Operators

Operators

Many old hands book direct with hoteliers, car hire companies, guides and the like in Turkey where the English is generally good. Those who are new to the country or are after inclusive packages prefer dealing with home-based holiday companies.

Recommended villa and hotel packages including flights, transfers, optional car hire and the rest are available from UK-based specialists such as the long-established Cachet Travel. Expect unfailingly good service and knowledgeable local staff. Be aware, however, that the exclusive arrangements these companies have with many of their hotel properties can rather ‘standardise’ the clientele potentially an issue for those after a more exotic mix of holiday guest.

Tailor-made itineraries are widely available, either from UK-based operators, or from local ones such as Cappadocia-based Travelatelier, who are experienced in creating country-wide tours, especially ones that combine Cappadocia with a stay on the coast.  More on villa and holiday operators.

The mix also matters on gulet holidays where an outstanding choice for group or family charters is Sailing Cruises in Comfort (whose particular distinction is that their gulets, unusually enough, actually do some sailing). Gulets have also proved exceptionally suited for archaeological tours run by the likes of Peter Sommer Travels. Peter’s tours, which he often leads himself, get rave reviews for their attention to detail. Peter offers gulet weeks combined with land-based tours.  More on gulet specialists.   I have begun offering my own tours, working with outstanding Turkish guide Yunus Özdemir, both on gulets and land, either set itineraries or private.

Coach-based cultural itineraries, taking in ancient sites and cities deeper into Turkey’s interior, are on offer from companies like Jon Baines Tours and Andante Travels. These tours are usually accompanied by an erudite specialist, often British, to provide lectures and commentary. They tend to attract an older, often retired, clientele. An excellent Istanbul-based operator of cultural tours, with uniquely interesting if expensive itineraries, is Peten TravelsMore on cultural tours.

Activity Holidays are widely available, with a range of guided and self-guided walking programmes from UK-based Inntravel and Walks Worldwide, Middle Earth Travel in Cappadocia, and smaller outfits like Seven Capes in Kaya near Fethiye. There are also multi-activity programmes which include mountain biking, canyoning and sea kayaking, and mountaineering. More on activity holidays.