,000 booths and tiny streets, our guide will ensure we don't get lost. After that, we'll head to the Egyptian Bazaar, which specializes in spices, sweets, soaps, and medicinal teas. We'll take a break at the hotel before boarding a private boat for an evening sail up the Bosphorus to our dinner in a former Ottoman Palace, the Tuğra restaurant.
Our plan for today is to explore the contemporary art scene in Istanbul. We'll start with breakfast and then visit the impressive Istanbul Modern, Turkey's first museum of modern and contemporary art. After that, we will head to the innovative SALT Galata projects and take some stunning pictures at Kamondo Stairs.
For those interested in purchasing art, there will be an opportunity to visit a top-tier dealer gallery. Finally, we'll head to the airport to catch our flight to Cappadocia.
Economy class flight
We'll wake before dawn today for a private flight with one of Cappadocia’s premier hot air balloon companies. Nothing beats the gentle sensation of drifting above the fairy chimneys at sunrise!
Join us for a fun morning in the kitchen, where we'll learn to make traditional Turkish dishes. Afterward, we'll enjoy our creations for lunch. There's free time in the afternoon for those in need of a nap after the early balloon flight. You can also use the time to explore the beautiful historic village of Ürgüp.
Tonight, you're the gastronomic explorer, discovering the town's culinary gems at your own pace.
If you're interested in learning about Turkish/Oriental carpets, we can arrange a fascinating workshop tonight.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Today is a nature-focused day. We’ll take a trip to a serene valley garden for some gentle yoga under the balloon flight path, then enjoy a picnic breakfast. A local female entrepreneur and yoga instructor who runs her own business in this little town, will lead the yoga session.
Next, you'll visit one of Cappadocia’s underground cities - an anthropological museum of the cave dweller’s life.
Before sunset, a female sommelier will host us in a wine-tasting session in her lavender garden, facing the beautiful ferry chimneys of Cappadocia. Mrs. Gunesh will host you, talking about local grapes and wine and telling the story of how she set up her own business after being a hotelier in the region.
Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
In the morning, once we have finished our breakfast, we'll embark on a pleasant drive to Kayseri airport to take a flight to Izmir, the bustling third-largest city located on the picturesque west coast of Turkey.
From Izmir, we'll drive to the local traveler's paradise, Alaçatı. The Seya Beach Hotel is our home for two days.
After you settle in your beautiful Mediterranean-style rooms, your guide will take you for an orientation walk in this cute town. Dinner is served at a local tavern, and mezes and seafood comprise your set menu!
Economy class flight
We'll wake up to enjoy the Aegean coast! Experience the ultimate relaxation on our private yacht. After a delicious breakfast, we'll set sail on the crystal clear waters for a day filled with adventure and tranquility. Swim, snorkel, sunbathe, and enjoy a delightful picnic at a secluded beach. We guarantee that you'll have an unforgettable time.
As we make our way back, we will take the time to indulge in a farewell dinner at the Kapari Bahce, cherishing every bite and every moment spent during our journey. Let's raise our glasses and toast the beautiful experiences we shared in Turkey.
It's time to say goodbye to Turkey!
From exploring the beautiful architectural heritage to savoring delicious Turkish cuisine, we have made unforgettable memories here. As much as we would love to stay longer, it's time for us to move on to our next adventure.
After breakfast, we'll head to the airport for our flight to Istanbul, brimming with gratitude for the unforgettable moments and sharing one last güle güle (go smiling!) with the friends who have enriched our lives during this trip!
Flight back to Istanbul
Yanuk Evleri Cappadocia is set in the landscape of fairy chimneys. The hotel is a unique cave hotel carved into a mountain cliff. It offers rooms dating back to the 5th century and a 19th-century Greek mansion. Certain rooms include a balcony or a terrace where you can admire the views of Urgup.
Seya Beach Hotel is a refuge anchored by the sea and sheltered by soft mountains, where the traditional windmills adorn the horizon.
Dazzling views of the Aegean Sea and a premium beachfront location with a luxury lifestyle await you during your stay at one of the 190 elegant, large, and bright hotel rooms.
Seeing history from the ground and in the clouds.
There are countless reasons to visit Turkey – breathtaking scenery, 2,500 years of fascinating history, culture, and tradition, intricate architecture, lovely people, and the best shopping in all of Europe, to name a few!
Hotels specified or of similar standard
Transportation in air- conditioned vehicle as per the above itinerary
All entry fees and activities as specified on the itinerary
Economy class flight tickets from Kayseri to Izmir
Economy class flight tickets from Istanbul to Kayseri
All meals except dinner on days 4 and 5 and lunch on day 6
Female tour guide is included throughout the tour
Any other services not specified above
Expenses of a personal nature- telephone calls, spa treatments, etc.
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
Hammam spa treatment
International airport departure tax
Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
Any visas required
Flights from Alaçatı to Istanbul
You should fly into Istanbul Airport (IST).
The trip officially starts on the evening of October 16th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Istanbul, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will book your room for you, and make sure that you stay in the same room as you will be in when the trip starts.
We will have a Zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
In general, the weather in Turkey in October is warm and pleasant with a chance of rain. Average temperatures range from around 64° F in inland Cappadocia to 68° F in Istanbul and Ankara to 77° F in coastal southern Antalya.
The flight tickets from Kayseri to Izmir and Istanbul to Kayseri are included in economy class. However, the flight ticket from Alaçatı to Istanbul is not included and needs to be booked by you.