Foodie Trip: Flavors of the Aegean
Istanbul / Mudanya / Sigi village/ Zeytinbagi (Trigleia) / Bursa / Edremit
/ Kazdaglari (Mount Ida) / Acropolis of Pergamum / Izmir / Ephesus / Sirince
village/ Bodrum (7nights /
Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk airport
Arrive at Ataturk airport and enjoy an included transfer to your centrally located hotel.
At approximately 5:30pm (based on your arrival schedule) we will meet for a walking tour along Istiklal (the famous pedestrian walking street) from Taksim to Galatasaray. Some of the noteworthy places we will see include the French & Greek Consulates, the Greek Orthodox Church (Hagia Triada), the Armenian Catholic Church (Surp Hovhan Vosgeperan),The Flower Passage, The Produce & Fish Market as well as Galatasaray High School. While walking, we will stop to taste some of the local “street food” and your guide will point out restaurants that you may enjoy for dinner.
Day 2: Istanbul - Full day tour
Begin the morning with an extensive tour of Topkapi Palace, former residence
of the Ottoman Sultans. Later we stop at Sirkeci Railway Station (last
stop of the Orient Express), before visiting the Spice Market. Have some
free time to explore this magical market as well as for lunch on your own
(one of the many choices in this area is Pandeli Restaurant with its
turquoise tiles and 17th-century domed ceiling). Next, we enjoy a Bosphorus
cruise for about an hour along the shores of the European and Asian sides
of Istanbul, disembarking at Uskudar, one of the largest towns on the Asian
side of the Strait. We will visit the produce & fish market and view
the Mihrimah Sultan’s Mosque as well as Maiden’s Tower in Salacak.
Return to your hotel with a steamboat ride of twenty minutes, crossing
the Bosphorus from Uskudar to Kabatas.
Included Culinery Program: Tonight we enjoy a private dinner in a
Turkish home. This unforgettable Turkish experience includes the opportunity
some traditional dishes and seasonal recipes in an authentic Turkish home.
Feel for yourself the sense of expansive hospitality that is innate among
Turks everywhere. We say "make yourselves at home" in Turkey
and we mean it! Join our hostess, Selin, a local cooking expert, for a
hands-on experience preparing a Turkish menu followed by a gourmet dinner.
Recipes vary according to the season, utilizing only the freshest ingredients
available and providing you with a deeply individual Turkish experience.
The best part is the conclusion: Tasting the creations! (B, D)
Day 3: Istanbul - Full day tour
This morning, we visit more iconic sites in Istanbul, including the Roman
Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. In the afternoon,
visit the Grand Bazaar. We have some free time to explore the over four thousand
shops and to stop for lunch (one of the many choices in this area is Seyhmus
Kebab restaurant). Later, we drive over the Galata bridge to the Tophane
area to see the “Museum of Innocence”, created by Nobel Prize-winning
author Orhan Pamuk. Have a walking tour again late this afternoon: this time
from Galatasary to Pera. Noteable buildings along the way include the British
Consulate, St. Antoine's Catholic Church, the Consulates of the Netherlands,
Russia and Sweden, Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, the Tunel area, The Galata
Tower and Neve Shalom Synagogue. We end our walk at The Pera Palace Hotel
and have a short drive back to the hotel. Those who wish to stay, may dine
on their own at many local restaurants such as Kivahan or Guney (Turkish
/ Ottoman cuisine), Fureyya fish restaurant or The Pera Palace Hotel’s
Agatha Restaurant and can walk or taxi back to the hotel on their own. (B)
Day 4: Istanbul / Mudanya / Sigi Village / Zeytinbagi (Trigleia) / Bursa – Ferry and drive to Bursa
We travel to Mudanya by ferry. Mudanya is one of the oldest harbor towns
in the province of Bursa, dating back to the 8th century BC. After seeing
the authentic architecture of Mudanya houses, we will drive to visit Kumyaka
(Sigi), an old Greek village to see how sisters Nazligul and Aslihan produce
extra virgin olive oil the ancient way. We then continue to Zeytinbagi (Trigleia),
another old Greek town for lunch and enjoy an unforgettable local meal (traditional
cold and hot meze dishes made with olive oil, sea-food and wine). The area
has been host to various civilizations since antiquity. Trigleia is the original
name of the town. Although the name has been changed to Zeytinbagi (Olive
Orchard), it is still sometimes referred to as Tirilye. We will visit the
Bakus Winery owned by Melih Karaer and taste their wine made from Bogazkere,
Merlot, Cinsault and Cabarnet-Sauvignon grapes. We will then continue to
Bursa. The former capital of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa is known for Mount
Uludag, the mausoleums of early Ottoman Sultans, numerous edifices built
throughout the Ottoman period, forests, thermal baths, museums, and a covered
Bazaar famous for silk cloth. Bursa is also home to some of the most famous
Turkish dishes such as Iskender Kebab, iced chestnuts, peaches and Turkish
delight. We will visit the Great Mosque, bazaar district, and Caravanserai.
We will have an included dinner and overnight in Bursa. (B, L, D)
Culinary experience: Enjoy olive oil tasting in Sigi and lunch and
wine in the old Greek town of Trilye. The meal begins with Turkish meze,
a selection of hot and cold traditional appetizers made with olive oil,
followed by a delicious meal of freshly caught fish prepared by the Chef
into a wonderful seafood dish.
Day 5: Bursa / Edremit / Mt. Ida / Pergamum / Izmir – Drive to Izmir
This morning we depart for Edremit to visit the Adatepe Olive Oil Museum
and have lunch in a village at the foot of Mt. Ida (from mythology). Our
host for lunch is Erhan Seker of Zeytinbagi Restaurant. After lunch and
a quick walk among the flora and fauna of Kazdaglari (Mt. Ida), we will
continue to Pergamum, once one of the richest small kingdoms in Asia Minor.
Here we visit the magnificent Acropolis. The Acropolis boasts a great
theater seating 10,000 and the marble-columned Temple of Trajan. Below
the theater lie the ruins of the Temple of Dionysus along with the Altar
of Zeus. We continue on to the Asclepieum, a sanctuary and healing center
built in the 4th century BC in the name of Ascelepius. Later this afternoon
we travel to Izmir and our hotel. (B, L)
Culinary experience: On the way to Izmir, we stop in the village
of Adatepe to visit the Olive Oil Museum - the first and the most sophisticated
of its kind in Turkey. Then we drive to a mountain village at the foot of
the mythological Ida Mountain where we will experience an outstanding lunch
prepared by Chef Erhan Seker, the owner of Zeytinbagi Restaurant. The local
dishes are prepared with vegetables of the Aegean coast and wild herbs gathered
from Ida Mountain. The restaurant is known to produce some of the best cooking
Day 6: Ephesus / Sirince Old Greek Village – Full day tour
After breakfast, we drive to Selcuk, to visit the ruins of Ephesus, including
the Roman period villas known as the Terrace Houses. For our lunch, we drive
to an old Greek village in the hills near Ephesus. Originally a Greek-Orthodox
village, Sirince is now a very pretty site of Turkish-Greek culture. From
its beautiful hilltop location we enjoy impressive views of the vineyards
and olive trees surrounding the village. As we wander the narrow streets
of the village lined with typical Greek houses, we come across women selling
handcrafts of all kinds and other local village products. Here, we have
a chance to socialize with the locals and taste the simple, yet delicious
cuisine of the Aegean at a home-hosted lunch. A final stop is in the town
of Selcuk where you can visit the Museum of Archaeology. Overnight in Izmir.
Culinary experience: We will visit a typical Greek house in an authentic
village where we will savor gozleme, a traditional homemade stuffed pancake,
guvec, a delicious stew prepared in the oven, and freshly baked bread.
Day 7: Izmir / Bodrum – Drive to Bodrum
On the way to Bodrum, we will stop at Sultankoy in Camlik village where we
have the opportunity to learn about some local crafts, such as rug-weaving.
We may also be able to see demonstrations performed by local craftsmen and
women. We are invited to taste wine and canapés made here. We will
continue our drive to Bodrum and upon arrival, visit the Museum of Underwater
Archaeology in the Castle of St. Peter - the most prominent feature of Bodrum.
Bodrum is situated in the southwest corner of the Aegean region of Turkey;
it has an excellent climate and a beautiful coastline. Bodrum rests on the
ancient city of Halicarnassus. Due to both its historical importance and
natural beauty, Bodrum has become very popular with both locals and visitors
to Turkey. Our farewell dinner will be served at a cozy restaurant in Ortakent,
a small town located out on the Bodrum peninsula. (B,D)
Culinary experience: In the small medieval town of Ortakent, we meet our
host Chef Asli Mutlu and taste her Mediterranean fusion dishes prepared
with local vegetables, herbs and flavors. Asli's passion for cooking
in her variety of cooking where she uses the wonderful fresh and wild vegetables
of the region in different styles. One day pumpkins will be served with
walnuts, cooked in the Turkish way and another day, it will be a raw
salad mixed with
green herbs. What is always included in these dishes is the extra virgin
olive oil of the region. Chef Asli Mutlu researches old recipes and creates
new ones using meat, fish and poultry to cook outstanding meals with a
never-ending passion. The village atmosphere and outstanding dining
experience will make
this an unforgettable night!
Day 8: Bodrum / Istanbul - Homebound Departure
After breakfast we drive to Bodrum / Milas airport for a homebound flight via
Prices are per person, in USD and based on double occupancy at hotels:
Subject to availability and dates selected
A discount (10 %) will apply for the following period: November 15th to March 15th
Price of the trip package includes:
Price of the trip package excludes:
3 nights Istanbul: Hotel Ottoman Imperial (in the historic Sultanahmet
neighborhood) or similar
1 night Bursa: Hotel Kitapevi or similar
2 nights Izmir: Hotel Swiss Grand Efes Izmir or similar
1 night Bodrum: Hotel Hotel The Marmara or similar
Domestic flights in coach class within the program (Bodrum to Istanbul).
Meals as indicated by (B, L, D) - B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
13 Meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners include bottled water.
Services of a private licensed, professional English-speaking guide throughout your trip.
All transfers and travel by private, modern, air-conditioned, chauffeur driven
vehicles, appropriate to the size of your group.
All entrance fees to the sites and museums mentioned in the program.
Parking, ferry, and toll road fees.
Gratuity at restaurants where a meal is included in the program.
Porter fees at airports.
Airfare for international flights.
Beverages other than water during included meals.
Optional gratuities to the tour guide(s), driver(s).
Tipping for porters at hotels.
Visas, laundry, and personal items.