Small group tour of Turkey

“A rewarding eight day tour of Turkey, taking in ancient sites from Troy to Roman Ephesus, with a full day to explore Istanbul, too. ”

Highlights

Istanbul full day tour | Gallipoli battlefields and memorials tour | Troy | Pergamum | Ephesus Roman ruins | Pamukkale | Hierapolis hot springs | Bursa

Description of Small group tour of Turkey

This small group tour of Turkey gives a great introduction to this fascinating country. Beginning with a full day tour of vibrant Istanbul, we then move on to explore many of Turkey’s most ancient and intriguing sites. We visit Gallipoli for a fully guided tour of this World War I battlefield site, before travelling to Troy, where the famous war of Homer’s Iliad played out, and to the ancient city of Pergamum, with its beautiful Acropolis. We’ll take in the ruined Roman city of Ephesus, before visiting Pamukkale, where white calcium terraces known as travertines create an otherworldly landscape. In Hierapolis, another Roman site, you can take a dip in the famous hot springs and on our way back to Istanbul, we spend some time in the ancient city of Bursa. Once the capital of the Ottoman Turks, it’s home to the beautiful Green Mosque and busy Silk Bazaar.

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
How our company is making a difference:

We know that making the positive difference we aim to achieve will not be an easy task. However, our enthusiasm and commitment towards our travel responsibility mission is far stronger than any obstacles. We believe that in order to achieve any objective, the company has to have accurate policies and procedures for the employees and the guests to follow in order to reach our goal.

We have decided that the environment is a major component of any local community and any negative effect on the environment would directly have an impact on the lives of the inhabitants of the local community. Therefore, we have drawn up a strict environmental protection policy that all our employees and travellers have to abide by. For example, we recycle empty ink cartridges. A company collects them and disposes of them the correct manner.

Turkey is a very expensive country in terms of transport. This is why we encourage our travelers to rather walk as much as they can when in the major cities of Turkey. When in Istanbul it is quite possible to walk short distances. Not only will they save money, but it reduces the carbon footprint as well.

During the sailing of the gullets, all waste is separated. There are clearly marked bins for plastics, glass, paper and organic waste. Once the gullets disembark, the waste bags are then disposed in the appropriate municipal waste bins.

For us, Responsible Travel is the only way to travel.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Throughout our long tourism business journey, exceeding 15 years of travel operation in the Middle East, we have succeeded in establishing strong links with the communities we are dealing with in the host destinations.

We believe that the Responsible Travel concept has to be a two-way strategy with both the travelers and the local community gaining benefits. We benefit the local communities we visit using a wide scope of activities that have a positive impact on the local economy, directly by donating money to charity organizations, financially supporting some local communities and by recruiting employees who belonging to the local community. We encourage our guests to buy local products and make use of services that people local community offer. We help indirectly through capacity building projects we implement with our employees and through the experiences and culture exchanges that take place between the locals and the travelers during our tours.

We promise to support the local community of every destination we take our travelers to. We will do this by employing local guides, using local handicraft shops and recommend shops to our travelers so that their holiday spending contributes to the people of that country. Furthermore, we provide each traveler with a tipping guide. By doing this we set a concept of tipping and gratuity for every person who will offer a form of service to the traveler.

We have also considered the social aspect of the local community and how to respect the customs and traditions of the inhabitants helping us operate our tours. We always provide our guests with all the information needed to understand the community they are visiting and we create valuable opportunities for the travelers and the locals to mingle and exchange ideas and thoughts.

The first objective is to operate our tours in the most perfect way possible. Our second objective, but not second in importance, is to benefit the local community, protect the environment, and have a positive social impact on the inhabitants living in our host destinations. One of the ways of doing this is to inform and educate our travelers on the cultures of the destinations. By doing this we aim to create a form of respect between the travelers and the local citizens who they will face along their tour.

Only local tour guides are used in all our tours. This way we provide a direct income to the Turkish guide and we allow him/her to suggest how we could further support the community by taking travelers to the most appropriate coffee shops and bazaars. The travelers can then decide how to support the locals there.

We educate all our staff on the real life situations of each destination. Sales consultants will use this information to inform potential travelers of the correct information and threats that they may face. By creating long lasting relationships with our local ground handlers, we are able to establish what needs the community has and through their information we can inform our travelers what they can contribute to the local community from their home countries.

Climate

5 Reviews of Small group tour of Turkey

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 15 Mar 2020 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The tour of Gallipoli was most touching.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure that you avoid it during a pandemic!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All of the people that I met were most considerate and helpful. We respected the local customs and accepted well.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Exceptional! I am not very good at writing reviews and all I can say is that both our guide and driver were the most efficient and duty bound. They made my whole trip a huge success. They were the most agreeable "sputniks" that I have had the pleasure to meet and I wish both of them much success. The other guests on the tour were also a pleasure to be with and I am sorry that I had to leave them too early as I had another tour planned. I am sure that we shall stay in touch.

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Visiting the mosque in Istanbul and the knowledge and energy of our guide.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


It was just confusing, as the trip involved several different agencies. People were on different schedules ... leaving early or joining us at different times. It would have been good to know there were options ahead of time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?



Reviewed on 05 Dec 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Cappadocia, the rock formations are interesting in their own right, but the generations of dwellings carved into them really make this region worth visiting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Unfortunately my tip would be don't book, look for another way to visit Cappadocia and perhaps Pamukkale.

The only exception would be for those who are interested in purchasing very expensive goods (Carpets, leather, jewelry or pottery)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday mainly benefited the already wealthy large shop and hotel owners. This focus on consumerism cannot be considered positive for the environment, and I did not observe any particular effort to reduce the environmental impact or support conservation.

The travel by bus and flight prevent this trip from hitting high responsibility standards, however the trip missed many opportunities to do better.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


To be frank it was terrible. This is our fifth group tour, and by far the worst, you expect to make compromises but this trip hardly catered for us at all.
We spent hours waiting in car parks while up to half of the group spent thousands on luxury goods. The guide refused to give a leaving time so we couldn't even wonder off and go for a walk, he also commented that we weren't supporting the Turkish economy.
Hotel buffets were used excessively, dietary requirements were not considered, one lunch ended up being crisps and another plain rice. When asked to help the guide replied "all of the food here is fresh" and provided no assistance, we persevered and got some assistance at later stops.
The guide was knowledgeable but shared this knowledge in lengthy monologues seemingly without realising that he wasn't engaging the group, I initially listed mainly as a matter of showing respect, but I stopped bothering as frustration set in. He didn't appear to understand questions and didn't act as a host providing a local experience as we're accustomed to from other companies, only one optional experience was offered and it was $250.

Organisation was poor, the worst example being the airport transfer which they booked for 11:00, then in a couple of calls starting 08:57 we were informed
that we had to take a 09:00 which left while we were on the phone. We ended up taking the 11:00 transfer and made it to the flight with minutes to spare.
Finally at no fault of the tour the various ancient sites sadly aren't well preserved due to a history of earthquakes and excessive use of concrete in restorations, so unless you have an interest in those specific sites then better examples can be found elsewhere in Europe.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Allan,

Thanks for taking the time to write feedback on your recent experience on our Anatolian Adventure tour.

I'm sorry to see that you didn't enjoy your time on the tour and that you felt it only warranted a 1-star rating. I am however pleased to see that you did enjoy Cappadocia, we would agree that it's an amazing place and the landscapes and history in the region are like no-where else. Turkey does its best to preserve its other ancient sites, though your point is fair that this is not always done in perhaps the most sympathetic manner.

In your feedback you mentioned that you felt the holiday didn't benefit local people much. We only use local Turkish guides and a small local team of staff and the tour is built around mainly small boutique style and locally owned hotels rather than large international chains. The shopping stops included on the tour also benefit the local economy and shop owners.

Like most tour operators, we do include a limited number of shopping stops on many of our tours, though we do also aim to make these stops as educational as possible which many of our clients do appreciate. There were two stops included on your tour, with a carpet weaving shop & demonstration in Ephesus and a leather shop en-route to Pamukkale. Both of these are major exports for Turkey and while I agree we don't use the smallest shops, everything is from local producers. Managing different people in a group's desires and interest in shopping is always a tricky balance to strike, and I'm sorry if we didn't get it right for you on your tour. As you've mentioned, many people in the group obviously did enjoy these stops and wanted to take advantage of them. It's hard then for the guide to stop this and hurry people on when they are waiting to pay.

Buffet meals are provided to give people a taste of different foods, to help keep costs for our travellers down, and to allow for most dietary requirements to be catered for. We did pass the allergy information on that you gave us and I'm sorry if the hotels did not cater for this well enough.

We do make efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the tour, and intentionally do not include any domestic flights and travel by coach instead. Using trains would unfortunately not help, as this is a circular route and the coach would need to drive the same leg as the train anyway. Most people do obviously have to fly to Turkey to join the tour, but this is unavoidable really.

I'm sorry to hear that there was an issue with your departure transfer. We're happy to hold up our hands here and apologise for the the communication issue in our local office which resulted in confusion over your departure transfer time. I am pleased however that we did still get you to the airport with plenty of time to spare. With an 11am departure you should have reached the airport around midday, which would have given around 2.5 hours before your flight's departure.
Overall, we're sad to see that you didn't enjoy this tour, and that the group and guide wasn't a good fit for you. We normally get very good feedback on our Turkey tours and we're sorry that you didn't have the same positive experience.

Reviewed on 14 May 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable things were the amazing historical sites and the excellent Turkish food.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


There is a lot of time sitting on a bus. The countryside is interesting and the guide tried to keep us informed and amused but take a good book or a pillow for the long rides.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Only the employees of the tour company and the various commercial stops we made. I was a little disappointed that the trip fell short in this area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We enjoyed the trip. It was well organized. It was a good example of small group travel in an interesting place

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Going to Troy, even for too short a time.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to endure long hours in a mini bus, mostly unequipped with working seat belts. Make sure you have a variety of clothing to cope with the variety of weather. Always survey the vast spread of mostly pleasant food at the hotel buffets before choosing the first dish.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Only in so far as it provided them with some much needed money. the visit to the leather factory was rather disgusting: slick and commercial, and took time away from sites.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I didn't like arriving at the hotel to find they weren't expecting us as we had been transferred to another company, making this the second time! Where was the "responsible" attitude I had booked with Responsible Travel to find? Guidance for tipping other than our excellent guide and driver was hard to find. We spent so much time travelling that we were constantly being hurried from one site to another.

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