We went on this culinary tour during an 8 hour layover in Istanbul. We spent around 5 hours on the tour including transport time which had us back at the airport at just the right time before our flight. We were also able to keep our carryon baggage in the tour car so we didn’t have to carry it around all day.Our guide Osman Özmen brought us to a bunch of delicious local places in the Taksim area, and we got to sample what he promised was local food. It was all excellent! At our request, he even arranged for a Turkish ice cream vendor to play the classic turkish ice cream trick on me (look for videos online).
Osman catered the tour to our request: we’d been to Istanbul before and had seen the major sites, so he still showed us some cool stuff (like the spice market) but kept our short trip focused on new sights and food. He took us to a few local grocery stores and specialty shops to see fresh honey and local cheese, and he took us to a great Turkish Delight shop that also had a beautiful selection of teas and spices. This didn’t feel like a high pressure sales pitch, it was just another selection of foodstuffs to experience on our tour.
Overall it was a great way to spend our layover which we otherwise would’ve spent trying to figure out transportation or cooped up in the airport. We’d highly recommend it, just don’t eat beforehand!
Other than transportation between the airport and the city we spent the whole time walking (or sitting and eating). One of our party had a recent leg injury so our guide catered the walking pace to our needs, which was perfect.
On our tour, we ate:
Adana Kebab (common turkish meat wrap)
Ayran (salty yogurt drink)
Kokoreç (lamb intestines, kind of like a bruschetta)
Midye Dolma (stuffed mussel)
icli köfte (breaded meatball)
Kestane (roasted chestnuts)
Turkish ice cream
Dolma (stuffed vine leaves)
Patlican ezmesi (eggplant dip)
Deniz Börûlcesi (glasswort seaweed salad)
Zeytinyagli kuru domates (sundried tomatoes)
Kadinbudu köfte (meatballs)
Greek salad (spread made of cheese and some sort of green, like spinach)
Fistikli Baklava (typical sweet turkish desert)
Künefe (sweet grilled cheese with honey)
Tūrk kahvesi (coffee)
With only a limited amount of time in the morning before a 2pm flight, we wanted to have a taste of Istanbul before leaving. An Istanbul personalized tour to suit our time. Our guide was very knowledgeable and made extra efforts to tell us about the history we were seeing. His English was very good. Thank you for making our brief visit very memorable.
We are 6 mid-aged women from different countries around the globe. This is our first time to Turkey. With the war in Syria and refugee crisis, we don’t know what to expect. Ertunga Ecir and his wife Maria have done an excellent job to make our trip unforgettable.We spent 9 days in Turkey, stayed at Istanbul, Cappadocia, Kusadasi.
Starting from airport pickup in Istanbul, Maria did a marvelous job managing our group who had 3 separate arrivals stretching from the afternoon to past midnight. The Istanbul tour guide Osman was very professional, and went out his way to show us more of Istanbul than was on the planned itinerary.
Ertunga was our tour guide for Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Aphrodisias. He is very knowledgeable (coming from a history major, no surprise here), considerate, and patient. We had a free day in Kusadasi and followed his suggestion rented the van to nearby national park for a swim and hike. That morning, Ertunga came to the hotel to take us to the local bakery to buy fresh sandwich for lunch. He also told the driver to stop by a family market on the way for us to pick up some fruit. We had such delicious lunch and had wonderful time that day.
I would highly recommend Ertunga and his team to anyone wants to tour Turkey. Our memories of Turkey start with Ertunga and Maria.
Amazing private tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia …Lunch included!Ertunga and Maria (https://ertungaecir.com/) made our first family trip truly memorable. Maria provided prompt responses to all our queries; with over 100 emails exchanged before confirming anything! Thank-you for your patience! Ertunga is highly knowledgeable about the history and has some interesting anecdotes and myths about the regions as an added bonus to make you go hmmmm?!?!
From transfers and hotel check-ins to pick up and drop offs, Ertunga and his team took care of everything. He never gave us a chance to think about the small details as it was all taken care of ahead of time. The mini buses which were equipped with free wifi and transfer vans were all clean and very comfortable. The drivers were careful and professional.
The preset lunches were a blessing and the food and ambience at all of their selected restaurants was amazing.
We had an age range of 11 to 74 to cater for, and they were very accommodating when we had to make adjustments to our program. For our itinerary, we picked one of their preset programs and made changes to suit our needs from the number of days we stayed in one place, the sites we chose to tour, the accommodations we wanted, and we even added and subtracted cities! They gave us great, centrally located hotels to choose from, and also went the extra mile to get us accommodation at places that weren’t on their list, but we wanted.
I wish we had allocated some shopping time for the specialties of each of the regions….sigh!
Some of us enjoyed trekking while others needed door-to-door service…and all were treated with great care, kindness and patience.
Ertunga, thanks for being our personal tour guide from Kusadasi to Ankara and thanks to Osman for showing us Istanbul. We started off as clients and ended up as family friends. Thanks for making our stay in Turkey unforgettable.
Hope to be back soon!
Visited July 2015