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11 Days Cultural Visits, Turkish Cuisine, and Cooking Holiday in Turkey
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


Sightseeing and Culinary Tour in Turkey

Variety is the spice of life. Spice up your holidays with Turkish Flavours! Experience Turkey through the eyes, lives, and tastes of its people, sample its diverse food and culture, meet local people and share their stories, cuisine, and passion for living like you have never done before. Learn the secrets of cuisines relished within all corners of Turkey!

Highlights

  • Tours of food markets and bazaars
  • Cooking classes by local Turkish culinary experts
  • Discover the rock cut churches and fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, visit Ephesus
  • Sumptuous meals at the best restaurants throughout the itinerary
  • Guided visits to the iconic monuments of Istanbul
  • Local home visits in Istanbul, Cappadocia
  • Boat journeys down the Bosphorus
  • 10 nights accommodation

Styles


8 days with instruction
Group size: 4-12 participants
Airport transfer included: Istanbul Atatürk Airport
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Accommodation

During the tour, you will stay at the following hotels:

  • House Hotel Karakoy Istanbul
  • Yunak Hotel in Cappadocia
  • Livia Hotel Ephesus
  • El Vino Hotel Bodrum
  • Yotel Istanbul

Program

Day 1: Istanbul

Arrival in Istanbul, the only city in the world built on two continents, providing a unique link between East and West and guardian of the treasures of three empires of which she has been the capital.

Napoleon said that if the world were a single state then its capital would be Constantinople. Even today, amid the traffic-choked streets of modern Istanbul, among the high-rises, the steep alleys, and the glowing ancient churches and mosques, you can still feel exactly what he meant.

Welcome dinner will be at one of Istanbul’s award-winning restaurants, Neolokal.

Overnight in Istanbul in The House Hotel Karakoy. Meals included: dinner.

Day 2: Istanbul

Today you will visit the Blue Mosque, a famous 17th-century mosque that dominates the Istanbul skyline. Hagia Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom, which was a church (circa 548 AD), then a mosque. The Theodosius Cistern (known as Şerefiye Sarnıcı in Turkish), which was built by Roman Emperor Theodosius II between 428 and 443 to store water supplied by the Valens Aqueduct. The area is about 148 by 82 feet and the roof is supported by 32 marble columns about 30 feet high.

For lunch, you will taste delicious kofte (meatballs) at a specialized restaurant operating since 1920. Then, you will drive to the pier for your private cruise on the Bosphorus.

Upon disembarkation, you will proceed to a Turkish home to enjoy a hands-on cooking class learning to cook home-style, family recipes and taste what you have cooked. A truly unique opportunity to experience Turkish hospitality and local home life.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 3: Istanbul

Today you will visit Topkapı Palace the residence of the sultans for almost three centuries. It is located on the promontory jutting out between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Being the imperial residence of the sultan, his court, and harem, the palace was also the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire.

In the Treasury section, you will see the 7th biggest diamond in the world, the “Spoonmaker’s Diamond” and the Harem is a vast labyrinth of rooms and corridors once occupied by the black eunuchs, concubines, the Sultan’s mother, and the Sultan himself.

The Palace Kitchens comprised of buildings arranged along a 170 meter-long courtyard / street in the second courtyard of the Palace facing the Sea of Marmara appear as a separate neighborhood with their attachments. Although the architecture of the kitchens, built in the same place during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, is not known, it is known that the first two domed structures adjacent to the Cooks’ Mosque have remained from this period.

It is also known that the kitchens were extended due to an increase in the palace population during the reign of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (1520 – 1566), that the kitchens and living quarters were renewed by Chief Architect Sinan after the fire of 1574 and that the street in front was widened and the porticoes were brought to the front towards the courtyard.

You will visit The Palace Kitchens, Helvahane, and Quarters and learn about the Turkish culinary culture of 400 years.

After lunch, you will visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque, another skillful accomplishment of the architect Sinan, the Rustem Pasha Mosque was built in 1561 on the orders of Rustem Pasha, Grand Vizier, and son-in-law of Suleyman the Magnificent. Exquisite Iznik tiles panel the small and superbly proportioned interior.

Then, you will walk through the Spice Bazaar, an extensive market that was built in the 17th century to finance the upkeep of the nearby mosque – Yeni Cami. You will stop for a spice tasting session in a spice shop that has been there for five generations. A baklava shop where you will taste the best Baklava in town will be your last stop for the day.

Dinner will be on your own. Overnight in Istanbul.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch.

Day 4: Istanbul - Cappadocia

In the morning, you will visit Süleyman the Magnificent Mosque and explore the famous Grand Bazaar. Then, you will depart to visit some specialty shops walking through the colorful market of Kadiköy, an open air street market, very different from the spice market and more in tune with the way most Istanbullus cook and eat.

Lunch will be served at one of Turkey’s foremost cook’s Çiya restaurant. The chef is devoted to letting the world know about the glorious food of his homeland. The ingredients used in the dishes travel from South Eastern Anatolia to arrive at your plate in Istanbul: aromatic red pepper, pistachios, chickpeas, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses.

After lunch, you will head to the airport for your flight to Cappadocia. You will be transferred to a hotel upon arrival. A light dinner will be served. Overnight at Yunak Hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 5: Cappadocia

In Cappadocia, you will focus on the very particular culture and foods of Anatolia. Today, you will be cooking in a village home with local village women. They will show you how to make stuffed vine leaves and manti, a traditional dish whose heritage stretches back into the Central Asian origins of modern Turkey. You will taste what you have cooked for lunch.

After lunch, you will be introduced to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at Dervent Valley, and you head on to Zelve Open Air Museum, which is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements of Cappadocia. Seeing the best examples of the fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy Chimneys Valley, you drive further to Avanos. From here you will stop at Avanos, a center of terracotta art since 2,000 BC, for a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Then you will try your hands at it under the supervision of a master potter.

You will end the day by relaxing at one of the most spectacular valleys of Cappadocia with its different rock formations in various colors and enjoy the sunset while sipping delicious Cappadocian wines.

Overnight in Yunak Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 6: Cappadocia - optional balloon ride

Early morning optional balloon ride – transfer to the balloon launching site to meet the balloon crew. The gentle and stable wind conditions are ideal during the first few hours of the day in Cappadocia. It is also the ideal time for photography, with splendid colors and contrasts. The deep canyons and gentle winds carry you over places that could never be reached except by balloon. After flying over Cappadocia for about one hour, you will land at an awaiting champagne breakfast!

After breakfast, you will visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century. After lunch in a local restaurant, you will then explore the underground city of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements.

Then while sipping your wine you will enjoy a demonstration and explanation of Turkish carpet making techniques, symbols, and different types of carpets.

Overnight in Yunak Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 7: Cappadocia - Izmir

After a leisurely morning join a Turkish Art of Marbelling (Ebru) workshop, the rest of the day you'll be on your own. In the afternoon, you will drive to a village where they will show you how they do grape molasses and homemade baklava. After a light dinner, you will take an evening flight to Izmir.

Overnight in Selçuk Livia Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 8: Ephesus - Bodrum

After breakfast, you will proceed to visit Ephesus, one of the most incredible archaeological wonders of the world. You will then proceed to Kusadası for lunch in an ecological farm that houses the best restaurant in the area and visit the Oleatrium, an Olive and Olive Oil Museum where you will be traveling 2500 years in time.

After having a feast, you will be taken around the farm so you will see how they dry their vegetables under the sun, how they make tomato or pepper paste, and the making of many different organic jams. The farm tour will end at the museum where you will see how mankind first discovered that olives were edible and how olive oil was used from the beginning of time until today.

The team will drive you to Bodrum after your visit.

Overnight in Bodrum El Vino Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch.

Day 9: Bodrum

Today after breakfast you will go around the Bays on a Gulet. Gulets are traditional wooden yachts first built in Bodrum for fishing and sponge hunting, but with the rise of the Blue Cruise concept, Gulets became spacious motor-sailing yachts for people to enjoy a cruise in the untouched bays around the Aegean coast of Turkey. It is a perfect way to enjoy swimming in the blue waters as well as to try more of the local cuisine on board. After the cruise, you will return to the hotel.

Dinner and overnight in Bodrum. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 10: Bodrum

Enjoy a lazy breakfast and a day of relaxation. In the late morning, you may get together to drive into Bodrum to walk through some of the shopping areas for a couple of hours. Then you will visit the center of Bodrum to visit the famous Crusaders Castle and the Underwater Museum.

After spending some leisure time in town, you will be heading to Selia Artisanal Farm, producing wine, goat cheese, olives, jams, and bread using traditional methods. Enjoy a leisurely supper together before taking your flight to Istanbul.

Overnight in Yotel Hotel Istanbul. Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 11: Departure

This is the end of your holiday. You will leave Istanbul today and return home with beautiful memories.

Included excursions

During the holiday, you will have the opportunity to visit local market and bazaar, rock cut churches and fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, visit Ephesus, iconic monuments of Istanbul, and more.

Location

The tour will bring you to fascinating places in Turkey such as Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Bodrum.

Food

Meals as specified in the itinerary are included in the package.

Everywhere you turn in Turkey, there is something delicious to eat, including street food such as bread rings covered in sesame seeds, deep fried mussels with a garlic rich sauce, warm roasted almonds and pistachio nuts, pastries bathed in syrup, divine milky desserts, and chewy ice creams.

In the many restaurants and street cafés, you can dine in style eggplants stuffed, grilled, or fried in endless ways; tangy salads and yogurt dips strongly flavored with garlic. Every town and city has a market where you will find a wealth of fresh seasonal produce, such as plump olives and crunchy pickles, fresh figs, ruby red pomegranates, juicy ripe peaches, pungent spices, and fresh leafy herbs, which are sold like bunches of flowers.

Culinary tradition

While the food and cooking of Turkey is inevitably shaped by its diverse geography and climate, it could be said that the country’s turbulent history has also played a key role in shaping the cuisine. Constantly in flux, the culinary traditions embody the many cultures that have had an impact on Turkish life over the centuries. These include ancient Persian and Arab practices that have been handed down from generation to generation, the influences of Islam and the Ottoman Empire and today, the growth of urbanization and tourism.

The dishes in Turkish cuisine roughly can be classified as follows:

  • Soups: wheat and derivatives, rice legumes, seasonal vegetables, yogurt are used
  • Mezes, appetizers: this list is endless - it can be a slice of melon with white cheese, beans cooked with olive oil, garlic and parsley, stewed mussels, black olives, boiled potato salad, tomato salad with roasted eggplants, bulgur salad, phyllo cheese rolls, and more
  • Fish and seafood: Turkey is surrounded by the seas on three sides. All kinds of fishes from these three seas are consumed by either grilling, frying, baking, or steaming depending on its variety
  • Poultry: Nowadays cooks try to substitute chicken with red meat since scientists say white meat is healthier. However, in olden times tasty free-range chickens were boiled; the chicken broth was to make deicious pilav or rice, and the pieces of chicken was served with it. Or boiled chicken garnished with walnut sauce, or chicken is stuffed with rice, liver, currants and pine nuts
  • Meat: it is either consumed in grilled form alone or grilled with some vegetables or fruits such as eggplants, quinces, onions, garlic, loquats, apples depending on the season and called kebabs, or it can be cooked with vegetables or fruits in pan called stews or yahni
  • Vegetables: any seasonal fresh one or two kinds vegetable is cooked with the addition of olive oil
  • Dolma, stuffed vegetables: zucchinis, eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers, are stuffed with rice or with bulgur; one may add ground meat to the stuffing if she likes; vine leaves, Swiss chard or cabbage leaves are wrapped up with the same stuffing
  • Pilavs; mostly rice is used, but in folk cuisine bulgur is used due to availability. Either rice or bulgur is used. The pilav is always enriched by the addition of one or two of following ingredients, onions, tomato, currants, pine nuts, chestnuts, zucchini, enggplants, meat, liver, and more
  • Noodles and pasta dishes: home made vermicelli and noodles are still prepared in Anatolian provinces. Manti, a kind of dumpling or ravioli, is prepared by rolling out dough thin enough, cutting the rolled pastry into one inch squares, filling in the center by ground meat or chickpea size, pinching to seal, boiling, then serving with yogurt-garlic sauce with butter-paprika topping.
  • Breads, and boreks: Mostly with wheat, in rural areas with other grains. Pita, tandir (clay oven) bread, flat bread (unleavened) baked on sac (griddle) are some kinds. Olives, walnuts, tahini, cheese, meat are often added to bread for flavor and texture. Boreks are prepared by rolling out the dough with the rolling pin into desired size circle and filled with either cheese - parsley mix, or ground meat onion mix, or spinach, and shaped into thin packets of pastry, and fried. Or as in lasagna, rolled out thin dough is layered with different fillings mentioned above, and baked in the oven
  • Desserts: can be dough or flour based, milk based, fruit based, rice based. These desserts can be enriched-flavored by the addition of one of them; pistachio nuts, walnuts, rose water, saffron, cinnamon, cloves cheese or clotted cream.
  • Drinks; ayran diluted yogurt drink, licorice tea, fruit based drinks or sherbets such as rose, lemon, orange, sour cherry; tea, coffee and herbal teas such as linden tea, mint tea, boza; a fermented (of ground wheat, barley or millet) soup like beverage, salep; a drink prepared by milk, sugar and a starchy powder made by drying and pulverizing the root tubers of certain plants of the orchid family, orchis latifolia.

The products people mostly use which are common to all the Mediterranean countries are olive oil, olives, cheese, fish, tomato, pepper, eggplant, zucchini, pine nuts, walnuts, basil, parsley, coriander, paste, noddles, sausages, orange, lemon, honey legumes, and grains.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

During the tour, you can enjoy an optional balloon ride at an additional cost.

What's included

  • All domestic flights: Istanbul - Kayseri / Izmir / Bodrum - Istanbul (economy class)
  • All arrival and departure transfers
  • Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
  • 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • 10 nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis at luxury boutique hotels
  • Turkish cooking class in Turkish home in Istanbul
  • Anatolian cooking experience in a village home in Cappadocia licensed professional tour guide in the English language
  • Entrance fees to all museums, parks, and historic sights as included in the itinerary
  • %18 Vat taxes

What's not included

  • International airfare
  • Visa fee on arrival to Turkey
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Non-mandatory but customary tips
  • Optional hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
  • Alcoholic drinks where not included in the menu

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Istanbul Atatürk Airport Airport transfer included: Istanbul Atatürk Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 40% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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