A Taste of Life Ashore

Creative Culinary and Contemporary Lifestyle Shore Excursions in Europe for Discriminating Cruise Ship Guests

TURKEY

Created in Turkey by

Nurdan’s United Travel Service (UTS) has been welcoming the most discerning travelers to Turkey for over 45 years.   Consummate professionalism, personalized service and a passion for sharing the rich history and cultural mosaic of  modern Turkey has earned this family-run business the honor of Best Virtuoso On-Site Award 

ISTANBUL: An Insider’s Exploration of Neighborhoods and Local Markets – 2 nights Pre-Cruise

DAY 1

On arrival, skip the lines through custom and immigration with A Taste of Life’s VIP service.  An airport representative will meet you at the gate of the plane (with a sign noting your last name) and will assist you with obtaining your visa (the cost is approximately $20 USD per person and must be paid in cash) and passport formalities and escort you through the customs.

As you exit customs and immigration you are met by your English-speaking guide and privately transferred your hotel (booked directly).  At the crossroads of civilization, Istanbul is a rich and vibrant city embodying the charm and mystique of the Orient with modern conveniences of the west.   During your visit, experience contemporary living in this booming metropolis coexisting with the monumental heritage of what was once Byzantium and Constantinople.

Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure to relax after your international flight, indulge in the amenities offered by your hotel or being exploring the city on your own.

DAY 2

Meet your English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel at 7:30 a.m. to transfer to Kale Café where you will have a delicious Turkish breakfast, in quintessential Istanbul fashion!

Kale Cafe is a charming spot with stunning views of the Bosphorus however the one-of-a-kind Turkish breakfast make it a ‘must’ for locals on the weekends.  The café’s fresh baked bread puts the top patisseries of Istanbul to shame.

After breakfast, visit the hip and trendy Istinye Park neighborhood and stroll through its bazaar.    Styled after a traditional Turkish bazaar, Istinye Park is home to a great butcher, a ‘green’ grocer, a charcuterie, a bakery, a liquor store and a fish shop – all fresh and delicious.  Enjoy a Turkish coffee before exploring the various offerings of Turkish olive oils, organic foods, and original handicrafts.

Next explore the Pera district, the present-day heart of Istanbul where the city’s cosmopolitan energy is concentrated. Experience the multi-cultural life of this metropolitan capital, appreciate the beautiful neo-classical, neo-renaissance and first-republic architecture, and enjoy views of the city from atop the ancient Galata Tower.

Continue on to “Çiçek Pasajı” (Flower Market), a food ‘temple’ offering the finest quality of groceries including a selection of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, European and Turkish charcuteries, and local seafood from the Black and Marmara Seas, regional delicacies such as “Kokoreç” and an exquisite array of flowers.

Enjoy a short promenade on the pedestrian “İstiklal Avenue” to Istanbul’s official ‘first’ restaurant, Haci Abdullah for lunch.  Sample the best examples of Turkish cuisine including to “die for” fruit compotes and desserts made in strict accordance with the owner’s grandmother’s recipes.

After lunch, visit the Nisantasi district, boasting elegant boutiques and cafes and reflecting another one of the city’s many identities.

Late this afternoon board a private boat for a ride on the Bosphorus River.  Cruise the romantic Bosphorus, taking in the majestic skyline of the city straddling the European and Asian continents.  Enjoy a fascinating ‘peek’ of the homes of the 15th century Rumelihisarı Fortress, the Summer Palaces of Lady Ottoman Sultans, and the historical Wooden Houses (Yalis) of famous Turkish families, alongside plebeian fishing villages.

Disembark at a local fishing village and take in the sites on a leisurely drive along the famous Bosphorus Avenue.  Transfer back to your hotel late this afternoon.

DAY 3                                           

Begin your tour today by traveling from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side to visit Kanlica Village to sample Turkey’s famous yogurt and apple tea in a local café along the Bosphorus.   Take in the sites with a drive down the famous Bagdad Street.

Enjoy lunch (on a direct payment basis) at Ciya Restaurant. This quaint little restaurant is famous for its selection of regional specialties from all parts of Anatolia.

Return to the European continent to explore the Spice Market.  This market was originally devoted to spices and herbs, but now sells a great variety of goods celebrating the cultural mosaic of Istanbul.  Turkish Delights, herbal teas and saffron are amongst the treasures available here.

This afternoon you are transferred to the pier to embark on your cruise.

Price per person:  876 USD (based on 2 people traveling together)

YOUR TOUR OF TURKEY INCLUDES:

  • Airport & pier transfers
  • Services of an English speaking guide during the transfers & tours.
  • Services of a chauffeur driven a/c deluxe vehicle throughout the program
  • Lunches during the tours (as noted)
  • Bottled water provided throughout the tour
  • VAT

ISTANBUL: Celebrate Turkey’s Culinary Delicacies, 3 nights Pre- Cruise

DAY 1

On arrival, skip the lines through custom and immigration with A Taste of Life’s VIP service.  An airport representative will meet you at the gate of the plane (with a sign noting your last name) and will assist you with obtaining your visa (the cost is approximately $20 USD per person and must be paid in cash) and passport formalities and escort you through the customs.

As you pass through customs and immigration you are met by your English-speaking guide and transferred to your hotel (booked directly).  At the crossroads of civilization, Istanbul is a rich and vibrant city embodying the charm and mystic of the Orient with modern conveniences of the west.   During your visit, experience modern living in this booming metropolis, coexisting with the monumental heritage of what was once Byzantium and Constantinople.

Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure to relax after your international flight, indulge in the amenities offered by your hotel or being exploring the city on your own.

DAY 2

Meet you guide in the lobby of your hotel at 7:30 a.m. to transfer to Kale Café where you will have a delicious Turkish breakfast, in quintessential Istanbul fashion!

Kale Cafe is a charming spot with stunning views of the Bosphorus however the one-of-a-kind Turkish breakfast make it a ‘must’ for locals on the weekends. The café’s fresh baked bread puts the top patisseries of Istanbul to shame.

After breakfast, visit the hip and trendy Istinye Park neighborhood and stroll through its bazaar.    Styled after a traditional Turkish bazaar, Istinye Park is home to a great butcher, a ‘green’ grocer, a charcuterie, a bakery, a liquor store and a fish shop – all fresh and delicious.  Enjoy a Turkish coffee before exploring the various offerings of Turkish olive oils, organic foods, and original handicrafts.

Next explore the Pera district, the present-day heart of Istanbul where the city’s cosmopolitan energy is concentrated. Experience the multi-cultural life of this metropolitan capital, appreciate the beautiful neo-classical, neo-renaissance and first-republic architecture, and enjoy views of the city from atop the ancient Galata Tower.

Continue on to “Çiçek Pasajı” (Flower Market), a food ‘temple’ offering the finest quality of groceries including a selection of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, European and Turkish charcuteries, and local seafood from the Black and Marmara Seas, regional delicacies such as “Kokoreç” and an exquisite array of flowers.

Enjoy a short promenade on the pedestrian “İstiklal Avenue” to Istanbul’s official ‘first’ restaurant, Haci Abdullah for lunch.  Sample the best examples of Turkish cuisine including to “die for” fruit compotes and desserts made in strict accordance with the owner’s grandmother’s recipes.

After lunch, visit the Nisantasi district, boasting elegant boutiques and cafes and reflecting another one of the city’s many identities.

Late this afternoon board a private boat for a ride on the Bosphorus River.  Cruise the romantic Bosphorus, taking in the majestic skyline of the city straddling the European and Asian continents.  Enjoy a fascinating ‘peek’ of the homes of the 15th century Rumelihisarı Fortress, the Summer Palaces of Lady Ottoman Sultans, and the historical Wooden Houses (Yalis) of famous Turkish families, alongside plebeian fishing villages.

Disembark at a local fishing village and take in the sites on a leisurely drive along the famous Bosphorus Avenue.  Transfer back to your hotel late this afternoon.

DAY 3             

This morning enjoy a private cooking class at the Culinary Institute lead by a professional, Michelin-decorated chef.  After the hands-on class, enjoy the fruits of your labor and receive a Culinary Institute Certificate, the recipes you have learned to cook as souvenirs to remember this fun and practical cooking experience.

Enjoy your afternoon at your leisure to indulge in the amenities offered by the hotel or to continue exploring the sites of Istanbul on your own.

DAY 4                             

Begin your tour today by traveling from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side to visit Kanlica Village to sample Turkey’s famous yogurt and apple tea in a local café along the Bosphorus.   Take in the sites with a drive down the famous Bagdad Street.

Enjoy lunch (on a direct payment basis) at Ciya Restaurant, famous for its selection of regional specialties from all parts of Anatolia. Return to the European continent to explore the Spice Market.  This market was originally devoted to spices and herbs, but now sells a great variety of goods celebrating the cultural mosaic of Istanbul.  Turkish Delights, herbal teas and saffron are amongst the treasures available here.

This afternoon you are transferred to the pier to embark on your cruise.

Price per person:  1,359 USD (based on 2 people traveling together)

YOUR TOUR OF TURKEY INCLUDES:

  • Airport & pier transfers
  • Services of an English speaking guide during the transfers & tours.
  • Services of a chauffeur driven a/c deluxe vehicle throughout the program
  • Lunches during the tours (as noted)
  • Bottled water provided throughout the tour
  • VAT 

ISTANBUL:  Our Exclusive Real Life Tour, a private shore excursion

Meet your local English speaking guide at 9 a.m. on the pier (he/she will be holding a sign with your name) to set off by private vehicle on your exploration of this vibrant and energetic city.

Begin with a visit the hip and trendy Istinye Park neighborhood and stroll through its bazaar.  Styled after a traditional Turkish bazaar, Istinye Park is home to a great butcher, a ‘green’ grocer, a charcuterie, a bakery, a liquor store and a fish shop – all fresh and delicious.  Enjoy a Turkish coffee before exploring the various offerings of Turkish olive oils, organic foods, and original handicrafts.

Next explore the Pera district, the present-day heart of Istanbul where the city’s cosmopolitan energy is concentrated. Experience the multi-cultural life of this metropolitan capital, appreciate the beautiful neo-classical, neo-renaissance and first-republic architecture, and enjoy views of the city from atop the ancient Galata Tower.

Continue on to “Çiçek Pasajı” (Flower Market), a food ‘temple’ offering the finest quality of groceries including a selection of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, European and Turkish charcuteries, and local seafood from the Black and Marmara Seas, regional delicacies such as “Kokoreç” and an exquisite array of flowers.

Enjoy a short promenade on the pedestrian “İstiklal Avenue” to Istanbul’s official ‘first’ restaurant, Haci Abdullah for lunch.  Sample the best examples of Turkish cuisine including to “die for” fruit compotes and desserts made in strict accordance with the owner’s grandmother’s recipes.

After lunch, visit the Nisantasi district, boasting elegant boutiques and cafes and reflecting another one of the city’s many identities.

Late this afternoon board a private boat for a ride on the Bosphorus River.  Cruise the romantic Bosphorus, taking in the majestic skyline of the city straddling the European and Asian continents.  Enjoy a fascinating ‘peek’ of the homes of the 15th century Rumelihisarı Fortress, the Summer Palaces of Lady Ottoman Sultans, and the historical Wooden Houses (Yalis) of famous Turkish families, alongside plebeian fishing villages.

Disembark at a local fishing village and take in the sites on a leisurely drive along the famous Bosphorus Avenue.  Transfer back to your cruise ship by 4:00 p.m.

Price per person:  $324 USD (based on 2 people traveling together)

YOUR TOUR OF TURKEY INCLUDES:

  • Transfer to/from the pier
  • Services of an English speaking guide during the transfers & tours.
  • Services of a chauffeur driven a/c deluxe vehicle throughout the program
  • Lunches during the tours (as noted)
  • Bottled water provided throughout the tour
  • VAT

KUSADASI: Discovering  Turkey’s  Villages and Countryside, a private shore excursion 

Meet your local English speaking guide at 9 a.m. on the pier (he/she will be holding a sign with your name) to begin your tour by private vehicle.

Journey into Turkey’s hinterland for a provincial look at the olive groves, cotton fields and apricot orchards.  Visit the ancient town of Tyre (now spelled Tire) for a glimpse into Turkey’s historic past.  Stop at several mosques surrounding the central market which dates back to the pre and early Ottoman eras. Built as centers of ‘Ahi’ organizations, or guilds where artisans and shopkeepers gained their apprenticeship and would be indoctrinated into the high morals of ‘right conduct’ in business.  These centers of activity are still full of life today.  Tire is famous for its grilled meatballs, a Turkish specialty called “kofte”.

Continue further inland (approximately 30 minutes) to the village of Birghi, once an important centre of learning, the village continues to live in its medieval character.  Celebrated for its classic Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, Birghi is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit a restored 18th century country home, reminiscent of the wooden yalis along the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Alternatively, explore the beautiful village of Sirince, 5 miles east of Ephesus. This village has been beautifully preserved and is protected by law. Until the exchange of populations following the Turkish Independence War (Turco-Greek War of 1922), the village comprised of both Turks and Greeks.  Sitting overlooking the gorge, enjoy the sight of endless olive groves in the direction of the Aegean Sea.

Stop in Kusadasi to shop at the local market before returning to the pier.

Price per person:  $320 USD (based on 2 people traveling together)

YOUR TOUR OF TURKEY INCLUDES:

  • Transfer to/from the pier
  • Services of an English speaking guide during the transfers & tours.
  • Services of a chauffeur driven a/c deluxe vehicle throughout the program
  • Lunches during the tours (as noted)
  • Bottled water provided throughout the tour
  • VAT

ISTANBUL: Explore Neighborhoods and Discover Markets, 2 nights Post-Cruise

DAY 1

Meet your local English speaking guide at 9 a.m. on the pier (he/she will be holding a sign with your name) to set off by private vehicle on your exploration of this vibrant and energetic city.

After dropping your luggage off at the hotel (booked directly), you will visit the hip and trendy Istinye Park neighborhood and stroll through its bazaar.  Styled after a traditional Turkish bazaar, Istinye Park is home to a great butcher, a ‘green’ grocer, a charcuterie, a bakery, a liquor store and a fish shop – all fresh and delicious.  Enjoy a Turkish coffee before exploring the various offerings of Turkish olive oils, organic foods, and original handicrafts

Next explore the Pera district, the present-day heart of Istanbul where the city’s cosmopolitan energy is concentrated. Experience the multi-cultural life of this metropolitan capital, appreciate the beautiful neo-classical, neo-renaissance and first-republic architecture, and enjoy views of the city from atop the ancient Galata Tower.

Continue on to “Çiçek Pasajı” (Flower Market), a food ‘temple’ offering the finest quality of groceries including a selection of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, European and Turkish charcuteries, and local seafood from the Black and Marmara Seas, regional delicacies such as “Kokoreç” and an exquisite array of flowers.

Enjoy a short promenade on the pedestrian “İstiklal Avenue” to Istanbul’s official ‘first’ restaurant, Haci Abdullah for lunch.  Sample the best examples of Turkish cuisine including to “die for” fruit compotes and desserts made in strict accordance with the owner’s grandmother’s recipes.

After lunch, visit the Nisantasi district, boasting elegant boutiques and cafes and reflecting another one of the city’s many identities.

Late this afternoon board a private boat for a ride on the Bosphorus River.  Cruise the romantic Bosphorus, taking in the majestic skyline of the city straddling the European and Asian continents.  Enjoy a fascinating ‘peek’ of the homes of the 15th century Rumelihisarı Fortress, the Summer Palaces of Lady Ottoman Sultans, and the historical Wooden Houses (Yalis) of famous Turkish families, alongside plebeian fishing villages.

Disembark at a local fishing village and take in the sites on a leisurely drive along the famous Bosphorus Avenue.  Transfer back to your hotel late this afternoon.

DAY 2

Meet your English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel at 7:30 a.m. to transfer to Kale Café where you will have a delicious Turkish breakfast, in classic Istanbul fashion!

Kale Cafe is a charming spot with stunning views of the Bosphorus however the one-of-a-kind Turkish breakfast make it a ‘must’ for locals on the weekends.  The café’s fresh baked bread puts the top patisseries of Istanbul to shame.

Begin your tour today by traveling from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side to visit Kanlica Village to sample Turkey’s famous yogurt and apple tea in a local café along the Bosphorus.   Take in the sites with a drive down the famous Bagdad Street.

Enjoy lunch (on a direct payment basis) at Ciya Restaurant, famous for its selection of regional specialties from all parts of Anatolia.

Return to the European continent to explore the Spice Market.  This market was originally devoted to spices and herbs, but now sells a great variety of goods celebrating the cultural mosaic of Istanbul.  Turkish Delights, herbal teas and saffron are amongst the treasures available here.

This afternoon you are transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure to indulge in the amenities offered by your hotel or to continue exploring Istanbul on your own.

DAY 3 

Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel for your private escorted transfer to the airport to begin your journey home or onward to your next destination.

Price per person:  $876 USD (based on 2 people traveling together)

YOUR TOUR OF TURKEY INCLUDES:

  • Airport & pier transfers
  • Services of an English speaking guide during the transfers & tours.
  • Services of a chauffeur driven a/c deluxe vehicle throughout the program
  • Lunches during the tours (as noted)
  • Bottled water provided throughout the tour
  • VAT

ISTANBUL: Celebrate Turkey’s Culinary Delicacies, 3 nights Post-Cruise 

Day 1

Meet your local English speaking guide at 9 a.m. on the pier (he/she will be holding a sign with your name) to set off on your private tour.

After dropping your luggage off at the hotel (booked directly), begin your exploration of Istanbul with a visit the hip and trendy Istinye Park neighborhood and stroll through its bazaar.  Styled after a traditional Turkish bazaar, Istinye Park is home to a great butcher, a ‘green’ grocer, a charcuterie, a bakery, a liquor store and a fish shop – all fresh and delicious.  Enjoy a Turkish coffee before exploring the various offerings of Turkish olive oils, organic foods, and original handicrafts.

Next explore the Pera district, the present-day heart of Istanbul where the city’s cosmopolitan energy is concentrated. Experience the multi-cultural life of this metropolitan capital, appreciate the beautiful neo-classical, neo-renaissance and first-republic architecture, and enjoy views of the city from atop the ancient Galata Tower.

Continue on to “Çiçek Pasajı” (Flower Market), a food ‘temple’ offering the finest quality of groceries including a selection of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, European and Turkish charcuteries, and local seafood from the Black and Marmara Seas, regional delicacies such as “Kokoreç” and an exquisite array of flowers.

Enjoy a short promenade on the pedestrian “İstiklal Avenue” to Istanbul’s official ‘first’ restaurant, Haci Abdullah for lunch.  Sample the best examples of Turkish cuisine including to “die for” fruit compotes and desserts made in strict accordance with the owner’s grandmother’s recipes.

After lunch, visit the Nisantasi district, boasting elegant boutiques and cafes and reflecting another one of the city’s many identities.

Late this afternoon board a private boat for a ride on the Bosphorus River.  Cruise the romantic Bosphorus, taking in the majestic skyline of the city straddling the European and Asian continents.  Enjoy a fascinating ‘peek’ of the homes of the 15th century Rumelihisarı Fortress, the Summer Palaces of Lady Ottoman Sultans, and the historical Wooden Houses (Yalis) of famous Turkish families, alongside plebeian fishing villages.

Disembark at a local fishing village and take in the sites on a leisurely drive along the famous Bosphorus Avenue.  Transfer back to your hotel late this afternoon.

DAY 2

Meet your English-speaking guide in the lobby of your hotel at 7:30 a.m. to transfer to Kale Café where you will have a delicious Turkish breakfast, in quintessential Istanbul fashion!

Kale Cafe is a charming spot with stunning views of the Bosphorus however the one-of-a-kind Turkish breakfast make it a ‘must’ for locals on the weekends.  The café’s fresh baked bread puts the top patisseries of Istanbul to shame.

Begin your tour today by traveling from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side to visit Kanlica Village to sample Turkey’s famous yogurt and apple tea in a local café along the Bosphorus.   Take in the sites with a drive down the famous Bagdad Street.

Enjoy lunch (on a direct payment basis) at Ciya Restaurant, famous for its selection of regional specialties from all parts of Anatolia.

Return to the European continent to explore the Spice Market.  This market was originally devoted to spices and herbs, but now sells a great variety of goods celebrating the cultural mosaic of Istanbul.  Turkish Delights, herbal teas and saffron are amongst the treasures available here.

This afternoon you are transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure to indulge in the amenities offered by your hotel or to continue exploring Istanbul on your own.

DAY 3             

This morning enjoy a private cooking class at the Culinary Institute lead by a professional, Michelin-decorated chef.  After the hands-on class, enjoy the fruits of your labor and receive a Culinary Institute Certificate, the recipes you have learned to cook as well as the institutes iconic ‘bones and aprons’ souvenir to remember this fun and practical cooking experience.

Enjoy your afternoon at your leisure to indulge in the amenities offered by the hotel or to continue exploring the sites of Istanbul on your own.

DAY 4

Meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel for your private escorted transfer to the airport to begin your journey home or onward to your next destination.

Price per person:  $1,359 USD (based on 2 people traveling together)

YOUR TOUR OF TURKEY INCLUDES:

  • Airport & pier transfers
  • Services of an English speaking guide during the transfers & tours.
  • Services of a chauffeur driven a/c deluxe vehicle throughout the program
  • Lunches during the tours (as noted)
  • Bottled water provided throughout the tour
  • VAT

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