Destinations / Europe / Turkey / Tailor-Made Turkey: Crossroads of Empires Past

Tailor-Made Turkey: Crossroads of Empires Past

10 days, 5-star from $15,295

The Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all played a role in shaping the diverse nation of Turkey, where iconic ruins decorate breath-taking landscapes ranging from the alpine pastures of the Kaçkar Mountains to the magical Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia. The ancient ruins of Aegan cities like Ephesus, Bodrum and Izmir tell tales of Türkiye’s rich maritime heritage and bygone civilisations. Along the Mediterranean coast, sandy strips like Patara provide a welcome retreat for sunseekers. And then there’s the capital, Istanbul, which caters to history buffs, sightseers, gastronomy connoisseurs and leisure seekers, with attractions such as Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia plus activities ranging from hammam spa treatments to culinary tours and classes.

By spending ten days in Turkey, you can follow in the footsteps of sultans along the Silk Road, take in views of otherworldly vistas from a hot-air balloon, raft through canyon gorges, and feast on delicacies ranging from spicy Anatolian kebabs to olive oil-lathered Aegean vegetables. Our itinerary visits destinations including Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir and Bodrum, but there’s plenty more to see if you can spare more than ten days.

Turkey at a Glance

Turkey lies on the Mediterranean, mostly within West Asia’s Anatolia region, though there’s a small section in Southeast Europe separated from the rest of Turkey by the Turkish Straits. Towards the west, Turkey borders nations including Bulgaria and Greece as well as the Aegean Sea. Towards the northeast, Turkey borders Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, while Syria, Iraq and Iran are located to the southeast. For sunseekers, Turkey’s beaches might best be visited during summer, but the mild weather of the shoulder seasons (April to May and September to October) provide optimal conditions to explore Turkey’s cities and ruins without the crowds or intense heat.

While homosexuality is legal in Turkey, prejudice, discrimination and violence against the LGBT community is common, particularly outside of big cities and cosmopolitan areas. Turkey is an Islamic nation that’s moving ever closer to traditional Middle Eastern values, particularly since the attempted coup in 2016, after which President Erdogan has worked to silence dissent and consolidate his power. The political and religious situation has resulted in turbulent times for the local LGBT community. And while reports highlight that LGBT people often face daily threats, the authorities rarely respond in a meaningful way. Sometimes, they do the opposite, as demonstrated by the violence that took place during Istanbul’s 2018 Pride march. The city’s Pride event was, this year, cancelled for the fourth year running.

In spite of this, Turkey is such a beautiful nation that gay travellers should not be put off a visit. Unlike in most Muslim countries, homosexual activity has been legal since 1923 in Turkey, and it was made legal in 1858 by Turkey’s predecessor, the Ottoman Empire. As a conservative nation, public displays of affection are frowned upon, regardless of gender or sexuality. You may see local men holding hands, but this is a common expression of friendship. Discretion is the name of the game in Turkey.

It’s worth noting that places like Bodrum have a thriving gay scene, with gay bars, pulsing dance floors and hammams. However, many gay locals choose to keep their sexuality a secret from the wider community and even their friends and families, so keep this in mind when enjoying Turkey’s gay venues.

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Turkish lira (TRY)

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Europe citizens are exempted from visas. Canada and US passport holders need a visa to enter Turkey.

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Best Time To Visit

April – May & September – October

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Homosexual Activity


Photo: Fatih Yurur

Photo: Meric Dagli

10-day travel itinerary

By following our 10-day itinerary, you’ll start in Istanbul and end in Bodrum, stopping in destinations such as Cappadocia and Izmir along the way.


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Arrive in Istanbul

After arriving in Istanbul, take the rest of the day to rest up in preparation for a busy ten days ahead.


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Istanbul | The Imperial City

On day two, you’ll visit the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, the 6th-century Basilica Cistern, the city walls, and Chora Church. Afterwards, explore the Pera District, one of Turkey’s centres of arts and entertainment. Before returning to your hotel, stop by a coffeehouse to enjoy a Turkish cup of kahve.


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Istanbul | Crossing the Bosphorus

You’ll start day three with a quick visit to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum before moving on to the Topkapi Palace. Then, you’ll ride the public ferry across the Bosphorus to the Kadiköy neighbourhood on the city’s Asian side to browse a traditional market.

Kiz kulesi, Istanbul


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Istanbul | Suleymaniye Mosque and the Grand Bazaar

On day four, explore the iconic domed Suleymaniye Mosque, desgined by revered Ottoman architect Sinan during the 16th century. Then, browse over 3,500 shops and stalls at the dazzling Grand Bazaar. After visiting the Spice Bazaar, visit the nearby Rustem Pasha Mosque – another masterpiece of Sinan.


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Today, you’ll fly to Cappadocia, where you’ll discover iconic Fairy Chimneys in the cave town of Paşabağ as well as beautiful frescoes inside Göreme’s rock-carved churches. In the afternoon, head to Avanos to see potters perfecting their time-honoured craft.


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Cappadocia and Kaymakli

Wake up early on day six to enjoy a hot air balloon ride above Cappadocia in time for sunset. Then, descend into the historic Kaymakli Underground City, which was carved out of volcanic rock. After engaging with the artisans of the Göreme Weavers Association in the Red Valley, spend the afternoon in a local vineyard to sample the finest regional varietals.


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Izmir and Ephesus

On day seven, fly to Izmir, then drive to the ancient ruins of the Ionian city of Ephesus – the Terrace Houses are particularly impressive to explore. During your time in Ephesus, you’ll see the remains of elaborate temples and former houses. It is believed that the Virgin Mary spent her final years in this amazingly well-preserved classical city.


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Travel to Bodrum

While travelling to Bodrum on day eight, take a break at the Temple of Athena, the ancient city of Priene, and the famous temples of Didyma and Euromos on the way.


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On day nine, you’ll explore the picturesque port city of Bodrum, the birthplace of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. At the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, you’ll find out how maritime activities have been crucial to the development of human civilisation. Spend the rest of the afternoon discovering the historical, cultural and harbourside sights of Bodrum.

DAY 10

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Depart from Bodrum

After a final authentic Turkish breakfast, head to the airport in Bodrum to fly home or onwards to your next destination

Let Us Book Your Luxury Turkey Vacation

Get in touch if you would like us to arrange your Turkey trip. Did you have a different Turkey itinerary in mind? No problem. We tailor every trip to your individual travel style and budget so just let us know what you’re looking for.


A private itinerary designed for you


Hand-selected luxury accommodation


Exclusive insider-access opportunities and inspiring sightseeing


English-speaking local guides


Airport meet and greet with private transfers

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