Cascoly Turkey Small Group Tours

Our small group tours explore a mix traditional and classical sites and seldom visited areas. With a maximum of 12 participants, we eat at small local restaurants and go where larger groups cannot. We stay in 3–4-star hotels, often with 2-night stays. When possible, we select boutique hotels where we may be only clients. Our trips include most meals, hotels (based on double occupancy), domestic air where indicated, most tips, guide services and entry fees and transportation in an air conditioned, private minibus. 

Use the comments form at the bottom of this post to request pricing details.

A sense of adventure is required

as some of these areas are not visited very often, and we may adjust the itinerary due to local conditions, weather or unique opportunities. Expect to walk 1-4 miles each day (We’ll offer alternatives for those who decide not to walk)

Our newest destination: Jewels of the Silk Road: A Grand Tour of Uzbekistan

Our friend, Lutfi , is licensed as a guide by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and is a professor at the University of Canakkale. He has been our guide for previous trips and will be with us throughout this trip. I’m licensed as a State of Washington Seller of Travel and will escort this trip. I’ve visited Turkey many times and have led similar tours with Lutfi over the last 25 years. 

Exploring Turkey – our experiences in Turkey over the last 25 years.

A brief summary of our trips follows with detailed day by day in PDF, linked below

Contact us for prices. (Personal information is never sold or otherwise given to others)

Here we just outline the day-to-day explorations, with links in each section for detailed day-to day itineraries. To keep it from becoming overwhelming the itinerary has links to much more historical detail and sections from our journals from previous trips. Besides the listed itinerary whenever possible we have optional, guided evening walks, a great opportunity for night photography without getting lost.

We offer 4 Turkey, Uzbekistan & Bulgaria tours for 2024:

Segment B: Classical Tour along the Aegean Coast, 15 days Starts August 30, 2024

Starting in Istanbul, we drive to Gallipoli and Troy. Then we start our trip south along the Aegean coast visiting Pergamum, Ephesus, Bodrum and smaller, less visited sites. We’ll take a day trip on high-speed hydrofoil to visit the Greek island of Rhodes. We then head north stopping in Pamukkale and Konya to end with several days in Cappadocia.

Detailed day-by-day itinerary for Segment B (PDF) or click on individual days below

You can combine A + B for a 24-day trip since the Cappadocia days overlap. Or, combine the Classical Turkey tour with Uzbekistan (B + C) for a different 24 day trip

Skewers of meat kababs are ready to cook , Pergamum, Turkey
Early morning light on Sultan Ahmet Camii ( Blue Mosque ) in Istanbul, Turkey
Tourists explore and photograph the Library of Celsus  Ephesus, Turkey
Tourists explore and photograph the Library of Celsus Ephesus, Turkey

1 Arrival in İstanbul and transfer to hotel
2 To Gallipoli
3 Troy and Assos to Pergamum
4 Visit Pergamum
5 Ephesus, Sirince
6 Visit Priene and Didyma, then drive to Bodrum
7 Tour Bodrum then drive to Marmaris
8 Day trip to Rhodes
9 Dalyan to Saklikent to Fethiye
10 Fethiye to Aphrodisias to Laodikeia ancient site
11 Pamukkale/ Hierapolis and on to Konya, Mevlana Shrine
12 Continue tour of Konya, including the Old Market and stop at Catalhoyuk and the Sultan Hani caravansary on the drive to Cappadocia
13 Full day Cappadocia
14 Full day in Cappadocia – late afternoon fly to IST
15 fly home

Segment A: 13 days Hittite & Seljuk tour. Starts August 21, 2024

Detailed day-by-day itinerary for Segment A (PDF) or click on individual days below

We cover many less visited sites.  Starting in Cappadocia, we move north towards the Black Sea to visit ancient Hittite & Seljuk sites. We then return to Ankara to tour the amazing Anatolian Civilizations museum.  We finish with a stop for King Midas’ tomb and on to Bursa and Iznik/Niceae

Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
Fairy chimney balanced rock formations and troglodyte cave houses, Pasabaglari, Cappadocia, Turkey
AHittite bull figure, 1400 BCE, Museum of Anatolian Civilization, Ankara, Turkey

You can combine A + B for a 24 day trip since the Cappadocia days overlap.

1 Arrival to Istanbul & on to Cappadocia (joining Segment A group)
2 Full day in Cappadocia
3 Full day in Cappadocia
4 Visit Kaniş and Karum (old Hittiate trade centers) in Kayseri then drive to Sivas
5 Full day in Sivas to see the Seljuk sites, ‘Doctor Fish’ therapy, and Kangal dog breeding farm
6 Tokat to visit Ballıca Cave and old town, then head to Amasya
7 Full day in Amasya (Prince city )
8 Visit Bogazkale / Hattusas, the capital of Hittites and proceed to Ankara
9 Full day in Ankara- Anatolian Civilization Museum, Castle, old and new parliament building and Mausoleum of Ataturk
10 Stop at Gordion to visit King Midas’ tomb. And drive to Bursa
11 Full day in Bursa to visit the Grand Mosque, Ottoman sultans’ tombs, silk market and local market
12 Nicaea/ Iznik to visit the first Ecumenical Council site and head to Istanbul.
13 fly home

Segment D: 8 day Bulgaria tour. Starts September 21, 2024

You can combine C + D for a 17 day tour.

. Detailed day-by-day itinerary for Segment C (PDF)

We travel in southern Bulgaria visiting ancient sites, Orthodox monasteries and cultural attractions including a 19th century open air living history museum. (We visited northern Bulgaria via an AmaWaterways cruise). Lutfi will not be able to accompany us, due to teaching responsibilities. I will escort the group and we’ll have local guides at each stop.

1 Arrival in İstanbul and transfer to hotel . Short orientation meeting and join group who finished Uzbekistan Tour.

Overnight in Istanbul.

2 Drive to Plovdiv. Visit old town.

Overnight in Plovdiv. (425 km)

3 We visit the Thracian Tomb in Kazanluk. After a brief stop at the Shipchenski monastery of St Nicholas, we cross Shipka pass.  Our next stop is the Etar Ethnographic village, a UNESCO world heritage site. Its street of 19th century Balkan buildings demo traditional crafts, plus historical water mills. Drive to Veliko Turnovo. 

Overnight in Veliko Turnovo.(210 km)

Russin orthodox church, Shipchenski monastery of St Nicholas, Shipka, Bulgaria
Water wheel powers 19th century light industry in Ethnographic village, Etura, Gabravo, Bulgaria

4 After breakfast at the hotel, walking tours of Tsarevets Citadel and Arbanassi village. Free time in Turnovo.

Overnight in Veliko Turnovo. (20 km)

Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God on citadel of Fortress Tsarevets, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
VELIKO TARNOVO, BULGARIA – APR 15, 2019 – Modern frescos on the interior walls of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

5 Depart for Sophia and visit the town of Koprivshtitsa and Troyan Monastery. Short sightseeing city tour of Sophia

Overnight in Sophia (220 km)

6 Walking tour including the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Serdica archaeological site and old bazaar. Head south to the beautiful Rila Monastery 

Overnight in Sophia (250 km)

Exterior fresco bible stories, Rila orthodox monastery, Rila, Bulgaria

7 We drive back across Turkish border to visit Edirne, the old capital of the Ottoman empire. Visit Selimiye mosque and Beyazit complex which was a medical school and hospital during Ottoman times. Drive back to İstanbul. 

Overnight in Istanbul (550 km)

8 Fly home

2 Day Pre/Post -Tour in İstanbul

Below is our comprehensive 2 day Istanbul tour. We can also customize a tour to visit other Istanbul sites, or just arrange hotel and airport transfers for you to explore on your own.

The Rest of Istanbul – What You Missed on Your Istanbul Tour

Exploring the ‘Other’ Mosques of Istanbul

Day 1 Hippodrome / Obelisk, Blue mosque, St. Sophia, Basilica cistern, Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) walk downhill thru local markets to Spice (Egyptian) market. Boat trip on Bosphorus

Day 2 Topkapi Palace, Rustem Pasa Mosque, Sahaflar antique booksellers market. Walking tour to Galata Bridge, Tunel funicular to Galata Tower and Taksim Square.    


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By Cascoly

I've been exploring and leading trips for over 40 years. climbing & trekkng in the Alps, Andes, North American mountain ranges and the Himalaya. I'm retired from mountaineering now but world travels in Europe, Africa & Asia continue to expand my portfolio. Besides private travel, I now focus on escorting trips to India & Turkey. Other interests include wide reading in history and vegetable gardening / cooking. You can download digital images here, or find images at https://steve-estvanik.pixels.com. We have many thousands of images we haven't displayed yet; so, if you have a special need or request please contact us