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Turkey

Turkish Delights

Overview

Turkey is an amazing and diverse destination to visit. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the history of Turkey, the ‘world’s largest museum’. Relive the glory of the Byzantines while gazing at the domes of St Sophia and the Ottomans with an in-depth tour of the mosques and hamams (baths) designed by the great imperial architect, Mimar Sinan. 

Retrace the steps of the Sultans in the magnificent courtyards of the Topkapi Palace, the heartbeat of the Empire for 400 years. Meet local archaeologists at excavation sites not yet open to the public. 

Marvel at how the Early Christians lived when you descend down into the labyrinthine and complex underground cities of Cappadocia. 

With a private tour of the nearly 2,000-year-old Ephesus, the second largest city of the Roman Empire, you can understand how the Roman elite lived when you step inside a Terrace House and view its magnificent mosaics. 

More gems await further south in Bodrum: Bodrum Castle, built by the Knights of St John and the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Itinerary

At Private Luxury Travel, we tantalise your taste buds with the best advice and finest selection of guides, activities and accommodations, but your itinerary is your own. Our Private Travel Designers will guide and support you in creating an experience flavoured to your taste, and an expedition that is truly tailored to fit. 

Istanbul
We have the very best guides on hand to introduce you to Istanbul, a city where East meets West. A city settled for over 3,000 years, you can explore a spectacular mixture of heritage and culture spanning Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman reigns. Our expert guides will chaperone you through the “must-sees” of the city’s historical sites, such as the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia. Take a private cruise on the Bosphorus for a completely different perspective on the city. Fine hone your haggling skills in the bustle of the Grand Bazaar and have fun bargaining with the locals. 

This vibrant city is never short of conversation. For all of the impressive array of ancient civilisation, Istanbul is also an immensely modern and cosmopolitan city. You can find stylish neighbourhoods in which to relax over a Turkish Coffee in between browsing the boutiques and art galleries or simply sit back and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing hub of humanity.


Cappadocia
Cappadocia offers a truly other-worldly experience. Float over breath taking lunar landscape in a hot air balloon. Wonder at the carved cave homesteads of the Bronze Age troglodyte people, later used as refuges by early Christians. Marvel at the “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered in Monks Valley. Enjoy a fabulous, fresh morning hike in the valley or turn your hand to pottery making in the town of Avanos. 


Ephesus
Turkey is jam packed with the remnants of ancient ruins. Ephesus is perhaps one of the best known and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strolling through this incredibly preserved ancient city, let your imagination dive back to Roman times when 400,000 people lived and worked in this metropolis, mingling and meeting in the well preserved ruins of temples, theatres, library and agora that you can visit here today. Recent restorations have been undertaken on the Terraced Houses, homes of very wealthy Ephesinians, with spectacularly intact mosaic floors and frescoed walls. 


Bodrum
The crystal clear turquoise waters of the Bodrum Peninsula are a haven for seafood lovers. Let your captain pilot your explorations of this coast on a private gulet sailing yacht, while your chef creates culinary delights for your delectation. You will have the opportunity to pause at numerous historic sites on shore. For the adventurous, pristine coves and bays play host to a variety of water sports. For the ultimate unwind, relax on deck with a delicious cocktail and incredible Aegean sunset as your backdrop.

The city of Bodrum is home to St. Peter’s Castle, a medieval fortress built partly with stones from the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Aside from playing home to peacocks and turtles, the castle also houses the Underwater Archaeological Museum, where you can view treasures recovered from sunken vessels including jewellery, coins, pottery, glass and urns. Bodrum is a maritime city to its’ very core, with a vibrant nightlife. 

Location

Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Cosmopolitan Istanbul, on the Bosphorus Strait, is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia, with its soaring dome and Christian mosaics, the massive 17th-century Blue Mosque and the circa-1460 Topkapi Palace, former home of sultans. Ankara is Turkey’s modern capital.

Highlights

Beautiful, unspoilt beaches. Spectacular ancient architecture. Landscapes to take your breath away. Azure blue seas providing delectable seafoods for you to savour. All of this and so much more is what you can expect from a visit to this complex and vibrant destination. 

Crossing between continents is a thrill no matter what mode of transport you choose. On foot, you can meander through the eateries below the Galata Bridge as hundreds of local fishing lines form a dynamic curtain harvesting the spoils of the teeming Bosphorus River. 

A visit to a traditional Hammam, or Turkish Bath, is an absolute must, but be sure to take the remainder of the day to rest if you are getting the full treatment. This is an experience not for the faint-hearted, but one that will leave you invigorated and revived – a truly fabulous and authentic Turkish treat.

Speak with one of our creative and experienced Private Travel Designers to discover the perfect itinerary for you.

Accommodations

The 5-star Ciragan Palace Kempinski is the only imperial Ottoman palace hotel by the Bosphorus. With its spectacular setting on the water, stunning views, and fine dining in 3 restaurants, Ciragan Palace Kempinski can guarantee a truly unique Istanbul experience. Cap off your sightseeing day with a dip in the heated outdoor pool overlooking the Bosphorus.

Turkey’s only Relais & Châteaux member, the award-winning Museum Hotel is Cappadocia’s most luxurious boutique hotel. Restored cave suites feature museum-quality antiques, exceptional amenities and stunning bird’s eye valley views. Lil’a Restaurant offers unique and traditional regional dishes made with organic fruits and vegetables from the hotel’s on-site organic garden. Cooking classes are also available.

Enjoying an idyllic location on Paradise Bay, Mandarin Oriental Bodrum offers a seductive blend of style, luxury and comfort. With two private beaches, a range of imaginative dining options, and an outstanding spa offer the perfect blend of luxury and comfort. Luxurious design with Turkish elements and Oriental-inspired touches.

Useful Info

Follow mothers’ advice - eat little & often. Food is a central part of Turkish hospitality. The key to survival when sharing mezes with hosts is to take just a spoonful from each dish. Gauging your appetite and planning ahead will allow you to make the most of your culinary journey.

Dress with style and be respectful of culture. Turkey is a land of textiles and taste. Fashion is extremely important to Turkish women. There is a wide range of dress, but it may be necessary to modify your dress when visiting more conservative areas or when invited to a mosque.

Turkey has a complex history and politics. It can really enhance your travels to gain a little understanding. If you have not already been reading up, we have included a couple of links here and here to get you started.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Turkey provides information on visa requirements on their website. A new Electronic Visa (e-Visa) Application System was launched on 17 April 2013, allowing visitors travelling to Turkey to easily obtain their e-Visas online at www.evisa.gov.tr/en/.

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