Amateur Traveler Trip – Turkey 2021

We are heading to Turkey for the Amateur Traveler 2020 trip. We are working again with Intrepid for this trip, doing a modified version of their Essential Turkey trip. The normal Essential Turkey trip is limited to 18 to 29-year-olds, but the Amateur Traveler trip is open to all ages. The normal Essential Turkey trip is a Basix trip but we will be upgrading that to Comfort so it will cost a tad more but will have more comfortable hotels.

This was the trip the listeners voted on so if you want to have a say in the vote join the Facebook group at

  • Start: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Finish: Antalya, Turkey
  • Group size: Min 10 (including 2 Christensens), Max 16

No Whining

As with all Amateur Traveler trips our rule is to bring your sense of humor and to bring your flexibility. If you are someone who needs to be waited on hand and foot this is not your trip. If you plan on complaining that “we don’t do it that way at home”, this is not your trip. Things may go wrong, so remember:

“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things”.

Travel Turkey’s Eastern Coast

Start with a kebab in Istanbul, leave for Gallipoli then zoom through Eceabat to Ayvalik for a visit to Troy and harbourside bevvies. On to Selcuk to explore Ephesus (where Antony and Cleopatra hung out), then Pamukkale for its healing pools, Fethiye for beach times, and a cruise for sunbaking and sunken ruins.

Why you’ll love this trip

  • Get to know Istanbul from the inside as you get (deliberately) lost in the maze of bustling backstreets with a local leader.
  • We’ve got the cure for whatever ails ya; the hot springs at Pamukkale, pure white calcium travertines that cascade down the cliffs overlooking the town, are said to have magical healing properties
  • Thought all the best Roman ruins were in Italy? Think again! Turkey is home to one of the best-preserved classical cities in all of Europe. Discover Ephesus just like Anthony and Cleopatra did 2000 years ago
  • While paying your respects, you can’t but be moved by the battles fought and lives lost at the now peaceful scene of the Gallipoli coast

Is this trip right for you?

  • You’ll get an extra taste of local life on this trip, with most travel done on public buses. There are loads of reasons why this is great, but here are just a few: it minimizes our carbon footprint, gives you a real chance to interact with the local community, and these aren’t your regular buses. Most Turkish buses have Wi-Fi and serve coffee and cake. Yes, you heard right, coffee and cake! Oh, and did we mention the in-seat entertainment?
  • This trip puts it in your hands with the options of free time or taking optional tours. Maybe budget a little extra cash for activities that aren’t included.
  • You’re probably pro at packing light and smart, but just in case you’re tempted to bring a big, heavy bag, remember you’ll have to carry it to and from hotels, bus stops, train stations etc.
  • You’ll need your walking shoes, a hat, some sunscreen, and a daypack to explore some of historic sites. All site tours are guided, but you can wander at your own pace if you prefer.

Chris’s Recommendation – Come Early to See Istanbul

This tour starts in Istanbul, but I recommend coming a couple of days early to have time to see the city. Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world. You can book the hotel through Intrepid for a couple of extra days if you like.

I would recommend these two posts on Amateur Traveler for suggestions:


Day-to-Day Itinerary – Sep 1st 2020

Day 1 / Date:  September 4, 2021 – Istanbul

Welcome to Istanbul, the only city in the world to straddle two continents. Upon arrival to your hotel, make sure you’ve got all your important documents and details for your leader. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Meals included: None

Arrival Transfer available but not included

Accommodation: The Haze Hotel or similar

Day 2 / Date: September 5, 2021 – Istanbul – Canakkale

Today you’ll have a 5.5-hour transfer to the shores of Gallipoli to pay your respects at a site of immense significance for Australians and New Zealanders. It is a spot of pilgrimage and reverence and the calm lapping waters belies the murderous campaign that took place here during the First World War. This now-serene site is located at Turkey’s most westerly point and you’ll get a sobering insight into the plight of the ANZAC. Here you can hear stories of heroism and camaraderie that unfolded among the tragedies and take the time to read moving inscriptions etched onto a sea of gravestones. Spend the evening of day two in Canakkale.

Meals included: Breakfast

Included activities

  • Gallipoli Guided Visit


Grand Anzac Hotel or similar

Day 3 / Date: September 6, 2021 – Canakkale – Ayvalik

Meals included: Breakfast

This morning take an excursion out to the ruins of Troy, where you can explore the ancient walls, climb around the 4,500 year-old ruins, check out the Trojan horse statue and gaze across the Troad (the Plains of Troy) towards the waters of the Dardanelles and the hills of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Later drive down the coast to Ayvalik (approximately 3.5 hours), a town where you can fill up on food and drink. The town is famous for olive oil, but we suggest finding the nearest seaside cafe and ordering Ayvalik toast – a toasted sanga stuffed with sausage, pickle, tomatoes, salad and chips, slathered with tomato sauce and mayonnaise. Take an orientation tour of Ayvalik and discover a town that’s a fascinating mix of Greek and Turkish cultures.

Included activities

  • Troy – Guided Visit
  • Orientation walk – Ayvalik

Accommodation: Elisa Hotel or similar

Day 4 / Date: September 7, 2021 – Ayvalik – Selcuk

Get your entertainment ready this morning as you’re going to be driving approximately 4 hours to the traditional farming village of Selçuk, where many Turkish traditions live on. Take an orientation tour around Selçuk, a town full of history and packed with artefacts and relics that reflect its past as an ancient fortress on Ayasoluk Hill. Later you’ll head out to the nearby ruins of Ephesus. This is one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman classical cities in the world; founded by Ionian Greeks in the 11th century BC, brought to full flower under Roman rule, and always an important religious center. Return to Selcuk for the night.

Meals included: Breakfast

Included activities

  • Ephesus – Archeological Site

Accommodation: Kalehan Hotel or similar

Day 5 / Date: September 8, 2021 – Selcuk – Pamukkale

Travel east inland to Pamukkale (approximately 4 hours), which literally translates to ‘cotton castle’. Here, spectacular natural hot springs with high calcium bicarbonate content cascade over the edge of the cliffs, leaving bright white deposit terraces (the ‘cotton’). It’s been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC. You can also check out the other ruins of the city – Hierapolis is known for its abundance of temples and religious structures, and the amphitheater shouldn’t be missed.

Meals included: Breakfast

Included activities

  • Pamukkale – Hierapolis & Travertines National Park

Accommodation: Melrose Viewpoint Hotel or similar

Day 6 / Date: September 9, 2021 – Pamukkale – Faralya

Today you will head to Faralya (travel time 5 hours), not really big enough to be called a village, this picturesque hamlet is located on the edge of a canyon overlooking the crystal clear Mediterranean, and is considered to be one of the most stunning and amazing places in Turkey. You will spend the night in Faralya.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Georges House or similar

Day 7 / Date: September 10, 2021 – Faralya – Fethiye

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day as you take this morning to perfect your relaxation technique in this untouched heaven. Later we head to Fethiye. You’ll visit the Ghost Village, then head to Saklikent. Tonight, we enjoy a walk by the harbour, try local seafood and check out the thriving night life

Meals included: Breakfast

Included activities

  • Ghost Village
  • Saklikent visit

Accommodation: Nevada Spa Hotel or similar

Day 8 / Date: September 11, 2021 – Fethiye – Kekova

This morning you’ll go to Kas (approximately 3 hours), which is right on one of the southernmost parts of Turkey. With its whitewashed buildings covered in bougainvillea and cobbled streets, Kas is one of the most attractive towns on the Turkish Mediterranean Coast. Spend an hour or two wandering the pretty streets, before you transfer an hour down the road to Kekova. Here you’ll board your sturdy vessel and make waves on a memorable voyage along the Turquoise Coast. Check out some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world – it’s just ridiculously good-looking. You’ve got a tough couple of days ahead: swimming, exploring sunken cities, sunbaking and eating fresh seafood. Grin and bear it. This afternoon, cruise to Tersane Bay for a swim and then enjoy a home-cooked dinner on board, before disembarking for the day.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Likya Pension or similar

Day 9 / Date: September 12, 2021 – Kekova

It’s a hard knock life on the Turkish seas – wake up to a spectacular Mediterranean sunrise this morning and enjoy a hearty breakfast on board. Perfect your best boat-life pose as you cruise to a sunken city, from where remains of a mysterious civilisation can be viewed. Earthquakes almost 2500 years ago sunk this half of the Lycian city of Simena. Here you can walk up to nearby Simena Castle, swim in crystal-clear waters, or explore Lycian rock-tombs. More swimming, exploring, sunbaking and eating: can you handle that much action? 

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

Accommodation: Likya Pension or similar

Day 10 / Date: September 13, 2021 – Antalya

Soak up the last of life as a glamorous boat-dweller with breakfast on board. Then transfer to Antalya which will take approximately 3.5 hours, the capital of the Turkish Mediterranean. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Antalya thanks to cobblestone streets, the Old City, the marina and the Taurus Mountains in the distance. You can spend the afternoon exploring the charming backstreets of the Old City.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Karyatit Hotel or similar

Day 11 / Date:  September 14, 2021


After breakfast, you will be transferred to Antalya Airport. Your tour comes to an end.

Meals included: Breakfast

Departure Transfer available but not included


  • Meals
    – 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinners
  • Transport –
    Ferry, local bus, Private Bus, Train, Boat
  • Accommodation
    – Pension (2 nights), Hotel (8 nights)
  • Included activities
    • Ephesus – archaeological site
    • Pamukkale – Hierapolis & Travertines National Park


Tour as above (twin share basis): $1090 per person
Single Supplement: $200
Pre or post tour hotel – Single: $80 / $55
Pre or post tour hotel – Double: $90 / $55

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance that covers overseas medical services, emergency evacuation, and repatriation is required to join all Intrepid trips. Most health insurance policies do not provide coverage for international travel, which is why a supplement policy must be purchased. We recommend different providers depending on where you reside:

If you reside in Canada or the United States we recommend Allianz.

  • Residents of Canada: Please click here for more information or call 1-800-491-0851. The agent code is 9442.
  • Residents of the United States: Please click here for more information or call 1-855-524-3687. The agent code is F206977.

For passengers who reside overseas we recommend World Nomads

How to Book

contact Sean Sicard
Custom & Private Group Adventures

  • email:
  • phone: 1-800- 970-7299
  • trip id: TK-GUSI200901


As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.


Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it’s important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.


Australia: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
Belgium: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
Canada: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
Netherlands: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go
USA: Yes – apply for an e-visa before you go

Most nationalities require a visa to enter Turkey. Visas must be obtained through the e-Visa system. To apply for an e-visa, please go to at least two weeks before you arrive in Turkey. This multiple entry e-Visa costs USD60 as is valid for 90 days. Please note, visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
Some countries do not require a visa at all. This includes passport holders from New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to three months. We recommend all nationalities check with their local consulate o embassy as this information can change.

Entry Requirements – Passport Validity:
Foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days validity beyond the expiry date of their visa.

Medical and health information

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.

As a rule we recommend you don’t drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn’t serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it’s enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

Food and dietary requirements

Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements.

Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

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