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We had a great time on this three day side trip. The sites and guides were fantastic. The hotel in Cappadocia was beautiful and unique. The balloon trip was worth the extra money. The tour in Ephesus had just the right mix of religious and historical sites. The ruins at Ephesus were just mind blowing. I highly recommend this trip. HOWEVER, every transfer had an issue. 1) our original pick up time at the hotel was 5:15 am and we were told we had to be on the European side. When we reconfirmed, we were told it was changed to 4 am since the airport was on the other (Asian) side. And the driver arrived over half an hour late. 2) When we got to Kayseri, there was no one to pick us up. We called the tour provider but they weren't open and their "urgent" number didn't work (not their fault, I didn't know how to dial with Turkish phone extensions). We had to wait for the office to open and then they finally sent a car. Over an hour wait outside in the freezing cold (you can't go back in the airport after you leave the baggage area). 3) The tour ended at 5 pm in Cappadocia on Day 2 but our shuttle was scheduled for 7:30pm. We had to just wait in the smoky office for the two hours since it was not close to anything else to see or do. 4) When arriving at Izmir (for the Ephesus portion), Guess What??? No one was there to pick us up. Since it was a little after midnight, the tour office was closed but I was able to get a hold of someone at the "urgent" number and after 4 calls, someone came to get us and take us to the hotel. And just to make things interesting, the tour office has misspelled my husband's name so we had to get all three tickets reissued en route. Even with all of that, it was a great trip. They start tours every day so the group had some who were on day one mixed in with some on day 2. We had a lot of fun and met some great people. The tour guide in Ephesus (Erman) was one of the most knowledgeable I have ever encountered outside of a museum. The food was all good (except the late night "sandwich" at the hotel in Izmir. While most of the meals were included, drinks, even a bottle of water or soft drink, was often extra. Take some liras. :-) There were side trips to a rug factory, a pottery maker and a jewelry factory. They were very educational. They do try to sell you their wares but there is no pressure and the vendors are really hospitable.
This was my favorite tour I have ever done with VIATOR!
I can not express how truly amazing this was and our guides were the absolute best!
We even celebrated my Birthday at a restaurant in Cappadocia which was a complete surprise!
This tour is a MUST!!!!!!! If you do not reserve this you are missing out on one of the most beautiful places in the world!
1 We were not given an itnerary - we were told to call to arrange the pick up on day one and that is the only thing we were ever told to do
2 Because we did not have an itinerary, we did not have any information about what we were going to do or see or where we would be staying or what time the next pick up was going to be - a nightmare for two people that are normally very organised.
3 We did not stay in a cave hotel at all. We stayed in a hotel with cave-textured walls. Our first room was infested with ants, so we were moved. It was VERY disappointing to be told we were staying in a cave and then not actually staying there.
4 We were originally told we could book the hot air balloon ride through our guide when we arrived to Cappadocia. This is 100 NOT TRUE. We spent a lot of time and money trying to make the arrangement after being told that it was completely sold out. This was important to us because it was in celebration of our recent engagement, so we were determined to get a spot. With the help of the guide we got lucky and found two spots, but it was very stressful.
1 Guides were terrific and really informative and helpful
2 transportation was on time and comfortable
3 hotels were decent with the exception of being extremely disappointed by NOT staying in a cave hotel
Turkey is amazing and I will always recommend to any traveller that it is a must, but I will absolutely not be recommending that anyone book a tour. It would have been cheaper and less stressful to do this ourselves.
I had a great time in this tour. Both my guides in Cappadocia, Burcu and in Ephesus Gulner were very knowledgeable and passionate. We stopped at several spots in Cappadocia. Starting with the Rose valley hike and Cavucin spectacular village, we followed by visiting the Ushistar castle, pigeon valley, lunch and then the amazing underground city. We also visited some fairy chimneys on the way. Dinner at Dilek Kaya hotel. Next morning we visited Avanos, the ceramic capital, the imagination valley ( the devrent valley), surreal fairy chimneys and Goreme open museum. Then I was transported to the airport for my flight to Izmir. Ephesus tour was amazing so was Mary's church and Selcuk. I was then transferred to the airport for my flight to Istanbul. I think it is a great value tour. There was a glitch in arrangement and Akeen ( he arranged the trip) called me at least 3 times to apologize. They really care. The 4 stars instead of the 5 is because of Cappadocia hotel. Although the view was great, I did not like the dining experience. It was not inviting and felt like a cafeteria. The staff looked tired and unhappy contrary to everything I experienced in Turkey where practically everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Otherwise, all the meals offered were really very good. I took the optional tour of hot air balloon. It is not to be missed. It is magical. One in a lifetime experience. Be warned though, they pick you up at 4:15 so you can watch sunrise in the balloon. They offer snack and you return early enough to have breakfast before they pick you up for the second day of the tour of Cappadocia. They were always very punctual. I calIed Burcu when the glitch happened and she was able to make the necessary phone calls. I highly recommend this tour. You won't be disappointed. Oh! And you visit a carpet, ceramic and jewelry centers so you can make all your necessary purchase there avoiding Istanbul inflated prices
Both Cappadocia and Ephesus are fabulous to visit. This whirlwind trip allowed us to see these two amazing sights! We added the hot air balloon ride and thought it was well worth it. The Cappadoica tour guide was excellent. He was very attentive and well informed. Our tour guide of Ephesus set a fast pace and could have given more information and attention to his group. I felt rushed in comparison to the previous tour. Several things were not as expected. Our itinerary was for a 6:30 pick-up at our Istanbul hotel. I called ahead for details and was told the pick-up would be at 5:00 am instead. At the that time, I was told the airline tickets would be e-mailed to the hotel. I am not sure what would have happened if I hadn't called. The promise of a "boutique hotel in a cave" in Cappadocia was false. We were in a very large hotel outside of town with no way to leave the hotel for a meal and dinner was not part of the package. The food served at the hotel was good, but the space seemed set up for 100's of people while only a few were there. On arrival in Izmir at 12:00 pm due to a delayed flight, there was no one to meet us at the airport. We were able to call and did eventually get picked up. In general ,Viator tours give little information about itinerary and do not support travel by being in touch with clients about pick-up and departure information. The time spent in two carpet and one ceramic center turned out to be entertaining, but not expected and took quite a lot of time.
Punctuality is not their strong suit but in the end everything happens. The tour provider is very reputable in Turkey. The places are incredible, I highly recommend to add the hot air ballon ride to your time in Cappadocia, it is a once in a lifetime experience. I would suggest to request a detailed tour package in advance (including pick-up times, hotels, and airplane tickets/reservations) because two of the three days they gave us a wrong pick-up time and at the airport you don't even know your flight number. I was getting desperate sometimes but that's because I'm a control freak.
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