Is Turkey Really All That?

Why do people talk so much about gulets?
A gulet is a traditional Turkish handcrafted wooden sailing vessel, fitted out with all the modern conveniences you can imagine. Completely indulgent and relaxing, you can either spend a day on one or book it for a week (or two). You have the luxury of sailing from cove to cove along the Aegean and Turquoise Coast with your own private crew and chef. You see a completely different side of Turkey. It’s great for couples, groups of friends, or families. And yes, it’s just for you.

I’m from Brooklyn; is Istanbul really that hip and happening?
It might seem hard to believe unless your friends have been, but yes – in its energy and in its food, art, fashion, design, and nightlife. In fact, there is a combination of hip and traditional – on one block you can find a mosque, an old-fashioned coffee shop, and a Prada store; on the next you might find an antique book dealer, a full-to-the-brim local bar, and a spanking new boutique hotel with views of the Bosphorus.

And the foodie scene?
Turkey is quite famous for its food, particularly Istanbul. Local specialties abound and the emphasis is on fresh and seasonal ingredients. Istanbul has a handful of top-notch restaurants helmed by talented young chefs, and you can have just as much fun among the local eateries, street stalls, and markets. As for that sweet tooth, we can attest to the fact that there is a local specialty dessert in every city.

Is there an art scene?
Istanbul in particular has a growing art scene. The Biennial has made a name for itself on the global circuit. There are excellent museums and a number of highly-respected galleries.

What If…

I’ve been before and want to return. What about Eastern Turkey?
Eastern Turkey is very different than more-visited western Turkey, and in some ways, even more enthralling. Many clients who return for a second visit combine Eastern Turkey with a return visit to Istanbul or a week on a gulet.

I want to take a Biblical tour.
Many of the major sites in the history of early Christianity are in Turkey. We can arrange private custom-designed tours focused on Biblical sites including the Seven Churches of Revelation: Ephesus, Laodicea, Pergamon, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna, and Thyatira.

I want to bring the kids, but I am concerned it might be too much history and ruins.
There is certainly no shortage of history and archaeology in Turkey, but kids love the adventure, the scenery along the coast, the surreal “fairy chimney” landscape of Cappadocia, and many of the activities we arrange for them. Most kids love the immersion into another culture so different from their own. And besides, you have your own private guide, who will make sure the kids are having fun.

My cruise starts/ends in Istanbul; can you help me?
Give us three or four days and we will show you a side of Istanbul that your cruise line won’t.

I really want to, but my mother-in-law wants to know:

Why is Turkey always in the news?
Politics in Turkey are a mess, plus it is in a tough neighborhood. Having said that, our business to Turkey grows every year. Brand new hotels, resorts, restaurants, and nightclubs are popping up all over Turkey, the economy is very strong, and Turkey is a major trading partner of the U.S., Europe, and Israel. We would never send you into a bad area. We are honest and we don’t make promises for anywhere (including our own home town of New York City), but based on our extensive travels, constant monitoring from our in-country team, and a lot of client feedback, we feel – as long as you don’t get involved in politics – there is no reason not to go, and lots of reasons to go.

Is it safe to walk around on your own?
In general, yes, but always be smart (wherever you travel). You will be with your guide during the day. The majority of Turkish people are respectful, helpful, and very welcoming to visitors.

You are a single female, is it safe?
Yes, but always be smart, vigilant, and exercise common sense. At night, take licensed taxis called by your hotel or restaurant.

Nuts and Bolts

When is the best time to travel?
Spring and fall. Winter can be cold and gray, although if you are lucky enough to have snow in Cappadocia, it is extremely photogenic. Summer is great, especially for families. It can be crowded in certain places, but the coast is fantastic by land or by gulet.

Do I need any vaccinations or shots?
Although no specific inoculations are required, we aren’t doctors, so you should talk to yours.

Do Turks speak English?
Most people in a service industry speak English. Many others, especially younger people, speak limited English. A few words of Turkish will get you a long way and a lot of smiles.

Can I drive myself in Turkey?
In Turkey, traffic laws are often considered “optional” and roads can be hard to navigate. We always recommend a private driver.

Is a visa required?
Yes, entry to Turkey requires a visa for Americans. But, don’t worry; we will make sure you know exactly how to get one.