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Travel to Turkey: Anyone used Argeus Travel

Travel to Turkey: Anyone used Argeus Travel

Old Feb 6th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Travel to Turkey: Anyone used Argeus Travel

Hi all!

We are in the stages of putting together a Middle East and Turkey trip for 2009 and in my very preliminary planning, I ran across Turkeyplanner.com, a wonderful site recommended here.

The operator of the site seems to promote heavily the Argeus Travel Group. We would be traveling independently to Turkey, but want assistance especially with customized guiding as we are heavy into history.

Please, no one suggest we can see things without a guide; we've traveled this way forever and it increases the enjoyment of all things historical twenty fold.

In any event, I wanted to know if anyone has used them to make arrangements, large or small for Turkey. They offer small group tours, but we are not interested in a group. We want to customize everything.

Just let me know! Thanks a mil...
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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ttt
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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anyone? please?
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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DH and I are independent travelers and we used Argeus Travel in 2006. Our contact was Mehmet and he did a great job for us. You don't say where you are going, but we went to Istanbul (on our own), but wanted guided tours in Cappadocia and in Ephesus. We especially enjoyed our guided daytrip in Cappadocia where we visited an ancient underground city, hiked down into the Ilhara Valley and visited a caravanseri. Our guide's name was Alex and he was wonderful There were 5 people on our day trip in Cappadocia, but in Ephesus, Mehmet arranged a private tour which is in the only way to go in a massive site like Ephesus with historical aspects of over 3,000 years.

I am jealous that you get to go to Turkey. Have a wonderful time!


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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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Hi Tripgirl,
I too, am traveling to Turkey this year and have found that there isn't a great deal of info here regarding Turkey.

If you go to www.virtualtourist.com you'll find that there are a lot of contributors on that site regarding Turkey.

I still love Fodors though
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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steamboatsista,

Thanks for your info.

We'd want all private touring, so I think I'll contact and find out what's what.

Do you know if the agency can deal with very upscale travelers. that is how we travel all the best of the best hotels, etc.

Stormbird, thanks for your info as well!!

appreciated!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 05:52 PM
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I went to Cappadoccia in October on my own. Argeus was highly recommended by 2 of the guidebooks I used as well as my cave hotel. They were able to get me an automatic car (nobody else could), brought it to the hotel, let me change the timing of it with no problem. Also I had booked a tour with them and then called and cancelled when I decided to do it on my own and that was no problem (of course I was keeping their car for that day so maybe that was why). So, while I didn't go on any of their tours I found them easy to work with.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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thanks Susan! nice know they were easy!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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Hi, I think Fantasy Travel out of Greece also specializes in travel in Turkey. It might be worth checking with them. They were exceptional in planning sidetrips throughout Greece for us and I imagine they wouldn't advertise Turkey if they couldn't handle it. Jane
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 07:44 PM
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tripgirl,

We used Anker Travel, based in Kusadisi for most of our flight, hotel arrangements, and private guided tours in Turkey this past summer. Our rep was CEYDA and I would highly recommend her!

Turkeytravelplanner.com is a great website to use for info, but you should also check the forums on Tripadvisor.com. There's a contributor named LEMONLADY who is particularly helpful.

As far as hotels go, if Bodrum is on your itinerary ( we didn't like town that much, but the hotel was amazing!), look into the Marmara Bodrum. It is one of the top hotels in Turkey, perched on top of town with gorgeous views, rooms, spa,pool, and service to match.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:03 PM
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Hi,

When my mom came to visit me, I used Argeus to arrange private guided tours in Cappadoccia and Ephesus. One of the best days we had on the entire trip was the second day in Cappadoccia. Our guide and driver were great and vey flexible. We went to places I never would have gone to on my own. Argeus was also very flexible in arranging our hotel. I would highly recommend them.

Have fun in Turkey! It is a great place.

Patty
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:40 PM
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We used Argeus Travel for a private tour when we cruised the Mediterannean this past summer. They were very prompt and send a brand new van for our group of 10. Our English speaking guide was excellent. I would recommend them highly -- wonderful to work with and reasonably priced.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 06:33 AM
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Hi all, you've all been as usual : GREAT!

I already heard back from Mehmet at Argeus, WOW, that faat,

Enclosed is the proposed itineray which of course I will tweak. Weadles, I will mention the hotel in Bodrum you said. We thought our last few days would be spent in a lux seaside resort.

Here you go, sorry so long. There is no price given yet, not concerned about that, just want to see what you all think.

And yes, we do indeed want guides in Istanbul; I know alot of you like it on your own, but given my DH has SO many questions about history and i like having someone with me in markets, we are comfortable with someone with us all the time. We always travel this way; private and upscale.

Here goes.. Critique, critque!!


Dear Robyn,

Thank you very much for your message.
We can accommodate all of your needs for your trip plan to Turkey in 2009 and we would be pleased to do so.

You did the best thing with starting very early to plan your trip. This will let you have the best guides, minivans and drivers and almost all of the hotels will be available.

Regarding to your request, I have prepared an itinerary for you. Please go through it and let me know if there is anything you want to change:

ITINERARY:
Day 1
Arrive at Istanbul International Airport and meet our driver and guide at the airport for a transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day on your own.
Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 2
Morning visit to the Roman Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races and political riots in Byzantine times and of horse-back riding games and archery contests during the Ottoman era. Then visit the architectural marvel Hagia Sophia , jewel of the Byzantine Empire. For many centuries it was the largest church in the world and today is the fourth largest. Next stop at the monumental Blue Mosque. The fabulous tiles from which it gets its name, gives the entire area a delightful atmosphere. The visit to the Mosque will be followed by a visit to the coolness and serenity of the Underground Cistern which provided water storage for the ancient city. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum to see examples of fine Ottoman calligraphy in gold and intricate miniatures and illuminated manuscripts set in a historic 16th century palace.
Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 3
Morning visit to one of the most attractive of Istanbul’s smaller mosques, the Rustem Pasa Mosque. The tiles, inside and out are among the most profuse in any mosque in Turkey, and mainly of the best quality from the finest period of Iznik tile production. Then head to the Chora Church with its 14th century mosaics and frescoes of almost supernatural beauty. The most important features of the church are the frescoes and mosaics demonstrating the finest Byzantine art forms and parallel, in time, developments in Italian renaissance art. A visit to the Grand Bazaar, the world’s largest covered market. Shops selling the same kind of merchandise congregate in the same area and there are 18 entrances and more than 4000 shops in the entire complex. Our last stop is the Topkapi Palace Museum, lavish home to the Sultans for centuries. Its displays include priceless world-class collection of jewellery, porcelain and costumes of the sultans.
Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 4
The Dolmabahce Palace, overlooking the Bosphorus, is definitely incomparable with 14 tons of pure gold used for its interior decoration, its priceless paintings, furniture, and a rich collection of Bohemian crystal in addition to its famous Harem section. The Suleymaniye Mosque will be the next visit. This mosque complex is Architect Sinan's most splendid work, built at the zenith of the Ottoman Empire. In the work called the Biography of the Construction, architect Sinan recounts the opening of the Mosque, and how the Sultan asked him to be the one to unlock its doors. Suleymaniye is not an ostentatiously decorated building, only a bare amount of tiles decorate its walls. It is said that 4 minarets and the 10 balconies of the Mosque represent Suleyman the Magnificent being the 4th Sultan to reign in Istanbul and the 10th Ottoman Sultan. The Spice Market will be the last visit today. In the past, Genoese and Venetian goods used to be sold at what is the second most famous bazaar after Kapalicarsi (Grand Bazaar). The Misir Carsisi or the Egyptian Market. Western travelers referred to it as the Spice Market because of the spice from Arabia, India and Far East brought here being loaded on to vessels in Egypt (there was no Suez Channel at the time).
Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 5
The Istanbul Archaeology Museum will be the first visit today. This museum is located at the end of a narrow street near the church of Haghia Eirene. It is undoubtedly a vast, and an incomparable collection with relics from different eras. After lunch, we take a leisurely Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu, to the still unspoiled village of Sariyer. This cruise provides a pleasant view of the many of the communities on both sides of the Bosphorus. After the cruise we are transferred to Istanbul Airport for the evening flight to Kayseri. Another transfer from Kayseri Airport to Urgup.
Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 6
Our first real encounter with Cappadocia’s almost Martian landscape is in the Dervent valley, where the rock formations are amazing. A walk through the Zelve Open Air Museum is a journey into the past, with its troglodyte houses. This is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements in Cappadocia. After Zelve we visit Pasabag’s “fairy chimneys”, where the voice of the wind harmonizes with the songs of the fairies. From here we pause at Avanos, a centre of terracotta art since 3,000 BC, for a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. After lunch in Avanos, we visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century. We complete the tour with a visit to the Uchisar Rock-Castle, giving you a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 7
The tour begins with a descent towards the centre of the earth, with a trip to the underground city of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. From here we drive to Ihlara canyon, walking through the canyon via the Steps of Anatolia to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema. Set by the Melendiz River this is known as the “Valley of the Sky”. Churches carved from the rocks form a gallery of early paintings that are remarkable for their accuracy. We lunch in Belisýrma at a local restaurant by the river. On the way to the Caravanserai of Agzikarahan, we visit the beautiful village of Selime. Agzikarahan is a very fine example of the Turkish Seljuk art, built in the early 13th century on the legendary Silk Road, for the accommodation of the traders and their camels.
Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 8
In the morning, we walk for about 5 km in one of the most attractive valleys of Cappadocia: Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations, is in the heart of Cappadocia but away from the tourist crowd. Rock-Cut hermit churches with frescoes and paintings fit with the Valley's meditative atmosphere, remained intact since the beginning. After the end of the hike we drive to Mustafapasa for lunch at an old village house hosted by a local family. After lunch we visit Keslik Monastery and the Medrese in Taskinpasa, a Theological School of the Seljuk Turks. After visiting Soganli Valley, which is one of the earliest settlements in Cappadocia, we drive to Kayseri Airport for the evening flight to Izmir. Another transfer from Izmir Airport to your hotel.
Overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 9
Today we first drive to the Virgin Mary's House; after that we visit Ephesus which was founded in the eleventh century BC by the Ionians. Strolling through the streets of Ephesus, we will witness the perfection of the Greco-Roman Art. Later in the afternoon we will visit St John's Basilica, believed to be the tomb of the Apostle John, Christ's beloved disciple. From the basilica, we will be able to look down on the remains of the temple of Artemis. After this, we drive you to Bodrum. This is a 2,5 hours drive.
Overnight in Bodrum.

Day 10
Full day on your own in Bodrum.
Overnight in Bodrum.

Day 11
Full day on your own in Bodrum.
Overnight in Bodrum.

Day 12
After checking out from the hotel, we transfer you to Bodrum Airport for the flight to Istanbul and back home.

HOTELS:
Here are the hotels I planned to use for this trip:
Please go through the web sites of these hotels and let me know the ones you like more.

- Istanbul:
Four Seasons www.fourseasons.com/istanbul/index.html

- Cappadocia:
Esbelli Evi www.esbelli.com
At this hotel, I would definitely suggest you the "Honeymoon Suite". For more info about this room, please visit http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/g...ayi_suite.html

or

Cappadocia Cave Resorts (CCR) www.ccr-hotels.com/eng/default.aspx
If you prefer this hotel, which room do you like more?

- Kusadasi:
Kismet Hotel www.kismet.com.tr

or

Charisma Hotel www.charismahotel.com

- Bodrum:
Queen Ada Hotel www.queenadahotel.com.tr

or

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay www.kempinski-bodrum.com/en/home/index.htm

MINIVAN WITH DRIVER:
I will arrange 3 minivans/drivers for you. One in Istanbul, one in Cappadocia and one in Ephesus area. Minivans with large windows are always more comfortable than cars. The minivan I will arrange for this tour will be an air-conditioned Mercedes or Volkswagen. We always use luxury and new vehicles.

GUIDING:
I will use one guide for the whole trip. We always use very experienced guides with huge knowledge about their subjects and very good English.

FOOD:
I will include lunches only and they will be all a la carte, so you can just have anything you like. We don't have fixed menu food in our tours. We try to use the best restaurants available in each area.
Dinners will not be included that you will be able to go out and enjoy nice restaurants yourselves. Our guide may recommend you some good options for dinners and our driver will be at your disposal even in the evenings, to take you to these restaurants and back.

As we agree on the itinerary, I will have more suggestions like hot air ballooning in Cappadocia or daily cruise in Bodrum.

I am looking forward to hearing from you about your opinion on this itinerary and details.

I hope this info is helpful.
Should you require any further information or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,
Mehmet Nuri Ozden

ARGEUS TOURISM & TRAVEL
Istiklal Caddesi No:7
50400 Urgup - Nevsehir / Turkey
Tel : +90-384-3414688
Fax : +90-384-3414888
Mobile: +90-533-3090589
www.argeus.com.tr
www.cappadociaexclusive.com
[email protected]





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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 06:36 AM
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Also, do know that we are set on the Four Seasons in Istanbul, but we are open to all of your opinions on the proposed accomodations in the other locations.

Also, yes, weadles, I will ask about the hotel in Bodrum you mentioned.

We like being driven around althhough we've done alot of driving on our own throughout Europe, there are some trips we just prefer to have someone else do the driving.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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I think that Mehmet has put together a good plan for you. You are going to a some cool but little known places in Istanbul like the Rustem Pasa mosque and the Cistern.

In Cappadocia, you should stay at the Esbelli Evi, IMO. That is where we stayed and it was one of the most memorable hotels ever. We stayed in one of the regular rooms (it is a boutique cave hotel) which had a lovely terrace overlooking the town of Urgup. The owner is very helpful. We went on a hot-air balloon ride with Kapadokya Balloons which would be a nice addition to your itinerary if you have time. Have Mehmet tell you about his cousin's restaurant in Urgup. They have a type of kebab that is cooked in a sealed clay jar and you get to open it with a machete. Delicious!

I have not been to Bodrum, so I cannot comment on whether that is a good place to end your turkey travels.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Tripgirl,

We used http://turkeytravelplanner.com as an excellent resource for our trip planning to Turkey in 2006. Based on that site's recommendation I also used Argeus travel. Ordinarily I do all our travel planning, lodging, transportation, etc., but used Argeus to arrange airfare on Onur Air between Istanbul and Kayseri, Izmir and Istanbul and for a rental car for driving in Cappadocia, down to the south coast and up to Ephesus. I was very pleased with everything they did for us. No surprises! Would recommend them.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Thanks DickM

Boy it sounds like all around positive experiences with Argeus.

When I did a search here initially, very little came up and so I was worried they might not stack up, but it seems lots of you have come out to share your experiences.

I am duly impressed with them so far, so quick and gracious.

Anyone else want to comment on the proposed itinerary in any way: anything you see we should delete, comments on accommodations, etc.

Anything is appreciated!

Thanks a mil....
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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Hi tripgirl,

Everything are OK with Argeus travel plan
BUT :

1)At 5th day you are going to have "Bosphorus tour" which is SHORT TOUR and this is very WRONG. You are going to stay in Istanbul almost 5 nights and NOT HAVE FULL DAY Bosphorus TOUR??? (10.30AM-5.30PM)

2)Day 9 WHY do not stay in Selcuk or Kusadasi After Ephesus trip? you may stay in SIRINCE (so beatiful small town next ephesus) rather then rushing to BODRUM? and also you are NOT GOING to visit PRIENNE, MILETUS and DIDYMA, that is BIG BIG MISTAKE.

I am not going to say anything about the hotels that is your taste I am sure that you can go to their web pages and get some idea.

Have a nice trip in Turkey

Sinan Akdeniz
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 06:53 PM
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We prefer to visit more of the sites in Istanbul and we will be taking various cruises throughout our trip in Egypt and Israel on this same trip.

We'd like to end with relaxation and no more driving and sightseeing, so hence Bodrum with just relaxing.

We simply will not have the time to do all the other towns you suggested.

Any other comments?

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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 08:07 PM
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tripgirl,

The Kempinksi hotel near Bodrum is very luxurious. It's on the beach and has everything you could possibly want on site. However, you have to be prepared to STAY there, since town is a good 30-40 minutes away.

That's why we picked the Marmara Bodrum instead.It's cheaper than The Kempinksi ( unless you book a suite!), and although it's not on the beach, it has a really lovely pool area overlooking town, which is only about a 5-minute cab ride.

Bodrum town itself was not my favorite part of Turkey. Town is very built-up, and the harbor area is home to lots of gold shops, jean boutiques, sneaker boutiques, etc.We took a quick tour of the Crusaders castle, which was interesting enough, but after that, there's just not much to see. If you don't mind staying mostly at the hotel which is definitely fabulous, you'll be fine. But if you're lookng for a more authentic or interesting Turkish experience, plan somewhere else-quick!
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