Whirling Turkey Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : GETA
  • Trip length : 11
  • Trip starts in : Istanbul
  • Trip ends in : Istanbul
  • Maximum group size : 18
  • Ages : 18 - 39
  • Meals : 9 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
  • Accommodation : 8 Nights Hotel, 1 Night Overnight Coach, 1 Night Homestay
  • Transport : Ferry, Local Bus, Private Bus


  • Take a bite out of Istanbul
  • The surreal rock formations and valleys of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cappadocia
  • Underground city of Derinkuyu
  • The mystic Sufi order known as the 'Whirling Dervishes'
  • The First World War history of Gallipoli
  • Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar - a labyrinth of 4500 stalls

Kick off your trip in Istanbul with some Grand Bazaar and Old Town times. Head to Gallipoli then on to Ayvalik for some delicious treats. Next up is ancient Selcuk and Greco-Roman Ephesus, then Pamukkale for healing natural pools, Konya for Whirling Dervishes, and Cappadocia for slightly phallic, lunar-like landscapes. Awkies. Mother Nature was in a good mood the day she created Love Valley in Cappadocia. Sometimes referred to as ‘Turkey’s Undies’, it consists of a bunch of phallic rock structures sprouting up all over the countryside. You could say there’s a stiff breeze in the air. 




Merhaba! Welcome to Turkey. We've found accommodation right near the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market (so you won't have to lug your treasures very far). Convenient, no? Day 1, Arrive in Istanbul. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with the hotel reception or the hotels noticeboard for confirmation of where and when this meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early, so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please contact the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your trip leader.Head out on an optional group dinner, a good introduction to some fabulous Turkish cuisine in a street-side cafe. Day 2, Take a guided tour of the treasures of the Old Town including the iconic Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome. Explore under your own steam in the afternoon. Maybe visit the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. Perhaps barter for a bargain, enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus or indulge in a traditional hamam (Turkish bath).


Gallipoli - Eceabat

No jokes about Gallipoli. If you choose to take the optional trip to Troy, however, you're free to remember Brad Pitt's terrible accent in the movie and laugh yourself silly. Take a bus to the shores of Gallipoli, a place of immense significance for Australians and New Zealanders (approx. driving time: 5.5 hours). It is a spot of pilgrimage and reverence and the calm lapping waters belies the murderous campaign that took place here. This now-serene site is located at Turkey’s most westerly point and played a crucial role in 1915 for Allied forces during the First World War. The combatants here included other Commonwealth and British troops, as well as the French and Turkish. Cross the Dardanelles by ferry to accommodation in Çanakkale



We suggest you devote this day to finding the best burek of the trip. Or the best kebab. Or the best baklava. Maybe just devote this day entirely to food. Your local guide can help. Drive down the coast to Ayvalik (approx. driving time: 3.5 hours). Optional excursion to Troy, where you can explore the ancient walls, climb around the ruins and gaze across the Troad (the Plains of Troy) towards the waters of the Dardanelles and the hills of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Take an orientation tour of Ayvalik and view its Greco-Ottoman houses, cobblestone streets and lively cafes. A drink at a harbourside bar is a great way to enjoy the sunset


Ephesus - Selcuk

Ephesus is the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world. Antony and Cleopatra lived here for a while, as did the Virgin Mary. These days it would be known as something of a hotspot. Take a local bus to Selçuk (approx. driving time: 7 hours). Explore nearby Ephesus - perhaps the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world (optional). Ephesus, founded by Ionian Greeks in the 11th century BC and brought to full flower under Roman rule, was always an important religious centre. Walk the marble streets once trodden by Antony and Cleopatra and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and the restored Library of Celsus. Close by is the last home of the Virgin Mary who, as legend has it, came here accompanied by St John and lived out her days in this beautiful spot.



This place is so pretty Walt Disney would be jealous he didn't invent it. Apparently the thermal waters can cure asthma, but bring your inhaler just in case. Set off on a morning orientation tour around Selçuk, a town full of history and packed with artifacts and relics that reflect its past as an ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Travel to Pamukkale (approx. driving time: 6 hours), with its spectacular natural pools, shelves and ridges, formed by a spring with high calcium bicarbonate content that cascaded over the edge of the cliffs, leaving calcium depositsPerhaps explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, known for its abundance of temples and religious structures



Konya is home to the famous Whirling Dervishes. Please note that most of the whirling takes place behind closed doors. You won't see people spinning randomly on the street. Catch a bus to Konya (approx. driving time: 5 hours). This town dates back to Roman times and was also the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to 13th centuries. It is most famous as the home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who founded a mystic Sufi order popularly known as the 'Whirling Dervishes'. Seize the chance to visit Mevlana's Mausoleum and the museum housing manuscripts of his works (optional), as well as various artefacts relating to the mystic sect that he founded. Please note that Konya is a very religious town, so it is best that we dress conservatively during our time here. Stay overnight in a great local homestay near the neolithic ruins of Catalhoyuk



Explore Cappadocia, the lunar-like landscape in the interior of the country. Moon boots optional. Day 8, Take the bus to Cappadocia (approx. driving time: 3.5 hours) - an extraordinary region that has bewitched travellers for centuries. Cappadocia was formed thousands of years ago as volcanic ash settled, hardened into soft rock and then eroded, forming strange and fantastic spires, domes and gorges. On arrival in Göreme (our base for two nights) we can catch another bus for an hour that takes us to Derinkuyu (optional) – an incredible underground city that descends eight floors (60 metres) below the surface. Day 9, Drive to the top of the trail at the beginning of the Akvadi (White Valley). Walk amongst fruit gardens and vineyards. Take in Uçhisar and visit the village and high viewpoint known as The Fortress (optional). Take a stroll in Pigeon Valley before heading back to Göreme. Enjoy free time to experience Göreme’s nightlife. Perhaps attend a traditional Whirling Dervish 'Sema' performance (optional).


Cappadocia - overnight bus - Istanbul

Jess said her favourite part of Istanbul was the Basilica Cistern. After the initial shock of discovering it's not a giant toilet, she described it as "...amazing, creepy, Medusa head, fishy, haunting, lovely". Jess has a way with words. Day 10, Spend a free day exploring the Cappadocia region. Perhaps stop by the Göreme Open Air Museum - always worth a visit (optional). It is a fascinating complex of medieval painted cave churches carved out by rock. Farewell Cappadocia and make the long journey by overnight bus back to Istanbul (approx. driving time: 10-12 hours). Day 11, The trip ends on arrival in Istanbul (between 7 am and 8 am), but there are plenty more kebabs to be eaten if you're thinking of sticking around a bit longer. Additional accommodation can be booked if you wish to further explore this great city. Alternatively you may wish to book a departure transfer to connect with an onward flight - please inquire at time of booking


Local leader, accommodation and transport.


We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

  • Goreme - Derinkuyu (underground city)
  • Goreme - Hamam (Turkish Bath)
  • Goreme - Hot-air Balloon 
    from €165 (one hour)
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
  • Istanbul - Aya Sofia
  • Istanbul - Cistern Basilica
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (incl. Harem) 
    30TL + 15TL (Harem)
  • Istanbul - Turkish Hamam (Turkish Bath) including massage 
    from 100TL
  • Konya - Mevlana's Tomb
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis and Travertines
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Cleopatra Pool
    from 40TL
  • Selcuk - St John's Basilica
  • Selcuk - Ephesus
    30TL (Terrace House - additional 15TL)
  • Selcuk - Mary's House
    15TL (plus extra for transport)
  • Troy - Guided tour (incl. entry and transport)


International flights, arrival & departure transfers, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals (where not listed as included in the itinerary), drinks, optional additional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature, entrance fees.



Our Raw tours are best suited for those with a sense of adventure, are willing to step outside their comfort zone and don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. For independent travellers who want to travel with others. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart who has an open mind, an eye on the budget and a nose for adventure. Authentic experiences that expand the mind rather than hold the hand.

Style Facts

  • The freedom to explore without breaking the bank
  • Time to do your own thing – or join in optional group activities
  • YOU choose where YOU want to eat
  • Basic accommodation
  • A variety of public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.


Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.

Style Facts

  • Plenty of free time to explore independently
  • Optional activities to suit your budget
  • Freedom to choose your own meals
  • Simple famliy run hotels
  • Mostly public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.

This tour is operated by our partners Geckos Adventures


A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information.



We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.



Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later.



You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information


Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.



Itinerary Variation

While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.


9 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Single room supplement

Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.

Other Information

Special Anzac Day departure. The 23 Apr 2015 departure ties in with the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day at Gallipoli and the night of Day 2 will be spent sleeping under the stars in Anzac Cove instead of a hotel in Istanbul.**Please note only successful ballot holders will be able to attend the Dawn Centenary service and travel on this departure **

Entrance Fees

Entrance fees are not included in the tour cost.

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