Turkey's architectural wonders compel and confound, but the country's heart lies in its villages and traditions. Step far off the beaten track as you’re invited by host families to experience the real culture of Turkey. Homestays, tiny villages, home-cooked banquets, hidden histories; this vacation reveals an unforgettable warmth that matches Turkey's beautiful landscapes and exotic grandeur.
Istanbul – Soaking up Ottoman Charms
Istanbul's Ottoman treasures aren't restricted to its renowned wonders. Ornate sculpted stone lines streets of cobblestone and intrigue. Mosques are camouflaged within bustling markets of rainbow colors. Juice vendors squash fruit beneath the domes of history. And your hotel radiates the opulence of the Ottoman Empire. Each corridor is lined with antiques and an intricately carved four poster bed dominates your room. Gaze across the rooftops from the window and absorb the skyline. Then head out onto the streets and find something to admire with every footstep. Settling into Istanbul's beauty comes naturally but let's quickly rewind to earlier in the day. You're picked up from the airport by a luxury chauffeur and transferred to the Ottoman-style hotel in central Sultanahmet. Relax and settle in. The hotel's prime location enables easy wanderings through pedestrianized streets with 2,000 years of history.
Istanbul – Exploring the Hypnotic History and Culture of Istanbul
Sapanca – Warm Welcomes to Your First Homestay Experience
Abant – Hidden Historical Sites in Unexplored Turkey
Ankara – Relaxing With Villagers and Onwards to Ankara
Cappadocia – Anatolian Civilizations and Exploring the Moon
Cappadocia – Dramatically Carved Churches and Vast Underground Cities
Cappadocia – Beautiful Villages and Decorated History
Cappadocia – Stunning Hot Air Balloon Flight and Early Religious Memoirs
Istanbul – A Sensual Indulgence in an Exotic City
Istanbul – Farewell to the Culture of Turkey
- Spend seven nights in local village homestays and enjoy the fabulous hospitality provided by host families
- Discover off-the-beaten-track Turkey on a winding journey through traditional villages and hidden historical sites
- Experience the authentic culture of the country with intimate stops to drink tea with villagers, hang out with families, and explore lifestyles unchanged for centuries
- Start and end the vacation in Istanbul, where exotic treasures paint a picture of old-world charm and architectural indulgence
- Fully explore Cappadocia's magnificent landscapes with four days of hot air ballooning, easy hiking, underground cities, and troglodyte caves
- Taste the splendor of home cooking as your meals are freshly prepared from recipes passed down through the generations
- The itinerary is sprinkled with sublime and unique experiences, including a therapeutic hamam experience and ongoing opportunities to get involved with village life
On the surface, Turkey is a country of lavish splendor and ancient grandeur. But delve beneath this rich exterior and the country's heart lies in the enchanting traditions of its villages and local lifestyles. Life continues as it has for many centuries; floral dressed women natter on village benches, families spend hours over lunchtime, and an endearing hospitality has survived in the modern world. This village-based itinerary seems to take you back in time, immersing you in the culture and charms of an ancient era. Sleep in quaint homestays and spend evenings with local families. Enjoy whole days soaking up the rhythm of villages clinging to mountaintops. Sit down to vast mezes, the dishes spread across an intricate tablecloth and washed down with sweet cups of tea. Including seven nights spent in authentic and intimate homestays, this vacation uncovers the heart and soul of Turkey, taking you on a journey to a bygone time when hospitality was the marker of social wealth.
Of course, no visit to Turkey would be complete without historical musings and architectural wonder. This trip starts and ends in Istanbul, a city of treasures dating to Roman and Ottoman times. Exotic markets unfurl mountains of color, hypnotic mosques cast serene hues across ornate interiors, and every narrow street reveals another boutique relic. From Istanbul you head into off the beaten track Turkey, a beautiful drive weaving east to your first host family. Village experiences are interspersed with rarely seen historical sites as you head towards Ankara. Expect to drink tea with the locals, explore villages that rarely see tourists, and absorb the irrefutable hospitality of the region. You're intrigued and fascinated, but the locals are equally curious of you. Questions are asked, photos are taken, and cultures come together on the beautiful valleys of central Turkey.
On day six you head further east to the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia. While this region of bizarre geology is one of Turkey's most celebrated destinations, you discover a new angle by spending four nights at a traditional village homestay. Spend the days touring the rock-carved churches and ethereal landscapes, each valley subtly completing the impression of being transported to a mythical world. A hot air balloon flight amplifies the metaphorical journey but the host family helps keep you grounded. Dinners are to be savored, enjoyed over a couple of hours as the sun cast new tones across Cappadocia. Bonds are forged and stories shared. This is not merely an invite. Like all the homestays, it's a family opening their home and receiving guests in a time honored tradition. Return to Istanbul on day 10 where a 16th century hamam offers a salubrious final memory of the country.
$3,713 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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