Turkey – Istanbul, Cappadocia & the Mediterranean

Turkey

Overview

Length: 11 Days

Group Date(s):    Size: 4 – 10
Sep 14 – Sep 24, 2016

Private Departures for 4 or more

Level: Easy – Moderate
Light hiking / kayak / boat

Price: From $3,095

Days 1-2– Istanbul, Turkey
Days 3-4– Cappadocia
Days 5-6– Urunlu rural village
Day 7– Olympos
Days 8-9– Kas, sailing & kayaking in Kekova
Day 10– Istanbul
Day 11– home


Summary

Magical Turkey has it all… Exotic Istanbul, Cappadocia’s sculpted rocks, ancient ruins, rural villages, amazing cuisine and shimmering turquiose Mediterranean waters. In Istanbul, visit famous sites such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Church and the massive Grand Bazaar. Spend days hiking in Cappadocia’s surreal landscapes.

Get to know the locals as we chill out in a seldom-visited rural village. Then, we’ll explore Turkey’s Mediterranean coast via boat and kayak and stay in a quaint seaside village. Comfortable lodging, great guides and amazing food throughout.

Responsible Travel – Making it Meaningful

We’ve teamed up with Global Giving to support two projects: Sending warm boots to needy children; And helping break the poverty cycle by educating young girls.

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Itinerary

Note: Day 1 is the day you arrive and meet the group. This may require departing your hometown a day in advance or on an overnight flight.

Note: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1 – Istanbul
Arrive Istanbul where you are met at airport and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon we stroll along the streets of this magical city. We’ll return to the hotel for a little rest and then head out to a traditional spot for our welcome dinner.
D

Day 2 – Istanbul
Visit the glorious highlights of Constantinople. We visit Topkapi Palace, and then walk to the other splendid relics such as 400-year-old Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), and 2000-year-old Roman Hippodrome and the Underground Cistern and visit the Hagia Sophia Church, miraculously built in the first half of the 6th century, by Emperor Justinianus.
B, L

Day 3 – Fly to Cappadocia
A short morning flight and a short drive take us to Cappadocia. We’ll have two full days to explore this fairytale landscape of sculpted geological formations and early Christian rock-carved churches. We’ll visit local artisans and winemakers.

See the natural rock formation called Uchisar Castle. Visit the Goreme open-air museum, which has the finest examples of Christian rock carved churches complete with frescoes. Visit a local carpet-weaving coop for a demonstration on this very proud art of the Turks. (Walking 3 – 4 hours)
B, L, D

Day 4 – Cappadocia
After two great hikes through rock dwellings and hidden churches of the unearthly valleys, we stop at Avanos, for lunch featuring local specialties. Then, visit the workshop of world-famous master potter, Chez Galip. Galip is a remarkable local artisan who has preserved the ancient way of using the potter’s wheel, which, according to the scholar was invented in Anatolia in the early Bronze Age.

In the afternoon, we visit one of the impressive sites of Derinkuyu or Kaymakli. These ancient (8th – 7th century BC) multi-level underground cities extended 150 feet down and were large enough to shelter tens of thousands of people together with their livestock, food stores, wine presses and chapels. Before we return to our hotel we may stop at a local winery to sample their wines. (who are we kidding… using the words “may stop” seems a bit ridiculous).
(Walking 3 – 4 hours)
B, L

Day 5 – Konya – Urunlu Village
On route to our mountain village, visit Konya and the Mevlana (Rumi) Museum, home of the Whirling Dervishes. Continue past Beysehir Lake to the picturesque mountain village of Urunlu. Enjoy traditional stone houses and gardens thick with pommegranets, figs, grapes and malberrys. This is a traditional community rarely visited by western travelers.

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Turkey, these people-to-people encounters just may do the trick! Accommodations are simple, but you will be comfortable and your hostess Emine will make to feel like family!
B, L, D

Day 6 – Urunlu Village
For breakfast you can have American-style starchy pancakes, greasy hash browns and high-fructose corn syrup. Or… you could watch Emine and her aunt make flat bread on the open fire and serve up “gozleme” (filo filled with feta cheese and wild herbs, served with fresh jams, tomatoes and olives). Hmmm, tough call!

Hike out to visit the famous “Altin Besik (Golden Cradle) Grotto”. Take an easy raft paddle into the cave and explore the stalactites and stalagmites. When we emerge, our host has prepared a typical Turkish BBQ of “sucuk”, Turkish spicy sausage. Also invited to the picnic are cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, dried figs, apricots, fresh fruits and walnuts. We may have a dip in the clear, chilly waters before we head back to the village. Hiking is about 1.5 hours to the cave and 2.5 hours back to the village.

Before dinner, head to the tiny square, and sip tea while watching the men play cards… or better yet, join in! Back at the house, there’s no time for cards for Emine and her aunt because they are busy cooking up an organic vegetarian dinner using fresh tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, bulgur, yogurt and lentil. Her dolma (stuffed grape leaves) are heavenly!
B, L, D

Day 7 – Olympos
Anyone wanna to head to the Mediterranean coast? Yep, thought so! Stop at Aspendos – the best preserved Roman Theater. After lunch, proceed to Olympos. Nestled in the shadow of the mountain is Cirali Beach – a natural habitat for Carreta sea turtles. At dusk, we’ll hike to the “eternal flames” of Chimaera.
B, L

Day 8 – Kas
Enjoy a 3-hour morning hike near Olympos. Walk past flower-filled fields, pomegranate orchards, and ancient graveyards with spectacular views of Lycian Olympus. Afterwards, drive an hour and half to Kas. We’ll spend two nights in this sleepy Mediterranean village with white washed houses, bouganvillas and seaside restaurants.
B, L, D

Day 9 – Kas
In the morning we drive to Ucagiz Lagoon for kayaking. This is one of the most scenic areas along the Turquoise Coast. Kayaking is fun and suitable for novices. After some quick paddle instructions, we’re off! After a couple of fun hours of kayaking, we’ll board a small sail boat and explore more of Kekova Sound, ancient Lycian settlements, and the famed ‘Sunken City’.

We’ll pull into a cove for lunch at a rustic restaurant. After lunch, we’ll take a very short walk to Aperlai, and board our boat again to Simena and walk to the top of the Kale Castle exploring the ruins and scattered Lycian sarcophagi (tombs).
B, L

Day 10 – Istanbul
Drive 2 hours to Dalaman Airport to catch the early afternoon flight to Istanbul. Time to relax and visit the Grand Bazaar, an important trading center since 1461. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world attracting about 300,000 visitors daily.

With 60 streets and 5,000 shops… maybe… just maybe, you’ll find that unique gift for you or someone back home. At our final dinner, fond farewells to new friends and to this enchanting land.
B, D

Day – 11 return home
B

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Trip Details

Group Departures:
Sep 14 – 24, 2016
Group Size: 4 – 10 persons

Private Departures, for 4 or more

Minimum Age: 15 (see below)

Trip Cost:
4 – 7 persons: $3,295
8 – 10 persons: $3,095

International Airfare is not included.

2 internal flights not included
Estimated cost of internal flights: $320.

Rates are per person, double occupancy
Own Room: $450 (see below)
Covers 8 nights, No single accommodations during our village stay in Uluru

What’s Included

  • Airport transfers on first and last day
  • Expert leadership
  • Accommodations, meals, sights, entrance fees as noted in itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • In-country support team
  • Contribution to one or more global NGO, nonprofit or organization we partner with.
  • Contribution to Global Giving. (Meaningful Trips is proud to partner with nonprofit, Global Giving, specifically to support hunger and poverty needs in the USA.)

What’s Not Included

  • International airfare
  • Any hotel costs while en route prior to Day 1
  • Meals not noted on itinerary
  • Two internal flights (though we will do the booking for these)
  • Insurance
  • Tip for your guide (optional)
  • Excess baggage charges; airport taxes
  • Cost of medical immunizations
  • Cost of obtaining a passport
  • Cost of tourist visa, if needed
  • Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

Visa Information

US Citizens visiting Turkey do not need any visa. You must have a passport. Passport must be valid for 90 days after trip conclusion.  Stay up to date by checking US Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov

Air Travel

International airfare is not included. Please always check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to verify your arrival and departure schedule and to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate. Contact your local travel agent, airline, or preferred on-line booking service for airfare needs.  The two internal flights are an additional cost. Our Turkey office book these flights for you.

Tier Pricing

Meaningful travel works best with a small group of people and some trips have tier pricing. We initially invoice you at the highest tier level price (the smallest group size we can operate). If the price drops due to an increase in group size, your final invoice will reflect the lower price. Note: trips are priced according to the number of full-price passengers on the trip. (MeaningfulTrip staff, travel writers and other discounted travelers are excluded from the count for this purpose.)

Single Travelers

If you specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted above. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a same-gender roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is half of the full single supplement. There are only a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.

Note: Single supplement is ONLY for 8 hotel nights. There are no requested single accommodations in Unrulu village.

Choose your own Departure

Small groups of four or more can pick their own desired departure dates (based on availability). So grab your family, your neighbors, or your best friends and call us.

Customized Private Groups

Family reunions, corporate groups, wedding parties, student groups, church groups… we offer the best in socially responsible private and family adventures in Turkey. Any groups interested in a customized departure are welcome to contact us.

Private Group Discount

Private groups with 8–10 full-paying passengers, a $100 per person discount applies!

Payment & Cancellation Policy

Payment
Deposit of $500 due at time of reservation.
Final balance due 90 days prior to trip departure.

Cancellation
If you cancel prior to departure (we need written notice), cancellation fees are:

91 or more days… $0
61 to 90 days… $400
31 to 60 days… 50% of Trip Cost
0 to 30 days… 100% of Trip Cost

Insurance

Meaningful Trip strongly recommends the purchase of travel insurance. Our preferred travel insurance provider is World Nomads.  Links can be found on our Deposit and Sign-up pages.

Trip Level and Qualifications

Easy to Moderate
All welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace. May include driving of three to four hours on some days. Activity: easy walking and light hiking, one to four hours, at low elevation. May include less demanding, activities such as bicycling and kayaking, but these activities are optional.

Minimum Age: 14
As most all of our travelers are adults, our minimum age on most trips is 15 years old (unless on a specifically-designated ‘Family Trips’ or ‘Private Trips’). Ages 14 – 20, must be accompanied by an adult.

Weather

Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) are the best times to visit Turkey. The climate is perfect for sightseeing İstanbul and Cappadocia and exploring the Mediterranean coasts. Average Mediterranean temps are: April (60’s), May (70’s), Sep. (75–80), Oct. (70’s). Istanbul and Cappadocia are typically 10 degrees cooler. In late October, rain is a possibility.

Lodging

Hotels in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Kas were carefully selected for their comfort, service, staff friendliness and commitment to sustainability. Expect more rustic accommodations during the two night village stay. See Lodging Tab for more photos.

Food

Turkish cuisine fuses already amazing Mediterranean tastes with Central Asian and Middle Eastern influences. A typical breakfast consists of cheese, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, Simit (a ring-shaped bread covered with sesame seeds) and perhaps even Sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage). For lunch, try Kısır – couscous salad prepared with bulgur, tomato, parsley, onion, garlic, pomegranate juice and spices.

Or, Dolma – vine leaves stuffed with rice and spices. Or, Lahmacun – a pizza-looking thin flatbread covered with a layer of spiced minced meat, tomato, pepper, onion or garlic. Dinners typically start with a soup such as Mercimek (lentil soup). This could be followed by a lamb kebab served with yogurt, or perhaps grilled or stuffed eggplant, and remember that fresh seafood will always be available along the Mediterranean

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the Meaningful Trip Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully. Additional pre-departure information including a Packing List, Medical Form and Liability Release Form is emailed upon sign-up.

Signing up is Easy!

A no risk $500 deposit reserves your spot and is 100% fully refundable if you change your mind for any reason at all, more than 90-days out! Call or click today. Reserve your spot. Then leave the rest to us.

Your meaningful trip awaits. Space is limited. Reserve today.

Sign-up

Making Your Trip to Turkey Meaningful

Meaningful Trips partners with Global Giving. We currently support these two programs in Turkey.

Send Warm Boots To Needy Children

Make Turkey Meaningful
There are many economically disadvantaged and displaced families in every part of Turkey that cannot even afford a pair of shoes for their children to walk to school. We understand that boots alone are not a cure for the many problems they face, but certainly do play a part in lifting their spirits and give them hope. A pair of boots will ensure a child’s feet will be protected from the cold snows of winter, and give them the chance to walk with pride alongside more privileged fellow student.

These warm boots do wonders, they really do! They are not only protecting feet of my students from ice and snow, keep them healthy but made them feel proud, nurtured and cared for, as well – Mekmet Akay, Teacher, BTF Field Coordinator, Kahramanmaras

Break the Poverty Cycle By Educating Girls in Turkey.

Make Turkey Meaningful

The average education period for girls in Turkey is only 4.9 years. High school enrollment is only 66%. 18% of girls under age 18 are married and almost 10% of women aged 18 are mothers. Due to poverty, low education, too many siblings and local customs, girls cannot continue their education.

They need economic support to continue their education, have a job and seek a dignified life for themselves. CYDD supports 1000 economically disadvantaged girls in 7th grade to continue their education until graduation from high school thus contribute to gender equality.

What We Believe


At our core, we believe that meaningful and responsible tourism is a conduit for peace and global understanding. Way beyond tourism… we gain insight, discover new perspectives, develop lifelong memories, we become change agents for creating a better world.

Our Pledge

All our tours support environmental, economic and social endeavors in the areas we visit. We hire locally. We choose hotels based on their efforts toward sustainability. We promote women’s employment, education and empowerment with all our partners. We support local livelihoods on every element of our tours.

MeaningfulTrip’s Triple Give

In addition to all of the above, we:

  • Make contributions to selected global projects, NGO’s, or causes in countries we visit.
  • Make a contribution to Global Giving, a non-profit that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world. MeaningfulTrips is proud to partner with Global Giving and we will specifically target projects that support hunger and poverty needs in the USA.
  • Pledge 1% of our end-of-year net profits to a MeaningfulTrip Trust.

Lodging in Turkey

Lodging & Food

Lodging

Hotels in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Kas were carefully selected for their comfort, service, staff friendliness and commitment to sustainability. Expect more rustic accommodations during the two night village stay.

Food

Turkish cuisine fuses already amazing Mediterranean tastes with Central Asian and Middle Eastern influences. A typical breakfast consists of cheese, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, Simit (a ring-shaped bread covered with sesame seeds) and perhaps even Sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage). For lunch, try Kısır – couscous salad prepared with bulgur, tomato, parsley, onion, garlic, pomegranate juice and spices. Or, Dolma – vine leaves stuffed with rice and spices. Or, Lahmacun – a pizza-looking thin flatbread covered with a layer of spiced minced meat, tomato, pepper, onion or garlic. Dinners typically start with a soup such as Mercimek (lentil soup). This could be followed by a lamb kebab served with yogurt, or perhaps grilled or stuffed eggplant, and remember that fresh seafood will always be available along the Mediterranean

Embassies

US embassies abroad
Foreign embassies located in USA

Passports

US State Department (passports) – Everything you need to know about passports.

Visas Link

US State Department (visas) – Visa and entry & exit requirements

Visa Services

Zierer Visa Services – ZVS has offices in San Francisco, New York, Houston, Miami, Washington DC, and Florida

Destination Information

Geographia – This site contains concise profiles of major countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. Provides information on: geography, climate, culture, people, history.

World Time

TheTimeNow.com – Find out what time it is, anywhere in the world.

Money Matters

Currency Converter

Health Information

Information on vaccines and advice on how to stay healthy while traveling.

Center for Disease Control – Travel health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Includes reference material and recommendations by geographic region.

High Altitude Issues

ISMM, International Society for Mountain Medicine – Comprehensive information on Acclimatization and Acute Mountain Sickness, including prevention, recognition, and treatment of altitude illness.

Weather

Intellicast Weather Site – This site gives current weather all over the world, as well as historic average temperatures and rainfall, and sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, and the phases of the moon.

Clothing & Gear

Meaningful Trip’s recommended outdoor retailers specializing in adventure and responsible travel.

Altrec – The number one source for all your favorite outdoor adventure brands including Mountain Hardwear, Arc’Teryx, Mountainsmith, Oakley, Marmot and many more! A true leader in online shopping.

Columbia Sportswear – “Trying stuff takes us to places we never imagined”

Dana Design – At Dana Design, we seek comfort for those who travel far. It’s why serious trekkers aren’t just partial to Dana Design. They’re devoted.

EagleCreek – Eagle Creek offers the most comprehensive selection of packs, wheeled luggage, duffels, packing, and travel accessories.

ExOfficio – Ex Officio’s adventure travel and urban travel clothing collections are designed to play an active role in your comfort when traveling. The perfect blend of function, low maintenance and multi-climate comfort for everything from hiking, rafting, safaris and cultural tours.

Kelty – Manufacturer of quality outdoor apparel, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, travel gear and child carriers.

The NorthFace – The North Face provides an extensive line of performance clothing, equipment and footwear.

Patagonia – Patagonia is world famous for its quality clothing and gear. MeaningfulTrip loves Patagonia for their environmentalism and their 1% for the planet program.

Salomon – Find out why their boots are the best in the business.

Teva Footwear – Teva Footwear. Buy your Tevas direct from Teva.com. Select from over 100 models.

Books & Maps

Lonely Planet – With content sections labeled The Thorn Tree, World Guide, On the Road, and The Scoop, you know Lonely Planet’s site is much more than just their terrific guidebooks.

Maps – An online World Atlas which covers 7 continents, 12 regions, 190 countries, and 50 US States.
Activity Levels and Qualifications

Activity Levels

Easy
All welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace. May include driving of 3 – 4 hours on some days. Activity: easy walking and light hiking, 1 – 3 hours, at low elevation. May include less demanding, half-day trips that may include: bicycling, sea kayaking, or rafting (Class I-II rapids), and these activities are optional. Minimum Age: 16* (see note below).

Moderate
Recommended for fit travelers with a spirit of adventure. Travel at a moderate pace. Activity: moderate walking and hiking, 3 – 4 hours daily, at elevations which may range from 5,000 – 10,000 feet. May include less demanding half-day or day-trips that may include: bicycling, sea kayaking, or rafting (Class I-II rapids), and these activities are optional. May include driving of 3 – 4 hours on some days.

Minimum Age: 16* (see below).

Vigorous
Recommended for fit travelers. Moderate hiking experience and conditioning are required. Activity: 5 – 8 hours trekking daily at high elevation, while carrying your own small daypack (water, essentials and warm layers). Surfaces: mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails. Elevations: will range from 6,000 – 14,000 feet. It is important that you read our information about Altitude Mountain Sickness. A doctor’s release is required for persons age 60 or older. Minimum Age: 16 (see below).

Strenuous
Designed for very fit travelers. Typically, for extended high-altitude trekking or mountaineering. Activity: 8+ hours/day. Distances: Trek 10 – 12 miles most days. Elevation change: up to 4,000 ft/day. Altitude: may exceed 15,000 ft. Surfaces: remote, mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents, uneven trails with loose features. Experience and conditioning required. A doctor’s release is required for all participants. Minimum age: 18.

Minimum Age

As most of our travelers are adults, our minimum age on all trips is 16 years old (unless on a specifically-designated ‘Private Group Departure’ or ‘Family Departure’). Ages 16 – 20, must be accompanied by an adult.