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)
When one visits another country, you hope to not only visit the landmarks of that place, but also gain a fully-fleshed understanding of its people and history.
What to say about Turkey Tour Organizer?
Simply put, they and their experienced/knowledgeable team took us on a rich journey my family will never forget. Balancing the majesty of sites like Süleymaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace with day-to-day life in Istanbul, our tour guiide Derya gave us a nuanced appreciation of Turkey's people and legacy we'll never forget.
On top of this, they addressed unexpected issues without skipping a beat. For example, our family had independently booked our hotel before scheduling tours with Turkey Tour Organizer. To our dismay, when we arrived in Istanbul we found the hotel to be shockingly awful and not reflective of the images online. We quickly called Turkey Tour Organizer and within twenty minutes, they helped book an incredible hotel (Vault Karakoy, The House Hotel) for us. THIS is what you hope for when traveling overseas...a team in place to help manage potential crises.
From start to finish, they made our visit better than we could have imagined and we plan on revisiting Turkey's other regions in the future. Without hesitation, we will be making those arrangements with Turkey Tour Organizer.
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...