Ottoman is not Just a Footstool 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 :GETO
  • Trip length : 15
  • Trip starts in : Istanbul
  • Trip ends in : Istanbul
  • Maximum group size : 16
  • Ages : 18 - 39
  • Meals : 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Accommodation : 2 nights Boat, 1 night Pension, 10 nights Hotel, 1 night Overnight coach
  • Transport : Ferry, Local bus, Private bus


  • The First World War history of Gallipoli
  • Underground city of Derinkuyu
  • UNESCO World Heritage-listed pools and terraces of Pamukkale
  • The surreal rock formations and valleys of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cappadocia
  • Take a bite out of Istanbul

Start in Istanbul before heading off to explore Gallipoli, Eceabat and Ayvalik (think cobblestones and cafes).  Next up you’ve got Selcuk, Pamukkale and Fethiye for amazeballs Greco-Roman ruins, healing pools and beach. Sail the Turquoise Coast (literally TURQUOISE). Head to Antalya and Cappadocia for penis-shaped rocks (among other things) then head back to Istanbul via more villages, valleys and awesomeness.In the Ottoman Empire, condemned government officials who were sentenced to death could run for their lives. Literally. They were allowed to challenge their executioner to a foot race from the palace to the Fish Market Gate. If they made it before the executioner, they would be banished instead of executed. Too bad if you forgot your runners.




Meals included: 1 breakfast

Check out the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome (sadly, there’s no actual hippos here). Your hotel is right in the thick of the action so you won’t have to walk far for your first kebab of the trip.

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 optional cruise on the Bosphorus or indulge in an optional Turkish hamam (traditional Turkish bath)

Gallipoli - Eceabat

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Drive to Gallipoli and wander around the famous battlefields - it's hard not to feel moved. Travel on to Eceabat.

  • 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


Meals included: 1 breakfast

Kick on to Ayvalik, a seaside town surrounded by olive groves and sprinkled with pine trees. This pretty port town owns a fairly cool bit of history – it was here that the first shot of the Turkish War of Independence was fired. Didn’t know there was a Turkish War of Independence? You will after our orientation walkabout.

  • 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


Meals included: 1 breakfast

Travel to Selçuk, our base for exploring Ephesus - perhaps the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world.

  • 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


Meals included: 1 breakfast

Travel to Pamukkale with its natural pools, shelves and ridges. Find out why the hot spring city of Pamukkale is known as 'cotton castle'.

  • 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 deposits
  • Perhaps explore the ancient city of Hierapolis, known for its abundance of temples and religious structures


Meals included: 1 breakfast

Get your ghoul on in a visit to Fethiye's local ghost village and then hike to the blue lagoon. It's blue, it's a lagoon, but it's also legit incredible. Panorama that view, stat.

  • Today we head for the coast and take a local bus to Ölüdeniz, described as 'the Eden bestowed by God to the world'. The three-kilometre-long beach has the appearance of a natural lagoon with warm lapping water. There is plenty of time to enjoy a swim before transferring to our hotel in Fethiye. (Approx. driving time 4 hours)

Turquoise Coast Sailing

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

The sunken city of Kekova Island sits just under the surface of the water. Did you know the colour turquoise was named after Turkey? This is why.

  • Board a boat for a memorable voyage along the Turquoise Coast and view some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world
  • Cruise to the sunken cities around Kekova Island from where remains of mysterious civilisations can be viewed
  • Walk up to nearby Simena Castle, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding bays and islands
  • Perhaps explore some of the numerous Lycian rock tombs
  • Spend some time on the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Swim and explore the natural and historical sites along the way
  • Indulge in feasts before being lulled to sleep by Mediterranean breezes


Meals included: 1 breakfast

It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya (unless your finger is over the lens) thanks to cobblestone streets, the old city, the marina and the Taurus mountains in the distance. Head to Zencefil café for a karniyarik -roasted eggplant split down the middle and stuffed with chopped beef, onions, tomatoes and spices.

  • Disembark the boat in Uçagiz and head to Antalya
  • (Approx. driving time - 2.30 hours)


Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Take a local bus to Cappadocia (approx. driving time - 10 hours) and explore Cappadocia for the next two nights. This is a long journey but a good chance to re-energize before our exciting time in Cappadocia. Cappadocia is an extraordinary region of lunar-like landscapes that has bewitched travellers for centuries. Penis-shaped rocks, fairy chimneys and underground cities. Cappadocia’s got it all.

  • 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)


Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Get your boots on and hike from Goreme to Ortahisar where we will spend the night in a traditional guest house cave hotel. 

  • For early birds, there is the option this morning to experience the best views of the sunrise in Cappadocia – from a hot air balloon!
  • Alternatively, after a leisurely breakfast, we drive to the start of Pasabaglari (Priest Valley) and follow a trail to the picturesque village of Çavusin. We walk through Kizilçukur (Red Valley) - the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia
  • Tonight is one of the highlights of our adventure - we experience traditional Turkish hospitality as guests of a family in their local village house

Cappadocia - overnight bus

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Take a private bus back to Goreme before Jumping on your overnighter back to Istanbul.

  • Spend a further 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
  • Catch a bus for an hour that takes us to Derinkuyu (optional) – an incredible underground city that descends eight floors (60 metres) below the surface
  • Farewell Cappadocia and make the long journey by overnight bus back to Istanbul (approx. driving time: 10-12 hours)


Celebrate your arrival back in Europe with a fresh fish roll on the Galata Bridge. This trip ends after breakfast on Day 15.

  • 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


  • Gecko's expert English-speaking local tour guide.
  • Visit to the battlefields, monuments and cemeteries of Gallipoli.
  • Boat trip on the Turquoise Coast, sleeping under the stars on a comfortable mattress on the boat deck. - Time at the natural pools, shelves and ridges of Pammukale.
  • Walks in the lunar-like landscape of Cappadocia including: Akvadi (White Valley), Pigeon Valley, Pasabaglari (Priest Valley) and Kizilçukur (Red Valley).
  • Visits to one of the greatest Greco-Roman sites in the world
  • Ephesus; to the eternal flames of Chimeira; and to the Lycian city of Phaselis.
  • Orientation walks in Istanbul, Ayvalik, Selçuk, and Antalya.


International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, entrance fees (except for Ephesus and Derinkuyu), visas, pre-tour or post-tour accommodation, additional meals (including some meals on boat), drinks, optional sightseeing tours, travel insurance, tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature.



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.


13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

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.

Entrance Fees

Entrance fees are not included (except for Ephesus and Derinkuyu), and are paid as you go along.

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