ISTANBUL, ANKARA, CAPPADOCIA, ANTALYA, PAMUKKALE, IZMIR, EPHESUS, CANAKKALE, AND TROY
The spelling of the country’s name was updated in early 2022 to best represent and express “the culture, civilization, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way.” From the unique rock formations and soaring hot air balloons in Cappadocia to the marvelous cities of Istanbul and Ankara to the special women-only experiences woven throughout the itinerary to allow us to truly connect with locals and immerse ourselves in the country’s culture and traditions, our special women-only Treasures of Türkiye tour shows us the heart of Türkiye. On our days in Istanbul, we’ll not only visit the Blue Mosque, Byzantine Basilica, Spice Market, and Grand Bazaar, we’ll visit the “Small Projects Istanbul” center to meet with refugee women and learn more about the support this community provides. In Ankara, we’ll visit the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk and delve into history at the Anatolian Civilization Museum. We’ll make our way to Cappadocia via the scenic countryside and enjoy a cooking class at a special restaurant supporting and empowering women. Then, travel through beautiful Konya to reach Antalya, where we’ll have time to explore its archaeological wonders and enjoy our seaside resort hotel overlooking the Turquoise Coast. We’ll also visit the incredible Pamukkale hot springs before traveling to Izmir for an Ephesus excursion and a visit to a weaving center where we’ll explore a part of Türkiyenational heritage—carpet weaving. Round out this trip with a lecture about women in Turkey and Asia Minor from a historical and cultural perspective from ancient to modern times and stops at the historical and classical cities of Pergamum, Canakkale, and Troy.
For COVID-19 updates, please scroll down to our Before You Depart section.
Looking for a roommate or to connect with other women before your trip? Join our smarTours Women-Only Facebook group! Visit the group here (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1145762302478350/) and click the + Join Group button!
Did you know that you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- 2 nights in Istanbul
- 1 night in Ankara
- 2 nights in Cappadocia
- 2 nights in Antalya
- 2 nights in Izmir
- 1 night Canakkale
- 2 nights in Istanbul
- Blue Mosque (Istanbul)
- Spice Market (Istanbul)
- Grand Bazaar (Istanbul)
- Cappadocia Rock Formations
- Turquoise Coast (Antalya)
- Ephesus Excursion
- House of Virgin Mary (Ephesus)
- Acropolis (Pergamum)
Special Women-Only Departure Highlights:
- Visit to “Small Projects Istanbul” to meet refugee women
- Cooking class at a social development project designed to support and empower women
- Visit to a weaving center to learn more about carpet weaving as part of Turkey’s national heritage
- Lecture about women in Turkey and Asia Minor from a historical and cultural perspective from ancient to modern times
Max. Group Size: 20 Passengers
- Round-trip airfare from New York (JFK) (passengers may also book this tour without flights)
- Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- Intra-Türkiye ground transportation and transfers
- Accommodations at first class hotels
- 22 meals: 12 full buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 9 dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing tours as indicated in itinerary
- English-speaking tour director throughout
Find your special women-only tour experiences in bold in the itinerary below.
Click the Day-by-Day itinerary above (or swipe on mobile devices) to see the experiences that await on each day of your tour.
Day 1: Depart USA
Your fascinating tour of Türkiye, the “Crossroads of Civilizations” begins as you depart on overnight flights to Istanbul.
*Passengers who did not purchase flights will join the tour in Istanbul on Day 2.
Day 2: Arrive Istanbul (Türkiye)
Upon arrival when you visit Istanbul, you’ll be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. This evening your tour director hosts a welcome dinner and orientation.
Barceló Istanbul (2022) or Sheraton Istanbul City Center (2023) or similar| Dinner
Day 3: Istanbul
Situated at the meeting point of Europe and Asia, Istanbul offers a fascinating blend of east and west. Your guided morning tour includes visits to St. Sophia, the great Byzantine Basilica built in the 6th century. You may delight in a visit to the Spice Market, the exotic food market selling dried fruits and spices, the underground cistern, the water source of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Your tour ends with a visit to the vast and bustling Grand Bazaar, world famous labyrinth and passages housing numerous stores where you’ll have shopping opportunities galore. This afternoon, enjoy a special visit to a center called the “Small Projects Istanbul” (SPI) which is dedicated to supporting displaced Syrian families, particularly women and children. With a global community of volunteers and supporters, SPI is working to provide supplemental education for children through weekly Turkish language classes, a homework support club, as well as other activities that develop community and a new sense of belonging. Enjoy a special lunch prepared by the refugee women at the center while they talk about who, what, when and where!
Barceló Istanbul or similar | Breakfast
Day 4: Istanbul/Ankara
Depart for the Turkish capital, Ankara, the country’s second largest city. Upon arrival, visit the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic. Leading up to the Mausoleum is a vast brick courtyard and monumental avenue lined with Neo Hittite stone statues and cenotaphs beneath its colonnades. You will also visit the fascinating Anatolian Civilization Museum. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore on your own.
Holiday Inn Ankara Cukurambar or similar | Breakfast
Day 5: Ankara/Cappadocia
Today, travel by road through the Turkish countryside to the world-renowned region of Cappadocia, a breathtaking landscape with striking and bizarre rock formations and underground cities. Along the way, enjoy a short stop on the shore of the biggest sale lake in Türkiye where you might spot some flamingos. Upon arrival in Cappadocia, enjoy a cooking class at a social development project founded by the government and local municipality to empower support the women to have greater independence in their own life. With this visit, we’ll not only learn how to cook a traditional dish, but we’ll be providing great support on their journey. Afterward, we’ll check-in at our hotel.
Dinler Hotel or similar | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Cappadocia
On today’s guided excursion, visit the Open Air Museum in the Goreme Valley to view early Christian churches decorated with beautiful frescoes depicting various scenes from the Bible. You’ll also visit the Kaymakli Underground City, which was hollowed out of volcanic rock and extends seven to nine floors deep into the earth. It is made up of a maze of corridors, chambers, storehouses, kitchens and churches. Finally, visit the village of Avanos, famous for its beautiful old houses as well as pottery and onyx workshops.
| Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: Cappadocia/Konya/Antalya
This morning visit the 13th century Sultan Han located at a secluded point on the ancient Silk Road between Aksaray and Konya. It was used as a caravanserai during the Seljuk period when trade flourished, requiring roads for caravan transport and inns for the traveling traders and their camels. Continue your journey by road via Konya, passing through lush forests, orchards and olive groves on the sloping hills downward to the splendid Mediterranean Sea.
Ramada Plaza or similar | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Antalya
Full day at leisure to enjoy at your own pace. Your seaside resort hotel enjoys a choice location overlooking Türkiye’s fabled Turquoise Coast. You may join an optional tour to ancient Perge, the most attractive and well-preserved Pamphylian city that reached its apex during the reign of Alexander the Great. Continue to Aspendos, founded by the colonists from Argos and best known for its huge theater. On this optional tour, you’ll also visit Antalya’s Archaeological Museum that houses artifacts and antiques from 2500 years of Anatolian culture.
| Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Pamukkale/Izmir
Journey to Pamukkale and visit the Necropolis and the ancient city of Hieropolis (“Holy City”), situated atop the Pamukkale hot springs. These hot springs have served as a thermal bath since the 2nd century B.C. Later, arrive in Izmir, believed to be the birthplace of Homer.
Renaissance Izmir Hotel or similar | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Ephesus Excursion
Today, venture to explore Ephesus – considered to be the world’s best-preserved classical city and famous throughout history for its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus was undoubtedly one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world and among its impressive structures, you will marvel at the Library of Celcus, Temple of Hadrian, the Great Theater, and the Odeon. Later, visit the House of Virgin Mary, a shrine said to be the final home of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus. Later, visit a weaving center supported by the Ministry of Culture and education. Carpet weaving is a part of Türkiye‘s national heritage and Smyrna and Usak carpets decorate museums across the world. With modernization, this part of Türkiye’s heritage has been disappearing over time so this is one of the few centers that has been founded as a Cultural Art Protection Center and Foundation. During our visit, we’ll have time to chat and drink a cup of Turkish coffee with the weavers and may enjoy some fortune-telling as they read our coffee grounds! After the day’s sightseeing, we’ll enjoy a lecture from a female speaker about women in Türkiye and Asia Minor from a historical and cultural perspective from ancient to modern times.
Renaissance Izmir Hotel or similar | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Pergamum/Troy/Canakkale
Drive to Pergamum, a powerful kingdom during the ancient Hellenistic period, and visit the Acropolis, an impressive structure that houses the Temple of Trajan, the Heroon Shrine, the Sanctuary of Athena and the Altar of Zeus. You’ll also view the Theater and the Library of Pergamum, whose collection came second only to that of Egypt’s Alexandria. After our independent lunch, we’ll depart to Cannakale and stop at an olive oil museum en route. We’ll marvel at the classical city of Troy as you tour this 4,000-year-old city and legendary center of the Trojan War, made immortal by Homer’s epic poem the Iliad. Arrive in Canakkale.
Kolin Hotel or similar | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Canakkale/Istanbul
This morning, we’ll depart for Istanbul. Cross by ferry the Dardanelles, a narrow strait connecting the Aegean and the Black Sea. Upon arrival, a local expert will introduce us to some of the highlights of the city, previously known as Constantinople and the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire. Visit the splendid Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost 600 years and now a fascinating museum. Here, visit the Treasury section with the crown jewels and the unique collection of Chinese porcelains. Continue to the ancient Hippodrome, where the place chariot races and competitive athletic events took place during the Roman period and finally, explore the elegant Blue Mosque, a 17th century Ottoman Mosque famous for its six minarets and magnificent interior with blue tiles. This evening, savor a festive farewell dinner.
Barceló Istanbul or similar| Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Istanbul/USA
Today we bid our tour of Türkiye farewell. Your exciting journey concludes as you arrive New York.
*The tour will end for passengers who did not purchase flights today, on Day 13, in Istanbul.
We are working diligently to secure future tour dates and pricing for this itinerary. Please fill out the "Request a Future Date" form linked below and we will notify you once dates are available.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise
- From approx. $38 Per Person
No stay in Istanbul would be complete without a memorable cruise by a private boat along the Bosphorus, the winding straits separating Europe and Asia. Transfer from the hotel to the pier and embark on your delightful cruise boat. Enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Rococo and Baroque style buildings, impressive Ottoman villas and marble palaces. You’ll also see humble fishing villages set against the dramatic outline of the Strait of Istanbul and the architectural wonder of the Bosphorus Suspension Bridges, which exemplify the newest symbols of the link between East and West. At the conclusion of the cruise transfer back to your hotel.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Whirling Dervishes Performance
- From approx. $32 Per Person
The “Whirling Dervishes” performance is also called “the Sema ritual.” The Sema ritual began with the inspiration of Mavlana Jalaleddin Rumi who is one of the greatest mystical poets of Islam. The Mevlevi Sufi order was founded to follow his teachings. The captivating dance of the whirling dervishes, which displays infinite spinning in perfect harmony, is part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. It’s a rare opportunity to experience a seven-century old ritual, featuring beautiful costumes, live music with flutes, string and percussion, and the amazing sight of the Dervishes whirling on the stage.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Tour to Perge, Aspendos and Antalya Archeological Museum
- From approx. $50 Per Person
Drive to Perge, a Pamphylian city founded between BC12-13. It is the most attractive and well-preserved Pamphylian city. View the highlights of this ancient city including the theatre, towers, Agora, Acropol and the Palaestra that was given to Imperial Claudius. Continue to Aspendos and view the well renowned Roman theatre that is still being used for contemporary concerts. Before returning to your hotel visit the Archeological Museum of Antalya later this afternoon.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Kocatepe Mah 25
Abdulhak Hamit Cad , Beyoglu
For 2022 departures only.Website
Holiday Inn Ankara Cukurambar
İşçi Bloklari Mah. 1484. Sk., No. 3 (Konya yolu üzeri) Çukurambar, Çankaya / Ankara
Dinler Hotel Ürgüp
Fatih, Mehmet Dinler Blv. No: 7, 50400 Ürgüp/Nevşehir, Türkiye
For 2022 departures only.Website
Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Antalya
Fevzi Cakmak Caddesi No 22, Antalya, Türkiye 07100Website
Renaissance Izmir Hotel
Akdeniz Mah Gaziosmanpasa Bulvari No 16 Konak
Izmir, 35210 Türkiye
Bogazkent Mevkii Kepez
Departing the U.S.: For the safety of everyone in the group, smarTours has implemented COVID-19 travel requirements which apply to all tours regardless of destination. To learn more, click here.
Please note destination entry requirements are changing rapidly. smarTours will communicate entry requirements in your Tour Documents 10-14 days prior to departure. For up-to-date information, please click the links below.
- Entry requirements
- State Department Travel Advisory Updates (Turkey)
- Center for Disease Control Updates & Information (Turkey)
Your flights from New York’s JFK Airport to Turkey and back to JFK are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules. We recommend that you arrive in JFK at least 3 ½ hours before the scheduled departure.
|2022: Nov. 9||Turkish Airlines||8:00 PM||6:30 PM|
ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT
Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight. We recommend at least 3 ½ hours. Please note that flight times are always subject to change.
International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land-only travelers are responsible for arranging the entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.
Main Tour: Land-only services start upon independent check in at Istanbul hotel on Day 2 of the itinerary listed on the tour page. Land-only services end after breakfast at Istanbul hotel on Day 14 of the itinerary listed on the tour page.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Visas are required to enter Turkey. American passport holders must obtain a Turkey e-visa online prior to entering Turkey at a cost of $50 (subject to change). To obtain an e-visa for Turkey, you can contact the Republic of Turkey Electronic Visa Application System by visiting their website by clicking here. If you have questions, you may reach their call center at (888) 566-7656. Alternatively, we arranged a visa processing service “CIBT” to facilitate the Turkey e-visa for you for an additional handling fee. Please click here to download CIBT’s instructions. Non-U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.
TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS
Your airline tickets along with final instruction and some additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.
Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions.
You may expect daytime high temperatures in the 50’s to 60’s in March & November, 60’s to 70’s in April & October and 70’s to 80’s May & September.
NON-INCLUDED MEALS AND SIGHTSEEING
The hotels used on this tour have several dining choices from coffee shop to specialty restaurants. Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in the coffee shop is about $20 per meal per person. Optional sightseeing tours and evening activities will be offered. Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals.
CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY
Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. Dollars. Your hotels will be able to exchange for you cash to local currency. It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.
Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase) max. 44 pounds and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18”x10”x8”. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.