Tours aren't for everyone, but they can be just the thing when making travel arrangements is difficult or too time-consuming. You travel along with a group (sometimes large, sometimes small), stay in prebooked hotels, eat with your fellow travelers (sometimes included in the price of your tour, sometimes not), and follow a schedule. A knowledgeable guide can take you places that you might never discover on your own, and you may be pushed to see more than you would have otherwise. Plus, a package tour to Turkey will often be less expensive than independent travel and you’ll be spared the trouble of arranging everything yourself. There are, of course, cons, too, one disadvantage being that you'll have less flexibility in being able to choose your hotel.
Whenever you book a guided tour, find out what's included and what isn't. A "land-only" tour includes all your travel (by bus, in most cases) in the destination, but not necessarily your flights to or even within it. Also, in most cases, prices in tour brochures don't include fees and taxes. And remember that you'll be expected to tip your guide (in cash) at the end of the tour.
New York–based Heritage Tours is highly recommended as a higher-end, full-service travel company. Heritage can design a trip start to finish, including great hotels, private drivers, and tour guides.
A small yet professionally run agency, Argonaut Escapades is based in Cappadocia and İzmir and specializes in cultural tours to lesser-traveled parts of Turkey, including the Black Sea region, northwest Turkey, and eastern Turkey. 384/341–6255 (in Ürgüp) www.argonautturkey.com
Cappadocia Tours & Euphrates Tours. 384/341–7485; www.cappadociatours.com.
Credo Tours. 212/254–8175; www.credotours.com.
Heritage Tours. 800/378–4555; 212/206–8400; www.htprivatetravel.com.
Istanbul Life. 212/638–1215; www.istanbullife.org.
Pacha Tours. 800/722–4288; www.pachatours.com.
Special-Interest Tour Companies
Biblical Tours in Turkey & Greece celebrates Turkey's historic richness as a cultivating ground for some of the world's most prominent religions. Different itineraries will take you to historical churches and pilgrimage sites that are awe inspiring, regardless of your religious affiliation. Other tours focus on the country’s many other assets. Birdwatch Turkey organizes a number of tours that vary in length and region, all geared toward learning about Turkey's indigenous bird species. Breakaway Adventures organizes independent walking tours along the scenic Lycian Way hiking trail, with stops at archaeological sites, seafront villages, and beaches. Journey Anatolia leads photography tours of Istanbul’s historic neighborhoods, Bodrum’s village markets, and the mountainous Black Sea region. Kirkit Voyage has tours ranging all over the country, with a special focus on hiking and horseback riding trips in Cappadocia. Peter Sommer Travels is a U.K.–based company that provides academic, yet friendly, guided archaeological tours of Turkey, many of them on gulet (wooden sailing boat) cruises. Runner Tourism and Travel runs archaeological, botanical, culinary, and photography tours, in addition to organizing gulet cruises.
Biblical Tours in Turkey & Greece. 530/288–8083; www.biblicaltoursturkeygreece.com.
Birdwatch Turkey. www.birdwatchturkey.com.
Breakaway Adventures. 800/567–6286; www.breakaway-adventures.com.
Journey Anatolia. 207/617–7875 ; www.journeyanatolia.com.
Kirkit Voyage. 212/518–2282; www.kirkit.com.
Peter Sommer Travels. 855/443–3027; www.petersommer.com.
Runner Tourism and Travel. 242/425–2361; www.runnertourism.com.