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Turkey & Greek Island Odyssey

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You're about to be THAT person. The one driving the rest of the world insane with jealousy. Lulling about the mystical thermal pools of Pamukkale, sipping sunset cocktails in Santorini & loading up on silver antiques in Istanbul. With 15 spots visited on the Turkey / Greece map, you'll know this region inside out. 

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  • Friday 19th May
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  • Friday 23rd June
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TURKEY & GREEK ISLAND ODYSSEY

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WHAT'S INCLUDED
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Team
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ITINERARY
YOU WILL VISIT
Turkey, Greece Turkey, Greece +5 MORE
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APPROX TIME SPENT
approx time spent
1
2
Istanbul
2 days
Gallipoli
Canakkale
1 day
Troy
Pergamum
Izmir
1 day
Pamukkale
1 day
Ephesus
Kusadasi
1 day
Patmos
Rhodes
2 days
Crete
Santorini
1 day
1
2
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Turkey & Greek Island Odyssey

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3.7

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7 independent reviews

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  • Crystal
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled July 2014
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 4 Countries

Took me by surprise

Turkey and Greece are both magical places. I was not expecting much from Turkey but was completely blown away by the rich history and culture. The best part of the trip was the tour guide Ahmet. Ahmet has an amazing personality and ensured that we were taken care of at the hotels and in local shops. Since haggling is a major part of Turkish culture, Ahmet set our expectations on price before we shopped. He definitely protected us. Greece was amazing as well but I would advise that you set aside enough money for the excursion. Contrary to Turkey, the Greek islands do not have included excursions. All in all it was a great trip and I recommend it to anyone.

My Contiki was: Amazing-Rich-Fun

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29 July 2014 - 7 August 2014

  • Saf
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled August 2014
  • 28
  • Level 1 Traveller
  • 1 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

Fab experience !

This was my very first contiki trip. I absolutely loved it! You get to experience and explore a little bit of everything in each country. You start in Istanbul - you'll do a lot in the city in two days you're here . I enjoyed going to the spice market, the grand bazaar , blue mosque, Hagia Sofia , Basilica Cistern(i highly recommend this one!) and of course the Turkish bath (trust me my skin has never felt cleaner and softer !). However, if you're a female ,let your tour guide know if you prefer to get washed by women instead of the big belly Turkish men. Either way, it was very relaxing and our group of 44 had a Turkish bath bonding time.I wish I had an extra day in Istanbul to just explore the city and mingle with the locals. 2 days is just not enough to do everything. So i highly recommend getting there a day or two early. Turkey was amazing with its history and friendly people . But, what made the Turkey part of the trip very entertaining and exciting for me was our fabulous and favorite Turkish man aka our tour guide and manager Ahmet. He is full of life with quite a sense of humor. He is very knowledgeable and knows his history. He would tell us interesting facts about the sites. He loves his country and made us all fall in love with it too. The trip wouldn't have been same without Ahmet! He def is a "piece of art" as he likes to call himself. We all fell in love with him and his willingness to show us a good time in Turkey . Very well balanced trip! Greek Island part was nice as well. But it felt like just a few hours on each island wasn't enough ..esp Santorini. I highly recommend this trip !

My Contiki was: Fav. Turkish man Ahmet-Well balanced trip-Amazing sites

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12 August 2014 - 21 August 2014

  • Andrews34
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled July 2014
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

Caution!

I have been a seasoned traveller this being my third Contiki in 4 years, all being absolutely amazing....until "Turkey & Greek Island Odyssey" This tour certainly needs a lot of work. It was the most unorganised and poorly run tour I have been on yet. The local guide in Turkey was extremely rude and took advantage of the guests on the bus by exchanging money at a hiked rate, leaving us in pre organised bars which he obviously was receiving back handers from locals to bring us to, where they charged us extortion prices for drinks then argued the bill after. Then coming to the Greek islands part, the islands were absolutely amazing but the organisation was terrible, that's why you pay to go on a "GUIDED" trusted tour. The tours were in excess of 45 Euros, once we arrived on the island we found that you could take the same tours for 26 Euros. I can appreciate a bit of business and making money but this is why you take these guided, trusted tours to avoid being taken for a ride by locals. I am extremely disappointed and will not be undergoing another Contiki. Feel free to make your own mind up but I'd highly recommend avoiding Turkey and doing a sole Greek island tour.

My Contiki was: Turkey-Greece-Extortion

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29 July 2014 - 7 August 2014

  • Mioso21
  • Booked from Canada
  • Traveled May 2014
  • 22
  • Level 6 Traveller
  • 6 Contikis
  • 15 Countries

Turkey part is awesome, Greece part needs some work

This trip had its highlights and its downfalls! It’s hard to review this particular tour because this is not your typical Contiki experience compared to a tour in Europe for example, and each time your Tour Manager will be a different person than mine, so please keep that in mind with this review. For example, we had two Tour Managers: one for the Turkey part and one for the Greek Island cruise part (3 days). Our group was 90% women, lots of Canadians, Americans, a few Aussies and 2 Kiwi’s. I was travelling solo and found it easy to make new friends and meet some awesome people from around the world. For the Turkey part of this tour we had a freelance tour guide from Turkey, a local, who handled this part of the tour. His name is Ahmet and he was a 46 year old Turkish man. I liked him, I thought he organized the tour well even though at times it was last minute planning it seemed to work out. Ahmet was an expert in the history of Turkey and was passionate about his country, which showed. At times Ahmet re-organized the pre-planned Contiki itinerary, which proved to be to our advantage. He knew the places we were visiting well and suggested to rearrange things to create a better experience for us all. For example one pre-planned day had us getting up super early sightseeing Istanbul and going for a Turkish bath and then sightseeing again right after. Ahmet rearranged the Turkish Bath to another location because he knew after the bath we’d be in a relaxed mood and wouldn’t want to be going on another excursion straight afterwards. He was right, we ended up postponing the bath to another location and the people who did the bath were happy, because as he predicted, after the bath most people wanted to relax and take it easy, which is what we were able to do thanks to Ahmet’s re-arranging. This tour is very fast paced, we cram a lot of sights into the short amount of time we had in Turkey. The days start early, around 7 am each day and end late. If you do a lot or all of the optionals it can get exhausting but you have a great time though so I thought it was worth it. I had a blast in Turkey! The included meals were not very good to be honest, most of them are buffets and significantly lack in flavor, or worse, have been sitting for awhile and are served cold. When we had free time to pick our own places to eat, the food didn’t disappoint (I had THE best chicken curry rice dish in Taksim Square area at this amazing rooftop restaurant overlooking Istanbul!) The sights in Turkey are beautiful. Istanbul is an interesting bustling city where men dominate the streets. At times as a woman I felt uncomfortable in certain areas, especially at night, without a guy as an escort. The population is dominantly Muslim and especially with the way you dress, you could get harassed (I was tisked at verbally a lot). I went on the optional boat cruise in Istanbul which I enjoyed a lot, but beware of the crew selling drinks. We had an incident where they came up with orange juice and made it seem like they were free the way they were handing them out and insisting we take one…until they came back a few minutes later informing us that our small plastic cups of orange juice cost 3 Euro (9 Lira) each and that we needed to pay up now. Yikes!! I’ll just say that there was a lot of pissed off people…The Blue Mosque was pretty, however it held little to no resonance with me so it wasn’t a highlight for me. The Grand Bazaar is pretty cool, worth it to check it out and Taksim Square is the heart of Istanbul, with plenty of adventures to get yourself involved in. The countryside and the coast of Turkey are picturesque. Pamukkale was a highlight for me, along with Anzac cove and Ephesus. The ancient ruins of Troy were a letdown, the reconstruction and site pales in comparison to Ephesus and Ancient Pergamum. Unexpected visits turned out to be good highlights, like a visit to a carpet maker family property and a lamb leather fashion show! After a whirlwind of a time in Turkey, we said goodbye to Ahmet and embarked on our cruise ship to the Greek Islands. My expectations for this cruise were we would see a lot of the islands. In reality you see more of the cruise ship that the islands as you have to be on the ship at night and miss out on the true Greek Island experience. If you really want to experience a Greek Island adventure I recommend after this tour, hop on the Greek island hopping tour which is slow paced and gives you a true visit to the islands. On the cruise you only had a couple of hours sometimes to visit the place. Then there was the Oia fiasco. Santorini is a highlight for most people, unfortunately for our tour we only saw 1 very rushed hour of it when we were promised 4 hours. Most of us paid quite a lot of Euro (55 Euro) to get off the cruise ship, take a boat, then a bus ride to Oia. But because the cruise ship arrived in Santorini an hour late, our excursion was cut down significantly because the ship was still leaving at 8:15 pm. A lot of people on our tour were upset. I wasn’t too gutted as I was getting off the tour in Santorini anyway, what I was really pissed off about was getting to the island and disembarking the cruise ship early. I believe one person on our tour was going to file a formal complaint about her experience. There were four of us from the tour who were disembarking the cruise in Santorini (the best decision we ever made) AND going on the excursion to Oia. 2 other girls were also disembarking the cruise but not going on the excursion. For us four, it was a nightmare experience. Our tour manager Stacey was very unorganized during this time, and the experience for the four who were also going on the tour and disembarking was awful to say the least. Stacey was not very helpful and all of us were super stressed during this process. We were left to check out on our own, standing in hour long line ups on the cruise ship to pay our drinks bill and check out early. What should have happened is Stacey could have gathered us four together and explained as a group or at least notified to the staff what was happening with us as the reception clerk who handled me didn’t know what was going on and was refusing to give me my passport early (I almost missed getting on the tour because of this major miscommunication). All of us four were not pleased with the way this unfolded, the famous question amongst alot of our tour that evening was ‘What is going on?’ And the common answer was ‘I don’t know’. Our tour manager was nowhere to be found to answer people’s questions during this time which led to more confusion and frustration among several people on our tour. I’ve been on other Contiki tours where our tour manager went above and beyond to ensure our holiday was stress free and relaxed, so to experience this was a shock from Contiki. What was really annoying was we completed our evaluations for the tour manager that morning, and this fiasco happened in the evening, leaving no room to write comments on the tour manager’s performance within this situation (hence this long-winded part on this review). The situation had miscommunication problems all over, especially between Louis Cruises and Contiki and definitely has a lot of room to be improved for future tours. All in all I had a great time in Turkey, but not as stellar a time in Greece. Luckily I got off the tour a day early to stay in Santorini so I got to experience my Greek Island adventures sans-Contiki and had a blast. One great thing about this tour? The friends I made from the group. We hung out pre-tour and post-tour for days after, it was great. The friends I’ve made outshone the downfalls of this tour and for that I’m still going to give Contiki another shot.

My Contiki was: --

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13 May 2014 - 22 May 2014

  • Cat_B
  • Booked from Australia
  • Traveled September 2015
  • 26
  • Level 1 Traveller
  • 1 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

Ah-mazing Ahmet, Overrated Odyssey

First up, I LOVED the Turkey component of the tour. Ahmet was a fantastic guide, & it was a beautiful country to see. The activities were great, however some of them weren't so "optional", as due to the remote location of some of the sites, your choices were to either do to activity or sit on the bus. These should be included in the overall price. Accomodation throughout the tour was great & Enver our trusty bus driver did a wonderful job. Cleanest bus in Turkey, I swear it! The major let down was the cruise. Firstly, it is not a Contiki friendly cruise & completely missed our demographic. We were a bunch of 20-somethings on a boat with retirees! They did not appreciate our presence & were actually very rude, which is something everyone on our tour felt. Furthermore, the intinerary is slightly misleading as to exactly how rushed everything is. We literally only got a few hours on each island! Seriously, seeing the sunset at Santorini was AMAZING, but we were literally hearded from one lookout to the next, watched the sunset, then rushed back to the bus to we didn't miss the tender back to the ship. No time to explore or anything. Plus it cost €57! The lack of time allowed for those sorts of activities was really disappointing. The tours off the ship were very overpriced in my opinion. Additionally, the ship itself was average. The decks flooded (I mean almost ankle deep!) every time it rained, I have stayed in hotel rooms bigger than the only pool on board, & the lack of wifi onboard throughout the ship - not just the lounge - meant that our group found it very hard to keep track of one another, particularly since our rooms were spread out across so many floors. I realise there were different types of rooms paid for, but there was no effort made whatsoever to keep us together. Plus we didn't get pizza at our Toga Night - sad face!! On the plus side, the staff were wonderful & polite. Ultimately, should I have the opportunity to explore these 2 countries again, I wouldn't choose this tour, solely because of the experience I had with the cruise. I met some wonderful people on this tour & I wouldn't trade that for the world, & I can guarantee I'll be heading back to Greece in the future!

My Contiki was: --

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15 September 2015 - 24 September 2015

  • Pepito
  • Booked from United States
  • Traveled August 2014
  • 33
  • Level 11 Traveller
  • 11 Contikis
  • 21 Countries

Great experience that will last a lifetime!

Let me explan why I am so exited about this trip. I am what you would call a Contiki veteran (done 9 contiki tours in last 6 years + 2 Haggis adventures + 3 SITA tours + 1 Cosmos). Have plenty of experience in the traveling industry and there is a reason why I keep coming back to Contiki (have another trip with them next month). And this tour surpassed all the expectations I had. Before I start talking about this tour, it is imperative that you know that every Contiki tour has its own personality and the group you travel with can make a huge difference. Now, I won't discuss in detail the places you'll go on this tour because you can find that online, I'm going to focus on the awesome experience and the great things this tour has to offer. Turkey: if you are planning on doing this tour, pray that your tour guide is Ahmet. Turkish guy with a lot of knowledge, great attitude and contagious enthusiasm. By far, one of the best tour guides I've ever had (if not the best). He is extremely funny, very respectful and honest. He was so helpful that I'll be forever grateful. Many people agree that he was one of the highlights of the trip. About Istanbul, unfortunately the tour doesn't spent enough time there, so if you can arrive a day or two early, I highly recommend it. The tour doesn't include the Hagia Sophia nor the Basilica Cistern, although on your time off, Ahmet will offer to get you inside and skip the lines - using his tour guide license he will buy the ticket for you and get you in as a group. Nightlife in Turkey is way better than expected, and Ahmet will guide you safely to the best spots - and bargain the price of the drinks! There is so much to see and do in Turkey that you'll love it. The Ephesus, Pamukkale and Troy optionals that Contiki offer are not really optionals. You either go inside and see it or you stay in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. So add those to the budget (is not very expensive at all). Greece: This part of the tour is very layback, and easy pace. Greek Islands are gorgeous. Although some of the Tours / Optionals are very early in the AM still is easy to deal with. The Optionals offered by Contiki are from the Cruise Company, so you'll be walking around with people from age 1 to 99. On the Island of Mykonos, since the vast majority of the group did the optional we were together in a bus for ourselves. Pretty sure you can find the same tours cheaper. The price is unreal. On this part of the Tour, the group splits and it's harder to stay all together. From all the Contiki tours I've done, this is my favorite one. Highly recommended. Go, live, enjoy and see the world!

My Contiki was: Best tour guide--

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12 August 2014 - 21 August 2014

  • Isaac
  • Booked from New Zealand
  • Traveled June 2013
  • 18
  • Level 2 Traveller
  • 2 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

amazing!!

This trip had to seriously the highlight of my life! Turkey is freaking amazing, has to be one of the most amazing countries on this planet! I met some amazing people on this tour and made some life long friends, this has to be my all time favorite holiday I've ever had, thanks contiki <3

My Contiki was: stunning-friendship-mind blowing

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18 June 2013 - 27 June 2013

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