Turkey: A Cultural and Gastronomic Journey

14 - 27 Sep 2021
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Turkey’s beauty, culture and cuisine has been attracting visitors for thousands of years. Take a culinary and cultural journey from historic Istanbul – one of the world’s greatest melting pots - to the extraordinary and otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia, down to Antalya and along Turkey’s beautiful Lycian Coast. Vivid blue waters and spectacular coastlines combine with ancient heritage and delicious local cuisine for an irresistible offering as you take a leisurely three-day cruise on a comfortable gulet.

Over the course of the tour you’ll travel along the ancient crossroads between Asia and Europe and discover how Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Venetians and others brought ingredients from all over the world. Enjoy a wide range of food experiences, including hands-on cooking classes, visits to local farmers and winemakers. Dine in private homes and local restaurants, ranging from traditional BBQ to seafood dinners with the freshest local fish. Along the way you’ll learn about the rich culture and history behind the cuisine.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Lucy Malouf

Lucy Malouf

Lucy Malouf is an award-winning food and travel writer with a particular interest in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. She believes firmly that food is a delicious way of appreciating and understanding histories and cultures different from our own. Together with her first husband, Michelin-chef Greg Malouf, she is the co-author of 8 best-selling food-travel books, including Turquoise a chef’s travels in Turkey, as well as Saha, New Feast and Arabesque. After twenty-five years in Australia, Lucy is now settled in Kent, the garden of England. She contributes features and reviews to anthologies, newspapers, magazines and restaurant guides, as well as food, wine, travel and tourism books and web sites.

In 2019 Greg and Lucy's latest cookbook, SUQAR: Desserts & Sweets from the modern Middle East won the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Baking & Desserts.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Istanbul (Tues 14 September)
    Arrive Istanbul and check into 10 Karakoy Hotel. Welcome dinner at the acclaimed Aheste restaurant.
  • Day 2: Istanbul (Wed 15 September) At the crossroads of the world: an introduction to one of the great global cuisines
    Visit the historical Aya Sofya and head onto the Grand Bazaar for a wander through the bazaar to discover the history of one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Optional lunch at a local restaurant before moving down to the Spice Bazaar to enjoy tastings of all things sweet. Learn how Baklava is made and enjoy Turkish sweets. Wine tasting on the hotel’s rooftop terrace before dinner at an authentic traditional local restaurant, Ismet Baba.
  • Day 3: Istanbul (Thurs 16 September) Fusion food and the original masterchefs
    Visit stunning Topkapi Palace, including the palace kitchens and harem. Afterwards, tour the Blue Mosque. Board the ferry to Kadikoy, having lunch at renowned Ciya Sofresi. Meet the chef at Ciya and have a peek behind the scenes into the kitchens of Ciya Sofresi. Take a walking tour of Kadikoy, visiting various fish and food markets. Finish with Turkish coffee and ice-cream in the Moda district.
  • Day 4: Istanbul / Cappadocia (Fri 17 September) Ancient vines, modern wines
    Fly to Cappadocia with its towering fairy chimneys and majestic honeycomb cliffs. Transfer to Neveshir to have traditional tava for lunch, a type of stir-fried stew enjoyed by the local industrial workers. Visit one of Cappadocia’s most famous wineries to learn about the region’s 4000-year-old wine industry. Help the local harvesters in the vineyard, and afterwards enjoy wine tasting. End the day with a panoramic view of the sunset. Optional excursion to watch a Turkish show while enjoying lamb tandoori.
  • Day 5: Cappadocia (Sat 18 September) Kebab culture
    Optional sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Walking tour of the Sognali Valley to see alfresco churches and visit the caves to see the potato storage and the seasonal vegetable harvest. Enjoy a light lunch of homemade bread, cheese and vegetables. Visit the 60-metre-deep underground city of Derinkuyu. Learn how people sourced food while living underground and their cooking methods. Discover culinary traditions while seeing ancient wine and oil presses, cellars, stables and chapels. In the evening take a cooking class in a local restaurant that specialises in the Cappadocian speciality of testi kebab, having the finished result for dinner.
  • Day 6: Cappadocia/Konya/Antalya (Sun 19 September) The cradle of cultivation
    Transfer down to Antalya, stopping over in Konya to enjoy etli ekmek for lunch, a popular local speciality. It may be possible to witness Sufi whirling, a form of physically active meditation practised by members of a sect of Sufism established by the famous poet, Rumi. Continue on to Antalya to check into the hotel. Time to explore or at leisure in the evening.
  • Day 7: Antalya (Mon 20 September) Bread: the daily miracle
    Take part in a bread making class and have the results for lunch. Walking tour of the old city of Antalya, including visiting Hadrian’s Gate, Hidirlik Tower, Ottoman-era houses/gardens and Republic Square. Have dinner at a meyhane restaurant, enjoying local seafood and raki.
  • Day 8: Antalya / Gulet cruise (Tues 21 September) Bounty from the sea
    Enjoy a Turkish breakfast at Cinaralti before heading on to Demre, a coastal town on the Teke peninsula, where you’ll see how the local soft borek is made. Board the gulet to begin the cruise. Sail to the gorgeous village of Simena, accessible only by boat. On the way, you’ll pass the island of Kekova (its name means “thyme”) and see the sunken remains of a Lycian city. A steep path leads up to a Knights of St John fortress, which gives spectacular views of the coastline. Enjoy locally made ice-cream as you make your way back to the gulet, then sail across the bay to the pretty fishing village of Ucagiz where you’ll meet with local fishermen. Enjoy delicious fresh seafood dinner at a local restaurant in the evening.
  • Day 9: Gulet cruise (Wed 22 September) Food and family
    Cruise along to the quaint village of Kas, stopping on the way for a swim. Head into Kas for a cooking lesson in a local family’s home. Learn how traditional recipes and cooking secrets are passed down by women to women. Enjoy a home-cooked village meal including soup and gozleme for lunch. In the afternoon explore the lovely old fishing town with its cobbled streets and white- washed houses covered in bougainvillea. Those who prefer a slower pace can return to the gulet to swim or relax on the beach.
  • Day 10: Gulet cruise (Thurs 23 September) Feasting and fasting
    Wake up in beautiful Butterfly Valley, a canyon that reaches almost 2000m above sea level, and have breakfast with time to relax on the beach, snorkel and swim or explore the Valley itself, which is home to many species of butterflies. Continue on to Oludeniz and the Blue Lagoon.Enjoy lunch on board before visiting the ruins of St Nicholas Island and discovering the history of the local pirates. Have a swim in the afternoon before transferring to Fethiye for a meal at the local fish markets.
  • Day 11: Gulet cruise / Selçuk (Fri 24 September) Food for all seasons
    Check out of the boat in the morning to have a traditional village Turkmen breakfast in Ciflik, consisting of many dishes of locally grown produce. Meet the owner of the restaurant and hear about the history of the area, his restaurant and museum. Continue to Selçuk. Stopover in Cine to have the traditional lunch of çöp şiş. Arrive in Selçuk, check into the hotel and at leisure.
  • Day 12: Selçuk (Sat 25 September) Liquid gold
    Early start to visit the ruins of Ephesus, one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Learn about its place on ancient trade routes and how this part of Western Anatolia developed its own rich culinary culture. Return to the hotel. Mid-afternoon visit to Oleatrium and learn of the history, manufacture and use of olive olive. Onto to the Yedi Bilgeler Vineyards to sample their award-winning wines. Dinner amongst the vines with wine pairing.
  • Day 13: Selçuk (Sun 26 September) The world on a plate
    Explore Izmir (formerly Symrna) and take part in a culinary walking tour of this coastal city influenced by Levantine culture. Return to the hotel. Farewell dinner at the excellent Nisanyan restaurant, one of the finest in Sirince, with beautiful views over the town.
  • Day 14: Selçuk (Mon 27 September)
    Depart Selçuk after breakfast.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is USD $4,995 per person sharing

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