The Ultimate Summer Family Trip: Istanbul, Ephesus and the Turquoise Coast
Rates above are per person, double occupancy, in US dollars, and in your own private group
Subject to availability on dates selected
A 10% discount applies to the following period: November 15 - March 15
Single room supplement: $790
Child and triple accommodation discounts: Please ask a Danytur Trip Consultant for possible discounts for triple accommodation and for very young children and infants.
Turkey is an excellent destination for the whole family, offering parents, teens and younger children plenty of activities in which to enjoy time together, not to mention the innumerable opportunities for learning as the land of many civilizations and empires throughout the millennia.
So that we may help you in designing the perfect family trip, we'll just need to know how much time you have for travel and which areas of Turkey you’d like to explore. This information, along with your children's ages and interests, allows us to provide you with a customized yet flexible itinerary based on this criteria. Not to mention that our guides are friendly and great with kids!
Istanbul – Walk in the footsteps of emperors and sultans in this culturally-rich city
It’s like literally walking into a history book, with its ancient Byzantine fortification walls, waterfront palaces, and colorful, labyrinthine bazaars dating back hundreds of years and still in use today. Istanbul’s lifeblood, the Bosphorus, offers fun ferry excursions, too. Why not try a ferry journey to the Princes’ Islands? As there is no motorized traffic here, it is fun for bicycling, as well as photography and nature walks – they also offer the extra fun of a horse-drawn carriages!
Bodrum – Sun, sand, and so much more
In Bodrum, kids and parents can get up-close-and-personal exploring a Crusader–era castle and see real treasures and artifacts from the Museum of Underwater Archaeology (the only one of its kind in the world). Bodrum is also an offshoot for a private gulet charter cruise, where the whole family can snorkel, swim or canoe the day away, all while learning more about history and geography from their guide.
The Turquoise Coast – Classical ruins meet perfect, crystal-blue seas
Turkey’s gorgeous beaches are crystal-clear and picture-perfect from June through September and even into October. Imagine sailing aboard your own private wooden gulet along the Aegean or Mediterranean coast on a schedule designed for you that includes beaches, fantastic ruins and other opportunities for fun and learning. We can also book beachside holidays as well.
Cappadocia - The sky’s the limit!
A surreal fairytale land made to explore! Cappadocia’s complex history is one of the richest in the world and comes to life around every corner: excavated multi-level underground cities, fantastic hidden rock churches and endless, panoramic valleys in which to hike and bicycle. The Cappadocia region’s numerous luxury cave hotels guaranteed to make any family trip perfect, and we can book special family-friendly accommodations. Lastly – don’t forget that a sunrise hot-air balloon ride is the perfect way to cap off your time here.
Ultimate Summer Family Trip (9 days/8 nights)
Istanbul • Izmir • Ephesus • Sirince village • Kusadasi • Dalyan • Ekincik • Gulet sailing around Fethiye Bay
We have crafted this trip for families with limited time but want to experience all the excitement and splendor of Turkey – it can be customized in any way you like, such as adding extra days or destinations. This adventure gives an excellent overview of Turkey’s travel “essentials”: Istanbul, Ephesus and the Turquoise Coast, and also allows for time for rest and relaxation.
Please call one of our Travel Consultants to learn how to create a truly customized trip for your family!
Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport
Arrive at Ataturk Airport and enjoy an included transfer to your centrally-located hotel. Late in the afternoon, we will meet for a walking tour along Istiklal Street, the heart of modern Istanbul. This world-famous, two-mile-long avenue, bustles with people enjoying its restaurants, bars, theatres, art galleries and boutiques. (“Istiklal” means independence in Turkish.) Stretching from Taksim Square to Galata Tower, the street offers some of the best well-preserved examples of late-nineteenth century Art Nouveau architecture. As we stroll along, you will marvel at landmarks such as: the French Consulate, the Greek Orthodox Church (Hagia Triada), the Armenian Catholic Church (Surp Hovhan Vosgeperan), the Greek Consulate, the Flower Passage, the Produce and Fish Market as well as Galatasaray High School. We will also stop to try some street food. Later, your guide will point out some restaurants you may wish to enjoy tonight’s dinner at.
Day 2: Istanbul
After breakfast, we’ll begin our morning with an extensive tour of Topkapi Palace, the former residence of the Ottoman sultans. Afterwards, we stop at Sirkeci Railway Station (terminus of the Orient Express), before visiting the Spice Market, a wonderful place to buy edible gifts such as nuts, coffees, teas and Turkish Delight, even after 400 years. After some free time for lunch, we enjoy an hour-long Bosphorus cruise along the shores of the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, disembarking at Uskudar, on the Asian side. We will see the produce and fish market and view the Mimar Sinan-designed Mihrimah Sultan Mosque as well as the iconic Maiden’s Tower in Salacak. Return to your hotel with a 20-minute ferry ride, crossing the Bosphorus again from Uskudar to Kabatas. (B)
Day 3: Istanbul
This morning, we visit more iconic sites in Istanbul, including the Byzantine-era Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia Museum and the underground Basilica Cistern. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Grand Bazaar, later driving over the Galata Bridge to the colorful and bohemian Cihangir neighborhood, whose narrow, maze-like streets are lined with cafes, vintage clothing and second-hand shops. Here is a toy store and workshop, Prof. Zihni Sinir, named after a popular cartoon character created by artist Irfan Sayar; Sayar and his team build fantastic machines and toys and also offer hands-on experiences and tinkering workshops for kids.
We then continue our tour with a walk from Galatasaray to Pera. Notable and historic buildings on our way include: several consulates, St. Antoine's Catholic Church, the Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, the Tunel district, Neve Shalom Synagogue and the Galata Tower, where you’ll delight in a bird’s eye view of Beyoglu, the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the historic peninsula. We end our walk at the Pera Palace Hotel and have a short drive back to the hotel. However, if you wish, you may stay here and dine on your own at any of the nearby local restaurants such as: Kivahan or Guney (Turkish/Ottoman cuisine), Fureyya (small fish restaurant) or the Pera Palace Hotel’s own Agatha Restaurant. (B)
Day 4: Istanbul / Izmir / Ephesus / Sirince / Kusadasi
We depart Istanbul in the morning for our short flight to Izmir. Upon arrival, we’ll enjoy a scenic 1 hour drive to the Ephesus (Selcuk) area, stopping on the way in the village of Sirince, a pretty hillside town that has a perfect blend of Turkish and Greek culture that is characteristic of this region. Sirince has impressive traditional architecture as well as vineyards, andpeach and olive orchards. We’ll have a chance to socialize with the locals as we enjoy lunch in a private home, tasting simple but delicious Aegean cuisine such as: yaprak sarma (stuffed grape leaves), biber dolmasi (stuffed peppers) and other zeytinyagli mezes (olive oil-based appetizers). We will also have the opportunity to try local fruit-flavored wine.
Later, we will make our way to the archaeological site of Ephesus, perhaps the world's best-preserved ancient city. In Roman times, Ephesus was the provincial capital of Asia Minor with a population of some 250,000 at the height of its glory. The most significant ruin is the immense theater that holds 24,000 spectators and is still used today. We will walk along the Sacred Way and see: an ingenious water and sewer system that was constructed beneath the marble pavement; the Temple of Hadrian, a Corinthian-style structure featuring the head of Medusa as the talisman to keep away evil spirits; and the Library of Celsus, which once held 12,000 ancient scrolls stored in niches in its walls. We will also visit the newly-excavated Terrace Houses where Ephesus’ wealthiest residents lived. We then head towards our hotel in the lively seaside town of Kusadasi, where you and your children can relax after your long day of sightseeing with a dip in the pool. (B, L)
Day 5: Train Museum in Camlik / Sultankoy / Dalyan / Caunos / Iztuzu Beach / Gulet embarkation in Ekincik
This morning, we depart for our gulet docked on the Mediterranean coast. On the way, we will make some stops including Camlik village – home to a small train station museum with more than 30 locomotives from the 1930s and 40s. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey, loved railway travel – his private train is here as well. Children will delight in this place as they can climb onto the trains and explore them.
Next, we visit Sultankoy, where we learn about local rug-making proceses which include silk extraction, dyeing and weaving. Then, we will break for a fresh and organic al fresco lunch using ingredients from Sultankoy’s farm and orchards. Upon arrival in the town of Dalyan, chug up the Dalyan River in a small boat through a maze of bamboo and cattails to the ancient site of Caunos, a now silted-up port that was once a hub for the export of salt and slaves. Hellenistic city walls, several temples, a Roman-era theater, a Byzantine church, and a Crusader fortress high on the Acropolis reveal its varied history. While we will not be hiking to the site itself, you’ll be able to see the many amazing royal Lydian and Carian rock-cut tombs. You’ll also visit the nearby Dalyan Estuary, home to many species of birds, including kingfishers, heron, and egrets. We’ll also visit Iztuzu Beach – a protected site because of the endangered loggerhead sea turtles that lay their eggs here in midsummer months. We’ll provide a transfer to the harbor where you’ll board your private gulet yacht and be welcomed by your friendly crew, who will take care of you throughout your time aboard. Before dinner, you’ll have an orientation and a briefing about your itinerary. We’ll overnight in a beautiful cove near Ekincik. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Tersane / Agalimani / Cleopatra’s Sunken Baths
This morning, after breakfast, we sail to gorgeous Gocek Bay and enjoy the morning swimming and relaxing at Tersane and Agalimani Coves. Later, we will visit the coves at Cleopatra’s Sunken Baths, which, according to tradition, is the spot where the fabled Egyptian queen and Mark Antony vacationed. Later, winds permitting, we raise the sails and make our way to a private cove for the night. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Gocek Coves and Bedri Rahmi Cove
This morning, after breakfast, we’ll have time for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing and relaxing. Following lunch, we’ll set out on foot to explore ancient Lydia, a rarely-visited and unexcavated site, and is reachable only by sea. Lydia, once a powerful pre-Roman civilization, was also home to an to an oracle. Many centuries and civilizations converge as we see monumental tombs, a sacred spring, Byzantine-era cisterns, and ruins of shrines dedicated to Apollo dating back to the ancient Greeks. Shards from ancient cult statues are still plentiful here, hidden as they have been for centuries. The views during a hike on pine- and laurel-shaded trails are magnificent and include memorable vistas of Fethiye Bay and sparkling Gocek Lagoon, as well as a dozen small islets. Meet your gulet and, winds permitting, we’ll raise sails and cruise onto our next destination, gliding by the 12 Islands chain, and numerous other coves and isles spread across the bay. We’ll sail on to Bedri Rahmi Cove for another peaceful overnight stay. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Kayakoy
Following breakfast, set sail for Fethiye and anchor in a secluded cove for lunch. Later in the afternoon, we will arrive in the town of Fethiye, where you will have some free time to visit its marketplaces for souvenir shopping before our transfer to the Greek village of Kayakoy. A thriving town of 3,500 until 1923, when Ataturk instituted the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations, Kayakoy became a ghost town overnight, even more ruined over the years by subsequent earthquakes. Only a few Turkish families inhabit houses at the bottom of the town’s rolling hills; it’s an eerie and marvelous place. We will then transfer you back to the yacht and sail to another tranquil cove near Fethiye for your last night at sea. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Fethiye and Return to Istanbul
This morning, we’ll have a short sail to Fethiye’s harbor where you’ll bid farewell to your captain and crew. Then, we’ll transfer you to Dalaman Airport for your return flight to Istanbul, where you will connect with your international flight. (B)