Multi-Day Tour | Independent, Locally Hosted, Private

Epicureans' Tour in Turkey(SM) (14 days)

Turkey At Its Best - Private Tours by Newport International

Cappadocia, Turkey To Istanbul, Turkey

Valid for Departures: 14 Jul 2019 - 27 Jul 2019

Epicureans' Tour in Turkey(SM) (14 days)

Day 1

Cappadocia, Turkey

Day 2

Cappadocia, Turkey

Day 3

Cappadocia, Turkey

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
14 Jul 2019
Cappadocia, Turkey
Argos Lunch, Dinner

You will be arriving at the International Terminal of Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. You will need to have a Turkish Visa prior to your arrival, which you can easily obtain online: www.evisa.gov.tr (At this writing, Visa cost is $20 for U.S. citizens and $60 for Australian and Canadian citizens.)

Walk over to the Domestic Terminal for your short flight to the Cappadocia Region in Central Anatolia. Upon arrival at your gateway (Kayseri or Nevsehir) airport in Cappadocia, you will be met by your local private guide and transferred to your cave hotel, Argos in Cappadocia.

Day 2
15 Jul 2019
Cappadocia, Turkey
Argos Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Your guide will be meeting you at 9:00 a.m. at the lobby of your hotel and take you on a sightseeing tour to show you this amazing region:

Visit Goreme Valley, the open-air museum with many carved rock churches that are decorated inside with frescoes; see amazing Peri Bacalari (“Fairy Chimneys”), the towering rock formations that are the symbol of Cappadocia; quaint hamlets such as Avanos, famous for its potteries; and Zelve, another Open-Air Museum where you can see rock caves that had been used by early Christian monks living in the three valleys of Zelve.

Enjoy lunch at Aravan Village, mingling with local folks and experiencing their home-made dishes.

Cappadocia is also one of the main centers of Turkish wine production. One of their wines earned the first Gold Medal for Turkey from International Syrah du Monde Wine Competition, the “Turasan - Argos Kızılırmak Bağları Syrah 2010". Emir grapes are also found in Turasan vineyards, and the wine is cellared in caves (special to Cappadocia Region only). You will taste Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Okuzgozu varietals at Turasan winery which is located in Urgup.

Enjoy dinner and local wines at Dibek Restaurant, http://www.dibektraditionalcook.com/tr/index.html (or similar), where you will try authentic local dishes such as Manti (Turkish ‘ravioli’), and Testi Kebabi (pottery kebap) - In this traditional clay pot meal, the kebab (meat) is placed inside a clay pot, sealed, and baked in a wood burning oven. The kebab is allowed to simmer in its own juices, making it super flavorful. Dibek serves its clay pot kebabs with rice, salad, bread, and hummus. The restaurant is located in a 500-year old stone house, the ground floor of which had been used as a stable and storage area; their impressive cellar houses a great number of local wines.

Day 3
16 Jul 2019
Cappadocia, Turkey
Argos Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Very early this morning, as an Optional Extra you could go up on a hot-air balloon ride over this unusual landscape. After you return to your hotel and have breakfast, your guide will take you for a full day tour of Cappadocia.

Visit Kaymakli, one of the underground cities. Archaeologists estimate that there are at least 30 underground dwelling groups, some connected with tunnels, that were built over the millennia since first started by the Hittites around 2,000 B.C. The underground city you will be visiting has 8 stories carved into the ground beneath the surface. The spaces and passages are well lit, and there is good ventilation; old living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, storage areas, chapels, etc. are very much worth seeing, but you will need to stoop down while passing through some areas as the ceilings are very low at certain places.

Enjoy lunch at Sedef Restaurant, or one of the authentic Cappadocia restaurants.

Stop at ancient Sinassos (current Mustafapasa) and Avanos (where you can try your hands on the old-fashioned potter’s wheel to make your masterpiece)! Walk along Gulludere Canyon to see colorful rock formations, and perhaps even watch the sunset over the Red Valley (depending on the season). Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Tonight, you will have a special wine tasting in the 1000-year-old cellars of your hotel. For thousands of years, tunnels of the cellar were used to store wine for the monastery. Some of the most popular grapes here are “Kalecik Karasi”, “Shiraz” and “Misket”, grown right in the vineyards of the hotel.

You will experience this magical ambiance first hand, as you taste various native wines of the region and learn about Anatolian winemaking in particular as well as Turkish winemakers in general.

Then, you will begin your gastronomic journey at the lovely Seki Restaurant, where all dishes are prepared with fresh local ingredients.

Overnight stay will be at the Argos in Cappadocia.

Day 4
17 Jul 2019
Izmir, Turkey
Nisanyan Evleri Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You will be transferred early to Kayseri Airport for Sun Express Flight , departing at 8:55 a.m. for Izmir, the gateway airport to Ephesus. Upon arrival at 10:30 a.m., your guide will meet you at Izmir Airport and take you to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved cities of antiquity, which also is a phenomenal open-air Museum. One of the original “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, the Temple of Artemis (Diana) was located in Ephesus. Ephesus is also famous as the ancient city that had been visited by St. Paul (twice) and St. John, and for its mention in the Book of Revelation (as one of the “Seven Churches”) and in the Acts of the Apostles.

This comprehensive Ephesus tour will have you walking over marble streets, adorned on both sides with temples, theaters, fountains, and baths, among other ancient structures. You will have the opportunity to visit the Grand Theater (mentioned in Acts of the Apostles) that accommodated over 24,000 people, the ancient marble public toilets, and the ancient advertisement carved on the marble street - giving directions to the “house of ill-repute”! The highlight will be a walk inside “Terrace Houses”, homes to wealthy Romans.

Lunch will be at a charming restaurant that serves home-made Turkish dishes using local organic produce.Afterwards, the greatness and splendor of ancient Ephesus shall come alive again at the Archaeological Museum in nearby Selcuk. You will see two famous statues of the Ephesian Artemis, who was the ‘mother goddess’ for whom one of the Seven Wonders of the World had been built, a collection of medical and cosmetic tools, and statues of famous doctors (as Ephesus had housed an important school of medicine), a monument that bears an inscription of customs regulations and tax collection – in short, providing an insight into how life was 2000 years ago!

You will have a drive by the site of the Temple of Artemis and the Basilica of St. John (relatively well preserved and partially restored), believed to have been built over the grave of St. John; you can still see baptismal pools.

If interested, you can also visit the House of the Virgin Mary; believed to have been the last home of Mary, it is now a place of pilgrimage for Catholics.

After the tour, you will drive to the hillside village of Sirince for dinner and overnight stay at Nisanyan Evleri (or similar), sampling some of the local wine and enjoying dinner.

Day 5
18 Jul 2019
Urla, Turkey
Urla Bagevleri Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today is another interesting day to visit wineries, enjoy great food, and see historical sites:

Start your drive from Sirince to the charming seaside town of Urla, by way of Sevilen Winery. The typical Aegean landscape that you will encounter on the way is very enjoyable, with its rolling hills and valleys, green meadows, vineyards, and local plants and trees that give the region its distinct character.

Stop at the Sevilen Winery and Vineyards, located close to Izmir Airport. Sevilen Viniculture Co. is one of the older wineries in Turkey that cultivate their own grapes. Sevilen’s Izmir vineyard is situated in Gölcükler Village, in the Menderes district, where Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah (Shiraz), Petit Verdot, and Carignan red grapes are cultivated in addition to the white Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Misket, Semillion Blanc and Colombard varietals. (This region has the same climatic characteristics as the southern Mediterranean regions of Southern Spain as well as Bari and Sicily in Italy).

After some wine tasting and a delicious lunch at the restaurant of Sevilen Winery, continue your drive to Urla, which produces some of the region's finest wines, and has vintage olive groves with world-class farming. It was one of 12 cities of ancient Ionia where olive oil was commercially produced as early at the 6th Century B.C.E.

You will first stop for a short visit in nearby Kilizman, ancient Klazomenai, where history will come alive: The oldest attested olive oil production facility, dating back to the third quarter of the 6th Century BC, was recently discovered and restored there, including the only surviving example of a ‘level and weights press’, which precedes, (by at least two centuries) the heretofore earliest known presses that had been discovered in Greece. You shall also see a millstone with a cylindrical roller, and three ‘oil separation pits’. The olive oil produced there had turned out to be a business success, since there is evidence of early exports of olive oil from this area by way of sea.

Overnight stay will be at Urla Bagevi Boutique Hotel (or similar) where we will also have dinner in their famous restaurant.

Day 6
19 Jul 2019
Urla, Turkey
Urla Bagevleri Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You will spend the whole day visiting some wineries, with wine tasting, following the Urla Wine Route:

Along the most famous wineries of this area is Urla Winery, which uses top-of-the-line methods and grows antique grapes of the area like “Urla Karasi” and “Gaidoura”, a rare grape also found on some of the Greek Isles.

Also well-known is Urlice Winery, with its vineyards of Cabarnet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, using both ancient viticulture techniques and biodynamic methods, with painstaking efforts to have its products remain chemical-free.

MMG Winery is famous for its Bornova Misket (muscat) grapes and evening harvests, and Mozaik Winery for its hybrid grapes. We will visit as many wineries as we have time for, tasting each winery’s distinct wines.

Tonight, you will enjoy a special dinner prepared with local ingredients, accompanied with wine parings, in one of the wineries of the area or at a seafood restaurant.

Overnight stay will be in Urla.

Day 7
20 Jul 2019
Bergama, Turkey
Oliviera Resort Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a delightful breakfast in Urla, you will have an early start on your way to Pergamum, located near the modern town of Bergama. The first stop will be for lunch and a short Turkish Cooking class at a 150-year old restored stone house of a Turkish couple. The wife is a gourmet cook and the husband is very knowledgeable on Turkish wine.

You will have an opportunity to watch the lady of the house show you how to prepare some Turkish dishes, and then enjoy your lunch among unique surroundings with Turkish antiques.

After lunch, drive to Pergamum, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your visit to the Acropolis in Pergamum will offer a great view of the valley below, and impressive remains such as a very steep theater, various temples (now restored), and the Altar of Zeus (most of the reliefs from this site are now housed in Berlin) that was referred to as the “Throne of Satan” in Acts of the Apostles, as well as the site of the famous Library that once held over 200,000 scrolls of books written on parchment, which was invented in Pergamum (hence the name). Pergamum was also very important in the history of early Christianity, as it was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

Then, visit the Aesculapion, the ancient hospital where the famous physician Galen had practiced medicine over 1,800 years ago. At the entrance of the hospital, there was an inscription that read, “In the name of Gods, Death is forbidden to enter”! Our tour will include the library and the theater of the ancient Hospital that had been used for occupational therapy at the time, as well as the Sacred Tunnel where patients had slept (and adjoining temples where their dreams had been interpreted).

Overnight stay will be at the exclusive Oliviera Resort located on Kalem (Pencil) Island.

Day 8
21 Jul 2019
Bozcaada, Turkey
Latife Hanim Kosku Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you will depart for Assos, an important ancient city, from where Paul had sailed to Mytilene on his Third Missionary Journey. Aristotle had an Academy in Assos before becoming the tutor of Alexander the Great in Macedonia. One can see the layout of the city as well as the nearby island of Lesbos from the Temple of Athena. Assos harbor had served as the port of Troy during the Trojan wars.

Other interesting places in our itinerary today: One will be a stop at Turkey’s first and only olive oil museum, Adatepe Olive Oil Museum which opened in July 2001. Olive oil culture is so deeply rooted in Anatolia that it has been mentioned in almost all sacred books. If you like, you may buy a small hand-made ceramic bottle of extra virgin olive oil and hand-made olive oil soaps, among other gift items that are available for purchase..

If time permits, you can briefly stop at the town of Ezine, which is a famous cheese producing area of Turkey. It is especially known for the tasty white Ezine Cheese. We will stop at a cheese store where you can sample some of the cheeses.

Afterwards, take the short ferry boat ride to Bozcaada, which was recently listed as "one of the top 10 islands in Europe". Conde NasteTravel Magazine named it the “# 1 Island in the Mediterranean” two years in a row. Bozcaada is indeed a beautiful island with great beaches, beautiful vistas, and wonderful wineries that produce excellent wine, not to mention delightful B&B’s and small hotels. Poppies are symbols of the island! Bozcaada is very close to Canakkale on the Straits of Dardanelles, and to Troy and Gallipoli. Its history goes back at least 2,500 years. Alexander the Great had attacked the island, Romans had occupied it as they had done with the rest of Anatolia; Crusaders, Venetians, and finally Ottomans all left their marks on this island.

Herodotus, “Father of History”, had said “God created Tenedos so that those who visit there shall have long lives”!

Bozcaada is very famous for its wineries, as the islanders have been engaged in wine making for centuries. Famous producers include Corvus and Talay Wineries. During your stay on the island, you will have an opportunity to stop for wine tasting at the Talay and Corvus Wineries.

Overnight stay will be at one of the charming B & B’s, most of which are restored stone houses, like Latife Hanim Kosku.

Day 9
22 Jul 2019
Bozcaada, Turkey
Latife Hanim Kosku Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy the day in Bozcaada. You will circle the island, visiting some of the famous wineries and beaches and taking a walk through the charming town.

You will visit Bozcaada Castle, one of the most prominent and majestic castles of the Aegean Region. Walk with your guide up to the castle for a fine panoramic view of the village, as you find out about its impressive history.

Turks and Greeks have lived on the island for many centuries; you will be able to tour the Greek neighborhood and the Turkish neighborhood, walking on cobblestone streets among the old houses, some of which are now becoming small B & B’s. Enjoy lunch at one of the charming restaurants on the island, where you will eat an amazingly delicious meal!.

The Corvus Vineyards are situated on the slopes of a valley that stretches out to the sea, and all Corvus vines are exposed to the island’s constant Aegean breeze. This uncultivated, rocky terrain, open to both northeasterly and northwesterly winds, is today host to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec grapes. The vineyard, where 505 plants grow per 1,000 square meters, is called “Kocabağ” (“Great Vineyard”); the vineyard should certainly live up to its name when it reaches the planned area of 300,000 square meters. After wine tasting, and an enjoyable dinner of delicious Aegean appetizers, return to your hotel for overnight stay.

Day 10
23 Jul 2019
Istanbul, Turkey
Jumeriah Pera Palace Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You will take the ferry back to the mainland and start your drive to Istanbul.

En route, first stop at the ancient city of Troy, immortalized by Homer in his Iliad. Some of the different layers of civilizations in Troy, going back to 3000 B.C, are still visible, including the City Walls. (One can picture Achilles chasing Hector around the Walls, as described by Homer)! There is not much left in Troy, but visiting one of the most legendary venues is quite an experience.

Lunch will be in Canakkale. Then, cross the Dardanelles Straits on a ferry boat to the European side of the country.

Stop at Gallipoli for a visit to Gallipoli War Monuments and the trenches left from World War I; the Gallipoli War brought the downfall of Winston Churchill from political life for about 20 years. Today, the entire area is a National Park, which includes memorials, monuments, and cemeteries located on beautiful green hills. Visit Anzac Cove, Cape Helles, Karatepe Military Museum where you can see the uniforms, small arms, letters and diaries of soldiers chronicling the Gallipoli War as seen from the Turkish side, and Chunuk Bayir, where the actual trenches of different armies can still be seen. Also, stop at the Lone Pine Memorial, the largest monument dedicated to Australian soldiers. Also, visit the little museum where many of the findings from various layers of the excavation are stored.

On the way to Istanbul, enjoy dinner in Tekirdag, which is very famous for its meatballs! Continue on your drive to Istanbul, arriving there in early evening for overnight stay at the Pera Palace Hotel.

Day 11
24 Jul 2019
Istanbul, Turkey
Jumeriah Pera Palace Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, you will start exploring the highlights of this ancient city:

Your guide will meet you at 9:00 a.m. at the lobby of your hotel. First, visit the “Blue Mosque”, with its six graceful minarets and superb interior which is highlighted with more than 20,000 blue Turkish tiles.

Then, see the Hippodrome, a large square which was once the site of the ancient Stadium.

Afterwards, visit St. Sophia Museum which was the largest church when it was built in the 6th Century; it was later converted to a mosque and then to a museum. Its interior is elaborately decorated with beautiful mosaics and precious marbles, including some marble columns that were brought from the Temple of Artemis (which was once one of the Seven Wonders of the World) near Ephesus.

Enjoy lunch at the Khorasani Restaurant (or similar)¸specializing in famous Turkish dishes.

In the afternoon, visit Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman Sultans for centuries. End your tour with a visit to the Covered (Grand) Bazaar, which is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops under hundreds of domes and arches. Today the Grand Bazaar houses four fountains, two mosques, two hamams (Turkish Baths), and multiple restaurants and cafes. The sprawling complex consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 doors. At the end of the tour, your guide will bring you back to hotel around 6.00 p.m.

Tonight, enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants in Asmali Mescit neighborhood to learn about the “Meyhane” culture, where you will try several famous Turkish appetizers, called “meze”, which are usually consumed with the Turkish national drink, Raki!

Day 12
25 Jul 2019
Istanbul, Turkey
Jumeriah Pera Palace Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At 9:30 a.m. you will start another fun tour! First visit the Underground Cistern which is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern, located 500 feet southwest of the Hagia Sophia, was built in the 6th Century and is supported by 336 Corinthian columns (featured in “From Russia With Love”, a James Bond movie).

Then, drive towards the outskirts of old Istanbul to visit the Church of St. Saviour in Chora (Kariye Museum); originally built in the late 11th Century, it was outside the city walls. Converted to a mosque in 1510, and now a museum, it is decorated with the most beautiful Byzantine Mosaics and superb 14th Century frescoes depicting the life and ministry of Jesus.

Lunch will be served at the world-famous Asitane Restaurant right by the Church. It has a wonderful garden setting and is famous for its Ottoman Palace dishes, some of which are provided with its date or origin, going back to hundreds of years, as discovered in the recipes of Topkapi Palace kitchens. Centuries-old dishes including almond soup, stuffed grape leaves with sour cherries, and stewed chicken with dried fruits and nuts, have been carefully recreated to please the modern palate.

In the afternoon, you will embark on a delightful cruise on the Bosphorus Straits aboard a private boat, sailing along the coasts of the European and Asiatic sides of the city. [The famous Istanbul skyline, with its domes and minarets, is best viewed from the Bosphorus]! This will provide an opportunity to see wonderful Ottoman Palaces, such as Dolmabahce Palace, as well as old wooden mansions and modern villas that are among the most expensive real estate in the world. You will be sailing under the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges, near Ortakoy (a quaint ‘village’ which is also a center of night life nowadays), and finally by Rumelihisari, the Fortress that was built in the mid-1450’s, in just three months, by Mehmet the Conqueror in preparation for his conquest of Constantinople from the Byzantines; he made the city, now called Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Your private vehicle will be waiting for you when you disembark on the shore.

You will be enjoying a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants along the Bosphorus, sampling delicious Mezes and fresh fish, before returning to your hotel.

Day 13
26 Jul 2019
Istanbul, Turkey
Jumeriah Pera Palace Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At 9:00 a.m. your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a fun tour to try the foods and wine in some great venues of Istanbul. The first stop will be at a local bakery to try the popular and tasty circular-shaped Turkish bread called Simit with a “glass” of samovar-brewed Turkish Tea.

Then, you will walk to the Spice Bazaar (also known as Egyptian Bazaar) from the 17th Century. You will have an opportunity to learn about the various uses of the many spices on display there.

Afterwards, enjoy your Turkish Coffee with a Turkish Delight. [You might even find somebody who might read your fortune, which is a popular activity among Turkish women!]

Then, start walking over Galata Bridge (Galata Koprusu), crossing to the other side of the Golden Horn, enjoying views of Historic Istanbul on both sides of this famous estuary.

Enjoy lunch at Ali Ocakbasi Restaurant (or similar) that serves grilled meats, with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus!

You can then have your desert at the most famous “Baklava” shop in Istanbul – probably the best in the world!

Afterwards, ride the world’s second oldest, and shortest, underground funicular subway, connecting only two stations. It was built in 1875 and has been in almost constant use since then.

When you arrive in Galata, walk to Galata Tower; one of the largest towers in the world, it was originally built in the 6th Century by the Byzantines and then reconstructed by the Genoese in 1348, and used continuously by the Ottomans as well. Take the elevator almost to the top of the tower to see one of the most wonderful views of Istanbul.

Then, go by the fish market, where locals and restaurants obtain their fresh fish every day.

You could walk around Cukurcuma, one of Istanbul’s oldest districts, and one of the most colorful parts of Beyoglu. It is a place where Moslems, Jews and Christians have worked together for centuries. And one more thing, Cukurcuma comes with at least one cat at each store or workshop! Walk back to your hotel in the afternoon.

The “Farewell Dinner” will be at the Pera Palace Hotel, as a great ending of a memorable tour.

Day 14
27 Jul 2019
Istanbul, Turkey
None Breakfast

You will be transferred to Istanbul Ataturk International Airport to connect to your flight for your next destination.

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Tour Features

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Description

This is a very unique tour that combines sightseeing of the famous sites of Turkey, enhanced by visits to wineries and enjoying gourmet meals throughout. We use hotels that are each unique in their own right. We include unforgettable experiences such as hot air balloon rides, private cruises, cooking classes, dining in a 150-year old village house, along with many other memorable experiences.

If you have clients who love food and wine, this is the tour for them! Just send this link to start the conversation: http://turkeyatitsbest.net/project/special-epicuri...

We will be glad to send you the detailed day-by-day itinerary. We are operating this with a minimum of 8 guests.

Highlights:

Tour the vineyards of Cappadocia and sample their award-winning wines

See the spectacular Cappadocian landscape from a hot-air balloon as the sun is rising

Enjoy dinners at unique venues, like at the 150-year old stone village house

Learn how to make some famous Turkish dishes

Spend some time at the island of Bozcaada, which was selected as the top Mediterranean Island by Conde Nast Traveler magazine two years in a row

Tour the wineries of the Aegean Turkey with wine tasting

Stay at unique hotels, from a “cave” hotel to village mansions, exclusive Oliviera Resort situated on its own island, to the iconic Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul built for the guests of the original Orient Express

Enjoy meals at unique locations so you get a feel of everything that is “Turkish” food.Cruise on the Bosphorus on a private boat and watch the famous Istanbul skyline as you enjoy your wine

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Reviews and Recommendations for Turkey At Its Best - Private Tours by Newport International

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Highly Recommended

By: Charlie1


Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2013

Abdullah, our private guide was phenomenal. He tailored the daily excursions to our needs and made every detail fascinating. We loved having lunch with him every day eating at local places; one place was better than the next. He was perfect!
Travel Advisor:  Leah Bergner

Fantastic Tour Guides

By: SHuff


Reviewed on: 23 Jul 2014

Newport International set up an amazing and memorable tour. The guides were full of important cultural and historic information. They all spoke wonderful English. Great selection of places to see in Turkey. Both interesting and beautiful.
Travel Advisor:  Marsha Dolbow
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