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Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

Austin, Texas
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18 posts
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Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

Hi all,

My wife and I have booked the Gate 1 Affordable Turkey trip for March, and I'm happy to see there are several good reviews of the tour here. I didn't sign up for any of the optional tours yet, trying to see if we'd be better of booking day trips through a local agency. Specifically, I'd like to hear opinions on the Cappadocia and Ephesus day trips.

Here's what Gate 1 offers:

Ephesus - $75 pp

Ephesus is situated in the fertile Ionian landscape and famous throughout history for its temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world. Ephesus is considered to be the showpiece among all the antique cities of the world. Leave your hotel for Ephesus and first visit the house of Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary accompanied St. John to Ephesus, where she spent her last years living near a grove of olive trees close by to Ephesus. A visit is considered to be a Pilgrimage by the Vatican. You may collect holy water from the sacred spring. Visit the Basilica of St. John who came here and wrote his gospel. Ephesus was undoubtedly, one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. Among its impressive structures you will marvel at the library of Celsus, temple of Hadrian, the theater and the Odeon. Includes lunch at a local restaurant.

I found some local tours (Reliable Travel is highly recommended) for a bit cheaper, but the house of the Virgin Mary was not on that tour.

Cappadocia full day - $69 pp

Depart your hotel for a full day tour in Cappadocia. Visit the Open Air Museum in Goreme Valley to see the early Christian churches decorated with unique frescos depicting various scenes from the Bible. Later, visit the Ozkonak Underground City, an ancient city built on the northern slopes of Mt. Idis. The city has many strata made up of volcanic granite. Its larger areas are connected to each other by tunnels. Ozkonak had a built-in communication system of pipes on each of its levels, unlike Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, which have no such systems. Each carved out room had ventilation provided by holes when the city was closed against enemies. Lastly, visit the village of Avanos that is famous for its beautiful old houses, pottery and onyx.

As with Ephesus, I found several recommended local tours that are a bit cheaper, but they go to some different sites. Most go to either one of the underground cities OR the Goreme Open Air museum, not both as in the Gate 1 trip.

So, any thoughts? Are the more expensive Gate 1 trips worth the added cost, as well as (I assume) the downside of a larger group?

Or are there sites in the Gate 1 trips that it would be OK to miss to gain a smaller, more personalized tour with a local company?

We'll also probably want to do some tours in Istanbul and need to look into local option there as well.

Thanks!

Bryan

Austin, Texas
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18 posts
5 reviews
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1. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

Any feedback from anyone?

Aberdeen, Scotland
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2. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

No need for tours in Istanbul.

One day in Cappadocia? Not enough!

Goreme Open Air Museum & an underground city are highlights. never heard of Ozkonak - might be better/ worse than the other two common ones mentioned.

Certainly would not waste such a short tome in Avanos - pretty enough ordinary town as it's outside the area of amazing rock formations and fairy chimneys. Reason most tours go there is to dump you in an overly expensive pottery shop and demonstration.

Contact Reliable Tour or Turkish Heritage Travel for a private tour. If you clearly state "no shopping stops" these companies can be trusted to stick to that. See Open Air Museum, undergriund city, hike in Rose Valley and stop at Pasabag.

Lisbon, Portugal
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3. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

Özkonak is one of the small underground cities near Avanos, it's a lot smaller than the two mostly visited ones, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are. In my opinion the tour offered is not worth 69 USD. Even if you are in Cappadocia for only one day, you can still see a lot on your own as well. You can visit the open air museum (15+7 TL per person), and then take a bus to Nevsehir and from there to Kaymakli (bus costs about 5 TL per person one way, underground city 15 TL). You can spend the rest of the time walking in one of the valleys, Pigeon, Red or Rose or maybe visiting Uchisar. If balloon flight is not part of your tour, I'd certainly recommend taking it (120-150€ per person).

atlanta
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4. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

I am on this tour leaving NY on March 13. Is this your tour?

I am traveling alone and am interested in any ideas on tours or optional excursions. will look forward to meeting you.

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

Hi rossdavis,

No, we are on a tour that leaves a few days ahead of yours. We decided to book day trips from Reliable Tours for Ephesus and Cappadocia, instead of the optional Gate 1 tours. For Istanbul, we will just explore on our own.

Here's the company website, the owner (Serap) is very helpful with answering questions via email.

http://www.reliabletour.com/

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

I thought all those tours are included? I reviewed their venus and thought about joining October trip to Turkey. Please let us know about your upcoming trip! Have a wonderful trip!!!

Austin, Texas
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18 posts
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7. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

It might depend on which trip you take. We are doing "Affordable Turkey 13 day" which does not include these tours standard. They are optional and cost extra.

The New Forest, UK
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8. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

Do you know which hotel you will be staying at in Cappadocia? If it's in Nevsehir, I'd grab a taxi down to Kaymakli underground city (12 miles away) or Derinkuyu (20 miles) in the morning and then visit Goreme open air museum in the afternoon. If you haggle with the taxi driver, he could take you all around the sights for a reasonable price, rope in a couple of fellow travellers and it becomes a bargain.

9. Re: Opinion on Gate 1 Optional/Add-on Tours

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