The tour guides were fabulous, professional and knowledgeable. Very service oriented. Logistics in Turkey were very well done. The cave hotel in Cappadocia (MDC) was a highlight of the trip. The manager, Mustapha, was super accommodating, from opening the restaurant early for our departure to arranging a balloon ride, everything was taken care of in a prompt, efficient, and kind manner. The food at MDC was excellent and staff were top notch. 5 star service!
The only downsides are:
1) The 4-star Grand Onder Hotel in Kusadasi was not up to 4 star standards. Buffet was not good, rooms worn down, maintenance sketchy, and swimming pool questionable. There were lots of much nicer places in town.
2) We wanted a balloon tour of Cappadocia. This was not included and we need to arrange this on our own.
3) Viatour was supposed to get us back to Istanbul. They couldn't find a connection to get us to the airport in time for our next flight. We needed to book this on our own and found a corresponding flight quite easily on the web. Not the full service one would expect for a tour of this price point.
Our trip to Istanbul in September was FANTASTIC. One of the most memorable moments of this week-long trip was the night of September 6th when we visited a Turkish family and had a GREAT meal with them. The food was simply delicious!!! There was enough food for you to have a second serving. I sure took advantage of that opportunity.
The family was lovely. We were allowed to asked any questions and they were answered honestly. The children were a pure delight.
Semih and his partner were wonderful tour guides. They helped to translate, but one of the little girls was able to practice her English on us. She was pretty good considering she is just learning how to speak it.
After dinner, Semih took us to a local cafe where we drank tea, used a shisha pipe and played backgammon. There is no need to worry if you don't know how to play backgammon, Semih is a wonderful teacher.
If you visit Instanbul, this is a MUST tour to take. It's inexpensive and trust me when I say that you will love it!!!
My wife and I had a wonderful tour experience with our guide Gulay. We not only had a relaxed touring experience of visiting the sites we wished to see, but we learned a lot about the Istanbul area and its people. One of the many highlights was the opportunity to chat over lunch at a Turkish restaurant and sample local food. As our time in Istanbul was limited this tour was a great way to appreciate Istanbul. We would highly recommend the tour and our very proficient guide, Gulay.
This tour was wonderful led by a very lovely, informative and professional guide named Yuke. Yuke led our small group of five in and out of the major Istanbul sites displaying her love and enthusiasm for this wonderful city. She provided us with historical information as well as her own insights. Her dialogue was not a memorized set of facts it was a conversation with us, always welcoming our questions and input. The restaurant she took us to for lunch had a wonderful view and delicious food. This tour was terrific.
We booked this for our first night in Istanbul, hoping it would be a good way to familiarize ourselves with the city while also taking care of dinner. The tour accomplished both objectives, and then some!
It was so much more fun than we had expected. Our guide Selma did a great job of making the evening enjoyable for us and the other couple on the tour.
In addition to getting a tour of the Beyoglu nightlife, we got a tile game lesson in a traditional tea house, a charcoal grilled kebab on a hidden rooftop terrace, kokorec with hot peppers, melons and fresh cheese as we were serenaded with live gypsy music, and topped off the evening with tripe soup at a streetside table.
The food was great, but what made the tour special was the experiences. I don't think we could have found some of these places and experiences on our own, especially not the first night.
I highly recommend this tour.
Doing what: Istanbul by Night: Turkish Food Tour
Omar our tour guide and we had a Blast! He is very knowledgeable and kept us moving at a comfortable pace. I think this was a great way to see and Feel Istanbul! I loved the Bazaar and Haggling with the store owners! Food was great ! Thanks for the Memories! We took tour on Mon, as we toured Hagia Sophia on Sun on our own , so it was great to see the Chora !
Really wonderful opportunity to treat my parents and myself to a private tour of Istanbul. We could go at our pace and tell the guide what we most wanted to see and how long we wanted to spend at each site. The guide was knowledgeable and engaging. The tour included a lunch and though I did not expect much, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and quality of the food. Well organized and though a bit expensive, well worth every cent.
The journey to the venue was more of a hotel to hotel collection/transfer service rather than an "Istanbul by night" tour as described in the trip details, having said that you do see some of Istanbul en-route to the venue, and you could see some of the major sights from a distance, and on the return journey these were illuminated in the dark too. Good driver, clean comfortable mini-bus type vehicle and right on time. Venue superb with great staff, very good food, a great introduction to Turkish food and excellent entertainment - belly dancers, folk dancers and knife throwers etc. Rounded off by a general entertainer who sang songs from around the world, based on the nationalities in the audience, also some audiance participation with the belly dancers etc. Excellent night and do recommend this trip.
Doing what: Istanbul by Night: Turkish Dinner and Show
Definintely couldn't describe the journey to the venue as an "Istanbul by night" tour, as it was purely a hotel-to-hotel collection service en-route to the venue, albeit in the dark and you could see some of the major sights from a distance. Good driver, clean and brand new vehicle and right on time. The only thing was that the local company got the lead name wrong and ended up faxing a collection time to my father in the hotel - it was a surprise for his 70th birthday. Luckily, my mother saw the fax first and gave it to me and he just thought it was something about our car to the airport the next day. Simple mistake and wasn't an issue. Venue superb with great staff, very good food and excellent entertainment - belly dancers, folk dancers and knife throwers etc. Rounded off by a general entertainer who sang songs from around the world, based on the nationalities in the audience - it was like the United Nations!!! Very good and recommend this trip.
Doing what: Istanbul by Night: Turkish Dinner and Show
Gallipoli is incredible and well worth the long trip from Istanbul. The included lunch was lovely and overlooked the water. The tour guide at Gallipoli was very friendly and informative. The only negative was the delays caused by stopping in three different places on the trip. One was for a 45-minute break, about an hour after we left Istanbul. The second break was after the afternoon at Gallipoli. We were returned to the restaurant where we had lunch and told the wait there would be around 45 minutes - however we could buy our dinner there! Around 90-minutes later we had another break at a retail outlet and food shop for another 45-minutes or so. We definitely got the sense that these additional stops were designed for the "tourists" to spend.
Doing what: Small-Group Gallipoli Day Trip from Istanbul
Our guided tour of Istanbul was much better than organized tour from cruise line. Small group is a plus. I wish we had our lunch in local not "touristy" place - to have real flavor of Turkish food.
Tour was great! Pick up was a little early but we were able to avoid the traffic out of Istanbul and did not feel rushed. I did not know the hotel I would be staying at before hand but was very good, good choice of food and clean facilities. I was very fortunate as there was only myself and another couple so felt almost like a private tour.
Would highly recommend to anyone who has a few days and would like to see a bit more of Turkey, not just Istanbul.
Doing what: 2-Day Troy and Gallipoli Tour from Istanbul
OVerall Nice tour. Covers the main items in istanbul.
Guide is very nice, good english, explains the history and knowledgeable.
Lunch is just adequate. Service in the restaurant chosen was too slow.
Food starter was good, but rest was just acceptable. Nothing special to be traditional turkish.
Van is very comfortable.
Tour guide let us see things at our own pace.
Advantages: 1) tasty vegetarian option 2) one time pick up from the hotel and the biggest advantage was the tour director! He was friendly, natural in his conversations with the tour group, and seemed to really care we got the most out of our day!
Disadvantages: 1) Most of the trip from Istanbul is in the comfortable tour van so it was suggested to book the overnight stay in order to see both Troy and Gallipoli. 2) Non-vegetarian options for the lunch was poor quality. The "seafood" option are just bony, tiny fish although the restaurant has a variety of other seafood to cook.3) Unfriendly service at the restaurant 4) Staying at the Gallipoli side rather than the Troy side ferry stop where there are better and more numerous choices for eating and souvenir shopping 5) The tour van to Troy from the ferry had poor A/C and flies inside. 6) The WORST part was the tour "guide" lady who picked us up from our Troy van to take the ferry back to meet up with the tour group that went to Gallipoli (in order to head back to Istanbul). She did not speak English well and she was really disorganized. A lot of the other Troy tour group members were confused and frustrated with her.
So weigh the advantages and disadvantages...and make the correct choice and skip this day trip to Troy from Istanbul!
Doing what: Troy Day Trip from Istanbul
The driver drove at speeds of 130km per hour and only slowed down when we made pointed comments.
The Troy tour was truncated to suit your schedules leaving us stranded in a nearby town for 5 hours. After the introductory walk around the Troy site which was rushed I needed several hours to go back to take it all in. Our protests were met with refusals. I bought a guide book and it shows me how much I missed. We then asked to be taken back to Istanbul earlier and were told that you had tto pick up three other people. No additional people joined our bus for the trip back - so whatever was going on, it was 'no hassle' for you - and hassles all round for us.
At one stop on the way back at a hotel we bought some chocolate that was sun affected. I found the same chocolate in Istanbul in a small corner shop for 1.38 lire - but was charged 6 lira at the stop, for chocolate that turned out to be unfit for human consumption.
The evening meal stop on the way back was hopeless fast food that was not even warm. Prices were a rip off for what was provided. Several people resorted to eating a packet of crisps - because the food offered was so poor.
Doing what: 2-Day Troy and Gallipoli Tour from Istanbul
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