$2795.00

FROM: $2795 USD

UPCOMING: Sept. 10, 2016

Quintessential Turkey

A Gay Tour of Turkey featuring Istanbul, Cappadocia & Ephesus

DESCRIPTION

Get ready to get lost in the mystery and magic of the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul is home to the revered Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofya, and the Grand Bazaar (not to mention some rather raucous gay bars). We’ll then catch a flight to Cappadocia, where ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations have dubbed this land the Love Valley, and an underground city awaits. And finally, we’ll visit Pammukale and its gorgeous travertine terraces, along with the ancient ruins of Ephesus. If you’re up for a second serving of Turkey, join us on our Turkey Private Gulet Cruise, which immediately follows.

QUICK FACTS

Duration: 9 Days/8 Nights
Starts In: Istanbul
Ends In: Pamukkale or Gocek
Group Size: Min 6, Max 20
Deposit: $750 USD
Accommodation: 3 and 4-Star Hotels
Physical Rating: 2/5
Prices: Based on double occupancy

DEPARTURES & PRICES:

HIGHLIGHTS

• Wander through cathedral-turned-mosque-turned-museum, the mighty Aya Sofya
• Discover Topkapi Palace & its Imperial Harem
• Feast on local Turkish cuisine
• Relax and get scrubbed down in a traditional hammam
• Haggle with shopkeepers at the Grand Bazaar
• Be astonished by the natural wonder of Cappadocia
• Dip your feet into the travertine terraces of Pamukkale
• Learn about ancient history at Ephesus

AREA MAP

ITINERARY:

Merhaba! Welcome to Turkey. As the first day of our tour, there are no activities planned until our welcome meeting at 6PM, where we'll get familiar with one another before our first official (and included) dinner in the evening. We'll then head out to explore Turkish nightlife at one of the city’s many gay bars.

Today we’ll explore some of Istanbul’s most highly-regarded sites. We’ll visit Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with its Imperial Harem. We’ll peel back layers of history at the Aya Sofya, which was both a cathedral and mosque, before its current incarnation as a museum. And finally, we’re off to the Grand Bazaar, where you can try your hand at haggling for some swish Turkish goods, before we venture into the narrow laneways rarely seen by tourists. The evening is yours to enjoy dinner near the hotel.

After breakfast, we’ll stroll into the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the ancient sporting centre filled with some impressive monuments. From there, the sacred Blue Mosque awaits, along with the Basilica Cistern (which makes an appearance in everything from Bond film To Russia With Love, to video game Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, to Dan Brown’s novel Inferno). We’ll have an optional lunch overlooking the Golden Horn waterway, then visit the gorgeous mosaics and frescoes of the Chora Church. The rest of your afternoon is free until we get steamed and scrubbed down at the city’s best hammam (you may need a menthol after they’re done with you), followed by an optional dinner to wrap up the day.

This morning we’ll fly to Cappadocia, where locals have carved everything from homes to temples to underground cities into the region’s insane rock formations. Our first stop is the Göreme Open-Air Museum, where we’ll learn about the history of the region, followed by a visit to a local carpet shop to learn about (and perhaps purchase) authentic Turkish rugs. Dinner will be served early, and it will be a delicious traditional feast worth savouring. Then we’ll check into our boutique hotel, that, fittingly enough, happens to be in a cave. The rest of the evening is yours to unwind.

Rise and shine! Before breakfast, if you’re interested, you can get a bird’s eye view of the sunrise from a hot air balloon. We’ll then explore Kaymakli, an underground city where the locals lived during the Arab-Byzantine wars. And finally, we’ll scope out some sensational pottery at the Güray Ceramic showroom, before we break for an optional lunch. There will be some free time this afternoon, before we devour a traditional home-cooked meal prepared by a local family.

This morning we’re on another flight to Kuşadası, a seaside resort town, and the gateway to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. The afternoon is yours to frolic on the beach before we head out for an optional dinner.

This morning we’re off to Ephesus, where we can see what 150 years of excavation and reconstruction has unearthed. You’ll be impressed by what you see, but shocked to learn that more than 80% of the city remains to be seen. Among many site highlights, we’ll see the terraced houses that once belonged to the city’s wealthiest residents. Back in Kuşadası, the remainder of the afternoon is yours, followed by an optional dinner and some refreshing libations at a local gay bar.

Today we’re off to Aphrodisias, an ancient Greek city as beautiful as its namesake goddess – Aphrodite – and one of the finest archaeological sites in Anatolia. We’ll then continue to Pamukkale where we spend our final night and celebrate this journey together with a Farewell Dinner.

Before we bid farewell we’ll visit the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, the holy city known for its healing hot springs. At the base of the ruins lies Pamukkale, the ‘cotton castle’ composed of luscious travertines, which are limestone terraces formed by minerals from the hot springs. Just like the gods that came before us, we’ll have the chance to walk amongst these magical terraces. Following this, you are free to depart at your leisure. If you are joining our Turquoise Coast Gay Cruise, you’ll transfer from here to the port town of Göcek. If not, safe travels!

• Arrival transfer to accommodation booked through OUT Adventures 
• Group leader from beginning to end of tour 
• 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners
• 3-star or higher accommodation (8 nights)
• Entrance and tour of Topkapi Palace, including the Harem
• Sightseeing in Istanbul: Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, Chora Church
• Deluxe Hammam experience

• Entrance to Goreme Open-air museum, Kaymaklı underground city, and Güray Ceramic showroom
• Turkish rug educational
• Guided tours of Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Hierapolis
• Entrance to Pamukkale travertine terraces
• Domestic Flights: Istanbul to Cappadocia, Cappadocia to Kuşadası
• Travel insurance package covering medical, trip interruption & baggage loss

• International Airfare
• Departure Transfer
• Meals & Activities not mentioned in itinerary

• Gratuities for Tour Leader ($45-$90 USD)
• Gratuities for drivers, hotel staff, porters (approximately $30-$50 USD)

GALLERY