Turkish delight: 11 extraordinary adventures in the land where east meets west

Turkey is exotic, exciting and very affordable. And new visa rules mean entering is easier than ever. From the aqua-blue waters of the east to the ancient towns of the west, the time to visit is now...

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1. Experience the best of Turkey

Whirling dervishes in Istanbul (Dreamstime)

Whirling dervishes in Istanbul (Dreamstime)

Experience the best that Turkey has to offer on this comprehensive tour of the country with G Adventures. It’s a trip that will introduce you to history, beaches, man-made wonders and natural phenomena.

Beginning in Istanbul, you'll explore ancient palaces and mosques before journeying to the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia.

From the amazing white cliff waterfalls of Pamukkale to the bustling bazaars and intriguing ruins of the west, you’ll visit Turkey’s hidden gems and encounter its vibrant and welcoming culture.

Trip: Absolute Turkey

Who: G Adventures

Type: Small group

When: Departures Mar to Oct

How long: 15 days

How much: From £832 (exc. flights)

2. Cycle through Cappadocia

Cycling in Goreme (KE Adventure Travel)

Cycling in Goreme (KE Adventure Travel)

Cycle between the 'fairy chimneys' of Goreme and explore the wild landscapes of Cappadocia on this off-road mountain biking holiday with KE Adventure Travel.

This breathtaking region of Turkey is perfect for exploring on two wheels. You’ll cycle an excellent single-track bike route through the Ihlara Canyon, explore the underground city of Derinkuyu, and visit the colourful traditional market at Ürgüp.

The entire time, you’ll be surrounded by one of the most surreal landscapes on the planet. Unforgettable.

Trip: Turkish Delight

Who: KE Adventure Travel

Type: Small group

When: Departures May to Jun & Sep to Oct

How long: Nine days

How much: From £795 (exc. flights)

3. Eat your way around Turkey

Oriental bazaar in Sanliurfa (Dreamstime)

Oriental bazaar in Sanliurfa (Dreamstime)

Get a real taste of Turkish food and hospitality on this culinary journey through Turkey with Intrepid.

The food in Turkey is steeped in history, and it varies dramatically from region to region. In Istanbul, a local foodie will guide you through the city’s dazzling dishes and colourful food markets. In Bodrum, you’ll visit a local wine producer, and 'forage and feast' in the local countryside.

In Cappadocia, you’ll spend time with a local Goreme family and learn the secrets behind central Anatolian cuisine, getting up-close-and-personal with Turkey's age-old culinary traditions in a hands-on cooking class. 

New tastes and new skills are guaranteed. 

Trip: Turkey Real Food Adventure

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: Departures Mar to Jun & Sep to Oct

How long: 10 days

How much: From £1,125 (exc. flights)

4. Climb Turkey’s eastern volcanoes

Mount Ararat (Dreamstime)

Mount Ararat (Dreamstime)

Climb some of the most spectacular peaks in Turkey on this unique trekking trip through the far east of the country with Travel The Unknown.

The trek will take you to the top of Mount Süphan and Mount Ararat, and the crater rim of Lake Nemrut. As well as experiencing some of the most breathtaking scenery in Turkey, you’ll also gain an insight into the lives of people who live in this part of the world – and experience their incredible warmth and hospitality.

Cruising across Lake Van to visit the spectacular Armenian church on Akdamar Island and watching the sun set behind the Ishak Pasha Palace are just two more of the highlights.

Trip: Turkish Volcano Trek

Who: Travel The Unknown

Type: Small group

When: Departures Jun to Sep

How long: 10 days

How much: From £1,595 (exc. flights)

5. Venture to the Black Sea and beyond

Uzungöl, near Trabzon (Dreamstime)

Uzungöl, near Trabzon (Dreamstime)

Encounter a side of Turkey that very few travellers get to experience on this adventure along the Black Sea coast – and through the wilds beyond – with Intrepid.

You will find breathtaking valleys and mountains, tea-covered hills, and crumbling ruins originally built by conquering Greeks, Hellenes and Byzantines.

It’s a treasure trove of architectural and cultural wonders that has somehow slipped under the radar, and one where hospitality is all-important. Be prepared to drink a lot of tea and eat a lot of food, including the traditional gravyer cheese.

Trip: Turkey Expedition: Black Sea & Beyond

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Mar to Jun & Sep to Oct

How long: Nine days

How much: From £665 (exc. flights)

6. Walk with the fairies in Cappadocia

Walking in Cappadocia (Dreamstime)

Walking in Cappadocia (Dreamstime)

Pull on your walking boots and get ready for one of the most surreal trekking experiences on the planet on this extraordinary walking holiday in Cappadocia with Exodus.

Formed by the eruptions of three volcanoes – Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz – the rock formations of Cappadocia create one of the most distinctive landscapes in the world.

You’ll explore its most remote corners, meet the people who farm amongst the 'fairy chimneys', and sample their produce in the colourful local markets.

At night, a real treat awaits, as you'll sleep in a luxurious cave room carved into the ancient formations.

Trip: Walking In Cappadocia

Who: Exodus

Type: Small group

When: Departures Apr, May & Aug to Oct

How long: Eight days

How much: From £749 (exc. flights)

7. Walking and cruising the Lycian Shore

Cruising the Lycian Shore (Peter Sommer Travels)

Cruising the Lycian Shore (Peter Sommer Travels)

Walk through history on the Lycian coast, and sail along its ancient shores on this fascinating archaeological adventure with Peter Sommer Travels.

The Lycian Way is regarded as one of the best walks in the world, following over 540 kilometres of ancient roadways, mule tracks and shepherds’ paths along a remote and untouched coastline.

On this cruise, you’ll follow some of its very best stretches, chosen for their beauty and interest, averaging about nine km of walking per day. Your offshore base is a beautiful traditional Turkish gulet, offering elegant transport, delicious dining, and comfortable accommodation throughout the voyage.

Trip: Walking and Cruising the Lycian Shore

Who: Peter Sommer Travels

Type: Small group

When: Oct

How long: 15 days

How much: From £4,275 (exc. flights)

8. Walk through history in Gallipoli and Troy

Wooden Horse in Canakkale, near Troy (Shutterstock)

Wooden Horse in Canakkale, near Troy (Shutterstock)

Discover the corners of Turkey that shaped its history – and the world’s – on this jam-packed tour of Istanbul and the Gallipoli Peninsula with Peregrine.

Your journey begins in Istanbul, a city that stands at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, a continent-straddling metropolis that so many civilisations have called home over the past nine thousand years.

Then, you’ll discover Gallipoli, one of the most important sites of the Great War and a place of enormous significance to Australians and New Zealanders. Just up the road lies on of the most archaeological sites in the world, the legendary city of Troy.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to a feast at a local family's home as well as other typical Turkish pursuits like drinking tea, playing backgammon, and the indulging in the water pipe.

Trip: Istanbul & Gallipoli Battlefields Experience

Who: Peregrine

Type: Small group

When: Regular departures throughout the year

How long: Four days

How much: From £520 (exc. flights)

9. Get active in southern Turkey

Kayaking over one of the sunken harbours of ancient Dolichiste  (Shutterstock)

Kayaking over one of the sunken harbours of ancient Dolichiste (Shutterstock)

What better way to immerse yourself in the culture and landscapes of Turkey that on this activity-heavy romp through its most stunning corners with G Adventures?

Swap your trusty walking stick for a bike and a kayak as you hike, pedal, paddle, and ride your way through the steep canyons of the Lycian Way and past ancient ruins, around peaceful olive groves, and into small villages untouched by time in the valleys of Cappadocia. Exercise should always be this inspiring.

Trip: Turkey Multisport

Who: G Adventures

Type: Small group

When: Apr to Jun & Aug to Oct

How long: 10 days

How much: £809 (exc. flights)

10. Explore a Turkish winter wonderland

Cappadocia in winter (Shutterstock)

Cappadocia in winter (Shutterstock)

People don’t often think of Turkey as a winter destination. But a whole world of wintry excitement awaits, as you’ll discover on the snowshoeing adventure in Anatolia with Evaneos.

Your playground will be the stunning Aladaglar mountain range, home to the highest peaks of the Taurus. You’ll explore its lakes, sheer rock walls, deeply cut valleys and canyons, all dusted in a magical cover of white.

You’ll encounter unique wildlife and unforgettable vistas you follow off-the-beaten-path trails to underground cities and hidden valleys.

There’s also some well-deserved down time at a Turkish Bath and, of course, the most delicious food from the region.

Trip: Central Anatolia Snowshoeing

Who: Evaneos

Type: Tailor-made

When: Winter

How long: Eight days

How much: From £1,100 exc. flights

11. Follow in St Paul's footsteps

The ancient amphitheatre of Selge  (Shutterstock)

The ancient amphitheatre of Selge (Shutterstock)

Walk in the footsteps of an Apostle on this walking adventure through the Taurus Mountains with Ramblers.

Start at sea level on the Mediterranean, the St Paul Trail climbs up 2,200m to Turkey’s mountainous centre from Perge to Yalva, near Lake Egirdir.

The route starts at sea level at the Mediterranean shore and climbs up to 2200m to Turkeys mountainous centre. Your local guide will bring the trail to life as you explore the historical city of Selge before following the trail along dark forest and creative rock formations. 

You’ll follow the course of the Kprl River and the canyon, passing deep pools and rocky slopes, across spectacular limestone ridges and through oak forests. After exploring the Prostanna ruins and gazing across Egirdir lake, you’ll enter the city of Yalva along the ruins of the Roman aqueduct just as St Paul did.

This holiday will leave you wanting to discover more of Turkeys second long-distance trail.

Trip: St Paul's Trail And The Taurus Mountains

Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays

Type: Small group

When: Apr & Sep

How long: 14 nights

How much: From £1,999 (exc. flights)

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