• Best Time to Visit

    April to September

  • Duration

    12 days

  • Theme

    Beaches, Food & Shopping, History & Architecture, Nature & Landscape

  • Accommodations

    Luxury and High-end boutique hotels


From minaret-studded skylines and monumental edifices to dramatically sculpted rocky valleys and endless sparkling turquoise coastlines, Turkey is a smorgasbord of eye-popping wonders. Exquisite crafts, ancient empires, rich lineage and delectable cuisine come together in a unique cornucopia of offerings in an extraordinary country, that truly epitomizes a melting pot of eastern and western cultures, like no other can. Journey to the land of the Bosphorus, Bazaars and Baklava!



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Kickstart the Istanbul itinerary at the old quarter of Galata, where neoclassical architecture defines the atmosphere around the medieval Galata Tower and ascend to the top for an epic cityscape. Set the mood right in the pedestrian shopping mecca, Istiklal Avenue lined with Art Nouveau buildings all the way to the epicentre of the area, Taksim Square. Satisfy literary urges at The Museum of Innocence displaying collectables of author, Orhan Pamuk, and dance the evening away at a hip bar in the trendy neighbourhood of Cihangir. Molecular cocktails, impeccable world cuisine and the best views in town are assured when you book a table at the Vogue Restaurant.


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Brace for the most spectacular sights in Sultanhmet, the historic heart of Istanbul. Pay homage to the grandeur of the Hagia Sofia and drool over Byzantine art in the monumental interiors. Tour the exotic harem at the lavish Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman imperials over four centuries. Locate the upside-down head of Medusa at subterranean Basilica Cistern and gasp over intricate Iznik tile-work draping the Blue Mosque interiors. After a sumptuous Middle-Eastern lunch, hunt for artisanal wares at the Grand Bazaar and haggle with shopkeepers at Spice Market. Remember to taste some crimson-coloured cay at a local coffeehouse.


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Pick up therapeutic marbling art skills with a trained master in an Ebru Art workshop and take your own creation home, as a souvenir. Later, be blown away by extravagance during a private tour of the sea-facing Dolmabahce Palace, the European-styled royal residence of the Ottoman imperials. Glide over the brilliant blue waters of the Bosphorus in your own yacht. Stare at Pasha villas and the Mehmet II's hilltop Rumeli Fortress from your sunny deck as you are served a lavish lunch onboard. Head towards the Princes Islands and alight at Buyukada, where aristocratic mansions and horse-drawn carriages whisk you away into a bygone era.


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Feel the verve of the underrated Asian side at modish Kadikoy, as you bar-hop in Moda, explore mosques of Uskudar, and delve into Jewish architecture in Kuzguncuk. Learn to cook a Turkish meal at a local host’s mansion or take a gastronomic journey with a food walking tour, savouring local classics along with sherbet, ayran and raki. Surrender to ultimate indulgence with a complete afternoon in a luxurious Hammam. Later, rediscover your spiritual side with an authentic Mevlevi Sema Ceremony by the Whirling Dervishes at the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre. Dubb Indian Restaurant makes an ideal choice for some lip-smacking culinary fare.


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Search for the soul of Cappadocia in Cavusin’s fresco-laden Byzantine churches and the hilltop Church of St. John the Baptist. Drift into the world of surreal at the rock-cut churches, frescoes and wall paintings of Goreme Open Air Museum and mushroom-shaped Pasabag Fairy Chimneys, which once housed cave dwellings and chapels. Attend a pottery workshop with master craftsman Chez Galip at Avanos, Turkey’s ceramic capital and leave a hair lock in his quirky hair museum. Then flash-back to the days of the ancient Silk Route at the 13th-century Caravanserai of Sarihan.


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Flag off with a sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride to float gently above the ethereal stony landscape of Cappadocia, made up of cave-mountains, rocky valleys and underground cities, sculpted by erosion over thousands of years. Ogle at fabulous landmarks of the area, starting with the Kaymakli Underground City, a labyrinth of rooms connected by tunnels over eight levels. Explore the wonders of insta-famous sites like the majestic Uchisar Castle, Love Valley, Cavusin Valley, and Valley of Doves. Romance rides high as you cross lush orchards and hermit-hideouts en route to Red Valley where pastel pink, yellow, and orange cliffs are at their hypnotic best at sunset.


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Prep for a glorious day at Antalya, gateway to the tantalizing Turquoise Coast. Be seduced by red-roofed Ottoman mansions in cobbled alleys of old town Kaleici and shop for artsy treasures in craft stores. After a round-up of Antalya’s highlights including Hadrian’s Gate, unwind at the Antalya Old Harbour & Marina. A meditative walk through Karaalioglu Park is best followed with a golden sunset from the Roman-era Hidirlik Tower. Think sensory overload over a gourmet dinner at Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant, housed in a 300-year-old mansion, perfectly showcasing the delightful Turkish resort city.


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Plan to visit one of the biggest sand exhibitions in the world, the Sandland. Glide over pine forests in the Tunektepe Cable Car to reach a vantage point 1700m above the curving coastline. Then head to Duden Waterfalls to marvel at a natural gorge carved by a river, traverse scenic boardwalks and find a cave hidden behind a water curtain. After lunch, explore Karpuzkaldiran Waterfalls created by a river falling 40m into the Mediterranean Sea in a rainbow splash of water clouds. Lounge at Konyaalti Beach in the evening or walk with sea creatures through the world’s largest water tunnel at Antalya Aquarium.


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Drive along winding mountain roads to the archaeological site of Hierapolis, a Greco-Roman spa city dotted with temple ruins, a 12,000-seater Roman theater and a cemetery of 1200 tombs. A dramatic contrast awaits at Pamukkale, where thermal spring waters have been flowing off dazzling white travertine terraces since millions of years to create a spectacular ensemble of stalactites, cataracts and basins. Paddle in the pools and soak in the therapeutic hot springs for a wellness experience like never before. Later, swim in the soothing thermal waters of the Antique Pool favored by Cleopatra herself, where the backdrop of ornate Doric columns transports you back into Roman times.

Day 10: BODRUM

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Taste idyll as you set foot on Bodrum, hub of the Turquoise Coast and St. Tropez of the Aegean. Unwind in your plush suite before heading out to live the Mediterranean dream in the seaside town dolled up with white-washed villas and hot pink bougainvillea. Shop for handcrafted leather bags and snack on spicy Gozleme before heading out for a hand-built timbered Gulet cruise. Don celeb-style as you drop anchor in pristine bays and swim in secluded inlets. At Orak Island, dive underwater to find an 80m vertical reef wall on the sea bed. In the evening, splurge your heart out on the upscale Yalikavak Marina. Close with breezy cocktails at the seafront nightclub, Fenix.

Day 11: BODRUM

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Bring on your inner history nerd with a full-day trip to Ephesus, one of the world’s largest and best-preserved ancient Roman cities, known for its Terrace Houses and the Celsus Library. Old-world charm drips from every brick at the 400-year-old mountain village of Sirince, known for locally made wine and olive oil soap, where you can enjoy an authentic Turkish lunch in a private home. Continue to the town of Selcuk to peep into the treasure-trove of the Ephesus Museum and trace the ruins of Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. En route, stop at the House of the Virgin Mary, a stone cottage turned chapel where Mary is believed to have lived her final days.

Day 12: BODRUM

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Be privy to another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the ruined Mausoleum of Mausolus in the old neighbourhood of Bodrum. Have a tete-a-tete with history at the Bodrum Castle of St Peter, drool over the impressive views from its elevated vantage point and see the world’s oldest sunken ship wreckage at its Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Spend the afternoon snorkelling over the submerged ruins of the ancient city of Gumusluk. Then celebrate Turkey like the locals with fresh seafood and flavour-packed meze at the hillside Cafe Limon under festoon-lit trees.


Pricing is indicative and subject to change depending on travel month, duration and selected accommodations.


  • Return International Airfare to Istanbul
  • Domestic flights and inter-city transportation in Turkey
  • Accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • Private Airport Transfers in all cities
  • Activities & Excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Travel Insurance


  • Lunch & Dinner unless specified in the itinerary
  • Visas
Teresa Fisher

Teresa Fisher is a National Geographic author and freelance travel writer based in Portsmouth, UK. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Exeter University, she initially worked in London for Sotheby’s auction house; then in Europe as a cross-cultural communications trainer, living in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan. While residing in Bavaria, she commenced a career in travel writing, focusing initially on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy – destinations which still hold a special place in her heart. Teresa has since penned more than 30 guidebooks and children’s educational books on a wide variety of destinations from Europe to Japan, for publishers such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Fodor’s, and including National Geographic Traveler Switzerland. She specializes in European cities, adventure travel to far-flung destinations and all things Alpine, dividing her time between her family-oriented website,, and photojournalism. Her stories have taken her round the globe, documenting wildlife and culture in some of the world’s more remote places. Highlights include tracking jaguars by dugout canoe in Guyana, tracking orangutan in eastern Sabah, backpacking round Japan, and being part of the first team of husky mushers to cross from Finland into Russia. When she’s not travelling or skiing, Teresa spends summer months aboard her houseboat in the world’s largest natural harbour, Poole Harbour. Teresa speaks French, German and some Italian, plays the violin and piano, and is a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and The Arts Society. She has been leading expeditions for National Geographic in Europe for more than half a dozen years.

  • Jul 19-28, 2020
  • Sep 6-15, 2020
Patrick Hunt
Archaeologist Author

Award-winning archaeologist, author, and National Geographic grantee Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and has taught at Stanford University for nearly 30 years. Patrick directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project from 1994 to 2012, and has continued project-related fieldwork in the region in the years since. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and he frequently lectures for National Geographic on Hannibal and the European mummy nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is the author of 21 published books, including the best-sellers Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and Hannibal. He has a lifelong love of the Alps, having lived there for several months each year since 1994.

  • Aug 2-11, 2020
  • Aug 16-25, 2020
Tim Jepson

Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He recently completed The British World: An Illustrated Atlas for National Geographic.

  • Jun 21-30, 2020
Alexander Murphy

Alexander (Alec) Murphy is at the forefront of the movement to combat geographical illiteracy in the United States. A geography professor at the University of Oregon, Alec is Senior Vice-President of the American Geographical Society, a past president of the American Association of Geographers, and a frequent advisor on National Geographic education initiatives. Research, speaking invitations, and travel have taken him to more than 100 countries on six continents. Throughout his career, much of Alec’s work has focused on Europe; his book, The European Culture Area (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), is the most widely used classroom text on the geography of Europe in the United States. In the late 1990s he began extending his focus to the Middle East and North Africa, and by the early 2000s Alec found himself increasingly drawn to various parts of Asia. He is now a regular visitor to China, and he recently became the first foreigner to give a plenary lecture at the opening session of the Chinese Geographical Society’s annual meeting. Alec holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Yale University, a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Chicago. Drawing on his expertise in political, cultural, and environmental geography, he will offer his insights into the human and physical forces shaping the places we visit.

  • Aug 30-Sep 8, 2020
Everett Potter

Travel writer Everett Potter has been covering the globe for three decades in pursuit of great stories. For the past 15 years, many of his pieces have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, including a recent feature, “Swiss Tracks,” for which he traveled by rail, cog-railway, tram, and lake steamer around the country. He’s also written about various destinations in the Caribbean, Canada, Central America, and other European destinations for the magazine. Everett received his B.A. in English from Boston University in 1974 and his M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. He was a longtime columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, Smart Money, and Ski, and his work has appeared in most major publications, including Outside, The Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, and Forbes Life. He is the author of The Best of Brazil and has been awarded four Lowell Thomas Awards for his travel writing. He lives in Pelham, New York, and spends summers in a rustic cabin in Western Maine.

  • Jul 5-14, 2020
  • Sep 13-22, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist

William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

  • Jun 14-23, 2020
David Silverberg
Geographer Geologist Conservationist

David Scott Silverberg is a geographer working on conservation projects spanning six continents. His mix of exploration, research, and digital photo-video storytelling has been popular with National Geographic travelers for many years. A fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asia Society, David was the executive science director at Earthwatch Institute, set up and managed Boston University environmental field research programs in British Columbia and eastern Africa, and was a founding White House staff member for AmeriCorps. David has worked in more than 100 countries, manages the Environmental Learning Institute, and teaches at several international universities.

  • Jun 7-16, 2020