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Turkey 8-Day

This trip is ideal for the traveler who is short on time but wants to experience as much of Turkey’s stunning scenery and fascinating history as possible. Begin the journey at the WWI battlefield of Gallipoli, leap into Greek myths and explore the remains of the legendary city of Troy before strolling along the streets of Ephesus. Don't miss the remarkable white cliff pools of Pamukkale before boarding a comfortable and convenient flight back to Istanbul. Return refreshed and ready to explore the city’s bazaars, mosques and tea houses.


Itinerary

July 27 : Istanbul

Arrive at any time.

July 28 : Gallipoli, Çanakkale (B)

Guided tour of Gallipoli including ANZAC Cove, the war cemeteries and Lone Pine.

July 29 : Troy, Ayvalik (B)

Guided visit to Troy, enjoy a half-day boat trip from Ayvalik, spend the night in a converted Ottoman mansion.

July 30 to July 31: Selçuk (2B)

Guided tour of the ancient Roman city of Ephesus. Option to visit the Ephesus Museum, the remains of the St John' Basilica, the mosque of Isa Bey or the village of Sirence.

August 1 : Pamukkale (B)

Guided visit to the white cliffs of Pamukkale and the ruined city of Hierapolis.

August 2 : Istanbul

Morning flight to Istanbul. Guided orientation walk. Option to explore the highlights of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace or Aya Sofya.

August 3 : Istanbul

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 27 : Istanbul

Welcome to Turkey! You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned. There will be a brief meeting in the evening where you will meet your Tour Leader and fellow group members, carry out some admin and learn more about our trip to come. After the meeting, you may choose to join your leader and group for an optional dinner in a local restaurant nearby.

Overnight in Istanbul.

July 28 : Gallipoli, Çanakkale (B)

We set off by private bus this morning for Gallipoli. We visit the site where thousands gave their lives during WWI in the battle of the same name, where the Turks fought off the numerically superior but badly commanded Allied Forces who were forced to withdraw nine months later. We will visit ANZAC Cove, the war cemeteries, Lone Pine and other important sites. Even for those who are not familiar with this battle, this is a moving and beautiful site, complementing any trip to Turkey.

It is only a little further to Çanakkale, a busy harbour town with a thriving student population. Join the crowds as they stroll the waterfront nightly, seeing and being seen. Why not try "kumpir", the Turkish version of a stuffed potato.Yum!

Overnight in Çanakkale.

Approx travel time: Istanbul to Gallipoli, 5hrs in a private bus; Gallipoli to Çanakkale, 20mins (ferry) + 20mins in a private bus.

July 29 : Troy, Ayvalik (B)

This morning we pay a visit to the world famous Troy. Troy was made famous first by the Iliad, Homer's epic poem, and more recently by Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt in the film of the same name. For centuries this story in the Iliad was regarded as just a myth until the ruins of the city were found in in the mid-nineteenth century. While today not too much remains it is possible, with a bit of imagination, to get a feel for what a great city this must once have been. Of course you won’t want to miss your chance to have your photo taken with the Trojan horse!

You’ll be charmed by Ayvalik’s blend of old Ottoman architecture, cobbled streets and attractive harbour.

This afternoon we charter a small boat from the harbour for a cruise of this beautiful area. We visit secluded bays, explore a nearby island and of course there is plenty of time for just relaxing and swimming in the turquoise waters. Drinks are available on board.

Afterwards, why not head down to one of the waterside restaurants for a sunset drink or meal.

Enjoy the hospitality and beautiful views from our family-run pension. Located in a restored Ottoman house, it is always a highlight for our travelers. Please note that this accommodation has shared bathroom facilities and some rooms may be multi-share.

Overnight in Ayvalik.

Approx travel time: Çanakkale to Troy, 40mins; Troy to Ayvalik, 2hrs20mins in private bus.

July 30 to July 31: Selçuk (2B)

Enjoy a free morning in the quaint seaside village of Ayvalik, exploring the town at leisure or perhaps just sitting back people watching in one of the cafes.

In the afternoon, we travel to Selçuk, our base for exploring the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Ephesus. One of the foremost cities of the world in its time, with a strategic location on the trade route, this well preserved city is one of the best places in the world to get a real feeling of what life must have been like during Roman times.
The massive, well preserved theatre dominates the view down Harbour Street, which leads to the long-silted-up harbour.

The impressive two storey library, whose façade has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces, was built in 125 AD and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. There is even a chance to see 2000 year old public toilets!

Once part of Ephesus but now the outskirts of Selcuk, are the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Today all you will see is the one column which remains of this ancient structure.

Why not visit the small but exquisite Ephesus Museum, walk up to the remains of the St John basilica, visit the mosque of Isa Bey or just wander the streets and cafes of this vibrant Turkish town.

We travel 8km to the picturesque village of Sirince where you can sample some of the local wine, shop for crafts and perhaps sample a tasty Turkish pancake for lunch.

Overnight two nights in Selçuk.

Approx travel time: Ayvalik to Selçuk, 2.5 hrs by public bus

August 1 : Pamukkale (B)

This morning we'll journey to the famous white cliffs of Pamukkale.
2700m long and 160m high and visible from up to 20km away Pamukkale is made up of 17 hot water springs in which the temperature varies between 35 and 100 degrees. The white cliffs, or travertine are formed when the calcium carbonate that is deposited at first as a soft jelly hardens with time.

We also explore the ancient site of Hierapolis, built on top of the white "castle". This UNESCO world heritage site is evidence that the hot springs of Pamukkale were used as a spa since the second century BC and there is evidence of large baths within the city.

Approximate travel times: Selcuk to Pamakkale, 4 hours.

Overnight in Pamakkale.

August 2 : Istanbul

This morning we take a short flight to Istanbul.
After settling in, we will depart for a walking tour of Istanbul, with your Tour Leader. During this tour we will point out attractions such as the Hagia Sofia and the Topkapi Palace, which you will want to return to and explore during your free time, as well as visiting and hearing the stories behind many of Istanbul’s sights and discovering some of your leader's hidden city secrets.

Our walk will include a wander through the atmospheric Spice Bazaar. Built in 1660, and also known as the Egyptian Bazaar as this is where many of the spices were originally imported. This market was, and is the center of Istanbul's spice trade. We head downhill to the Bosphorus. The many local ferries departing from here are a great way to see the city from the water, on the cheap! The newly renovated Galata bridge now houses many bars and restaurants, and is a great place to grab the traditional Turkish fisherman's lunch of fresh, fried fish in a roll washed down with a cold beer. Walking back towards the Sultanahmet area, your leader will point out the Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman sultans and their harems, as well as the fascinating Archaeological and Ancient Oriental Museums located in a nearby park. Once in Sutanahmet Park, your leader will explain a little of the tumultuous history behind the Aya Sofya – we recommend a visit during your free time.

We explore the fabulous Blue Mosque, admiring the beautiful symmetry and internal tile work of the building. As it is a working mosque, take the chance to learn more about the ceremony behind Islam, the religion of around 98% of today's Turks. In front of the Blue Mosque, the ancient Hippodrome was once the scene of chariot races and now houses monuments from various moments in Istanbul’s history. Although there is little sign of it now, Divan Lu was once famous amongst travelers on the 70’s Hippy Trail for its western food and relaxed atmosphere. En route, your leader will point out a couple of hamams, or Turkish baths- an unmissable Turkish experience for any visitor.

Passing by various graveyards, mosques and tea houses, our path leads uphill to Istanbul’s grandest mosque complex and hilltop landmark, the Suleymaniye Camii. Learn more about the famous Sultan who is buried here, as well as the master architect who designed these beautiful buildings almost 500 years ago. There are many traditionally dressed sellers in this area touting refreshing glasses of sherbet for just a few cents- worth a try on a hot day! You are free to stay and explore the Grand Bazaar (please note that it is closed on Sundays), perhaps have lunch at one of this area’s many restaurants or you may choose to accompany your leader back to the hotel.

In the afternoon, why not use your free time to visit the Topkapi Palace or the Aya Sofya, before a final dinner celebrating a wonderful journey.

Approximate travel times : Pamukkale to Denzili airport,
1 hour, flight to Istanbul, approximately 1 hour, transfer to Istanbul hotel approximately 45 minutes.

Overnight in Istanbul.

August 3 : Istanbul

You are free to depart at any time today. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage facilities are available.

This program can be combined with our Budapest to Istanbul program that ends in Istanbul just before this prorgam starts. Together these two trips would allow you to get a better understanding of the larger region.

GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Stuff You Need to Know

Introduction

This trip is ideal for the traveler who is short on time but wants to experience as much of Turkey’s stunning scenery and fascinating history as possible. Begin the journey at the WWI battlefield of Gallipoli, leap into Greek myths and explore the remains of the legendary city of Troy before strolling along the streets of Ephesus. Don't miss the remarkable white cliff pools of Pamukkale before boarding a comfortable and convenient flight back to Istanbul. Return refreshed and ready to explore the city’s bazaars, mosques and tea houses.

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag, whichever you find easiest to carry, plus a small daypack. Luggage space on public transport is limited. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs.

Suggested Checklist

•Fleece top
•Windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•5 shirts/t-shirts
•Sun hat
•1 pair of shorts
•1 pair of long trousers
•1 pair convertible hiking pants
•Sturdy walking shoes
•Sport sandals
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Money belt
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Items:
•Camera and film
•Reading/writing material
•Cover for backpacks

Documents:
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The local currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY).
Almost all local purchases in Turkey (meals, souvenirs, optional activities, etc) will be paid for in TRY

ATMs are found within main cities in Turkey and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible as while there is no hard and fast rule, some banks seem to only work with one brand of card. Please note, your bank will change a fee for overseas withdrawals.

Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. Euros, British Pounds and US Dollars are easy to exchange into Turkish Lira. Please note - while you should bring some cash with you for emergency situations, carrying cash only is a high safety risk. Money on ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. No meals are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Istanbul

Archaeological Museum 10TRL
Topkapi Palace 20TRL
Topkapi Palace Harem 15TRL
Aya Sofya Museum 20TRL
Basilica Cistern 10TRL
Mosaic Museum 8TRL
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts 10TRL
Rumeli Fortress 3TRL
Chora Church 15TRL
Dolamabahçe Palace 20TRL
Galata Tower 15 TRL
Entrance to (touristic) hamam 35 EUR

Gallipoli

Gallipoli museum 3 TRL

Ayvalik

Selçuk

Ephesus Museum 5 TRL
St John’s Church 5 TRL
Slope Houses (Ephesus) 15 TRL
Virgin House (Ephesus) 15 TRL
Local dolmus to Sirence one way 3 TRL
Local dolmus to Kusadasi one way 5 TRL

Pamukkale

Hierapolis Archeological Museum 3 TRL
Ancient pools swim 20 TRL (approx)

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$1,149 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

Roughly $120 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $800-$1500 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$35- $200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $35 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $20 USD to tip local guides and drivers.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow $190-250 USD for meals not included.

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

Normally this included in the cost of your flight

Airport Transfers

$55 USD for one person and $50 USD per person for multiple people. You can take a taxi instead if you wish for about 50 Turkish Lira.

Vaccines

You will need to see your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations)

Visa

$20 USD fee payable at the airport upon arrival in Istanbul for Americans

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

Do you recommend spending extra days in Istanbul and if so what should I see?

Answer from GEEO Executive Director:

"Your trip has one day in Istanbul included in the itinerary. I personally recommend spending an extra two days in Istanbul, giving you a total of three days to explore the city. Many of the sites are closed on Mondays and the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays so make sure you factor that into your planning.

I would spend one full day doing the following: Get in line at the Topkapi Palace (20 Lira entrance) at 8:30 AM. The ticket booth can have really long lines so you will want to get there before it opens at 9AM. As soon as you get into the palace go directly to the line to get tickets for the Harem rooms (15 Lira), which are well worth the extra cost. After seeing the Harem rooms explore the rest of the Topkapi Palace, especially making time to see the treasure rooms which are literally unbelievable. (Like you won't believe some of the relics in there are real, ie Moses's staff.) After Topkapi I would go to the nearby Archaeological museum (10 Lira). You will probably want to get lunch afterwards. Next I would visit the Hagia Sofia (20 Lira) followed by the Basilica Cisterns (10 Lira). That might be a full day in itself depending on how long you waited in lines.

For another free day you can take a Bosphorus cruise up to the Black Sea. For 25 Lira you can get a round trip ticket on a city ferry. The ferry terminal can be found next to the base of the Galata Bridge. Make sure you check the schedule as there are only two ferries that go up the river and two ferries that come down. The schedule can be found here. At the Nothernmost stop of the ferry you should get off the ferry and have lunch in the village of Anadolu Kavagi followed by a 20 minute uphill hike to the remains of a Byzantine castle which has views of the Black Sea. You will then catch a ferry back to Istanbul, ending the cruise where you started at the base of the Galata Bridge. The bridge is a wonderful place to get a fish sandwich and watch the local fisherman. It is worthwhile to climb up the hill to the Galata Tower (15 Lira). Instead of ascending the tower itself you can save some money by going to the rooftop bar of the nearby Anemon Galata Hotel which has a similar view.

You will also have one day in Istanbul where your tour leader will lead you on a morning city walk. This will cover very important sites like the Suleymaniye Mosque, Hippodrome and Blue Mosque. That afternoon I would spend time visiting the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. You could also visit the Chora Church (15 Lira). The walls and ceilings of this nearly 1000 year old church are decorated with beautiful Byzantine frescoes and mosaics. It is pretty easy to get there by the tram lines for 4 lira each way or you could take a taxi from the hotel which should be about 15-20 Lira each way.

There are plenty of other things to do in Istanbul, but this would cover some of the most popular sites."

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• The schools in Turkey are closed at this time of the year so instead of a school visit we plan on having a meal with some local teachers. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Does GEEO recommend any books for this trip?

For each GEEO program we have created a short recommended reading list. Why such a short list? It's our hope you will read one or more these specific books before or during the trip to have a "book club" type of experience. Please note it is not required to read any of these books.

We have linked to these books on Amazon if you wish to purchase them. If you purchase them through this link, Amazon will give a portion of that payment to GEEO. This is a great way to support our organization.

Our book club selections for this trip are:

My Name Is Red, by Orhan Pamuk

Memed, My Hawk, by Yashar Kemal

Sons of the Conquerors: The Rise of the Turkic World, by Hugh Pope

We also recommend purchasing a guidebook. For general knowledge:

Lonely Planet Turkey, 12th Edition

For a more visual guide:

Turkey (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As of the date of this posting (10/3/11), Americans can purchase a visa for Turkey upon arrival at the airport in Istanbul for $20. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi (About 50 Lira) to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other.

In May G Adventures will contact you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one.

If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee of $249 USD.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops.with the following exceptions: Night 3, Ottoman house in Ayvalik.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each Participant in our programs is permitted to bring one friend or family members who is not a teacher. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. In 2012 we ran our first programs in Turkey. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to Turkey for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 500 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office,

G Adventures Istanbul Office
Office telephone number - +90 212 259 10 40
Office Hours Monday Friday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM / Saturday : 10:00 AM 4:00 PM / Sunday: closed
Emergency telephone number: +90 532 481 51 73

G Adventures Middle East Regional Office - Cairo
Emergency Cell Phone: +002 012 2211699
Mohammed El Fayed, Middle East Manager, Cairo, Egypt

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600
Calls from UK: 0844 410 1030
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: 1 416 260 0999

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Your trip begins and ends in Istanbul. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Istanbul by. You can arrive at anytime of the day you choose. You can depart anytime on the final day of the trip.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

When should I purchase my flights?

This trip is confirmed so please feel free to purchase you flights after GEEO acknowledges receiving your booking form and tells you we have space for you in the trip.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $35 card (The individual plus option) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option.

Another option is www.insuremytrip.com. They offer different options from many different companies. You can also get your insurance directly through G Adventures if you wish.

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD.

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in Istanbul so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later. We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. The price for extra hotel nights for this trip can be found in the costs tab.

In May we will send you a form that allows you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

To avoid unwanted attention, dressing modestly is advised for Turkey. A general rule of thumb for women is to keep your shoulder's and knees covered up. You will have the opportunity to go to the beach where you can wear a bathing suit of your choice, but again, less flesh is less attention.

Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

The schools are closed during the summer, so we do not recommend bringing school supplies.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

The schools are closed during the summer so instead we try to set up a meeting with local teachers.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Turkey uses a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

What are meals like?

Breakfast
Many breakfasts are included as part of your tour. Turkish breakfasts are very different from your usual cereal and toast morning fare - when was the last time you had olives for breakfast?

They pretty much universally consist of large slices of fresh "french style" white bread accompanied by slices of tomato, cucumber, white and yellow cheeses, olives, jam and honey. This is accompanied by tea (which a Turk would always choose!) or coffee (which is pretty much always instant coffee).

You will of course want to sample the famous Turkish coffee, but it is usually taken after a big lunch or dinner, or in the late afternoon with a pastry. While we think these breakfasts are absolutely delicious, some travelers do find them a bit repetitive and enjoy buying market fruit the day before and eating this for breakfast.

Lunches
...will usually be simple and on the run. They are a great chance to try Turkey's delicious and healthy array of "fast foods".

This may include, "gozleme", a type of Turkish savory crepe, "chorba", delicious lentil soup, and of course doner kebabs in both beef and chicken varieties. You won't want to miss the chance to try "pide", Turkish pizza, and lahmucan- thin crust pizza you fold greenery into. You may also find "kumpir", Turkish stuffed potatoes.

Dinner
Most Turks start their dinners with a couple of mezes- small taster dishes such as grilled octopus, aubergine salad, and many more. You could also choose a soup made of fresh local ingredients.

Main courses tend to be based around fresh seafood if you are near the coast (expect to pay around 15 lira for a whole fish)or the ubiquitous kebab- skewers of charcoaled meat which comes on bread with salad. There are plenty of variations of the kebab-many regions have their own speciality so be sure to ask your leader.

Desserts
Yum- its all about the sugar. Baklava (about 2 TKL a piece for the good stuff) is something of a national obsession and it is believed the best comes from the East. There are endless varieties of pastries and milk based deserts available and you are sure to spend at least some time in a Turkish bakery taste testing.

Snacks
Don't miss munching on a simit , a Turkish pretzel or perhaps some grilled sweet corn to get you through between meals.

Drinks
Tea, served in small tulip glasses, is the number one beverage of choice in Turkey. It is freshly brewed and a tea bag is a rare thing. Turkish coffee is wonderful thing to try. The national beer is named Efes and is very good (usually 4-5 TKL a bottle) Wine is made in Turkey and is getting better every year. Expect to pay around 6-7 liras for a glass in a restaurant. Water is approximately 1 TRL for a 1.5 litre bottle, soft drinks and juices are around 2-3 TRL.

What are the hotels like?

On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights.

What is the transportation like?

This tour uses private transport from Days 2-4 with public transport being used for the remainder of the trip.
Public buses in Turkey are very comfortable, being a comfortable, air conditioned "Greyhound" type of coaches with reclining seats and curtains to keep out the sun. You are usually served a drink and perhaps a light snack, along with the ubiquitous lemon hand cologne to keep you fresh!

Will I be in Turkey during Ramadan?

Depending on the lunar cycles, Ramadan will start around July 9th and last for a month, which means this departure will occurs while it is being observed. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our trips still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-Muslims throughout the day. Despite some small impacts, this period can be a very special and rewarding time to travel in Islamic countries as it enables you to experience the nightly breaking of the fast, and taste many festival dishes and specialties which are only available at this time of year.

If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?

This program can be combined with our Budapest to Istanbul program that ends in Istanbul just before this prorgam starts. Together these two trips would allow you to get a better understanding of the larger region.

GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Do you recommend spending extra days in Istanbul and if so what should I see?

Answer from GEEO Executive Director:

"Your trip has one day in Istanbul included in the itinerary. I personally recommend spending an extra two days in Istanbul, giving you a total of three days to explore the city. Many of the sites are closed on Mondays and the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays so make sure you factor that into your planning.

I would spend one full day doing the following: Get in line at the Topkapi Palace (20 Lira entrance) at 8:30 AM. The ticket booth can have really long lines so you will want to get there before it opens at 9AM. As soon as you get into the palace go directly to the line to get tickets for the Harem rooms (15 Lira), which are well worth the extra cost. After seeing the Harem rooms explore the rest of the Topkapi Palace, especially making time to see the treasure rooms which are literally unbelievable. (Like you won't believe some of the relics in there are real, ie Moses's staff.) After Topkapi I would go to the nearby Archaeological museum (10 Lira). You will probably want to get lunch afterwards. Next I would visit the Hagia Sofia (20 Lira) followed by the Basilica Cisterns (10 Lira). That might be a full day in itself depending on how long you waited in lines.

For another free day you can take a Bosphorus cruise up to the Black Sea. For 25 Lira you can get a round trip ticket on a city ferry. The ferry terminal can be found next to the base of the Galata Bridge. Make sure you check the schedule as there are only two ferries that go up the river and two ferries that come down. The schedule can be found here. At the Nothernmost stop of the ferry you should get off the ferry and have lunch in the village of Anadolu Kavagi followed by a 20 minute uphill hike to the remains of a Byzantine castle which has views of the Black Sea. You will then catch a ferry back to Istanbul, ending the cruise where you started at the base of the Galata Bridge. The bridge is a wonderful place to get a fish sandwich and watch the local fisherman. It is worthwhile to climb up the hill to the Galata Tower (15 Lira). Instead of ascending the tower itself you can save some money by going to the rooftop bar of the nearby Anemon Galata Hotel which has a similar view.

You will also have one day in Istanbul where your tour leader will lead you on a morning city walk. This will cover very important sites like the Suleymaniye Mosque, Hippodrome and Blue Mosque. That afternoon I would spend time visiting the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. You could also visit the Chora Church (15 Lira). The walls and ceilings of this nearly 1000 year old church are decorated with beautiful Byzantine frescoes and mosaics. It is pretty easy to get there by the tram lines for 4 lira each way or you could take a taxi from the hotel which should be about 15-20 Lira each way.

There are plenty of other things to do in Istanbul, but this would cover some of the most popular sites."

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be fine to eat. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

There are Internet cafes in most of the places we visit and most of the hotels also have computers that can be used as well as free wifi. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/netbook/tablet computer if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of you valued items.

What is the weather like?

The Coast of Turkey is hot and humid during the summer. Inland, the temperatures can be quite extreme, getting very hot in the summer.

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Turkey to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (10%). Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. At the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however we recommend $35 per person. Tipping your driver is also appreciated with $10 per person being appropriate.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere about $300 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. Please note that they are only offered to teachers in a limited number of pre-selected school districts around the country.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Fiction:
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal

Non-Fiction:
Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds by Stephen Kinzer
Lords of the Horizons A History of the Ottoman Empire by Jason Goodwin

For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:

Turkish Writers:
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Songs My Mother Never Taught Me by Selçuk Altun, first published in 2008
A Mind at Peace by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, first published in 2007
Novels by Elif Shafak

Novels set in Turkey:
Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres, first published in 2004
The Towers of Trebizond by Rose MacAulay

Non-Fiction:
Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition by Norman Itzkowitz
Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire By Judith Herrin
Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

"I would emphasize how wonderful Istanbul is and that it really is necessary to plan for extra days there. I loved that city and although I did have extra days there I still wished for more time!"

"Bring toilet paper or tissues for the public bathrooms. You can of course by toilet paper in Turkey or grab an extra roll from the hotel."

"As a whole, Turkey is a lot less conservative in dress (for women) than I anticipated. I came prepared to every day cover my legs and upper arms, while others in the group brought many sleeveless/tank tops/shorts. With the intense heat, I would have appreciated knowing that it really is only in the mosques that legs, arms, and head need to be fully covered. Modest shorts and modest sleeveless shirts are ok."

"Perhaps emphasize a bit more the rigor of the travel, including the extreme heat. Your FAQ talks about this, but I think these two elements can't be overemphasized. This trip is not for the faint of heart or those easily wearied."

"As we eat lunch on the road quite a bit, expect many meals where you will be eating with the group. For the most part we were free to go off to dinner on our own, but many opted to go out with the group."

"As a whole, Turkey is a lot less conservative in dress (for women) than I anticipated. I came prepared to every day cover my legs and upper arms, while others in the group brought many sleeveless/tank tops/shorts. With the intense heat, I would have appreciated knowing that it really is only in the mosques that legs, arms, and head need to be fully covered. Modest shorts and modest sleeveless shirts are ok."

"It was clear to me about the rigors of the trip, but everyone who signs up for this trip should know that this is for the experienced, able-bodied traveler who doesn't expect to be pampered."


Want more adventure? Save money by also booking our Budapest to Istanbul program through our Multi-Trip Discount.

1149.00 USD

*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included

Availability: 0

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • Entrance and guided tour of Gallipoli Peninsula, Entrance and guided tour of Troy, Ayvalik boat tour, Admission and guided tour of Ephesus, Trip to Sirence, Entrance and guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis, Walking tour of Istanbul

  • G Adventures Tour Leader, local guides.

  • 6 Breakfasts

  • Private air-conditioned van, plane

  • Hotels (7 nts)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions