Escorted tours showcase Turkey's culture, history

NEW YORK -- In a country such as Turkey, covered by artifacts from many of the world's great civilizations, the demand is high for escorted tours that maximize sightseeing. While customized vacations that combine city packages; regional tours along the Mediterranean or to Cappadocia and the Black Sea, and coastal cruises in small Turkish gulet vessels, continue grow in numbers, there are still escorted programs to choose from. The following is a sampling of those choices (with all prices per person, double occupancy):

  • A.T.C. Anadolu Travel & Tours specifies that its 14-night Anatolia's Civilization tour is specifically designed for the first-time visitor to Turkey who starts in Istanbul, and visits Gallipoli, Canakkale, Troy, Pergamum, Izmir, Ephesus, Sardia, Philadelphia, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia, Ankara, Gordion and Bursa before returning to Istanbul.
  • The tour is priced from $1,490 for first class hotel stays and from $1,740 with deluxe hotels; air from New York is included, as are most meals. The operator's 10-night Discover Anatolia program departs weekly on Fridays and visits Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Pergamum, Troy and Canakkale and ends with three nights in Istanbul. With first class accommodations, the program's lead price is $1,390; with deluxe, $1,590. Air is included on both.

  • Gate 1 offers a 10-night Turkish Treasures tour, visiting Izmir, with a tour of Ephesus, and traveling overland with a tour of Pamukkale, Antalya, Cappadocia, Ankara and Istanbul. With air from New York, it is priced from $1,459 to $1,989 with deluxe hotels, $1,239 to $1,739 in first class hotels.
  • A second tour, for 14 nights, spends the first three nights in Izmir, with day trips to Pergamum, Sardis and Ephesus, and includes a tour of the Jewish quarter in Izmir.

    The cost of the longer tour, with air, ranges from $1,569 to $2,129 using deluxe hotels, $1,299 to $1,809 in first class hotels; prices for both programs include daily breakfasts and most dinners.

  • Globus offers two Turkey programs, an eight-night Best of Turkey tour and a 13-night Turkish Delight. Best of Turkey offers weekly departures, priced from $1,553 with air and $769 without air; the cost includes breakfast daily, seven dinners and accommodations in first and superior first class hotels. Travelers start in Istanbul for two nights, then continue overland to Troy and Pergamum and on to Kusadasi for two nights with visits to Ephesus, Pamukkale and Bursa, before returning to Istanbul for the final night.
  • The 13-night Turkish Delight starts in Istanbul, then travels overland to Bursa, Ankara and Cappadocia and spends two nights in Nevsehir. Tour members then spend a night in Konya before driving to Antalya for two nights by the sea.

    The tour then moves on to Pamukkale, visits Ephesus en route to Izmir and travels via Canakkale (with a visit to Pergamum) back to Istanbul. Breakfasts and dinners are included, and accommodations range from superior first to first and standard in Canakkale; with air, the cost starts at $1,891, $1,079 without air.

  • Among the escorted Pacha Tours plans is an 11-night Black Sea Coast & Eastern Turkey tour, priced land only at $1,195 and with air from $1,995 (New York), $2,035 (Chicago) and $2,245 (Los Angeles). The tour starts with two nights in Istanbul, then continues by air to Trabzon, Amasya, via the Hittite sites to Kayseri, Adiyaman, Mount Nemrut, Urfa, Harran, Antakya, Tarsus, and Mersin, with an air return to Istanbul for the final night.
  • Tour costs include three- to five-star accommodations, all meals except for three lunches and three dinners, airport transfers regardless of whether Pacha Tours issues the airline tickets.

    Departures are scheduled monthly in April, June, July, August and twice monthly in May and September.

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