Article discusses the arrival of Islam in Mediterranean region with a focus on Istanbul and Turkey. The relationship to the merchants of Venice and the crusades should also be considered in this period of change. Join a Odyssey Traveller small group educational tour for senior couples and mature solo travellers to learn more.
Turkey tours for seniors.
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed an escorted small group tour in Turkey, across Anatolia the turquoise coast and beyond. A Turkey tour with a local tour guide explores Turkey‘s incredible natural beauty, its ancient ruin from the Roman and Ottoman heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and its world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way, each element, a major highlight of a Turkey small group tour for any traveler. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Turkey, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
As a travel company we seek to keep guests off the beaten path. Trips that are remembered for authentic experiences. Our small group journeys in Turkey are fully escorted by an experienced local guide and an Odyssey guide to give this type of experience whether at one of the many UNESCO World heritage sites explored or local bazaars. It is always about the adventure and memories that we will create.
At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has a long and storied history. A succession of civilisations have left their mark: Greece, Rome, Byzantium. For more than a thousand years, Constantinople stood as the capital of the Byzantine Empire, surviving numerous attacks and internal rebellions, until the cannons of the Ottoman Empire breached its walls. Constantinople, the bastion of Christianity, was renamed Istanbul, “the city of Islam”, the capital of the Ottoman Empire(or Turkish Empire) which ruled a huge territory for six centuries. Istanbul is now modern-day Turkey, sitting on the edge of the Black sea, a republic which formed after the fall of the empire in 1922.
In Turkey, our escorted tour takes you on a guided tour with locals on a guaranteed departure to learn about some of the most spectacular, varied, and historically important sites in the ancient world of Eastern Turkey, promising a memorable and amazing travel experience. Our small group tour in Turkey begins in Istanbul, an ancient city, Turkey‘s largest city and seaport, where east meets west and known for the Blue Mosque. Outside of Istanbul, Turkey offers more glorious landscapes including the Fairy Chimneys or the sight of the Whirling dervish all part of a fascinating history. On a Cappadocia tour visit the ‘fairy chimneys‘, large rock spires that rise from the earth like mushrooms, formed over millions of years by the erosion of volcanic rock. See the ancient ruin of Ephesus and historic sites and scenery of Eastern Turkey, while learning more about Turkish culture.
Article for senior couples and solo travellers interested in joining a small group educational tour learning about the history and culture of the Vikings. The Vikings did not just go west into the Atlantic but also into Eurasia exploring, trading and returning to the Arctic circle.
An article that takes you on a journey to Venice in the Middle Ages and beyond. The famous merchants of 'La Serenissima' who dominated this medieval powerhouse for hundreds of years. Learn before joining one of the small group tours for mature and senior travellers couples and solo travellers to Venice and many other destinations in Italy.
Antalya is explored on an escorted small group tour for mature and senior travellers couples and solo travellers wishing to learn about ancient history. Learn about the Greeks, the Romans and Turkish ancient history in the Mediterranean and Black sea.
Cappadocia, Turkey Cappadocia, central Turkey, approximately 1h 15m flight from Istanbul airport to Kayseri airport, is a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage…
For the senior traveller Turkey is an interesting continuum in human settlement from Neolithic to the Romans through to Ottoman period. Enjoy one on the best guided small group tours of Turkey after reading this article.
Istanbul, Imperial City | Small Group History Tours Turkey For more than a thousand years, Constantinople stood as the capital of the Byzantine Empire, surviving numerous attacks and internal rebellions, until the cannons of the…
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Experience and knowledge shows that they are plenty of places in the world still to be explored by the curious. Our collection of small group tours for seniors as well as mainstream tours to France or Italy can take the traveller as a couple or solo traveller to places of curiosity such as Panama or Iran the list is endless for the curious.
The Ottoman Empire, c. 14th-20th centuries | Small group history tours Turkey The Ottoman Empire once extended from Iraq to North Africa, from Arabia to the Balkans, even pressing to the walls of Hapsburg Vienna…
Turkey: From Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire | Small group history tours Turkey The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in the West as the Turkish Empire, was a superpower that lasted for 600 years. Parcelled…
Best books to read about the Silk Road – a list for senior travellers The linking of Asia to Europe via Eurasia for conquest and trade since at least 120BC is a unique part of…
Ten things to see in Turkey | Small group history tours Turkey Turkey has much to offer when it comes to the nation’s history, food, and landscape. The country has a number of ancient monuments…
Odyssey travels by coach and occassionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. The rail network in Turkey is ever evolving, with increasing high-speed options available. There is a decent rail network connecting the major cities, as well as rail options from within Turkey to other European nations including Bulgaria and Romania.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Weather & environment
Turkey crosses the continents of Anatolia in Western Asia and the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. As a result of its transcontinental location, the culture is diverse and unique. 97% of the country is geographically Asian. Turkey shares land borders with Greece and Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, the Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. It is also met by the Aegean, Black and Mediterranean Seas.
Turkey’s landscape is varied – the result of tectonic movements, earthquakes and volvanic eruptions. Turkey is divided into seven geographical regions including the Marmara, Aegean and Anatolia. In general, the Anatolian platea becomes more rugged the further east you go.
Turkey enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate in its coastal areas of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. These weather conditions are blocked from reaching the rest of the country by the mountains; as a result, the central plateau experiences a continental climate with distinctive seasons. Winters are cold, and summers hot. Snow falls here and by the Sea of Marmara, but does not last long. At the Black Sea, the climate is oceanic, characterised by warm and wet summers, and cold and wet winters. July and August tend to be Turkey’s driest months, with May at the other extreme.
World Heritage sites
Turkey has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here (http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/tr). While every single site has something of value, here are a few highlights:
The historic areas of Istanbul, which contain architectural masterpieces like the Hagia Sophia and Topkaki Palace.
The Archaeological Site of Troy, harbour of over 4,000 years of history. These remains are evidence of the contact between Anatolic and Mediterranean civilisations.
The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, a combined building encriched with exuberant, decorative sculpture. Its enclosed design is thought to reflect a harsh climate.
Festivals & events
Turkey is home to many festivals and events. There are four important national festivals per year. August 30 is Victory Day, and is commemorated by Turkish flags and images of Mustaga Kemal Ataturk. 29 October is Republic Day, on which people attend performances and participate in traditional processions.
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is unique in that it is dedicated to children. They take seats in the Turkish parliament and symbolically govern for a day. Families host children aged 8-14 from around the world to participate in the celebrations. Ataturk dedicated the day in order to recognise children as the future of Turkey.
There is also a national day devoted to Youth and Sports on May 19, which is a public holiday in Turkey. Sports events are held around the country in celebration.
For something different, Ankara hosts an International Film Festival in the spring, playing local and foreign films. Another seasonal event is camel wrestling in the west, which takes place during the winter months.
The major cities like Istanbul and Ankara host a variety of events throughout the year, including the Instanbul Opera Festival, Shopping Festival and the Istanbul Biennale. An annual kite festival is held in Muğla.
- Turkey: A Short History by Norman Stone
- The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East by Eugene Rogan
- Birds without Wings by Louis de Bernieres
- The Popes: A History by John Julius Norwich
- My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Eating & Drinking
Turkish people are lovers of food and ceremony. This is unsurprising given that food was at the centre of the Ottoman Empire. Today, Turkish cuisine reflects the diversity of its neighbours, with Middle Eastern, African and West Asian influences. Locals enjoy eating out, and frequent restaurants serving traditional fare. The cuisine is regional, with seafood and olive oil predominant in the Aegean, and meat-based dishes to the southeast.
A typical Turkish breakfast is rich and hearty, and often features eggs with sucuk – a spicy sausage, sheep’s milk cheese and bread. Tea is served with breakfast; coffee appears later. Street food is a huge part of culture in Turkey (if you’re adventurous, look out for kokoreç – a kind of offal sandwich). And meze – small plates like Spanish tapas – are often served before a meal.
Delicious Turkish coffee is served later in the day rather than breakfast. There are two national drinks – a salted drinking yoghurt and rakı, or “lion’s milk” – an aniseed flavoured alcohol often served as an aperitif. Desserts can be divided according to whether or not they are milk-based (tavuk göğsü is a custard of milk and chicken. Yes chicken). Baklava falls into the second category. It is a beloved desert whose provenance is the source of rich debate with the Greeks!
Health & Safety
It’s always best to check the latest details before setting out on a trip to Turkey on your Government website. Certain parts of Turkey should be avoided for the time being, particularly the border with Syria. There are risks associated with certain areas, and it is important to take these into consideration when planning your trip. But countries like Turkey rely heavily on tourism, and refusing travel can be detrimental to a struggling economy. Stay apprised of government recommendations for Turkey in order to be best prepared for your trip.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Plugs in Turkey have two round pins, and are of types C and F at 220V/50Hz apiece.
Turkey time (TRT) is 3 hours ahead of UTC. In 2016, Turkey opted out of observing Daylight Savings Time. Plans to reintroduce it in October 2018 have been reneged, so for the time being, you do not need to take this into account when planning your holiday
Yes. However, heed the Australian government advice to “exercise a high degree of caution“. Do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria or to the city of Diyarbakir, and reconsider your need to travel to all areas within the south-eastern provinces listed. Odyssey Traveller follows government travel advice and our tours in Turkey do not venture into these areas.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping. So, when you’re with the group, you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you make sure you tip an appropriate amount for services, as is the case throughout much of Europe. It’s customary to tip 5-10% of the bill at restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s polite to round a bill up the bill for taxi fares. Hotel staff expect 5-20 Turkish Liras for their service.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Turkey. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Internet is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.
ATMs are very common in Turkey. You are advised to use the ones attached to banks where possible, rather than those in free-standing booths on the street. These tend to be safer, and less prone to tampering.
The Turkish lira is the currency of Turkey and Northern Cyprus. One Turkish lira is subdivided into one hundred kuruş.
You can book your tour to Turkey with Odyssey traveller online or by calling or emailing or staff.
Odyssey’s small group, fully escorted, 22-day tour to ancient Turkey starts from $10550 per person.
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
Odyssey Traveller’s Ancient Turkey escorted small group history tour visits some of the most spectacular, varied, and historically important sites in the ancient world. This Turkey tour begins and ends in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and seaport, and the place where east meets the west on the Bosphorus strait. Visit Turkey with Odyssey on this amazing guided tour through the ancient world linking the Black sea, Egypt, Syria and Europe together on this history tour. Our tour packages are especially designed to be suitable for mature-aged and senior travellers, whether joining as a couple or as a solo traveller.
The best time to visit Turkey is April, May, September and October, when temperatures are pleasantly warm, with temperatures of 20°C to 30°C. These months are typically also qieter when visiting Turkey’s grand array of ancient sites.
On Odyssey’s small group tour to Turkley, will travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia, exploring and learning with our tour leader and tour guide about the ancient world through to the Ottoman empire and the power of the Ottoman Sultan in building some of the greatest monuments. On our Cappadocia tour we visit its ‘fairy chimneys’, large rock spires that rise from the earth like mushrooms, formed over millions of years by the erosion of volcanic rock. We go on a Pamukkale tour, see the ancient ruins of Ephesus and the mosques in Turkey , and view the Aegean Sea, with our terrific local guides sharing with you both the ancient and contemporary history and scenery of this incredibly diverse nation. The tour stops in nine key places that have played pivotal roles in the development of Turkey including the Gallipoli peninsula. Typically our Turkey travel group stop for more than one night in our destinations–1 to 4 nights of hotel stay or other type of accommodation before travelling to our next point of interest. A combination of day trip, city tour, shore excursions, and overnight trips, this Turkey tour promises to be a memorable trip and an amazing travel experience.
For the most part, famous mosques and sights of interest remain open to tourists during Ramadan, although they often shut early to allow more time for prayers and evening meals with family. Sometimes a special event may cause closures or affect the day’s activities, but if you’re with a local Odyssey guide there’s no need to worry; they’ll rearrange the day accordingly. It just might mean a few earlier starts here and there!
The majority of travellers on our tours are actually solo travellers. We specialise in educational small group tours for seniors, typically groups sizes are between 6 to 12 people. Odyssey has been offering this style of adventure and educational programs since 1983. We offer a wide range of fully escorted, cultural and heritage journeys that expand horizons and broaden the mind. Our tours are designed for active, inquisitive travellers in a small group environment.
Odyssey asks our participants to provide their dietary requirements upon their registration. This allows us to book your meals ahead, catering to your requirements and allergies.
Odyssey’s Turkey tour begins and ends in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and seaport, and the place where east meets the west on the Bosphorus strait. Visit Turkey with Odyssey on this amazing guided tour through the ancient world linking the Black sea, Egypt, Syria and Europe together on this history tour. Our tour packages are especially designed to be suitable for mature-aged and senior travellers, whether joining as a couple or as a solo traveller.
Odyssey specialises in educational small group tours for seniors, typically groups sizes are between 6 to 12 people. The maximum group size is 15 participants.
For all travellers joining an Odyssey small group tour we ask for respect for all member of the group and yourself and the communities we are visiting and that:
- If requested by Odyssey Traveller you will undertake to take a Covid-19 test and share the result with Odyssey no more than 72 hours before a tour commences.
- You respect the communities you are visiting and the Covid-19 directions issued including social distancing.
- You will advise your program leader/Odyssey of any underlying change in your health whilst on tour and up to 14 days after the tour.
- Odyssey and its suppliers will observe as a minimum the WTTC guidelines and those of the region you are visiting their Covid-19 requirements, the higher standard of the two instructions will be applied for a small group tour.
- We remain aware, vigilant and empathetic to the need to change arrangements in response to the challenges of managing Covid-19 before and during a small group tour for the benefit of all in the internal and external Odyssey Traveller community.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our long-stay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
You should consult with your travel healthcare practitioner 6-8 weeks in advance of travel, for the most up to date information on travel-vaccinations needed for Turkey.
For tourism or commercial travel of up to 90 days within a 180 day period, obtain a Turkish visa from Turkish missions abroad or from the e-Visa application system prior to arrival, via the website www.evisa.gov.tr.
You can email or call Odyssey and our response time is typically within a few hours. You can also chat with one of our travel coordinators via our website.
It is generally not safe to drink tap water in Turkey.
The majority of Turkey’s most visited and popular attractions are open between 09:00 a.m. and 19:00 p.m., and with last entry at least one hour before the closing hour.
Articles about Turkey published by Odyssey Traveller.
- Treasures of the Ottoman Empire
- Istanbul, Imperial City
- Turkey: From Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire
- Ten Unimaginable Destinations
- Ten Books for Travellers to Turkey
- Ten Things to See in Turkey
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Turkey.
Responsible Travel Tips for Turkey.
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have some Turkish lira in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.
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