aha! tour

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ISTANBUL TOURS

TOUR A: CLASSIC OLD CITY

A “must see” if You are the first time here in Istanbul. Main attractions in this walking excursion are the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Sultans Tombs, German Fountain, Hippodrome & Egyptian Obelisk, Grand Bazaar. This tour is ideal for people who like history and culture, but may bore children due to high historic content.

BLUE MOSQUE

Most famous mosque after the Kaaba. Built by the order of Sultan Ahmet I, the mosque is known for its 20000 blue tiles, hence called Blue Mosque.

HAGIA SOPHIA

Church, mosque, museum, and mosque again in the year 2020. This 1500 year old masterpiece was a model for many buildings.

TOPKAPI PALACE

This palace was the residence and center of power for many Sultans, including Suleyman the Magnificent. 70 hectars and interesting expositions.

GRAND BAZAAR

The whole hill is a Bazaar. You can get lost in the labyrinth of 4000 shops. Ultimate shopping experience, with optional tiles & rug presentations.

OLD CITY TOUR A:

Walking through the old city and other than the highlights (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and Grand Bazaar) which we will enter, we will pass by the Turkish-Islamic Art Museum, that used to be the residence of the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha. Also the Million Stone, which was used as a starting point to measure distances to other cities, Sultans Tombs, German Fountain, Hippodrome & Egyptian Obelisk, and the Basilica Cistern. 
* A walking pace of 50 meters per minute (3 km/h) on the average is essential to keep up with the timing of this full program. Elder or handicapped might need support for this.
** The Topkapı Palace is closed every Tuesday. It will be replaced with the Dolmabahçe Palace.

TOUR B: BOSPHORUS & ASIAN SIDE

In order to see the beauty of this city, sail alongside the european and asian coasts of the Bosphorus Strait by Boat. Old palaces and modern bridges. It’s just breathtaking. Visit the colorful Spice Bazaar for a degustation of Turkish Delights. The asian side offers an amazing view from the top of Çamlıca Hill to see the sheer size of Istanbul. Beylerbeyi Palace sums up all the beauties a palace can host.

BOSPHORUS BOAT TOUR

Old fortresses and cute residences, beautiful mosques stand next to Sultans palaces, intercontinental bridges soar above affluent neighborhoods of Istanbul.

SPICE BAZAAR

Next to the Golden Horn, the natural harbour of the ancient city, was the last stop of the Silk and Spice Roads. See and smell the Silk, Spices and Golden Saffron in a degustation.

BEYLERBEYI PALACE

Beylerbeyi Palace was used by the Sultans only a few months in summer. A constant breeze from north makes life here more bearable on hot summer days & nights.

ÇAMLICA HILL

Look over to Europe from Asia, and see not only the beauty of the Bosphorus, but also the Prince’s island in the Marmara Sea, and the enormous asian side of the city.

BEAUTIFUL BOSPHORUS & ASIA TOUR – B:

The SPICE BAZAAR (also called Egyptian Bazaar) is located right at the Golden Horn, which is an arm of the Bosphorus, and is a good starting point for this excursion. You have the opportunity to make colorful photos and a degustation of diverse sorts of the famous Turkish Delight.
During the BOSPHORUS BOAT TOUR all beauties of this city are unveiled. See the palaces, mosques and churches, residences and bridges, all fascinating sights, that will become an unforgetable event in your memory, while you listen to the pertaining commentary.
BEYLERBEYI PALACE was a summer residence of the Sultans, used only a few months in year. It was also used as a state guest house, welcoming many european royals. Today it serves as a museum with two sections, the official-administrative and the Harem section, both of which will be visited.
ÇAMLICA HILL on the asian side offers an amazing view from the top, not only to see the beauty, but also the sheer size of Istanbul. On clear days, you can look to see the Prince’s Island in the Marmara Sea, and even discern the top of Mount Olympos in Bursa.
* The Beylerbeyi Palace is closed every Monday and will be replaced with the Kariye Mosque. Accordingly on mondays the asian side will not be visited as the Çamlıca Hill will be replaced with the Pierre Loti Hill over the Golden Horn.

ANATOLIAN TOURS

Click picture for more info

TOUR C: CAPPADOCIA

The land of beautiful horses, offers more experiences than its name implies. Highlights like Göreme Open Air Museum, astonishing views of fairy-chinmeys in Zelve & Paşabağ valleys, that are so much more apparent than the impressive cave cities. Beside the wines of Cappadocia the region Avanos is famous for terra-cotta production. History and culture are blended in this tour with an spectacular Hot Air Balloon Ride.

GÖREME MUSEUM

Monks fostered a model for teachings and practices of the Christian world in such monasteries, paintings reflecting their secluded lives in cave lodgings.

CAVE CITIES

Suplied with air and water, up to 20.000 people found shelter in times of war or crisis in these cities, that were interconnected with long secret tunnels.

AVANOS POTTERY

An interactive show presentation of regional terra-cotta art is one of the interesting things that you can participate in. This art is practiced by local families.

HOT AIR BALLOON

Soar amidst rising and descending balloons at sunrise, above the irreally stunning landscape of fairy chimneys.(must be paid extra)

CAPPADOCIA TOUR C:

 

The astonishing rock formations of Cappadocia will accompany us throughout the day, each and every valley having its peculiarity.  In DEVRENT VALLEY (also called IMAGINATION VALLEY) as well as ESENTEPE PANORAMIC VIEW POINT, everything is up to ones imagination. The unique panorama of cave houses, rock formations and fairy chimneys are more or less similar to other objects one comes across in daily life, leaving space for individual interpretation.

 

MONKS VALLEY (PAŞABAĞ) and ZELVE are famous with their monasteries where monks lived and prayed. Some of the highest fairychimneys with multiple caps are here.

 

AVANOS has become a centre for terra-cotta production since the beginning of settlement in Cappadocia around 3000BC.  An interactive presentation of pottery art is one of the interesting things that you can participate in.

 

The famous GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM is a highlight exposing churches, dormitories, dining rooms, chapels and several other features typical for a monastery, that were very suitable for monks to live their secluded lives. At this stage in Cappadocia, Christian ideology intermingled with cleric practices, to become a centre for religious education, spreading from here to all over the world. Today, Byzantine art, frescoes and paintings that are well preserved are to be seen here.

 

UÇHISAR CASTLE (Cave Rock City) is the highest elevation of Göreme, a big rock with caves and tunnels that served as a fortification and for surveillance purposes. From here the village of Göreme and surroundings can easily be discerned.

 

UNDERGROUND CITY: There are plenty of underground cities, which are even connected to each other by tunnels. Air ventilation and underground rivers supplying water, would enable inhabitants to flee from attackers or the cold in winter into these cities, to pass difficult times. These underground cities could provide shelter for as much as 20.000 people. Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı Underground Cities are among the most visited.
*Claustrophobics are advised not to enter underground cities.

TOUR D: PAMUKKALE COTTON CASTLE

Main attraction are the unique cascading travertines, which, from distance, look like cotton candy. Deep in the earth, water heated by volcanic lava dissolves pure white calcium and rises to cover the hilly surface. Hierapolis old city was the biggest spa and health center of antiquity, with the famous Cleopatra Bath. Among all the excavated cities, this one hosts the biggest Necropolis. This tour is a good mix of history, sightseeing, fun and relaxation.

ANCIENT CITY

The excavated parts of Hierapolis show all facettes of a roman city. The beautiful Triton Fountain, a theatre, Cathedral, the Agora and the numerous roman baths are worthwhile seeing.

COTTON CASTLE

Walk barefeet in snowwhite terraces and basins, that occur naturally when spring waters rise, loosing heat and pressure, and calciumcarbonate subsides are left on the surface. It is unique.

NECRO-POLIS

Especially the elder came to find relief for their pains. Some stayed longer and passed away, hence the biggest necropolis that has survived to our day. Different types of tomb mouseleums.

CLEOPATRA BATH

Like sparkling wine, bubbles rise from the spring source, to give CO and COout to the air. One can find it very amusing to take a bath here as did once the legendary Cleopatra herself (extra).

PAMUKKALE (Cotton Castle) TOUR D:

 

CASCADING TRAVERTINES: This place is famous for its amazingly white travertines and the ancient city of Hierapolis. Around twenty hot water springs have formed these white cascading terraces in hundreds of years. Somewhere deep in the earth beneath Pamukkale and the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis lies a vast source of water heated by volcanic lava. Under heat and pressure, the water dissolves pure white calcium, becomes saturated with it, and carries it to the earth’s surface, where it bursts forth and runs down a steep hillside. When these hot spring waters rise to surface, loosing heat and pressure, carbonmonoxide and carbondioxide is given off. Calciumcarbonate subsides naturally shape these amazing white cascades. Today, one can walk through Pamukkale barefeet and even find a chance to bathe in the hot water of the ancient pool, also called Cleopatra Bath.

 

HIERAPOLIS ANCIENT CITY: Built just above the hot spring waters of Pamukkale, HIERAPOLIS is a mighty ancient city, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Founded in 2nd century BC by the King of Pergamon, it later was taken over by the Roman Empire, to become a commercial center. The city with its hot spring waters was also the biggest Spa center of the ancient world. Especially elder people came here from all corners of the empire, to find relief for their pains. Some stayed longer and passed away here, hence the biggest necropolis that has survived to our day.
Hierapolis Ancient city also hosts a wonderful and well preserved theatre situated on the hillside. Other attractions are the Roman Baths, Domitian Gate, Latrina, Oil Factory, Frontinus Street, Agora, Triton Fountain, Byzantium Gate, Cathedral, Apollon Temple, Plutonium and the Antique Pool (also called Cleopatra Bath). You will find a chance to take photos of the best spots in Pamukkale while walking the travertines barefeet down.

 

 *CLEOPATRA ANTIQUE BATH entrance fee must be paid extra.

TOUR E: EPHESUS

As the Capital of Asia Minor, Ephesus had a population of 250.000 inhabitants in Roman era. Being the last place where the mother of Jesus traveled to and passed away, today Virgin Mary House has become an important pilgrim place, where Lazarist priests still practice daily mass. Not far from Ephesus is the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Şirince village has become very popular with its idyllic character, meanwhile a touristic hotspot famous for its wines.

EPHESUS OLD CITY

Highlights in this best excavated antique city of the world are, Celsus Library, the theatre, Hadrian Temple, Trajan Fountain, Vestalin Temple, the Odeon and others through which tourists can walk.

VIRGINS HOUSE

Mother Mary House was discovered after a nun’s description of her visions, to be the house where she fiinally lived and died. The peaceful aura leaves a serene and sublime touch in everyones heart.

ŞİRİNCE VILLAGE

A 15 minutes drive from Ephesus is the charming mountain village, where locals turned their homes to cute B&B places. A degustation in a small family winery, at a cozy fireplace is cheerful.

ARTEMIS TEMPLE

Lydian King Croesus built the sanctuary, also called Diana Temple in Roman Era. Abandoned after Christianity established itself in this area, today very little is left from the wonderful and legendary shrine.

EPHESUS TOUR E:

 

EPHESUS: Refugees from the Aegean Islands settled here in 1040 BC. to provide the basis of a greek trade colony, which eventually rose to become a member of the twelve cities of the Ionian League in Greek Era. In Roman era the port city became capital of Asia Minor, with a population of 250.000, an important commercial and political center. Ephesus is the last place that Virgin Mary traveled to with Saint John The Evangelist. Also Saint Paul visited the city, arrested for his highly emotional speeches, that attracted attention but also arose the pagan society. Highlights to be seen in the antique city are the Celsus Library and the theater. Major sights other than these are, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan, the Odeon, Virgin Priestesses Vestalin Temple, the Agora, the baths and latrines, and several church remnants.

 

ARTEMIS TEMPLE: Though the first temple building dates to 8th century BC., the sanctuary is much older. Destroyed three times and rebuilt in 550 BC with the contributions of the famous King Croesus, the Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Abandoned after Christianity established itself in this area, today very little is left from the temple since majority of marble columns were reused in other buildings, amongst others in the Hagia Sophia one thousand years later.

 

VIRGIN MARY HOUSE: Located at the skirt of Bulbul Mountain, Virgin Mary’s House is a shrine where Lazarist priests still practice daily mass. Discovered after a Catholic nun in Germany described the place in her visions, to be the house where Mother Mary lived and died. It has become an important pilgrim place.

 

ŞİRİNCE VILLAGE: Not far from Ephesus is Şirince, a village that has become very popular with its idyllic character, meanwhile a touristic hotspot famous for its wines. Degustation is possible in several family wineries.

Special Destinations

The Machu Pichu of Turkey Termessos

The only city that Alexander the Great attacked and could not conquer. A steep climbing of 40 minutes will reveal a complete city hidden in the mountains.

Oldest Temple of the World Göbeklitepe

This is 7000 years older than Stonehenge. Mans first temples in the heart of Mesopotamia, the most fascinating and recent UNESCO entry.

The Nemrut Mountain Kommagene Kingdom

Kommagene kings are still buried with their treasure in this tumulus pyramid, old deity guardian figureheads watching over their mouseleum.

TERMESSOS

Termessos was a Pisidian city 1600 metres high in the Taurus Mountains, 30 kilometres north of Antalya. The mythical founder of the city is Bellerophon, who killed the Chimaera, but in fact, it was founded by the Solims who are mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. Concealed by pine forests and with a peaceful and untouched appearance, the site has a more distinct and impressive atmosphere than many other ancient cities. Because of its natural and historical riches, it is included today in the Termessos National Park.

 

History: Alexander the Great surrounded the city in 333 BC, comparing it to an eagle’s nest. Because of the insurmountable natural barriers around the city, even a small force could easily defend it, thus making it the only city Alexander failed to conquer. Termessos became an important ally of Rome in 71 BC., but was abandoned (year unknown) after an earthquake destroyed the aquaduct system and the water supply. From the main road, a steep road leads up to the city, called “King Street”, until the Hellenistic period fortification walls, behind which the old city lies on a flat area. The agora, other official buildings, the theatre, five cisterns are some of the features here. The gymnasium from the 1st century AD. is overgrown by trees today, whereas monumental tombs are carved into the rock, with a necropolis in the lower city.

GÖBEKLITEPE

“Göbeklitepe changes everything” as the oldest temple of the world, dating back to 10.000 BC. It is an archaeological site in Southeastern Turkey, 12 km from the city of Şanlıurfa, first noted in 1963, excavated since 1996. Though 200 pillars in about 20 circles of massive ‘T’-shaped stone pillars (each 6m high, 10 tons) were detected to be the world’s oldest known megaliths, large parts still remain unexcavated. The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery, but it is believed to have been of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt. The site was abandoned after it was used for about 1000 years, and was designated 2018 as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At present Göbeklitepe appears to raise more questions for archaeology and prehistory than it answers. It remains unknown how a population large enough existed to construct, augment, and maintain such a substantial complex. The variety of fauna depicted in reliefs – from lions and boars to birds and insects – makes any single explanation problematic. As there is little or no evidence of habitation, and many of the animals pictured are predators, the stones may have been intended to stave of evils through some form of magic representation. Alternatively, they could have served as totems.

NEMRUT MOUNTAIN

After Alexander the Great, smaller Macedonian kingdoms controlled Nemrut Mountain territory, which hosts the temple-tomb built by the King Antiochos I. of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) for himself. This funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded by terraces with giant limestone statues. Inscriptions and relief sculptures record the genealogical links of the dual cultural origin of the Commagene Kingdom. Antiochos, as a descendant of the persian king Darius by his father Mithridates, and a descendant of Alexander by his mother Laodice, probably sought with his semi-legendary ancestry this syncretism of Greek-Persian pantheon. The assimilation of Zeus with Oromasdes (the Iranian god Ahuramazda), and Heracles with Artagnes (the Iranian god Verathragna) finds its artistic equivalent in an intimate mixture of Greek, Persian and Anatolian aesthetics.

In terms of form, materials and design, Mount Nemrut is one of the unique and authentic artistic achievements of the Hellenistic period, with its fascinating monumental sculptures in a spectacular setting. Today, seasonal and daily temperature variations, freezing and thawing cycles, wind, snow accumulation and sun exposure are the greatest threat for Mount Nemrut. The height of the tumulus is now reduced from its estimated original 60 m due to weathering, previous uncontrolled research investigations and climbing by visitors. Within a first degree earthquake zone on the seismically active East Anatolian Fault, the tumulus, statues and stelae are very vulnerable.

Antalya: Ancient Pamphylia Perge-Aspendos-Side

Best preserved ancient theatre of the world, Aspendos still shows summer opera performances. Relax at Kurşunlu Waterfall after the visits to the ancient cities, Perge being best excavated.

Antalya & Adventure: Rafting/ Canyoning /ATV/Jeep Safari

Enjoy an adventurous rafting/canyoning route with your friends and family. A Quad-Bike ATV to drive through special tracks or find your way in an Off-Road Taurus Mountain Safari on four wheels.

Antalya: Ancient Lykian Cities Demre-Myra-Kekova

Church of Saint Nicholas, known as Santa Claus. Myra ornate cave-tombs of the old Lykian culture. An amazing boat tour alongside the banks of Kekova Island will show you the Sunken City.

PERGE-ASPENDOS-SIDE

Perge ancient city enchants by walking easily through its remnants. After Lydians, Persians and Alexander the Great, the city had its brightest era during the Roman era. Passing the theatre and walking through the hippodrome (second largest after Aphrodisias), the agora, the colonnaded street with a water supply system adjoining the Nymphaeum fountain, one can see several social and cultural buildings. Besides monumental hellenistic and Roman Gates, especially the Roman Bath in the gymnasium gives a good idea what it was like, the heating system still visible. Perge is important for Christians because Saint Paul preached his first sermon here.

Almost 2000 years old, Aspendos Ancient Theatre is the best preserved in the world, where 15,000 people are still hosted in festivals, operas and concerts. Together with the theatre, the aquaducts remind us of legendary architecture.

Side ancient city is a touristic hotspot today, though in history it was a major city, with the biggest slave market. Walk through the streets and enjoy the new and old city with the typical ancient theatre, the Temple of Apollo & Artemis.

The Kurşunlu Waterfall in a Natural Reserve is an oasis to relax after the exhausting historical visits.

ANTALYA OUTDOORS

At the skirts of the Taurus Mountain range, several outdoor activities are possible. Choose one of them or have a day combining two or three of these.

Each of them have their special rules and age restrictions, where you also have to sign a form of accepting all risks. Children may participate at certain age, only when accompanied by their parents.

Rafting: Paddling down Koprucay River, this course leads through a scenic landscape of untouched nature, winding through the mountain slopes. The stage chosen is one of the safest to maneuver the exciting flows and streams, perfectly to match a funs day with friends and family.

Quad-Bike: This outdoor adventure off the beaten track allows you to balance the bike on dusty roads that are less traveled by. Leading through fabulous pine forests and muddy streams, the destination is ideal for both, first timers and the experienced. With a little practice the Quad-Bikes are easy to use.

Off-Road Tour: Safaris into the gorgeous Taurus mountains are great for groups and families to explore the countryside. The mountain routes guide through wildlife and authentic villages with various shades of green. A refreshing swim at a waterfall hidden within the forest gives a wonderful feeling of serenity.

DEMRE-MYRA-KEKOVA

Alongside the Lykian Way a panoramic scenery leads to Demre, passing Phaselis and Olympos.

Ancient Myra, once the capital city of Lycia, hosts the best examples of amazingly ornamented Lycian tombs, cut into the cliff of a rocky hill. On the same slope, a largely restored ancient theatre features genuine relief figures on it’s scene, next to those with animals and grotesque masks laying scattered around.

St Nicholas Church is located in Demre and served as a resting place to the Saint, often referred to as Santa Claus. Since he is considered the protecting patron of many christian families, the museum is frequented by millions of pilgrims in our day.

Kekova Island will be reached by a wonderful boat trip, passing by Simena ancient city. Due to tectonic movements that cause earthquakes, the Sunken City is partially visible under the water, when sailing along its banks.

What else to do in Istanbul ?

TURKISH NIGHT €:50.- DINNER BOAT CRUISE

Dinner night with bellydance & folklore dance. Dinner with unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.

TURKISH NIGHT LIMITED

After the pick-up in your hotel in the evening, you will be welcomed by the “Mehter”, the ottoman military orchestra, at the boat. After getting your welcome drink, seating places and cold starters, you can choose your menu (grilled fish, chicken, meatballs or vegetarian) and desert. The dinner is accompanied by turkish folkloric dances from different regions. Caucasian and Gypsy dances, a rhythm show, DJ performance, and also the belly dance show, which is a widespread amusement in Turkey, in origin taken over and adapted from the Near East.

*This tour includes the transfer to and back to the pier, a dinner (shared tables of 8-12 people) with unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.

TURKISH NIGHT €:70.- DINNER BOAT CRUISE

Dinner night with bellydance & folklore dance. Dinner boat cruise, unlimited alcoholic drinks.

TURKISH NIGHT UNLIMITED

After the pick-up in your hotel in the evening, you will be welcomed by the “Mehter”, the ottoman military orchestra, at the boat. After getting your welcome drink, seating places and cold starters, you can choose your menu (grilled fish, chicken, meatballs or vegetarian) and desert. The dinner is accompanied by turkish folkloric dances from different regions. Caucasian and Gypsy dances, a rhythm show, DJ performance, and also the belly dance show, which is a widespread amusement in Turkey, in origin taken over and adapted from the Near East.

*This tour includes the transfer to and back to the pier, a dinner (shared tables of 8-12 people) with unlimited alcoholic drinks.

ISTANBUL NIGHTLIFE & ENTERTAINMENT €:25.-

ISTANBUL STREETS AT NIGHT. WALK THE SIDESTREETS WITH A LOCAL.

ISTANBUL NIGHTLIFE

After your pick-up in your hotel in the evening, You start exploring also the side streets of Istanbul with a local. Taksim square and the Istiklal Street surroundings, the fishmarket, Flower Passage, Nevizade Street, where the bars, restaurants, night clubs, discotheques, cafes, shopping streets are located. As in every city, some places are more apparent and easily accessible, than the secret corners, where, as a tourist, one would need time to find and explore safely on his own.

*This tour includes the transfer from/to the hotel. Little surprises about turkish street food, here and there. Again one should know where to eat and where not to eat.

TURKISH BATH € 50.-

ONE OF HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN LIFE

THE TURKISH BATH

The “Hamam” is a combination of Roman and Ottoman baths, including the typical scrubbing and a massage with a pile of soapy bubbles.

Types of the Hamam: Some serve mostly to tourists, some to locals and some to both. Some spas that include a hamam component are another type. At hamams for locals, communication may be hard, but probably they have the best scrubs and massages. In touristic hamams prices will be high and the service will be mediocre. At the spa-type hamams, you’ll pay the most, and your service will be somewhat westernized though quite good.

Different Service Options: From self-service to full-service, you can choose from a menu, with a range of massage options. It includes warming up in a hot room, a very thorough scrub and soaping, and an optional massage. If you choose the self-service option, you’re just buying access to the facilities.

Arriving at the Hamam: Choose your service and pay when you enter. You will be given a pair of sandals and a large piece of thin fabric. Inside, always wear this fabric called peștemal. The dressing room will have a place to put your belongings, usually with a lock. After changing your clothes, you’ll be directed to a warm area to relax and then into a hot area. Minimum 20 minutes needed to prepare and sweat.

Rules and Etiquette: Hamams are social places, where clothes are taken off in public. Large hamams have a men’s section and a women’s section. Smaller hamams have certain times only for men and other times only for women. Mostly, men work for men, women for women.

Men: Remove all your clothes, including underwear. Wrap the peștemal around your waist and wear it until the end. Never take off the peştemal in the hamam.

Women: Remove your clothes, including your bra. Removing underwear is optional. Most women wear their underwear or a bikini bottom. Wrap your torso (from breast to legs) in the peștemal.

The Hamam Service: On a marble platform heated from underneath, called gӧbektașı, the body scrub takes place. Using the abrasive kese, the masseur will, literally, sandpaper your body, from neck to toes, sparing privates. Assuming that the grey sludge coming off your skin is dirt, you’ll be shocked realizing it is mostly your own dead skin. Next comes the turkish wash with a special soaping technique. While holding a pillowcase balloon over you, filled with soapy cream, the masseur will squeeze out all the air, and deposit a whipped cream froth of bubbles all over your body. The masseur will then vigorously wash you with these olive oil soap suds, giving you a massage at the same time. Finally, you’ll be rinsed with bowls of hot and warm water and, if you’re not getting a massage, icy cold water.

The Massage: The massage is optional. It involves Swedish-like deep pressure as well as some Thai-like stretching and bending of your limbs. It’s not a relaxing massage, but you will feel great when it’s done.

Couples Hamams: Separate from women-only and men-only times, couples can experience the hamam together. The masseur will usually be male. Under no circumstance should a woman remove her peștemal if the masseur is male. During a couple’s hamam, a woman will receive less scrubbing and a less dramatic massage than in a women-only facility. The back and belly won’t be scrubbed since the peștemal needs to be kept in place for modesty.

The Recovery: After the massage you can rest in another part of the hamam and can stay as long as you want. When you’re ready you may go directly to the showers. Many hamams have a dry area with lounging beds to relax in, where tea or juice may be served. Your masseur may appear looking for a tip. It’s wise to have cash ready to tip 10% to 20%. Don’t plan on doing anything after the hamam. You will be woozy and exhausted. Go to your hotel room for a good sleep.

PRINCE ISLAND TOUR

RELAXATION, SERENITY AND AMBIANCE

Princes’ Islands

Or just Adalar, an archipelago of nine rather small islands in the Sea of Marmara. Evolving from a place of exile for the imperial family and disgraced aristocrats during Byzantine era to the favorite weekend destination of the Ottoman aristocracy, today it has become a popular destination for tourists and Istanbulites, to escape the hectic city life, a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.

Only four islands are open to public: Büyükada, the biggest and most popular, BurgazadaHeybeliada and Kınalıada. If it’s worth sacrificing a day of your short stay in Istanbul is completely based on personal preferences and expectations.

The main feature of any of the Princes’ Islands is the sound of … silence. All motorized private vehicles are banned, making the islands an oasis of peace and quiet. The only sounds you’ll hear are bicycle bells. As the main transportation means on the islands, the typical sounds of horse hoofs cannot be heard anymore, since the horse drawn carriages were replaced by electric driven buggies in 2020.

But that’s not the only feature that makes the Princes’ Islands unique. You’ll find yourself walking through narrow streets flanked by either untouched pine-forests or fine, wooden Victorian-style cottages, and their well maintained courtyards and gardens.

During summer, we recommend you to get there on weekdays rather than weekends, because they are invaded by the townspeople and the tourists. The islands are accessible by ferry from many districts of Istanbul from the European and Asian side.

Find the schedules of the boats by clicking here.

SUFI DERVISH SHOW € 25.-

MYSTIC & HUMANISTIC APPROACH OF ISLAM

SUFI DERVISHES

Founded by Jalâluddîn Rumi (1207-1273) and performed by Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order, the Sema ceremony is a spiritual journey to “perfection”, abandoning one’s ego or personal desires, focusing on god. The mystical dance of the dervishes and the music accompanying it is of exquisite beauty and has been declared a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity.

A whirling dervish is in a form of meditation-worship to end in an “ecstatic trance”. His hat and white shirt represent the tombstone and the shroud, and removing the black cloak, one is reborn to the truth of worldly temporariness and Divine love. Holding his arms crosswise represents #1, god’s unity. While whirling, the right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive god’s beneficence; his left hand is turned toward the earth, conveying god’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the ceremony.

The Sufi fraternities follow islamic expression of life, to further one’s “nourishment of the soul”, actually synonymous with “understanding” the cosmos and “attaining higher knowledge”, thus recognizing the Revelation. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love”.

In 1925, all sects and convents were dissolved by decree. In 1954, the Turkish government granted the Mevlevi Order a special permission to perform ritual whirling practices for tourists. Today, in order to distinguish the ceremony of whirling dervishes from a touristic attraction, one has to watch it not only with eyes, but with the soul and spirit. While only men have historically been permitted to take part in the ceremony, some communities now allow women to participate.

Photography and children under 6 years of age are not allowed.

Question & Answer

Why join our tours ?

We are time and cost efficient, thus you make most of your vacation. You can even combine 2 tours together, not only see more places in one day, you save a day to plan otherwise. You spare also one days hotel cost and expenditure.

What to take care of ?

We plan our route most efficiently, evading traffic whenever possible. Everyone who is able to walk normal walking speed, which is 3 km/h, can do it. Elder/handicapped people might need somebody to help them to keep up with the walking pace.

What about children ?

Children under 5 years are free and don’t have a seat in the coach. 6-7 years pay half price and have a personal seat. 8 years and above pay full price. Attention: Young children may get bored in the tours, due to high historic content. Flights: only 0-2 age is free, without a seat.

What can we eat?

You can eat good food all over Turkey.

What are the conditions of the tours ?

Please read the general terms and conditions at the bottom of the page.

ABOUT US

AHMET

Managing Partner & Guide

ÖZLEM

Managing Partner

GÖZDE

Route Advisor

GIZEM

Marketing English

DENNIS

Marketing German

AHMET

Marketing Spanish

SALI

Marketing Russian

ALL OF ISTANBUL  is a Tourism Company that runs the Travel Agency  aha!tour

 In Turkey “aha!” mean “here it is, you can see itin the rest of the world, a surprisingly pleasant understanding of things”.

Our Travel Agency is based in Istanbul. We organise all tours ourselves. Istanbul tours are our main business, we also plan and organise longer tours all over Turkey.

We are proud of so many years of personal experience and a wonderful job in tourism. With each of us having 30 years experience in tourism, travel, hotelry, adventure and entertainment, we are both around 50 years young, which means, that we have the experience, knowledge and a certain attitude necessary for welcoming guests from all over the world.

In essence, we offer ALL OF ISTANBUL in 1 DAY,  &  ALL OF TURKEY in 3-6 DAYS,

in which You can see the most famous and most visited touristic destinations of Turkey.

We hope that You will have many “aha!” moments in our tours.

ALL OF ISTANBUL in 1 DAY, is operated almost  everyday.

ALL OF TURKEY in 3-6 DAYS, depends on your arrivals.

Please contact us telling us for how long You want to stay here, and let us make You a program for Your days.

info@ahatour.com      info@allofistanbul.com

MICE: Meetings-Incentives-Congresses-Events

ALL OF ISTANBUL – AHATOUR, can be your professional partner for exceptional trips in Turkey. For further information please click the MICE button.

MICE

Meetings-Incentives-Congresses-Events

ALL OF ISTANBUL – aha!tourcan be your professional partner for exceptional trips in Turkey.

A trip with high content and culture? An experience with an adventurous fun factor, or traveling in luxurious style?

Small or big traveller groups, you can count on us to provide outstanding experiences for your clients.

What is your objective? Who is going on the trip? We are very curious and we want to know our customers through and through. We attach great importance to your input and welcome honest feedback.

We roll out our Turkey map for you and select the destination in line with your wishes, company philosophy and budget. For your groups aha!tour won’t propose standard packages from travel brochures or from the internet. We will mould a journey around our clients’ needs and desires. Our target effects.

Unforgettable “aha!” moments and an overall impression of “wow!”.

Our mission: Experience. Authenticity. Discovery. Ecology. These are the fundamental values held dear by me as owner and general manager of ALL OF ISTANBUL – AHATOUR.

“I was fifteen when we were asked at school to draw a picture showing our future profession. I drew myself as a guide showing the Blue Mosque to a group of tourists. I knew then: I want to work in tourism.” Ahmet Hennan AKDOGAN

Also we think it’s fantastic to link your trip to a social project, so that your guests can really taste, live and experience a difference, with locals, communities, schools, children.

We also have a soft spot for ecological goals. We watch our carbon footprints, because the world is fantastic, and we want to keep it that way. We believe in sustainability 100%. With hands on hearts, we also promise that we never pursue these values at the expense of our personal service to our clients.

Why choose AHATOUR?

We are available 24/7 and arrange everything: before, during and after.

We have personal contact with all hotels, guides and drivers

We test and inspect everything in advance

We want to be the best, not the lowest cost travel planner

Customer loyalty, pleasure and experience are our priorities

Over 30 years’ personal experience, domestically and abroad.

We hold the reins tightly in our hands behind the scene.

We will not show the stressful moments to our clients. Though at the front all seems to happen easily on its own, we ensure that the logistics of your tour run like a train from A to Z, meanwhile keeping a broad smile on our face.

Our tailor-made dream trips and small nuances will leave a deep impression that will endure for years after you return home.

We plan your trip from arriving at Istanbul Airport until your departure. We accompany you on the journey from start to finish.

Can we be your trusted partner ?

We make a transparent price offer without any unpleasant surprises.

We make all the contacts and put everyone on the same line. Hotels, timely briefings, appropriate rewards.

For more than 30 years we know our local partners and suppliers, who in return know us. Our excellent relationships with partners are based on our transparent approach, mutual respect and fair remuneration.

On the day itself we are the first ones on the scene, with a detailed scenario for every link of the tour. We personally ensure that your guests lack for nothing, so that your only job is to enjoy the trip.

Conditions and General Information on Group Tours

The tours are conducted in a way that we make the most of the day. It starts at the Hippodrome/Egyptian Obelisk at 8:15 am. and ends in the afternoon in the old city.

Our group tours include all entrance fees of museums and palaces, Professional Tourist Guide, and all kinds of transportation, depending on group size, daily traffic conditions etc. To sum it up: Professional Tourist Guide
Includes all Entrance Tickets of the itinerary with Prepaid tickets, no waiting in ticket lines
Transportation depending on size and trafficwith which we evade traffic whenever possible
No loss of tour time due to long pick-up/drop-offs

Attention 1:  aha!tour reserves the right to modify the order of the places to be visited.

Attention 2: You have to keep up normal walking speed of 3 km/h. In the old city walking only. Handicapped or elder people might need help to keep up with the pace.

Attention 3: Due to historic content young children may get bored. Ages 0-5 free, ages 6-7 %50. (Children discount only with a valid lD card or passport). +8 years pay full price.

Attention 4: Mondays Beylerbeyi Palace is closed. Tuesdays Topkapi Palace is closed. These will be replaced by the Underground Basilica Cistern.

Mondays in winter season Hagia Sophia is closed and will be replaced by the Chora Museum.

Attention 5: There will be no refund for any unused portion of the tour, due to getting lost, not able to follow the tour group, for not being on time, or other personal reasons of the client.

Attention 6: Cancellation possible minimum 24 hours before the tour. Tours including flights, no reimbursement, no return of money paid.

Attention 7: Participants are liable to follow instructions of the captain on board of the boat.

Attention 8: There is no lunch. We recommend a good breakfast.

Attention 9:  aha!tour Disclaims any responsibility for the loss or theft of personal items or luggage during the tour. No guarantee given to get the items back.

Attention 10: No smoking in closed areas, vehicles, boat, museums. Smoking possible only in open air, outside boat or vehicles.

Attention 11: aha!tour has no liability, and shall not pay any indemnity or reimbursement in the event that part of the tour could not be visited by reasons beyond our control.

aha!tour may postpone or cancel the tour due to unforeseen circumstances/force majeur, without prior notice.

Final Attention : Everybody booking a tour of  aha!tour accepts all above terms and conditions.

Istanbul Commercial Justice Courts responsible for any discrepancies between two sides, the provider of tour services  aha!tour and the client/tourist.