Category Archives: Tours and Trips

Istanbul Cappadocia Tour

Perfect Turkish Holiday – 5 Awesome Days

If you want to get away for the holidays and really enjoy something special, here’s a tour you should consider – 5 days of Awesomeness in Turkey.

Istanbul Cappadocia TourArriving in Istanbul (which I vote as the coolest city on the planet) you will then head to Ephesus and check out some of the best preserved ancient Greek ruins in the world and the home of the Virgin Mary, then head to Cappadocia to see the amazing fairy chimneys and the ancient Christian caves and churches, from there you will go back to Istanbul. So, in one trip you have Muslim, Greek, and Christian temples not to mention some of the most awesome scenery in the world.

Private Tour of EphesusYour five days start with private transfers from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul and then an early flight to Izmir where you will be taken by private car for an incredible day in Ephesus where you will visit the House of Virgin Mary – Greco & Roman City of Ephesus – Temple of Artemis, Ephesus Museum, the Greek Village of Sirince and have lunch and leisure in beautiful Selcuk at your hotel.

The next day you will journey to the surreal landscape of Pamukkale – Pamukkale means Cotton Castle in Turkish because of its white Travertine formations. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988. For thousands of years people have bathed in its thermal pools, including Cleopatra. The travertine formations and healing thermal waters will sooth your mind, body, and soul. You will visit the ancient city of Hieropolis.

You will then return to your hotel in Selcuk and have a chance to enjoy the funky cool little town.

tour of pammukaleIn the morning you will head back to Izmir where you will catch a flight to Kayseri where you will check into a cave hotel and enjoy an evening of dinner and Turkish Folk Dancing.

On the fourth day, you will tour Cappadocia and explore the panorama of Göreme, the famous Derinkuyu Underground City, walk in the Ihlara Valley, visit Belisrma Village for Lunch and then head to the Selimiye Monastery before heading back to the charming town of Goreme for dinner and a night in your cave!

On the fifth day you will begin with a sunrise balloon trip over Cappadocia and have a private tour of Cappadocia where you will visit the Göreme Open air Museum, Uçhisar Castle, Avanos Pa?aba?i, the incredible Devrent Valley, Ürgüp and the family Fairy Chimneys. An evening flight after private transfer will take you back to Istanbul where a driver will meet you and take you to your hotel.

incredible cappadocia toursSounds like an impossible dream? Trust me, it’s not. It’s within your budget. Find the flight to Turkey and contact me so I can connect you with the most magical five days of your life. Included are flights within Turkey, lunch, accommodation, private transfers, tours, guides, and a Turkish dinner show. The balloon trip is an optional extra and you are on your own for most dinners and booze – but breakfast and lunch are covered. As always, don’t forget to tip!

To find flights to Turkey check out the Vagobond Flight Tool.

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Sunset at the Eiffel Tower

A Weekend in Paris – 70 Euros of Fun and Culture

A weekend in Paris doesn’t have to cost you a year’s salary. I’ve always heard it said that the health benefits of both a weekend and a vacation are destroyed by the prospect of returning back to work and while I never believed it before, I certainly do now…of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a wonderful time.

Sunset at the Eiffel Tower

I arrived in Beauvais, France. The RyanAir flight was late and when we arrived in Beauvais, much to my surprise, there were no taxis. I had booked a hotel in Beauvais since I would be arriving late and I figured that would be easier than going all the way to Paris by bus, arriving late, trying to find our hotel etc. WRONG!

At the airport no Beauvais taxis, just ones going to Paris and plenty of busses going to Paris so there was no way to get through the 5 km of fog to l’hotel Premiere Classe Beauvais. So I hitched a ride from a nice French man who picked me up at 10:30 pm ( I can never understand when people say the French aren’t nice, in my experience, they always are) – he was taking a man to pick up a car, but the other man’s car broke down so we had to push start it (or maybe I helped him steal it, not really sure since my French is passable but not great).

Anyway, an hour later I arrived at the hotel, walking through the last bit of fog shrouded streets surrounded on both sides with graveyards. The hotel, well, suffice to say that instead of a baby bed, they had provided a six foot high bunk bed with no rails and a double bed that sags in the middle. Travel Rule #894 – if it says Premiere Classe, First Class etc in the name – expect far less. Expectations met.

So, here I am in France again…now it’s almost time to go to bed.

Certainly in the future when we go as a family, I will either fly us into CDG or if we fly into Beauvais, we will take one of the many buses that go directly to Paris. Staying in Beauvais is a waste of both time and money – since the taxis to or from the hotel and to or from the train station and to or from the airport add up to significantly more than we saved by getting a hotel in Beauvais. But, if you’ve a mind to stay there – here is the hotel I stayed in which was a very cheap 37 Euros per night. Same price for 1, 2, or 3 guests.

Premiere Classe Beauvais

The taxi in the morning to the train station ran 10 Euros, the taxi from the airport would have run 10+ euro if I could have found one, and the train was 13 Euro – so an extra 36 Euro which just about puts you in the zone for a decent Paris hotel and the 15 Euro for the bus to Paris…worth thinking about.

Paris Sightseeing Pass

louvre pyramid
In terms of my time in Paris, since my family wasn’t with me, I met up with some couchsurfers for a Thanksgiving evening and beyond that, I found that a great way to enjoy a short stay in Paris was to get the Open Tour Paris Pass for two days and a Paris Museum Pass. These two together cost me right around 70 Euro and kept me incredibly busy, gave me access to almost all of the sites and museums I wanted to see and provided me with easy transport and a full itinerary. Highly recommended. Another way (but without the commentary – would be to grab the Paris Visite Pass- Metro travel and more so that you can have your transport fully figured out before you go.

For a full list of hotels and comparisons you can check out the hotel listings for Paris here.

 

Perfect tour of Turkey

What’s the best tour in Turkey?

best tour in TurkeyIt’s hard to say for sure what the best tour in Turkey is, but during the time I was living and traveling in Turkey, a few favorite Turkey adventures kept coming up. These were not just with me, but with the many guests and travelers I met from all corners of the world.

The legacies of the Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Christian apostles, Byzantines, Ottoman Turks & the other civilizations that have called this land home have made Turkey into a vast outdoor museum full of beautiful, intriguing sites. Highlights of Turkey’s many treasures include Ephesus, Turkeythe spectacular Byzantine churches & beautiful mosques of Istanbul; the ruins of the fabled city of Pergamum on its windswept hilltop; the holy city of Konya where Dervishes still whirl; the extraordinary landscape & cave dwellings of Cappadocia; the great theatre of ancient Ephesus; the magnificent beaches of the Aegean & Mediterranean with signs of ancient civilizations at every turn & so much more…

Turkey offers more for the traveler than just about any other country on the planet. With more historical Greek and Roman ruins than Greece and Italy combined, this is a magnificent country for exploring classical cultures of the Med. Manisa farmers marketWhether you are into historical travel, literary travel, or just want to see some of the places from your favorite gladiator movie or to see the magnificent sites from that computer game you just spent hundreds of hours completing.

For those who are interested in beaches and seas, there is more than a little to choose from. The Turkish Riviera has yet to be spoiled like those of other Meditreranean Countries and the breathtaking beauty of the Aegean, the Marmara, and the Black Seas all fall within the bounds Perfect tour of Turkeyof magnificent Turkey. Sea tours of Turkey as well as gulet cruises, sailing expeditions, and of course cruises of the Bosphorus are all wonderful experiences. Lest we forget, the Turquoise Coast of Turkey seems like an artist’s vision of the perfect seaside.

Let’s not forget the unique traditions of hospitality which make any trip to Turkey a life changing experience, if you are allowed to get off the tour bus and interact with the locals anyplace other than a carpet shop that is! The best tours of Turkey include an element of introducing you to the people and their culture. Otherwise, you could be anywhere. This is one reason why I always recommend specific tours of Turkey and home stay experiences for those who want more than a sterile scripted tour of the Turkish Republic.

Tours in and around IstanbulNo trip to Turkey is complete without spending at least a few days in Istanbul. The city of two continents, once called Constantinople- now called home to more than 17 million people.To me, this is the queen of all cities and I’ve been to more than a few. Take the time to explore Istanbul and you will never regret it.

Veteran travel writer Tom Brosnian has renamed this city of wonders Irresistanbul and I find that to be completly true. This is the cultural seat of fascinating Turkey and the center of all things Turkish Delight. Whether you choose to take a Biblical Tour of Eastern Turkey or a broader look at the many wonders ot Turkey, you will find that Istanbul is, as Tom suggests Irresistanbul as a starting and stopping point.

Troye Trojan HorseOnce you leave Istanbul, you can head in just about any direction and find wonders whether you want to explore Mesopotamia, see the lands of the Odyssey, eat drink and be merry in Kusadasi and Izmir, or hang out in tree houses in Olympos. Off the beaten track in Eastern Turkey you can look for seamonsters in Lake Van, see the ancient Armenian capitals, and walk some of the most ancient paths of humanity.

Contact me using the form below so I can help make your trip to Turkey the best it can possibly be. My travel advice, as always, is free for the asking.

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