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.
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
Turkey Tour Organizer might be new (two years old) but they are the best travel company! They organized our whole trip (hotels, rental car, domestic flights, tours) to three locations in Turkey, and did our tour guiding in Cappadocia. All the recommendations for Istanbul and the Aegean coast were spot-on, and they were always available and very responsive to our requests. They were proactive about getting in touch when things got a bit politically messy in Turkey during our stay. (We've never felt safer on any trip, for the record.)
The Cappadocia tour included a good mix of fascinating activities, geology, history, and culture. Once we were there, they even added in wine tasting and a visit to a carpet store at my request.
The company is basically two people. We worked with Erkan, who was fantastic! He did our guiding in Cappadocia and was totally adaptable, friendly, and knowledgable about the area and eager to answer our questions about Turkey. It was like having a new Turkish friend. He even showed us his family's home.
Turkey is a great place to visit, and with events this year tourism seems really down, which is a real shame. I would highly recommend Turkey and Turkey Tour Organizer for a great visit!
Ao chegar a Istambul, comecei a me informar sobre ida a Capadócia e Éfeso. Hotel onde estou hospedada intermediou a viagem. Marcados os dias, fui inicialmente a Capadócia, onde fui recebida por Erkan e ele foi responsável pelo meu dia. Descobri um lugar extremamente agradável, encantador com muitas opções de passeio e deixando uma enorme vontade de lá voltar e permanecer por mais dias. Atendimento profissional, gentil, atencioso, preocupado com a expectativa do visitante, com dados objetivos, informações precisas, lugares surpreendentes. Já na ida a Éfeso, fui recebida por Murat, e novamente só tenho elogios ao atendimento. Atenciosos, entusiasmados, bem preparados, gentis, atentos, e que nitidamente tem grande satisfação com seu trabalho. Recomendo!!!!!!