Operators warm up to autumn with variety of tours in Turkey

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NEW YORK -- Known for its Mediterranean climate, Turkey is especially popular during fall, when mild temperatures make the country ideal for outdoor sightseeing.

While midspring to early fall are the best seasons to visit eastern Turkey, the central and western regions are open for business almost year-round.

Antalya, located on the Mediterranean, can be an appealing vacation choice for any season.

The following is a sampling of tour products that mostly feature Turkey's cultural highlights, including archaeological sites and historical attractions; prices quoted are per person, double.

  • The Gems of Turkey itinerary, one of three tours offered by Keene, N.H.-based General Tours through the end of the year, features two to three departures per month through December.
  • On a 13-night circuit swinging west to east, the Gems itinerary features two nights in Istanbul then travels overland to Canakkale, Izmir,

    The ruins of Aphrodisias near Pamukkale are one of western Turkey's major cultural sites. Pamukkale, Antalya (for two nights), Konya, Cappadocia (two nights), Ankara, Bursa and a final night in Istanbul.

    Priced from $1,599 with air from New York or $1,059, land only, the cost includes first class to deluxe hotels, daily breakfast and dinner, services of a professional tour manager, sightseeing and overland transportation.

  • New York-based Tursem Tours is guaranteeing small-group departures set for Nov. 12 and Dec. 3 as well as for Feb. 25 and March 25 for the company's eight-night tour that visits Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Konya, Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Istanbul.
  • The tour is priced at $995, including air from New York, four-star hotels, all breakfasts and dinners, sightseeing and overland transportation.

  • Cultural Folk Tours, San Diego, on its 16-night History & Discovery tour, takes travelers first to Istanbul for two nights then departs for one night in Ankara and two nights in Cappadocia.
  • From there, the tour heads south to the Mediterranean to Mersin, Alanya and Antalya for two nights. Continuing west overland, tour members stay in Pamukkale, Izmir, Canakkale and Bursa, with the final night spent in Istanbul.

    Departures from New York are scheduled weekly through November. The land-only cost, featuring four- and five-star accommodations, ranges from $1,490 to $1,990.

  • On arrival in Istanbul from the U.S., travelers on Englewood, N.J.-based Central Holidays' nine-night Turkish Delight program fly immediately to Izmir then drive to Kusadasi for a two-night stay in Ephesus. The tour continues overland to Pamukkale, Antalya (for two nights), Cappadocia (two nights), Ankara and Istanbul.
  • Departures are scheduled for Oct. 12 and 26, Nov. 9 and 23 and Dec. 21. The air/land cost ranges from $1,279 to $1,649; land-only prices range from $779 to $929. Included are superior first class and deluxe hotels, 19 meals, services of a Central Holidays tour director, motorcoach tours and sightseeing.

  • Boston-based Insight Inter-national's Wonders of Turkey tour begins and ends in Istanbul.
  • The nine-night tour spends two nights on arrival then visits Canakkale, Izmir, Kusadasi, Pamukkale and Cappadocia for two nights before returning for one night in Istanbul.

    Departures are scheduled from New York on Mondays and Fridays through Nov. 17; land-only prices start at $999, and air-inclusive costs start at $1,535.

    The cost covers first class hotels, all breakfasts, six dinners, the services of a tour director, overland motorcoach and sightseeing.

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