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Best Guided Tours of Turkey

Last Updated on April 4, 2023

Why Take a Tour?

Having authored travel guidebooks to Turkey for decades, I believe many travelers can tour the country on their own, but many visitors may find Turkey different enough that they want some help with their touring.

Help can range from a half-day walking tour to get a feel for Istanbul, all the way to a 22-day all-inclusive luxury tour of the entire country.

It's important to realize that tour doesn't necessarily mean 45 people jammed into a bus zooming by old buildings.

 

 

What a Tour Offers:

—Walking to and through Istanbul's most interesting sights with a small and congenial group of fellow explorers led by a friendly, knowledgeable guide.

—Strolling through a city's vibrant markets and haggling for the ingredients of a delicious Turkish meal that you will help—and learn—to prepare.

—Soaring over the moonscape of Cappadocia in a hot-air balloon.

—Jolly walks and meals with new friends, and a guide who can answer questions and tell stories that aren't in the guidebooks.

Joining a small band of other travelers on a common adventure means you don't have to make all those travel arrangements yourself; that if something goes wrong, others will fix it at no additional cost; that you have an advocate for special needs and situations; and that local experts will arrange experiences that you couldn't.

As for cost, a high-quality tour may be comparable in cost to the same arrangements made by you, because travel agencies and tour companies often negotiate discounted pricing on travel services.

So even if you're "the sort of traveler who doesn't go on tours," you should browse the tour offerings below. I think you'll be surprised at what you find.

Best Istanbul Food Tours

Choose a Good Tour Company

Turkey has hundreds of tour companies and thousands of guided tours, from half-day tours of Istanbul to 21-day grand tours of the entire country. Here are some tips for your first trip to Turkey.

It's important for you to realize that all tours are not equal. A tour from a good company will give you far more value than a tour from a mediocre company, even if their tour itineraries and prices are similar. Low price does not always indicate good value-for-money. Before you sign up for any tour, read Good & Bad Tours in Turkey.

Keep in mind that any of my recommended travel agencies can set up a custom itinerary for you, or you can hire a professional guide.

Top Destinations

Turkey's top destinations for first-time visitors are IstanbulCappadocia, the Ephesus area south of İzmir on the Aegean coast including Pamukkale, and the western Mediterranean coast, including Antalya).  

You can visit the top destinations in as little as 8 days on a tour, or on your own if you get the transport just right. Of course, 9 or 10 days is better, and 2 weeks is comfortable.

Turkey Tours by Length

You have a certain amount of time and you want a good introduction to the country:

First Trip to Turkey
Airport Layover Tours
1-Day Tours
2- to 5-Day Tours
6- to 10-Day Tours
11- to 15-Day Tours
16- to 23-Day Tours
24- to 30-Day Tours

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Best Travel Agencies

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