Discover Turkey

From: $4,799

per person dbl occ

Dates: May-Oct - see all dates

Total Days: 13

Activity Level: 3

Reserve This Trip

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7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

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Price:

2014

REI member: $4,799

Non-member: $5,275

2015

REI member: $4,999

Non-member: $5,500

Additional Fees

2014 Internal flights: $350

2015 Internal flights: $400

Single supplement: $899

Trip Dates:

2014

  • May 11–23
  • Jun 1–13 Sold out
  • Sep 14–26
  • Oct 5–17

2015

  • May 10–22
  • May 31 – Jun 12
  • Sep 6–18
  • Sep 20 – Oct 2
  • Oct 4–16

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-12

Activity Level: 3

Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Sea Kayaking

Accommodations:

Small hotels, 11 nights; Village homestay, 1 night

Trip Highlights

  • Discover Turkey, from the magical landscapes of Cappadocia to vibrant Istanbul
  • Hike the stunning coast, kayak the Kekoya Sound, and snorkel by sunken ruins
  • Visit ancient Ephesus, the lovely Ilhara Valley, and Termessos National Park
  • Enjoy a village homestay and spend each night in small, comfortable hotels

Awash with thousands of years of culture and blessed with a sublime natural beauty, Turkey is a "must-do" adventure destination. Upon arrival in Istanbul we're swept away by the dramatic contrasts of a great city that blends Europe and Asia. A short flight southeast takes us to the epicenter of another world—Cappadocia. Famous for its "fairy chimneys" and complete troglodyte cities, exploring Cappadocia on foot is the best way to go. Don't miss the hike in the lovely Ilhara Valley and its cave churches!

Next, we're off to the glittering Mediterranean coast with a stop in Antalya and a hike on the ancient Lycian Way. Enjoy kayaking in Kekova Sound and snorkeling over the sunken ruins of Aperlai. Board a traditional wooden gullet for a morning of cruising the coastline before heading off to the picturesque town of Dalyan with its Lycian tombs carved into the cliffs. No trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to Ephesus, the best-preserved city from the ancient world.

Join us on this richly-textured cultural journey!

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Tour Istanbul; visit the Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque.
  • Day 2 - Fly to Cappadocia. Hike in Love Valley with whimsical rock formations.
  • Day 3 - Hike in the Red Valley past centuries-old monasteries and churches.
  • Day 4 - Explore subterranean settlements and hike through the Ilhara Valley.
  • Day 5 - Visit the Sultanham Caravanserai, a rest spot on the Silk Road, and Konya.
  • Day 6 - Drive through the Taurus Mountains to the coast. See Aspendos Theatre.
  • Day 7 - Hike in Termessos National Park, with its exquisite ancient ruins.
  • Day 8 - Walk along the Lycian Way to the beachfront village of Olympos.
  • Day 9 - Swap your hiking poles for a paddle and explore the coast by sea kayak.
  • Day 10 - Take a relaxing cruise on a gullet-style boat. Optional afternoon hike.
  • Day 11 - Exploring the amazing ruins of Ephesus, a great archeological treasure.
  • Day 12 - Fly back to Istanbul for an evening cruise and celebration dinner.
  • Day 13 - Our Turkish odyssey concludes in Istanbul this morning.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Tour Istanbul; visit the Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque.

    Our trip begins today in Istanbul,Turkey. We will rendezvous with our guide and other group members in the lobby of our Old Town hotel at 9 a.m. Immediately following introductions and a short orientation we will head out into the bustle of Istanbul. A vibrant city of huge historic significance, Istanbul is often referred to as the bridge between Asia and Europe. Today it is a colorful montage of the modern and ancient woven together and is the cultural hub of Turkey. We take in the lay of the land as we explore some of Istanbul's most famous sites including Hagia Sophia Church (the most renowned Byzantine cathedral), Topkapi Palace (famous for its glittering treasury), and the Blue Mosque (built in the early 1600s and one of the most prominent features of Istanbul). This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner – the first of many delicious meals featuring the aromatic Turkish cuisine. Lunch and dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Fly to Cappadocia. Hike in Love Valley with whimsical rock formations.

    This morning we take a short flight to Cappadocia located in the center of Turkey. This unusual landscape is a geological and historical wonder composed of extensive underground cities (churches, schools, frescos, homes, ventilation systems etc.) carved into eerily eroded volcanic tuff. After checking into our hotel, we walk to Uchisar Castle, an impressive rock formation long use by locals as a castle. It offers a superb panorama of the surrounding area. We continue to hike through the Love Valley, famous for its magical fairy chimneys as well as explore the Goreme Open Air Museum with its excellent examples of Byzantine rural art. We finish the day with a stop at a local carpet factory. Turks started making knotted carpets in the 5th century BC in Central Asia and they have been given as highly prestigious gifts since medieval ages. All meals included.

    Hiking: 2-3 hours; rough terrain.

  • Day 3 - Hike in the Red Valley past centuries-old monasteries and churches.

    We start our day with a hike through the picturesque Red Valley. With its high walls and narrow canyons, it may remind you of the American Southwest. Our hike passes ancient monasteries and churches as we make our way back towards Goreme. This area of Cappadocia is well known for its pottery, and this afternoon we may stop to visit a local studio to learn more about this ancient art. All meals included.

    Hiking: 3-4 hours, rough, rocky terrain.

  • Day 4 - Explore subterranean settlements and hike through the Ilhara Valley.

    Cappadocia has dozens of subterranean towns, but the most impressive are Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. These elaborate settlements are up to eight stories deep (only yet partially excavated) with a tangle of tunnels leading to churches, private living quarters, storage areas, deep water wells, carved chimneys for air shafts and even wine producing chambers. There is one tunnel nearly 6 miles long that connects the two underground cities. Up to 60,000 people lived here for months underground. The determination and motivation behind the creation of these subterranean fortresses is nearly inconceivable. Next, it's off to the beautiful stream-lined canyon of the Ilhara Valley for an afternoon of hiking. This narrow canyon is simply delightful with dozens of hidden, Byzantine churches, along with their original frescos, to explore along the way. After lunch in the valley at a small cafe situated on the banks of the river, we head back on a different track, perhaps stopping to visit a 13th century Caravansarai from the Seljuk period. All meals included.

    Hiking: 3-4 hours + easy walks.

  • Day 5 - Visit the Sultanham Caravanserai, a rest spot on the Silk Road, and Konya.

    Today is a day of cultural delights as we gradually make our way to the mountain village of Urunlu where we will spend the night as guests of a local Turkish family. Our first stop is the amazing Sultanham Caravanserai, a resting point for caravans along the silk and spice road. Be sure to visit the impressive camel stockade! Our next stop is Konya, renowned as the home of Rumi, the great Sufi poet of the 13th century, and the Whirling Dervishes. We continue to the remote mountain village of Urunlu on seldom-used back roads. We spend the night with a family in the village, eating and sleeping in the local tradition. This is a tight-knit community rarely visited by western travelers. Our lodging is simple tonight with our group sharing five bedrooms and a single bathroom, but our hosts are gracious and excellent cooks to boot! It's a very fun experience and a real slice of Turkish culture. All meals included.

  • Day 6 - Drive through the Taurus Mountains to the coast. See Aspendos Theatre.

    In the morning we enjoy breakfast together before bidding our hosts goodbye. Our scenic drive over the Taurus Mountains brings us to the coastal city of Antalya. En-route we stop to see Aspendos Theatre, the best preserved Roman Theatre in the world. Antalya is situated south of the Mid-Taurus mountain range and is the Turkish citrus and cotton capital. The ancient heart of the city, clustered around the old harbor, is where Attalus II, the king of Pergamon, founded a port in 2nd century BC. This district, known as Kaleiçi (meaning 'within the fortress') now is a pretty cove, encircled by low cliffs, which serves as a haven for gullets and fishing boats. Spend the night in old Antalya in one of the boutique hotels. All meals included.

  • Day 7 - Hike in Termessos National Park, with its exquisite ancient ruins.

    This morning we depart for Termessos National Park where we enjoy a hike to the magnificent, ancient Pisidian site at the foot of Güllük Dağı. This is a wild and splendid landscape in a part of the country less visited by foreigners. Termessos is Turkey's "Machu Picchu" containing some fine ruins including a fascinating necropolis and mountain-top Roman theater. We eat a picnic lunch today surrounded by ruins or perhaps from the fire tower that affords sweeping views of the countryside below. We proceed this afternoon to the seaside village of Cirali where we will stay for the next two nights. All meals included.

    Hiking: 3-4 hours; Terrain: steep with roughly 1,000' elevation gain.

  • Day 8 - Walk along the Lycian Way to the beachfront village of Olympos.

    Today we enjoy a lovely hike to Olympos, a village with an incredibly beautiful crescent beach. Our walk follows a section of the Lycian Way – the ancient footpath running along the coast from Anatyla to Fethiye. Lycia is the historical name for the Teke Peninsula, the very fertile bump of land on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast. Walk through fields of poppies and chrysanthemum, orchards of pomegranates, goat pastures and stony graveyards while taking in lovely views of Mt. Olympos. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to take a refreshing dip in some of the clearest water anywhere. Dusk is the perfect time of day for a pre-dinner walk to see the Chimera flames. This is an inextinguishable series of flames that in ancient times were believed to be the breath of a monster and was the origin of the legend of Chimera. All meals included.

    Hiking: 5 hours, roughly 8 miles.

  • Day 9 - Swap your hiking poles for a paddle and explore the coast by sea kayak.

    In the morning we drive to Ucagiz Lagoon for several hours of exploring the coast by sea kayak. Ucagiz is an excellent base to meander the Kekova Sound, the ancient Lycian settlements of Simena and Teimiussa, and the sunken city of Kekova Island. After lunch at a local cafe there is also the option of hiking one hour to swim over the sunken ruins of Aperlai where we can see the foundations of temples, harbor buildings, fragments of columns and lots of pottery under the water. Then it's off to the charming Mediterranean village of Kas for evening. All meals included.

    Sea Kayaking: 3-4 hours, boat supported; hiking: 1 hour.

  • Day 10 - Take a relaxing cruise on a gullet-style boat. Optional afternoon hike.

    An hour drive takes us to Fethiye Harbor where we board a traditional wooden gullet-style boat for a relaxing morning of cruising and swimming. In the afternoon we have the option of hiking to Batik Hamam (Sunken Bath) Cove on the Keci Peninsula. The trail winds through fragrant pine forests and past ancient stone tombs along bluffs that afford spectacular views of the Mediterranean. Tonight is spent in Dalyan - a sleepy town surrounded by green mountains and a beautiful stretch of beach that is the breeding grounds of the loggerhead turtles. Don't miss the impressive Lycian rock tombs carved into the cliffs above the river. All meals included.

    Hiking: 2.5 hours, 6 miles on undulating terrain.

  • Day 11 - Exploring the amazing ruins of Ephesus, a great archeological treasure.

    Today we drive to Ephesus – the best preserved and most impressive classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean (for instance, the Temple of Artemis was four times the size of the Parthenon!). Ephesus was inhabited from the end of the Bronze Age onwards and enjoyed the status of the second largest city in the ancient world after Alexandria. The name of the city is thought to have been derived from "APASAS", meaning the "city of the Mother Goddess." After stopping at the Archeology Museum to learn more about the ongoing excavation of Ephesus, we explore this expansive site at a leisurely pace so that you can truly take a step into the past and soak up the atmosphere of Roman times. This evening we wind our way to a quaint mountain village that is home to abundant flowers, charming shops, and lovely views of the valley below. All meals included.

  • Day 12 - Fly back to Istanbul for an evening cruise and celebration dinner.

    Following a leisurely breakfast in our charming lodgings this morning we catch a noon flight back to Istanbul. We have some free time this afternoon to explore this fascinating city on our own before our evening cruise. We board one of the evening commuter boats on the Bosphorus, the narrow straight that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara and divides Istanbul into the east and west. Upon reaching our restaurant, we'll enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner and toast to a grand adventure. All meals included.

  • Day 13 - Our Turkish odyssey concludes in Istanbul this morning.

    Transfer to the airport on your own anytime today.  

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.  The final hiking selection is left up to the trip leader due to weather and trail conditions.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

All accommodations; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; private transport throughout as outlined in itinerary; boat trips and sea kayaking; entrance fees to museums and archeological sites; bilingual certified leader throughout.

Not Included

Airfare to Istanbul, Turkey; airport transfers upon arrival and departure; two internal flights (mandatory add-on, price subject to change); optional excursions, excess baggage charges; airport taxes; trip cancellation insurance; alcoholic beverages, soft drinks (bottled water provided); gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Moderate [3] and will be enjoyed by anyone who is physically fit and likes to hike.  Prior hiking experience is recommended. The hikes vary from 2 to 8 miles with negligible elevation gains.  Walking, jogging, and hiking to condition are highly recommended.  Try to include some hill hikes as well.  We do several hours of sea-kayaking in a protected bay – no experience is needed.

Weather

Spring and autumn are generally considered the best times to visit Turkey. Along the coast, daytime temperatures in May and June range up to 80°, with nights in the 60s. It is usually five to ten degrees warmer in September and October. Inland, it’s about 10 degrees cooler than the coast.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Discover Turkey Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering.  To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection.  This gear list has been created to help you choose equipment for the trip.  Try to bring only what is necessary - this will help you and the field staff. 

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Kayak & related safety gear
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
Luggage
  • Duffel bag or rolling soft-sided luggage
  • Daypack to carry camera, water bottle, snacks, etc.
  • Security wallet or money belt
  • Luggage lock and luggage tags
Outerwear
  • Midweight polar fleece sweater
  • Lightweight waterproof/windproof jacket
Footwear
  • Lightweight hiking shoes with good tread & supportive soles and good lateral support
  • Casual, comfortable shoes for evening / town
  • Watersport sandals
  • Shower shoes / flip-flops
Clothing
  • Bring a few lightweight, casual, easily washable items for city wear
  • Hiking shorts – several pair
  • T-shirts, at least two synthetic
  • Long-sleeve shirt, lightweight & quick drying for sun protection
  • Hiking pants, loose and easy to move in (zip-off legs are great!)
  • Hiking socks and liner socks (if needed to avoid blisters)
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit
  • Scarf (for women visiting mosques and churches)
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat
  • Swimsuit cover up
  • Bandana
Accessories
  • Sunscreen and lip protection with high level of SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Two 1-quart water bottles or hydration system
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Toiletry kit (soap, toothbrush, toilet articles, etc.)
  • Beach towel or sarong
  • Ear plugs
Optional Field Gear
  • Trekking poles or walking stick
  • Camera and memory cards/film
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Electrical adapter plug / converter
  • Watch with alarm or travel alarm
  • Travel pillow
  • Mask and snorkel

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Please note there is a 20 kg (approximately 44 pounds) per person baggage weight limit on domestic flights within Turkey.
  • Most Turks are Muslim, but Turkish society is modern and predominantly secular so European dress styles prevail in major cities like Istanbul and seaside resorts. While traveling in the Turkish countryside though, a degree of modesty is expected from both men and women.  Women are advised to keep their shoulders and upper arms covered and wear long skirts or loose-fitting pants.  Men should also refrain from wearing clothing that bares too much of their body.  When hiking in the countryside and kayaking or swimming along the coast, clothing appropriate for the activity is fine (i.e. shorts, swimwear, and T-shirts).
  • When visiting mosques and churches in Turkey, it is necessary to reasonably cover your arms and legs. Beachwear, tank tops, and short shorts are not appropriate attire when entering mosques or churches.  You will need to remove your shoes and women should expect to cover their heads with a scarf when entering mosques.
  • Sarongs make excellent lightweight, quick-drying and compact travel and beach towels. Another good option is the REI MultiTowel Lite (available in various sizes) or similar. See www.rei.com for details.
  • Laundry facilities are not always available during this trip. We suggest hand washing quick-drying clothing items in your hotel room. Bringing a “travel clothes-line” might be useful.
  • Always test your clothing layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding.
  • Make sure your hiking shoes/boots are broken-in and bring moleskin, Second Skin® or Blister Block® for foot treatment. Thin liner socks made of silk or synthetic fabrics worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresDiscover Turkey
 
4.7

(based on 12 reviews)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Food (12)
  • Guides (11)
  • Well organized itinerary (11)
  • Activity level (10)
  • Group camaraderie (10)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Avid adventurer (10)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • I liked the itinerary (12), Active adventures (10), Destination (10), Travel with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts (8), All the details planned for me (7)

      Reviewed by 12 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-10

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      5.0

      You will love this trip

      By SaraJill

      from San Francisco

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Pros

      • Activity Level
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food
      • Group Camaraderie
      • Guides
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

          I can't say enough about this trip. It hit so many wonderful highlights of the country.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • Turkey has everything you could possibly want: beautiful scenery, culture, amazing food, adventure. REI made it so easy to enjoy so much of what the country has to offer.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • It's so hard to pick just one. Perhaps the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia?
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Give yourself an extra day or so in Istanbul at the end of the trip.
           
          5.0

          Great Trip

          By Eugene the cameraman

          from Paris, France

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Site Member

          Pros

          • Accommodations
          • Activity Level
          • Food
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

              Teoman, our guide, was great. He was particularly great at choosing a good variety of restaurants and ordering communal meals that we all enjoyed.

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • Wanted to see as much of Turkey as possible in 2 weeks
              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
              • The ruins of the ancient theatre at the top of Termessos
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • Go

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Walking Into History

              By BHal

              from Houston, TX

              About Me Avid Adventurer

              Pros

              • Accommodations
              • Activity Level
              • Exceeded Expectations
              • Food
              • Group Camaraderie
              • Guides
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
              • Quality Equipment Provided
              • Well Organized Itinerary

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                  There is some down time, but if you like activity and a lot stimulation this is the trip for you. Personally I just loved it.
                  Our REI tour guide, Deniz, did a very good job of helping our group understand the historical evolution of Turkish culture. For me this was important.
                  Travel in a foreign country always involves compromise and adaptation. REI did a very good job of facilitating both.
                  I'm already looking forward to my next REI trip!

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • I wanted to visit Turkey and my previous experience with REI Adventures in Peru had been excellent.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • It's hard for me to single out one experience. I loved the hiking in Cappadocia and the Olympus Bey National Park. On the otherhand seeing all the historical sites was such a treat. Of course the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful. It's not on the REI agenda, but if you like art and have extra time in Istanbul, don't miss the "Istanbul Modern" art museum.
                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                  • Turkey is such a wonderful country. Unfortunately many Americans have negative, preconcieved ideas that are probably reinforced by the news media. If you want to experience the historical richness of Turkey and enjoy it's natural beauty then REI is the way to go.

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Turkey is not to be missed

                  By wildTurkey

                  from Chicago, Illinois

                  About Me Casual Adventurer

                  Pros

                  • Activity Level
                  • Exceeded Expectations
                  • Food
                  • Group Camaraderie
                  • Guides
                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                      Our guide was outstanding at selecting quality restaurants and avoiding the tourist traps. Our fellow travelers were a real asset - great comraderie. The accomodations were not the best, but they were all at least adequate and many of the destinations didn't allow for plush rooms. We spent so little time in the room, that it didn't matter.

                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                      • I Liked the Itinerary
                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                      • Turkey was high on our list, and the REI itinerary was more appealing than the other 6 or 7 I considered.
                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                      • The itinerary: it brought us to one highlight after another. There were no down times or destinations.
                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                      • This was a terrific itinerary for a first-time visitor to Turkey. The country far exceeded our expectations and I think a lot of that is attribuatble to our outstanding guide.

                      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      An amazing experience

                      By LGR

                      from New York, NY

                      About Me First-Time Adventurer

                      Pros

                      • Food
                      • Guides
                      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                          The hotel in Istanbul wasn't great. I wouldn't recommend staying there before or after the tour. Several people in our group who had booked rooms there for the days before the tour were moved to a horrible hotel down the street and still had to pay the cost of the hotel. The other hotels were basic, but clean. The home stay night was a great experience, but I don't think anyone in our group got much sleep that night. You are sleeping in "bedrooms" that aren't much more than a sheet hanging from the ceiling so you hear EVERYTHING.

                          The food everywhere was amazing and we were taken to restaurants "off the beaten path". I have never had such fresh fruits and vegetables and fish in my life. We always had the option of asking for more food (most was served family style) and there were snacks of nuts and dried fruits on the bus.

                          Our guide was an expert in history and antiquities and really made the trip. He was open to all of our questions about Turkish people, politics, religion, etc., which I think we all appreciated because we wanted to understand the people and the country. He provided us with a reading list at the end of the trip so that we could learn more about the various sites we visited.

                          I would have liked some of the hikes to be longer or more challenging, but they were good for the majority of our group. I think I would have rated the activity level a 2, but I can see others in the group rating it a 3.

                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                          • All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                          • The itinerary - seeing so much of Turkey, including interaction with the local people. Also, having everything planned for me was a big draw.
                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                          • Sea-kayaking and swimming in the Mediterranean. I also really enjoyed all of the restaurants that our guide, Salih, took us to. He ordered the local specialties for us and we had the freshest, most amazing food every day. The interaction with the family we stayed with, playing games in the village tea shop and the Shepard's hut where we had tea.
                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                          • Be prepared to hike on rocky, steep and sometimes slippery trails. Not all of the hikes were on well-defined, clear paths so there was some pushing through branches. I would recommend that anyone unsure about their footing bring hiking poles to use. None of the hikes were extremely challenging to those in our group who were very active at home or who had lots of hiking experience. Bring a towel and water shoes to use on the beach and when cruising on the boat. You don't need to bring a water bottle since an endless supply of bottled water is provided. Also, it is important to be flexible and open to trying new things, foods, etc. The days are packed with activities and a little long, but I really enjoyed everything we did, so I wouldn't change that at all.

                          (6 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          3.0

                          Needs Improvement

                          By BJG

                          from Alberta, Canada

                          About Me Avid Adventurer

                          Pros

                          • Excellent destination
                          • Food
                          • Group Camaraderie
                          • Safe reliable transport

                          Cons

                          • Accommodations
                          • Activity Level
                          • Fell Short of Expectations
                          • Guides

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                            See above.

                            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                            • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                            • Why did you choose this trip?:
                            • The trip was guaranteed to run, the dates fit my needs, it was an active holiday and Turkey is a great destination.
                            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                            • The museum in Anatalya, the Turkish people, the other travellers, the antiquities, the landscape...all were wonderful.The food was consistently VERY good to excellent and Denis is to be commended on restaurant choices.
                            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                            • I felt this trip did not offer good value for the cost. Some of the accomodations were cramped rooms and several were not clean. I expected more for more than $400+ a day. The expensive balloon ride was great but it was not in the budget or itinerary and I had already paid REI for that 1/2 day of touring.The guide said it was not to be missed. REI should not charge the customer for that 1/2 day. The visit to the VERY EXPENSIVE pottery barn was NOT a treat. I also did not enjoy the heavy pressure to buy a rug at the huge rug shop. I think the guide probably gets a cut on the rug purchases. He did not deny this and I do not think it should be allowed. The guide's commentary on culture and antiquities was poor, not his strength.The activity level did not meet expectations. The hikes were abreviated and one day was cancelled. As one person put it, Level II hiking and LEVEL 5 eating! My advice is that there are many other active travel companies that give much better value for the dollar. Shop around!
                             
                            5.0

                            Adventure travel doesn't get any better.

                            By Atlanta Traveler

                            from Atlanta, Georgia

                            About Me Avid Adventurer

                            Pros

                            • Accommodations
                            • Activity Level
                            • Exceeded Expectations
                            • Food
                            • Group Camaraderie
                            • Guides
                            • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                            • Well Organized Itinerary

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                                Thoughtful planning with seamless execution. This was a rich trip: great culture, varied activities and fantastic food... it was all there. It was the most delicious trip that I have ever taken! Our guide, [...], was extraordinary; he is, quite literally, a guide's guide. Do not hesitate to go!

                                • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                 
                                5.0

                                Extraordinary!

                                By Margaret P

                                from White Plains, NY

                                About Me Avid Adventurer

                                Site Member

                                Pros

                                • Activity Level
                                • Exceeded Expectations
                                • Food
                                • Guides
                                • Well Organized Itinerary

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                    Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                                    Our guide, Salih, was extraordinary.

                                    • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                    • Active Adventures, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                    • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                    • We wanted to explore, as close as possible, another part of the non-European world, and the idea of hiking out in the countryside was tremendously appealing.
                                    • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                    • Having a guide who was so knowledgeable about the history and culture of the country that it all came alive as we traveled. He was able to plan our having food or accommodations with some of the families in the countryside - this was truly memorable.
                                    • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                    • Come prepared to taste fabulous food and see wonderous sites. If you can, do hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia.
                                     
                                    5.0

                                    I'd go back in a second.

                                    By christopherson

                                    from Kalispell, MT

                                    About Me Avid Adventurer

                                    Pros

                                    • Accommodations
                                    • Activity Level
                                    • Exceeded Expectations
                                    • Food
                                    • Group Camaraderie
                                    • Guides
                                    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                    • Quality Equipment Provided
                                    • Well Organized Itinerary

                                    Cons

                                      Best Uses

                                        Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                                        Guide was just right combination of serious, humorous, cynical, accommodating, fun. Small group absolutely jelled in every way, made friends I will never lose. Country was diverse and beautiful with all layers of history evident. Enjoyed "off the beaten path" opportunities. People of Turkey were unfailingly friendly, generous, genuine. My best trip ever!

                                        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                        • Active Adventures, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                        • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                        • Sounded interesting - had a friend hoping to go.
                                        • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                        • The diversity of the country and hiking out in it nearly everyday.
                                        • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                        • Bring a good camera; go for every suggestion of an experience.

                                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                         
                                        4.0

                                        Great itinerary, great guide.

                                        By Roaming Not Lost

                                        from Philadelphia, PA

                                        About Me Avid Adventurer

                                        Pros

                                        • Activity Level
                                        • Food
                                        • Group Camaraderie
                                        • Guides
                                        • Well Organized Itinerary

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                            Comments about REI Adventures Discover Turkey:

                                            A great trip as already noted. But, in the spirit of continuous improvement I offer the following:
                                            1. The trip borders on being over-programmed. Every day from an early breakfast to a late dinner is fully planned and committed. No time is allowed for independent exploration or, God forbid, a nap.
                                            2. Our guide was very competent and most enjoyable to be with. However, I would encourage him to tell us more about life in his country, its politics, religion, history, etc.

                                            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                            • Active Adventures, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
                                            • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                            • Opportunity to see Turkey via a land based trip. Extensive itinerary and diversity of activities offered.
                                            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                            • Cappadocia: visit to underground cities, hiking gorges and hot air ballooning.
                                            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                            • Do the trip early in the season if you like wild flowers, late in the season if you like swimming. Later trips could be pretty hot for hiking. Be aware that you will be offered some fairly expensive options: hot air ballooning and "Turkish Night". The ballooning is awesome and worth 140 Euros/person. The "Turkish Night" is very touristy and I would have preferred a dinner on my own.

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