Worldwide Adventures
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Turkey — it’s magical and mystical, friendly, fun and fascinating. And it’s one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept family vacation secrets. For a family adventure, few destinations offer such a wide range of activities in so many geographically distinct landscapes. Our journey through this ancient and culturally diverse land will entertain your senses, challenge your inner explorer, and stoke the fires of your children’s imagination. Ultimately we know you’ll be wowed.

Istanbul, with its palaces, mosques and markets, reaches across the Bosphorus and connects two continents. Discover the fragrant spices first carried from the far ends of the Silk Road in the legendary Spice Market. Stand in awe beneath the soaring domed space of timeless Hagia Sophia. And bargain your way through the bustling, colorful, tempting Grand Bazaar.

Venture into Turkey’s interior to hike through the lunar-like, geological wonderland of Cappadocia with its stone "fairy chimneys" and underground dwellings.

Aboard a private gulet – a traditional Turkish wooden sailboat – you and your family will discover the exquisite natural beauty of the Turquoise Coast and explore the ruins of ancient civilizations. Kids will love jumping into the warm waters and hiking to a real Crusader castle. Our day exploring magnificent Ephesus, from the Temple of Artemis to the façade of the Celsus Library, is yet another highlight in a country that was once the center of one of the known world’s greatest empires.

For 2016/2017, private departures are available on the dates of your choice, depending on availability.

We're happy to create a private trip for your family to fit your travel dates and budget. 

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices.

Price includes: All entrance fees, accommodations based on two to a room; land transportation, private bi-lingual guide throughout, area specialists, all meals except 2 lunches and 1 dinner, bottled water & snacks, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.


Days 1-2 – Depart U.S. / Arrive Istanbul

Welcome to Turkey! From Istanbul’s mosques to ancient ruins at Ephesus, and from the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia to the warm waters that grace the Turquoise Coast, the mystery and magic of this extraordinary land are yours to discover in this memory-making family vacation.

Day 3 – Istanbul

At the crossroads of East and West and straddling two continents, Istanbul is a cultural and ethnic melting pot. Soaring minarets, bustling marketplaces and non-stop water traffic are part of the city’s daily scene.


  • Marvel at the Blue Mosque
  • Tour the amazing Hagia Sophia
  • Visit the Spice Market
  • Explore Basilica Cistern
Days 4-5 – Cappadocia

Once an active volcanic region, Cappadocia has a landscape of surreal beauty, where strange and fanciful rock formations known as the fairy chimneys rise from the surrounding countryside. Entire underground villages, carved out of tuff, soft volcanic stone, are tucked into this region. We all turn into wide-eyed children here as we discover and explore the underground passageways and the mind-boggling numbers of connecting rooms.


  • Discover the underground city of Kaymakli
  • Hike a valley with strange, fascinating rock formations
  • Hot air balloon ride (optional)
  • Visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum
  • Terra cotta pottery cave workshop
  • Hike the Rose Valley (optional)
  • Friends Across Borders Meeting (pen pals)
Day 6 – Ephesus

A true highlight of any travel experience, the amazing wonders of Ephesus – the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world – await exploration. The Temple of Artemis (goddess of fertility), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the largest known temple of its time, was once surrounded by 127 Ionic columns.


  • Fly to Izmir
  • Wishing Wall + option to visit House of the Virgin Mary
  • Ephesus Museum
  • Visit the Temple of Artemis
Day 7 – Ephesus to the Mediterranean
  • Visit Ephesus
  • Drive to Göcek
  • Göcek - Board your private gulet!
Days 8-10 – Boating along the Mediterranean Coast

Enjoy three days aboard a Turkish gulet, a traditional wooden sailboat, sailing along the fabled Turquoise Coast and dropping anchor in quiet coves, discovering sheltered beaches and calling at small harbor towns. Originally the land of the ancient Lydians (685-547 B.C.E.), the region was later colonized by the Greeks and the Romans. Along the way kids will love snorkeling and swimming in the warm waters.


  • Morning sail in the Gulf of Fethiye
  • The ghost town of Kayaköy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Gemiler Island
  • Soğuksu Cove trek
  • Morning cruise to Kalkan
  • Visit the ruins of the city of Xanthos
  • Traditional farming village of Bezirgan
  • Lunch in a local home
  • The fishing community of Kas
  • Snorkel at Aperlae
  • Hike to gulet
  • Sail around Kekova Island
Day 11 – Mediterranean to Antalya

It has been said that the journey is more meaningful than the destination. The proof lies in the drive to Antalya along the aptly-named Turquoise Coast. Astonishingly azure water gently caresses the coves and ruins of the ancient world that occupy the shoreline. We'll drive along the long road connecting picturesque seaside towns and villages, with our stunning voyage culminating in a stop at the magnificent historic port city of Antalya.


  • Disembark in Andriace
  • See the famous rock tombs at Myra
  • Church of St. Nicholas (a.k.a. Santa Claus)
  • Drive to Antalya
Day 12 – Antalya
 The 14th century Arab traveler Ibn Battuta wrote that Antalya (or Adalia as it was first known) was "one of the most splendid cities in the world." Ataturk – the father of the Turkish Republic – agreed, adding the Antalya was also the "finest town on the Turkish coast." Free time today gives you the chance to explore the town for yourself and see if you agree – we think you will! As you walk around, be sure to look for Hadrian's Gate, a beautiful Roman ruin built circa 130 A.D. to commemorate the Emperor's visit here.
  • Leisure day for family time
  • Optional hike to Termessos
Day 13 – Depart Antalya / Arrive Istanbul
  • Tour Topkapi Palace
  • Farewell dinner
Day 14 – Depart Istanbul / Arrive U.S.
Armada Hotel

Armada Hotel is located right in the middle of the action in the heart of Istanbul’s peninsula, with astounding views of both the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.  At the core of such an ancient and culturally significant city, the hotel offers the perfect balance of modern comfort and historical charm, decorated with a mix of contemporary and Ottoman styles.

Lykia Lodge

The Lykia Lodge has a warm atmosphere and fantastically beautiful architecture that keeps it in harmony with the region. It is centrally located and only three miles from Nevşehir and Göreme. The 146 rooms are nicely furnished and include an array of in-room amenities: private facilities, satellite TV, wireless Internet access, phone, hair dryer, and a private safe. The Lykia also has both indoor and outdoor restaurants, a chimney-bar, a swimming pool and fruit gardens.

Hotel Kalehan

Kalehan is a basic but charming hotel that was built and landscaped in the style of a 100 year old farmhouse using traditional materials.  The recently renovated hotel is located a very short distance from the major sites of Ephesus, and each room offers a TV, mini bar, hair dyer, and air-conditioning.  All the rooms and the restaurant are surrounded by lush gardens, and the pool is the perfect place to cool off after a day exploring the nearby ruins.

Dogan Hotel

Located in Old Antalya, the Dogan is comprised of four buildings combined to offer 41 rooms. Amenities include television, hair dryer, phone, radio and air conditioning, pool and jacuzzi.. Breakfast is served in the garden of orange trees.

Why Turkey?

Gateway to the East and West
Sitting astride the continents of Asia and Europe, Turkey is home to one of the world’s most unique and intriguing cultures. A blend of various elements of Ottoman, Anatolian, Oguz Turkic and western peoples, the unique culture was born from being located at the gateway for migrations from the east and west for centuries.
History… Empires, Crusades, whirling dervishes
Wow, what a history! Turkey is one of the oldest continually inhabited areas of the world and home to some of the earliest settlement in the world. From empires that date back to well before the 10th century BC, to settlements and invasions by Greeks, Romans and Mongols to the great Ottoman Empire, you’ll experience the great history of Turkey. You’ll also learn about Turkey’s Whirling Dervishes and other religious history such as the clashes with the Holy Roman Empire during the crusades.
Istanbul is one of Europe’s most populated cities and is Turkey’s financial and cultural capital. Discover firsthand why Istanbul is the coolest city in the world. At the crossroads of history for three millennia, Istanbul’s narrow streets are home to the Spice Market, Covered Bazaar, the historical Sultanahmet District, and such architectural treasures as the Basilica Cisterns, Topkapi Palace and the Hippodrome. Istanbul was the last stop on the ancient Silk Road, and this Spice Market was the final destination for Asian goods. That means this market has been in business for almost 4,000 years!
Remarkable, beautiful cave dwellings
You’ll experience the unbelievable beauty of Cappadocia, a region in Turkey's central highlands noted for its frescoed cave churches, remarkable underground dwellings and conical "fairy-chimneys." Here entire villages are carved from soft volcanic stone! From hiking though fantastic canyon landscapes to visiting villages where locals ride donkeys and dry apricots on their rooftops, you’ll witness a wonderful and timeless culture.
The ruins of Ephesus
Any history buff on our trip will be BLOWN AWAY by Ephesus, and anyone not particularly interested in world history will be converted by the ancient Greek city’s awe-inspiring sites. Founded long before the time of Christ, Ephesus was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek Era, and later an important Roman city – the second-largest after Rome in the Roman Empire. The city contains several ancient marvels, like the ornate façade of the Celsus Library and the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Why Turkey with Thomson?

Diversity of Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the Turquoise coast
With Thomson, you’ll experience the wide variety of places that Turkey has to offer! From enjoying the intricate beauty of the mosques of Istanbul, to exploring the caves of Cappadocia, to sailing along the Turquoise Coast, your family will create memories to last a lifetime. The mystery and magic of this extraordinary place are all yours to experience, for an unforgettable family vacation.
Explore the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia of Istanbul
The Blue Mosque is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets reaching skyward and even more domes cascading down the exterior. It was built in the 17th century, across from the Hagia Sophia so that visitors to Istanbul could compare the two and determine which is more impressive. A great question to ask the kids! The Topkapi Palace is more than just a palace. In its heyday this complex, located on the Golden Horn, was home to more than 8,000 people. It’s filled with courtyards, pavilions, halls and kiosks. The architectural mastery of the Hagia Sophia was so far ahead of its time that it went unmatched for 1,000 years. Built in the 6th century, for 916 years it remained a church, then was converted into a Mosque for a few hundred years and in 1935 was transformed into a museum.
Explore the caves of Cappadocia
Located in a once active volcanic region, Cappadocia is known for its exceptional rock formations and valleys. As unusually beautiful as these are above ground, the limestone rock formations are even more impressive below the surface, as you will discover when you climb down four stories into one of the largest underground cities ever built – Kaymakli.
Mediterranean boating
You’ve been trekking all over the lands of Turkey, now it’s time to hit the seas! You’ll board your very own private boat – a Turkish gulet – the perfect vessel for exploring Turkey's Mediterranean Coast. Gulets are traditional double-masted wooden sailboats. For the next four nights, you and your family meander slowly along the coast. Dropping anchor at quiet coves, sheltered beaches and small harbor towns, you have many opportunities to swim, snorkel, hike and explore. Enjoy an evening hike to a hilltop Crusader castle, visit Lycian Cliff Tombs and a Roman theater, snorkel over sunken ruins, hike through olive groves and fragrant herb gardens, and sail to the island of Gemiler for a hike around a monastery with breathtaking views.