Last March Anne and I decided to combine our thirty fifth anniversary and my birthday into the proverbial "Trip of a Lifetime".
We squeezed every Amex reward, bank award, airline point, vacation savings account, and S&H Green Stamp ;0) we could muster out of 35 years of active accumulating, and went for it. How about Madrid, Lisbon, Crete and Turkey. Yeh, that sounds doable. We sent the word out to several tour organizers what our intentions were.
We wanted to go on this trip as travelers and not tourists. Given the choice we would rather sit in a village somewhere drinking tea listening to the local gossip and playing backgammon instead of being confined to a bus with 40 other tourists and a guide with a bull horn and a pennant. We got plenty of responses, some really intriguing for other parts of the trip such as self drive tours with a pre programed Garmin with stops and hotels along the way. But after the first email back from these guys I could sense their passion for customer service and a love of their country's history and culture.
The other reviewers have given a lot of detail and we also loved the visits to the caves of Cappadocia and the ruins of Ephesus to say nothing of the Blue Mosque and the fabulous backstreets of Istanbul but, a walk down a village road to visit his uncles grove where Erkan and his family gather in the summertime for weekend picnics, a visit with a lady putting up her tomato harvest for the coming winter, and a cooking class in a private home, trumped all the touristic. When all was said and done what we will remember most about this part of our trip was the true friendship we felt with Erkan, Kadir, their families, and all their associates.
We never felt like clients but more like we were being welcomed by friends who wanted to share with you the pride they have in their country.
By the way, Erkan plays a mean backgammon game. You'd think he would have let me win ;0)
My daughter and I decided to book a 3 day private tour package with Turkey Tour Organizer, based on the advice of our hotel owner. Before our arrival, I did a bit of research and I mailed them an idea of our expectations.
Our guide Erkan contributed to a truly wonderful experience in Cappadocia! Being a local, he added a few off the beaten track places and also proposed itinerary changes. His program provided a great variety and flexibility and it was well suited to our own timing and needs: views on unique rock formations, a fun pottery demonstration, a short valley walk, scenic sunsets, a visit to a winery, a walk through the open air museum and a smaller underground city, delicious meals (including local mezzes and mantı) and a glimpse of Turkish crafts and Seljuk heritage.
In exemplary English, he explained the geology and history of the sites or some details of the exhibited artwork - just in the right dose and with great enthusiasm, always willing to go deeper in any question or subject. He made sure that we were kept well hydrated in the Turkish summer heat and that was just a small part of his overall friendliness and personal approach; we were regularly greeted by his friends, family and acquaintances. From the first punctual pick up in our hotel in Uçhisar to the farewell in Kayseri, we felt extremely safe and taken care of.
I highly recommend Erkan and his company for customized tours and for reservations of hotels, restaurants and other venues.
Kadir with Turkey Tour Organizer made our visit an outstanding experience. Kadir was efficient, responsible, friendly and very knowledgeable about all area highlights, geology and history. We loved the hot air balloon ride and learning about the ancient sites, and our stateside worries about safety were totally eased. We made new friends and saw hidden spots not seen on typical tours. He also gave us excellent lodging and food recommendations. We loved every minute of his well-planned and fascinating itinerary.
Erkan and his team are by far the best trip organizer i have dealt with.. the whole team is organized and are absolutely professional providing a wonderful service with amazing hospitality... I organized a trip to Cappadocia for my mom and sis through Erkan and his team and i must admit they loved the trip better than any other outing they had in Turkey during their one month stay... A very special thanks to the team for making their trip memorable and best wishes to continue the good work... If i plan to visit Cappadocia ever, it will be through Turkey Tour Organizer / Erkan and his team... Highly recommended...
My husband and I travelled to Turkey for 3 weeks this spring. Erkan helped us plan a wonderful trip and did all the booking for us. At first I was somewhat reticent to have someone else do all the booking and was concerned that it would increase the cost of the trip as I have always booked our travel on our own. That was NOT so. Erkan took our original plan and made further suggestions for places to go that I would never have considered on our own. He did all the booking for us - guides (and I recommend that you use private guides in the places he suggests - you learn so much more!), car rental, hotels and internal flights. All the costs were the same as if I had booked them myself.(trust me - I checked them out on line!)
The hotels we stayed in were fantastic - totally what we were looking for and within our budget. We ended up having him book everything although it was always clear that we could book any part we desired on our own.
From the moment we arrived in Turkey it was clear that Erkan was working behind the scenes to make our vacation the best it could be. We even received a phone call from him upon arrival in Istanbul welcoming us. Frequently we would arrive at our hotel to be told that Erkan had contacted them prior to our arrival just to make sure everything was fine. On one occasion our guide for Ephesus apparently became ill and wasn't going to be available - all was taken care of and a new one arranged before we even knew about it.
Our vacation was a wonderful combination of independent time and guides. I have to say we learned much more about the country and culture by travelling this way. Already I have referred several friends to Turkey Tour Organizers - Erkan and Kadir work to make your visit to Turkey truly an experience to remember. They work with you considering your own interests and budget and take a very personal interest in every aspect of your vacation. Totally recommend booking your vacation with them