Join us as we spend an exciting week with our hosts in FF Karsiyaka Bay, who will teach us about the Turkish culture and show us some of the area's most interesting local sites. For those who choose to, there is an optional post-Journey tour to further explore some of the most famous churches, museums, and architectural sites of the surrounding cities.
Home Hospitality provided by the Friendship Force club of Karsiyaka Bay.
Live With a Local
- Hosts will take the ambassadors on a tour of the city to see incredible historic sites in the surrounding area around Izmir
- Go on an excursion to the coast to spend a night in your hosts' summer homes, with a short excursion on the Pelogos Sea
- Virgin Mary Shrine
- Cesme Castle & Museum
- Swim in the Aegean Sea
- Ataturk Museum (father of modern Turkey)
- Izmir History and Art Museum
The hosts were excellent and extremely friendly. - Previous ambassador from Canada
Karsiyaka Bay, Turkey
7 Days / 6 Nights Program and Itinerary:
September 17, 2019 – September 24, 2019
Coordinator: Kay Binder, FF Austin
All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.
Sept. 17, 2019
Take a day-trip to the world-famous Ephesus Ruins and visit Virgin Mary’s Shrine
Visit a carpet factory and watch a demonstration on famous Turkish carpets
Sept. 18, 2019
Have breakfast at a restaurant with group & head to Cesme, a summer resort in Izmir
Visit Alacati, a beautiful village which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkey
Explore Cesme Castle & Museum
If weather permits, stay overnight in Cesme at hosts’ summer home
Sept. 19, 2019
Take a boat tour while still in Cesme
Swim in the Aegean Sea, with its many shades of blue
Dinner at a fish restaurant
Sept. 20, 2019
Visit the Farmer’s Market in Karsiyaka
Lunch at Pide Restaurant for Turkish Pizza
Take a ferry across the Izmir Bay & visit Ataturk Museum (father of modern Turkey) & Izmir History and Art Museum
Sept. 21, 2019
City tour in Izmir
Go to 5,000 year old Kemeralti Bazaar, Kizlaragasi Inn, and see the city clock tower – a symbol of Izmir
Taste the world-famous doner kebap
You can then have a chance to do souvenir shopping
Sept. 22, 2019
Visit the amazing Cars Museum
Take the Urla winery road and taste the award-winning wines of Izmir
Sept. 23, 2019
Dinner parties at hosts’ homes
OPTIONAL: Sept. 24, 2019
As we check out, we drive to Pamukkale giving an en-route visit to Aphrodisias, the city dedicated to the cult of Aphrodite.
As we visit the Sculptor’s Museum in Aphrodisias, we have lunch at a local restaurant.
We visit Hierapolis on arrival, then have time to stroll over the calcareous terraces of Pamukkale, or to enjoy the thermal facilities.
Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
OPTIONAL: Sept. 25, 2019
In the morning, a scenic route through Burdur takes us to the beautiful ancient site of Sagalassos. This is one of the very few ancient cities where we can witness how sacred fountains function. After this, we continue to Antalya.
On arrival to Antalya, we have lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the Archaeology Museum which was awarded the Museum of the Year in Europe.
Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
OPTIONAL: Sept. 26, 2019
In the morning, we visit Perge, one of the most impressive sites of Pamphylia, and then Aspendos, the world’s best preserved ancient theatre.
After lunch at a local restaurant near the Aspendos Theatre, we will allow you time in the afternoon to rest & relax at the Lara Beach.
Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
OPTIONAL: Sept. 27, 2019
An early departure after breakfast and a scenic route over Taurus Mountains takes us to Beysehir, where we visit the Esrefoglu Mosque.
After having lunch at a local restaurant, we arrive at Konya in the late afternoon to visit the world-famous Mevlana Museum, formerly the place where the mystic philosophy of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi was taught.
Dinner and overnight in Konya.
OPTIONAL: Sept. 28, 2019
Today, we drive to Cappadocia, with an en-route visit to Sultanhan Caravanserai, where the medieval merchants used to stay overnight.
After this, we arrive in Ihlara Valley and have our lunch at a local restaurant by the river.
After lunch, we walk through the canyon via the Steps of Anatolia to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema. Set by the Melendiz River this is known as the “Valley of the Sky.” Churches carved from the rocks form a gallery of early paintings that are remarkable for their accuracy.
Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
OPTIONAL: Sept. 29, 2019
Our first real encounter with Cappadocia’s almost martian landscape is in the Devrent valley, where the rock formations are amazing.
A walk through the Zelve Open-Air Museum is a journey into the past, with its troglodyte houses. This is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements in Cappadocia.
After Zelve we visit Pasabag’s “fairy chimneys,” where the voice of the wind harmonizes with the songs of the fairies.
From here we pause at Avanos, a centre of terra cotta art since 2,000 BC, for a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop.
After lunch in Avanos, we visit the famous Goreme Open-Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century.
We complete the tour with a visit to the Uchisar Rock-Castle, giving you a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
OPTIONAL: Sept. 30, 2019
Our first stop is the Soganli Valley, an open-air museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style rock-cut churches and frescoes.
After this, we drive to Mustafapasa through the unspoiled villages of Cappadocia, surrounded by the “table-top” mountains.
On the way, we visit the Keslik Monastery near Cemil village, which hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which can only be seen by torch light.
After lunch in Mustafapasa at an old Greek house, hosted by a local family, we descend towards the centre of the earth, with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements.
Transfer to Kayseri Airport for flight to Istanbul.
Overnight in Istanbul
OPTIONAL: Oct. 1, 2019
After breakfast drive to the pier at Karakoy for the Bosphorus Cruise by regular boat.
After Bosphorus Cruise we visit the Spice Market, where Genoese and Venetian goods were sold at a time when there was no Suez Canal, and all the spices from the East were also brought here after being loaded on vessels in Egypt.
We end the tour with a visit to the greatest Bazaar of them all, the Grand Bazaar, one of the most extraordinary shopping experiences in the world.
Return to hotel and free time.
OPTIONAL: Oct. 2, 2019
After breakfast drive to Sultanahmet Region for full day visit.
Today visits will be:
Topkapi Palace which is the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans, (from 1465 to 1853)
St. Sophia, the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome. It was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is Uçhisar Mustafapasa St. Sophia Blue Mosque Hippodrome considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture”
Blue Mosque, one of the most revered masterpieces of the Islamic world, famous for its blue ceramic tiles and six minarets. The Mosque has become one of the greatest tourist attractions of Istanbul
Hippodrome of Constantinople (former name of Istanbul) was a horse-racing track that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire and the largest city in Europe. Today it is a square named Sultan Ahmet with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving. It is sometimes also called At Meydani (Horse Square) in Turkish
OPTIONAL: Oct. 3, 2019
Transfer to airport for flight back home
Know before you go
- Journey number 14282.
- The activity level is listed as moderate, but there will be a fair amount of walking involved according to the proposed itinerary; please be prepared.
- The average temperature for September is 85°F (29°C) and October is 75°F (24°C).
- There is an optional, post-Journey tour from September 24 to October 2. Cost is approximately $950. Click on the "Itinerary" tab for more information.
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.