United Kingdom & Europe
$1,819.00 Member Price Twin Share From
$1,850.00 Non-Member Price Twin Share From
- Meals 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
- Transport Plane, Dolmus, Train, Public Bus, Overnight Train
- Accommodation Hotel (5 nights), Pension (3 Nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
- Istanbul - Kebab Crawl
- Istanbul - Spice Market and Street Food Tour
- Akyaka - Lokanta Dinner
- Selcuk - Manti Cooking Demonstration
- Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
- Cappadocia - Derinkuyu Underground City
- Goreme - Sunset Wine Tasting in Cappadoccia Valley
- Goreme - Tatli (Dessert) demonstration & tasting
- Goreme - Cooking Class & Lunch
Take a culinary journey through Turkey, a country steeped in history and tradition, where east meets west and the ancient bleeds into the modern day. Begin in astonishing Istanbul, eating meze in a traditional meyhane, being awed by the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque and exploring the well-trod passageways of the Grand Bazaar. Soak in seaside flavours in the slow food town of Akyaka, visit the impressive ruins of Ephesus near Selcuk and marvel at the astonishing underground cities of Cappadocia. Spend time with a local Goreme family and learn the secrets behind central Anatolian cuisine in a cooking class. Arrive back in Istanbul, where this adventure into Turkey’s sights, sounds and incredible cuisine comes to an end.
Start: Istanbul, Turkey
Finish: Istanbul, Turkey
Why you'll love this trip
Istanbul is brimming with delectable dishes, and the options can be dizzying. But your expert local guide will have you headed straight for the best spots
On no other Intrepid trip can you taste the tantalising flavours of Akyaka's Wednesday farmers' market, a true local gem in this tiny town dedicated to slow food
With hands-on cooking classes, you'll get up close and personal with Turkey's age-old culinary traditions, preparing specialties like manti and tatli
Experience the warmth of Turkish hospitality as a local family takes you into their beautiful home nestled in the hills of Ortahisar
Taste the renowned home cooking of Nuray and try your hand at Central Anatolian cuisine under her tutelage
Day 1: Istanbul Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Turkey. There will be an important welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so when you explore the streets you'll see a great clash of east and west. A 'kebab crawl' kicks off your food adventure today. Learn to tell your shish from your iskender as you sample this signature Turkish dish in its many varieties. The perfect way to cap it off is with a baklava tasting.
Day 2: Istanbul Head to the celebrated Egyptian Spice Bazaar today. Meet a spice merchant, sit down for a Turkish coffee and savour a typical Turkish sweet. Continue your walking tour around Sultanahmet and Eminonu, taking in some of the most celebrated sites of the city, such as Suleymaniye Mosque and the Hippodrome. The area around Eminonu boasts some delicious street food. Local favourites include barbecued corn, roasted kestane (chestnuts), and of course Turkish delight. Your walking tour concludes at the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar). At this point you'll be able to take some time exploring the narrow alleyways and myriad shops as you please. As night falls, head to a small kitchen in the Capa district, which is also home to an NGO helping displaced families from the Syrian crisis to find their feet. Sit down for a simple meal of Syrian cuisine – maybe moujadara (burgal, green lentils and fried onion), maklube (spiced rice, chicken, and nuts), or fetteh (rice, crispy bread, chicken, and tahini) – proudly prepared by the ladies of the centre. Talk informally with some of the brave individuals who have had to flee their home, as well as with the eclectic group of volunteers from Turkey, Syria, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and beyond, who give up their time to help.
Day 3: Akyaka Fly from Istanbul to Dalaman (approximately 1 hour), then take a private shuttle to Akyaka via Gokava. The beautiful and tiny southern-Agean coastal town of Akyaka is part of the international citta-slow movement. Citta-slow towns follow the tenets of the slow food movement at a community and governmental level. They celebrate eco-gastronomy – reliance on locally-grown produce and a commitment to the preservation of regional culinary traditions. Akyaka is also the perfect place to unwind, as it's surrounded by lush forests and overlooked by Sakartepe Mountain, with the Azmak River running through the town. There are some great beaches nearby too. The best place to try the town's excellent seafood and vegetables is at one of the riverside restaurants, where you can sit at a wooden terrace overlooking the water.
Day 4: Akyaka Take a tasting tour through Akyaka's Wednesday market. You'll meet the villagers who come into town each week to sell their wares. Sample local olive oil, spices and regionally grown fruit and vegetables. Next head out to a nearby farm to and learn what life on the land is like in this part of the country (this activity will be seasonal). Enjoy the perfect cup of tea with the local farmers and fresh made Gozleme made just for you in the local village.
Day 5: Selcuk Catch a public bus to Selcuk (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive, take the time to wander around this fascinating town. On the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings, including the Isa Bey Mosque and the Grand Fortress. Selcuk is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Temple of Artemis (though sadly only a single pylon remains). This evening you will visit the Sirince, a local village steeped in Greek Ottoman tradition. It's a photographer's dream. Postwar settlers revived the town's wine industry, which makes use of local fruit. Enjoy a tasting and consider buying a bottle to take on a walk up a gentle slope through cobbled streets and alleys to an atmospheric garden cafe. Up here you'll see how manti (Turkish stuffed dumplings) are made. After trying your hand preparing them, feast on a serving for dinner.
Day 6: Selcuk Today you'll visit Ephesus, one of Turkey's most important ancient sites. Explore this beautifully preserved classical city with your local guide who will bring its colourful 1,500-year history to life. Watch in awe as the sophistication of this former metropolis reveals itself. It had running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but the marvellous library might just be the highlight. Continue then to Izmir (approximately 1.5 hours). There will be time for dinner before you board your overnight train to Konya. The train has first-class cabins with twin beds, a fridge and a wash basin. All bedding is provided. The dining car is the perfect place for an evening raki (Turkey's anise-flavoured alcoholic drink) before you retire for the night.
Day 7: Goreme Arrive in Konya by early morning, then take a private transfer to Goreme (approximately 3 hours). This is your gateway to the fabled fairy-chimneys of Capadoccia. Perhaps stop for a mid-morning snack of Etliekmek, a larger local variation of the traditional Turkish lahmacun: flat bread baked with ground meat, tomato, peppers and onion. Stop in at Derinkuyu, the astounding old subterranean city that goes as deep as 60 metres underground. It used to have wine and oil presses, cellars, refectories, stables and chapels, not to mention some 20,000 residents. For lunch perhaps hit a local pide saloon for Turkey's answer to the Italian pizza. Enjoy toppings like grilled lamb, black pepper, tender spinach, fresh egg and Turkey’s famed peynir cheese made from sheep’s milk. For the next two nights you'll stay in the village of Ortahisar. Here your host Nazim and his family will welcome you into their home, which is nestled in a beautiful valley and has been lovingly converted into a guesthouse.
Day 8: Goreme For early birds, a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape is a highly recommended experience. Please advise your leader if you wish to make a reservation. Wander through the Soganli Valley on a hiking trip, taking in the arid surrounds and towering vistas. Take the chance to stop for lunch at a local restaurant in this beautiful place, savouring fresh local flavours next to the memorable landscapes. Visit one of Cappadoccia’s most famous wineries to learn about the region's 4,000-year-old wine industry. Afterwards, walk through the stunning Red Valley to watch the sun set, enjoying a glass of the local wine. For dinner, perhaps try the local specialty, testi kebab. Your leader will be able to recommend a restaurant dedicated to the perfection of this delicious claypot dish.
Day 9: Goreme After breakfast, head to a market in nearby Neveshir to learn about the ingredients of the Central Anatolian region. Next, be welcomed into the home of a celebrated local cook. Nuray has won many awards for her regional cooking. Under her tutelage, learn to prepare some classic Central Anatolian dishes (the menu will depend on the season). Sit down and enjoy the results over lunch. For the rest of the afternoon, you are free to visit the excellent Goreme Open Air Museum or indulge in a Turkish hammam (bath). In the evening, perhaps choose to dine in a restaurant set inside a 475-year-old building. The testi kebab is highly recommended.
Day 10: Istanbul This morning, wave the fairy chimneys a fond goodbye and transfer to one of the regions airports for a flight back to Istanbul. Your incredible Turkey trip will finish on arrival at the airport and Intrepid Leader will be available to assist you with your onwards travel plans. Transport facilities are available at the Airport including Metro, Local Buses and Taxi to take you anywhere in the great Istanbul area.