trip
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16 Days$6120USD

Activities
  • Day walks
  • Shopping
  • Hamman
  • Culinary
Accommodation
  • 15 nights in boutique & traditional hotels
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 3 Lunches
  • 15 Breakfasts
2
Adventure touring
 
 

Trip highlights


  • Escorted by Turkish-Australian journalist, author and food enthusiast, Dilvin Yasa
  • Quintessential Istanbul experiences, including a scenic Bosphorus boat tour
  • Cappadocia's dramatic moonscapes
  • A private cruise off the gin-clear waters of Kas
  • A Turkish bath in one of the country's most historic hamams
  • Home cooking class and lunch in Goreme
  • Handpicked restaurants rooted in Turkish customs and culture
  • Exploration of the ruins of Ephesus
  • Belly dancing class, fortune telling and sunrise yoga
  • Shop the 400-year-old covered markets of Izmir
  • Swim in the mineral rich thermal waters of Pamukkale
  • Insider knowledge on the best restaurants, bars and shops

A 16 day women’s wellness journey that serves up some of the country’s top experiences, hot air ballooning in Goreme, a cruise to Kekova and a dip in the thermal baths of Pamukkale, alongside traditional wellness practises, atmospheric dining experiences and hands-on-lessons. It’s a hamam with rose water therapies following a private Bosphorus cruise and Turkish coffee fortune teller reading our cups in the winding back streets of old Pera. It’s learning belly dancing, swimming in the waters of the Mediterranean and of course, eating our way around each destination, be it street foods or local lokanta serving ‘ev yemekleri’ (house foods) focusing on produce central to that region.

Trip Code: DILV

Welcome to Istanbul, an exotic metropolis where silver-tipped minarets piece the sky, opulent domes shimmer in the sun, and a labyrinth of bazaars battle for your attention with the likes of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Galata Tower. Located across two continents and the capital of both the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires, our introduction to the city will begin with a side of time travel as we check into a hotel that is one of the last surviving examples of 19th century grandeur, and enjoy a welcome dinner above the twinkling lights of the Golden Horn. Overnight: Londra Hotel, Istanbul (or similar)

Meals:  Nil

There’s no better way to get a sense of Istanbul’s colourful history than by visiting Dolmabahçe Palace, a historic - and oh-so-opulent - symbol of the Ottoman Empire which served as the official residence of six sultans and a Caliph. After a traditional Turkish breakfast, we take to the palace’s gilded halls to drink in the ornate architecture, before travelling to the quaint seaside village of Ortaköy nearby. Here, where the waterfront is bustling with tea gardens and quirky boutiques, we’ll board a Bosphorus cruise to make the most of the jumble of majestic palaces, ancient fortresses and historic Ottoman mansions which line the shore. Street foods sampled (all that cheesy gözleme and gooey lokma isn’t going to eat itself), it’s an evening of leisure. Will you shop Istiklal Caddesi, the iconic pedestrianised strip, or a cocktail or two at one of the city’s celebrated rooftop bars? Why not both? Overnight: Londra Hotel, Istanbul

Meals:  B

What does it mean to live like a Turk? Today we immerse ourselves in the rituals that have played an important role in the development of the national psyche, beginning with a soothing hamam (Turkish bath) in one of the country’s most historic hamams. Book in for an additional full-body treatment or a cheeky foot massage and marvel at the wonder of 700 years of history surrounding you. We experience the traditional Turkish art of coffee cup fortune telling this afternoon with a private reading, while a twilight walk around Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque beckon. Of course food - whether it’s the preparation, the consumption, or just much daydreaming - is central to every Turk’s life, and tonight we pay our respects by dining at a restaurant specialising in recreating centuries-old Ottoman dishes, each one fit for a sultan. Overnight: Londra Hotel, Istanbul

Meals:  B,D

Have you arrived in Cappadocia or another planet? With its dreamy moonscape teeming with whimsical fairy chimneys, ancient cave dwellings and underground city complexes and yes, more than a few hot air balloons, Cappadocia is a sight to behold and every nature lover’s dream. An early morning flight into the Anatolian heartland, volcanic rock sculpted by erosion over thousands of years, will leave you champing at the bit to explore.Göreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to clusters of ancient rock-hewn churches, chapels and monasteries, provides the perfect introduction. It’s imperative that we work up an appetite; tonight, we’ll feast on a menu of local dishes true to the Cappadocia region, each one lovingly prepared by the local women of Goreme. Overnight: Empire Hotel, Goreme (or similar) NOTE: Internal flights are required for the tour and not included in the price. We will nominate the group flights and we can book these for you. Please allow approx USD350 total for the 3 flights: Istanbul to Kayseri, Kayseri to Antalya and Izmir to Istanbul.

Meals:  B,D

Embracing sunrise from the basket of a hot air balloon floating across the dramatic Anatollian landscape or putting your best foot forward in a glamorous flying dress shoot, all options are on the table this morning (even the rarely talked about ‘sleeping in’ option). There will be much to catch up on during our Love Valley hike later on, a surreal world of towering rock formations carved by nature into whimsical - and somewhat phallic - shapes. This afternoon we’ll roll up our sleeves with a home cooking class run by a local family who have transformed their stone arch house into a cooking school, and for those keen to immortalise their time here, finish up with a photo shoot in an atmospheric, and generations-old carpet gallery. Your evening is at leisure. Another chance to experience the life of a star, with the drone Turkish carpet photo shoot at Galeri Ikman (optional, approx 30 Euros). Overnight: Empire Hotel, Goreme

Meals:  B,L

Belly dancing - the mystical realm of fluid movements, rhythms, mesmerising self-expression, and let’s face it, as sexy as hell. Before our evening dance workshop, we’ll limber up with an exploratory (and ridiculously scenic) morning hike through the blush-hued rock formations of The Red and Rose Valleys. Of course, with its centuries-old underground citadels, Cappadocia is just as fascinated deep below the earth - a fact that will have us oohing and ahhing as we walk (and at times, crawl) through the maze of tunnels and rooms of Kaymakli - once home for up to 3,500 people. As for that belly dancing workshop, what better way to wind down the day than by awakening our feminine energy? Overnight: Empire Hotel, Goreme

Meals:  B

Say hello to the Turquoise Riviera, a sparkling Mediterranean town with a yacht-filled harbour, gin-clear beaches flanked by beach clubs and largely surrounded by fragrant pine forests and olive and citrus groves. After an early morning flight, we have a solid amount of leisure time to soak up the local atmosphere. Our hotel is located only 100 metres from the beach so downtime options include soaking in those rays (not to mention a cocktail or two) at Mermerli Beach where the conditions are perfect for snorkelling, exploring the winding cobblestone streets that make up the historic Kaleiçi Quarter and checking out the Ancient City Walls and Hadrian’s Gate - built in honour of Hadrian when he visited the city in 130A.D. Overnight: Dogan Hotel, Antalya (or similar)

Meals:  B

Strap on your hiking boots; it’s time to explore one of the best preserved, yet most untouched ancient cities in Turkey. Located 30 km km northwest of Antalya and over 1,000 metres above sea level, discovering Termessos - largely protected by dense pine forests and crumbling stone walls - isn’t for the faint-hearted (or those short on snacks or water); but those who commit to making it all the way up to the amphitheatre will be rewarded with views across the Taurus Mountains. A picnic basket bursting with fresh local produce will be enjoyed by the tumbling cascade of Duden Waterfalls, giving us time to recover - then recharge our energy for a lively evening at a traditional meyhane. Expect endless platters of hot and cold mezze, strong pours of potent raki (the national drink) and live music - essential for for post-raki warbling Overnight: Dogan Hotel, Antalya

Meals:  B,D

A visit to one of the country’s most important museums, plus a curious lunch stop (own expense) at the ultimate farm-to-table experience provides a perfect start to our day as we travel further west along the Mediterranean coastline towards the charming bougainvillaea-clad seaside village of Kas. This afternoon, you’ll have a chance to shop along its sun-dappled cobblestone streets, make the most of its sparkling azure waters via a sunbed or kayak, and enjoy a refreshing drink as we take in the sunset with the local feline residents in the town’s 1st century amphitheatre. Those cats are really in the know… Overnight: Belinda Hotel, Kas (or similar)

Meals:  B

What better place to salute the sun than in an ancient amphitheatre by the sea? We begin our day with an early morning yoga class in the most spectacular of settings before we immerse ourselves in the heady world of local boating life with a day-long cruise around Kevola Island where turquoise waters embrace ancient Lycian ruins submerged just beneath the surface. Taking pause at a variety of picturesque spots to swim, float and snorkel these waters, a multicourse barbeque lunch on deck is the ultimate cherry on top of our sundae. Will endless tea be on offer as we enjoy our cruise? Always. Back in port, an evening of leisure awaits. Overnight: Belinda Hotel, Kas

Meals:  B,L

Behold a crystalline world where milky blue, mineral-rich waters cascade down travertine terraces. For centuries, millions have flocked to the mineral-rich thermal waters of Pamukkale (Turkish for ‘cotton castle’) seeking to heal a host of ailments. Today, we too will embrace its health-giving powers before comparing bathtime notes with a dip in Hierapolis’ Cleopatra Antique Pool where the Queen used to bathe. Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city - founded around 190 B.C - isn’t all about baths of course; we’ll explore its many ruins by golf cart. All this bath talk got you thinking about Turkish towels? We’re right near Denizli, the heartland of the country’s booming textiles business. You can’t say your suitcase wasn’t warned… Today lunch, dinner and your chosen spa treatments are at own expense. Overnight: Melrose Hotel, Pamukkale (or similar)

Meals:  B

You’ve bathed like Cleopatra, now spend a morning following in her footsteps through the ancient Roman city of Ephesus where she and Mark Antony visited to get away from the stresses of running a kingdom (modern women can relate). Roman architecture, Greek and Byzantine monuments and the immersive Ephesus Experience Museum; it’s enough to make you ravenous but don’t worry - lunch in an eatery which has been providing employment opportunities for local women for generations, will nourish both the body and soul. Come sundown, you’ll have the option to visit the Virgin Mary’s House and Basilica of Saint John in Selçuk, or should you prefer, relax by the pool of the family run hotel. Overnight: Hotel Kalehan, Selcuk (or similar)

Meals:  B,L

How can you go past a town which was once called Çirkince (ugly) to deceive people and deter them from visiting and discovering just how gorgeous it really is? Surrounded by vineyards, olive orchards and trees heavy with figs, walnuts and peaches, we pop in at the quaint village now aptly titled Sirince (cute) to sample its famous mulberry wines, then recharge at an atmospheric tea garden. Animals are central to both the Turkish way of life, and play an important role in our own wellness, so this afternoon we’ll stop by one of the country’s largest animal sanctuaries to lend a helping hand. Our final destination for the day? The northern Aegean town of Ayvalik, where we’ll stay in a renovated Greek home located on an atmospheric island. Overnight: Lunaria Guesthouse, Ayvalik (or similar)

Meals:  B

A rising tide lifts all boats - or so the saying goes - and what better way to get a handle on that aphorism than by meeting some of Ayvalik’s powerhouses, each one moving mountains to create career opportunities for Turkish women? Social enterprises is just one part of our day in Ayvalik’s old town, a winding maze of cobblestone streets teeming with restored stone houses, cafes, boutiques and boutique hotels showcased in vibrant pops of colour, and a converted Greek Orthodox Churches (we’ll touch on that history too). A harbourside tea garden with an Ayvalik toast (a local specialty) sounds the starting gun for our day, but an afternoon in the teaching kitchen of one of Turkey’s most celebrated chefs serves as the finish line. That said, an evening at leisure provides the perfect opportunity to have a drink at one of the many tavernas that dot the island… Overnight: Lunaria Guesthouse, Ayvalik (or similar)

Meals:  B

The bustling port city of Izmir, a melting pot of citizens which have - at one time or another -included ancient Assyrians, Jewish and Levantine communities, Greeks and Romans, Persians, Ottomans and more - welcomes you. It welcomes you, but probably not as much as you’ll welcome the chance to shop Kemeralti Market, a labyrinth bazaar loaded with last-minute treasures, artisans’ workshops and coffee houses, dating back to the 17th century. Sampling the city’s interesting take on Turkish coffee is a must - not only for Izmir, but before our fight back to Istanbul where we will enjoy our special final dinner. Overnight: Londra Hotel, Istanbul (or similar)

Meals:  B,D

The tour concludes, but for those who’ve formed tight bonds over the past couple of weeks, remember that this isn’t farewell, but see you soon (hopefully someplace else in always spectacular Türkiye!

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • Escorted by Dilvin Yasa
  • 15 nights accommodation on a twinshare basis
  • Expert English speaking guide throughout
  • 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Home cooking class in Goreme
  • Private boat cruise through the Kekova Islands including lunch
  • Coffee fortune telling session
  • Entrance fees: Ephesus, Goreme Open Air Museum, Dolmabahce Palace, ruins of Heirapolis, Termessos, Kaymakli underground city and the Duden waterfalls
  • Bosphorus cruise sightseeing in Istanbul
  • Belly dancing workshop in Goreme
  • A tour of Cleopatra’s Pool and the ruins of Hierapolis by golf cart
  • Animal sanctuary visit
  • Wine tasting
  • Meeting with social empowerment organisation
  • Private transportation throughout

  • International airfares
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory
  • Internal flights required for the tour, we will nominate the group flights and can book these for all travellers. Please allow approx USD350 total for the 3 flights: Istanbul to Kayseri, Kayseri to Antalya and Izmir to Istanbul.
  • Airport transfers
  • Optional activities including spa treatments
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Visa
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as beverages, phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips

Accommodation


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Priceper person from

$6120USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single supplement (DILV)USD$950
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Wellness, Wine & Wisdom - A women's tour in Turkey with Dilvin Yasa trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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