A Culinary Exploration Tour of Greece and Turkey

Discover the best of Greece and Turkey on a fabulous and exclusive culinary tour package to these two amazing destinations with Taisteal Travel and The International Kitchen!

Your first stop is Greece and the hot foodie destination Athens. From the ancient Parthenon to the chic riviera, Greece is synonymous with history, sunshine, and delicious Mediterranean gastronomy. From Athens explore the Saronic Islands before heading to the island of Zakynthos. Here you will explore island life on this green, fertile island, home to the Caretta-Caretta sea turtle, some of Greece’s best olives, wines, and grains, and authentic Greek Island life.

After a brief stop back in Athens head across the Aegean Sea to Turkey for the next leg of your Greece and Turkey vacation package. First explore Istanbul, the fascinating cultural capital of the country, and one of the world’s most interesting historical cities, where east meets west. Then head to the foodie town of Gazientep before finishing your culinary tour to Greece and Turkey in Cappadocia, which is filled with natural wonders.

During your 15-night vacation package to Greece and Turkey you will explore the best of their local cuisines during cooking lessons, foodie visits, and more.


Trip Details

Enjoy a Greek cooking class on Zakynthos featuring traditional Greek dishes, as well as a baklava demonstration. In Turkey discover Turkish cuisine during 2 cooking classes, one in Istanbul, one in Cappadocia, as well as a Katmer dessert demonstration.


We Can Help Plan It All

Flights, additional nights and tours, Transportation, and Much More

We might not be able to pack for you, but there are tons of things we can help with to make your vacation that much better.

Contact us for more information, or you can indicate your interest during check out and we will follow up directly!

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Itinerary

Enjoying ouzo with appetizers on a culinary tour of GreeceDay 1 – March 20 – Arrival in Athens

  • Arrival in Athens and group transfer.
  • Enjoy a panoramic drive past the east scenic suburbs of Athens, and enjoy lunch at a restaurant by lake Vouliagmeni. (If your flight arrives later in the day we will skip this and transfer you straight to your hotel).
  • Return to hotel and time to rest.
  • In the evening, take a leisurely stroll in the Monastiraki and Thiseio districts and dine at Kouzina restaurant with signature dishes from renowned chef Aris Chanaklis.

A view of the Acropolis in Athens during a Greek cooking vacation.Day 2 – March 21 – Athens

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning, visit the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum. Stop for a coffee (paid locally), then explore the shops in Ermou.
  • Enjoy a light lunch in Monastiraki.
  • Next, walk to the Athens Central Market Tour for a guided visit.
  • Return to hotel for time to rest.
  • You saw Acropolis during the day, tonight dine with a view of the Acropolis at Grand Bretagne restaurant bar.

Mediterranean fare on a culinary tour of Greece and Turkey.Day 3 – March 22 – Athens & Saronic Islands

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart for Floisvos Marina or Kallithea Port for today’s full-day cruise to the Saronic islands: Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. (8 am to 7:30 pm). Lunch buffet included.
  • Transfer to the Moschato area for dinner.
  • Return to hotel and overnight.

The island of Zakynthos during a culinary tour of Greece.Day 4 – March 23 – Zakynthos

  • Breakfast and check out. Leave your luggage with the concierge and enjoy some free time for shopping and lunch on your own.
  • Transfer to Athens airport for your afternoon flight to Zakynthos.
  • Welcome dinner in Zakynthos with local music.

Dining outside on your cooking vacation in Greece.

Day 5 – March 24 – Zakynthos

  • Breakfast.
  • This morning, tour the north with a private cruise to the Shipwreck beach and the Blue caves.
  • Lunch at a local favorite, the Kabi mountain taverna, which offers amazing views.
  • Relax and free time in Zakynthos town.
  • This evening you are invited to dine with Greek families in their homes (within an easy walk of your hotel). Get to know Greek people and find out more about Greece while enjoying a 4-course dinner in the comfort of private homes. (Your group will be split into smaller groups for this dinner.)

A goat on the island of Zakynthos during your Greek culinary tour.Day 6 – March 25 – Zakynthos

  • Breakfast.
  • Excursion to Mahairado village: visit the monastery, Agia Maura church and a winery for a wine tasting.
  • Experience a farm to fork experience during a cooking class in Orthonies village, lunch to follow.
  • Relax and enjoy free time in Zakynthos.
  • Dinner tonight is on your own (if you are still hungry after your lunch).

Baklava made during a cooking vacation in Greece

Day 7 – March 26 – Zakynthos

  • Breakfast, then a hands-on Baklava class at your hotel with a 4th-generation confectioner
  • Guided walk around the town, and a stop to visit the confectioner at his shop!
  • Lunch at a traditional Mageirio in Zante.
  • Relax and free time in Zakynthos town .
  • Farewell dinner at a seafront restaurant.

Athens as visited on a culinary tour of Greece.Day 8 – March 27 – Return to Athens

  • Breakfast.
  • Depart the airport for your fight back to Athens. (You can grab a quick lunch during your travels.)
  • Transfer to your hotel and check in, then enjoy time to explore with dinner on your own.

Sunrise over Istanbul during your cooking vacation in Turkey.Day 9 – March 28– Arrival in Istanbul

  • This morning, breakfast and check out. Leave your bags at the front desk and enjoy one last stroll through Athens.
  • Afternoon flight to Istanbul, where you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. (Lunch on your own today during your travels.)
  • Enjoy your Welcome Dinner at Matbah Restaurant, featuring the phenomenal flavors of royal Ottoman cuisine.

Visiting the market in Istanbul during a culinary tour of Turkey.Day 10 – March 29 – Istanbul

  • After breakfast explore Istanbul’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Yerebatan Underground Cistern, built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (527-565); the Basilica of St. Sophia (Closed on Mondays), which has inspired religious leaders for over fifteen hundred years; and the Hippodrome, a circus that was the sporting and social center of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire.
  • Lunch will be in one of the best fish restaurants of Istanbul. After lunch, explore the Spice Bazaar where the scent of hundreds of spices permeates the air.
  • This evening, a cooking class followed by dinner based on what you have prepared.

Delicious dish during your culinary tour of Turkey.Day 11 – March 30 – Istanbul, Gaziantep

  • Today visit the Topkapi Palace with The Imperial Kitchens, serving the Ottoman royal family and the Blue Mosque (partly undergoing renovation), built in 1609 by Sultan Ahmet.
  • Lunch will be in a historical restaurant founded in 1920 and specializing in meatballs.
  • Then transfer to the airport to have a flight to Gaziantep, a hub that draws foodies, history lovers and those looking for a rich melting pot of diverse cultures. Declared a “Creative City of Gastronomy” by UNESCO in December 2015, Gaziantep’s cuisine holds a special place in the Turkish cookbook with its traditional abundance of flavor, especially spices.
  • Dinner will be in your hotel due to the late arrival. (Although alcohol is not prevalent in Gaziantep it is available at the hotel and wine will be served with dinner.)

Preparing food on your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay 12 – March 31 – Gaziantep

  • After breakfast visit Gaziantep Citadel, dating back 9,000 years. The citadel, as it is known today, was originally built during Roman rule as an observation tower, but was restored and enhanced to give it its present structure by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century. Then stop at the historical (1665) Tahmis Coffee shop to taste Menengic coffee, made from the roasted Pistachio tree seeds (commonly known as terebinth and turpentine tree).
  • After spending some time at the Coppersmiths’ Bazaar where the traditional culture of Gaziantep is still preserved and protected, enjoy lunch at Metanet Restaurant, serving up a myriad of different beyran soups. Next taste and learn about Gaziantep baklava, which is made with locally grown pistachio nuts and was awarded “protected status” by the European Union.
  • The tour continues with a visit of the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, the biggest mosaic museum in the world, containing 1700m2 of mosaics. Founded by Alexander the Great’s generals in 300 B.C., the Ancient City of Zeugma is considered one of the four biggest cities of the Commagene Kingdom. Gaining huge wealth and glory under the rule the Romans, the city became one of the region’s attractions due to its commercial potential originating from its strategic location along the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China. In A.D. 256, the city was invaded and completely destroyed by the Sassanids. Later, a huge earthquake destroyed it once again and buried the city.
  • Dinner will be in Imam Cagdas where you can try lahmacun, a common dish which is a flatbread topped with minced meat and vegetables. (Please note alcohol is not served at this restaurant.)

The view in Cappadocia seen on your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay 13 – April 1 – Gaziantep to Cappadocia

  • Breakfast will be in a Katmerci Zekeriya Usta (pastry shop) where you will taste and observe a production of “katmer”, a local desert with clotted cream and pistachio.
    Next visit The Emine Gogus Culinary Museum, which illustrates how to cook and prepare “Yuvalama” – a traditional bayram food, mıra – a traditional coffee – and bastık and sucuk (traditional sweets eaten around a traditional stove called “Tandır” on cold winter nights), and similar local specialities.
  • Today’s drive to Cappadocia will take around 6 hours. Lunch will be in Kebabci Halil Usta, famous for its succulent herbed lamb called küsleme.
  • Arrival in Cappadocia, known for its distinctive “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations.
  • Dinner is at hotel.

Enjoying the view on your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay 14 – April 2 – Cappadocia

  • In the very early morning you may have an optional Hot Air Balloon ride (inquire for pricing), it is a dream to gently float over the countryside in complete harmony with the deep canyons and lush fertile valleys of Cappadocia. Gentle winds carry you over places that could never be reached except by balloon.
  • Next visit local municipality carpet cooperation, sort of a carpet farm where you will have the chance to explore the district from a cultural perspective. After lunch in Ziggy Café Restaurant, explore the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Goreme Open Air Museum. The lunar like landscape of this region is eerie, yet beautiful. For over thousands of years, the rain has eroded this landscape to give rise to strange rock formations known as “Fairy Chimneys”. Many of these have homes and churches carved into them. Some of the grottos are magnificently decorated with colorful frescoes depicting biblical scenes.
  • On the way to the hotel, visit one of the famous local wine producers to taste local wines such as Okuzgozu, Kalecikkarasi, Narince and Emir, of Turkey where wine making heritage dates back over 6000 years.
  • Dinner will be at Dimitri Restaurant with a fantastic view of the town and the valley.

Turkish coffee enjoyed on your cooking vacation in Turkey

Day 15 – April 3 – Cappadocia

  • After breakfast discover a typical Turkish village, Avanos to see the techniques of ceramic art dating from 12th B.C. to 3rd B.C. periods.
  • Then enjoy a Cooking Class, including local tastes and following with lunch.
  • In the afternoon visit the Underground City of Kaymakli. Around the sixth century the Christian inhabitants of this region began to tunnel into the soft volcanic rock. They went as deep as two hundred and seventy five feet with eight different levels, and several thousand people lived in this subterranean city.
  • Dinner will be in Muti Restaurant, formerly in a historic caravansarai.

Bedroom at the Yunak Evleri in Cappadocia, home during your cooking vacation in Turkey

Day 16 – April 4 – Departure

  • After a farewell breakfast transfer to Airport for your departing flight from Cappadocia.

Trip Details

Included in the 15-Night Trip

Accommodations

  • 4 nights at 4* hotel in Athens
  • 4 nights at 4* hotel in Zakynthos
  • 2 nights at Hilton Bosphorus 5* hotel (or similar) in Istanbul
  • 2 nights at boutique hotel in Gaziantep
  • 3 nights at boutique cave hotel in Cappadocia

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 13 lunches
  • 13 dinners
  • Wine and non-alcoholic beverages with included meals in Greece
  • Wine and non-alcoholic beverages with included dinners in Turkey (except in Gaziantep, where alcohol is not as common. Beverages for lunches can be purchased locally.)

Please note wine is not unlimited, but additional beverages are available for purchase.

Classes & Instructors

Enjoy a Greek cooking class on Zakynthos featuring traditional Greek dishes, as well as a baklava demonstration. In Turkey discover Turkish cuisine during 2 cooking classes, one in Istanbul, one in Cappadocia, as well as a Katmer dessert demonstration.

Excursions

  • Visit of the Acropolis and Acropolis museum
  • Full-day tour of the Saronic islands
  • Visit of Machariado village with wine tasting
  • Excursion to Shipwreck bay (weather permitting)
  • Tour of Zakynthos town
  • Tours of Istanbul days 10 and 11
  • Tour of Gaziantep
  • Tour of Cappadocia’s Goreme, grottos, and carpet coop
  • Wine tasting in Cappadocia
  • Ceramics visit in Avanos
  • Visit of the cave city of Kaymakli

Transfer Details

Arrival and departure transfers (one per arrival and departure, additional transfers can be arranged as needed at an additional cost)

Miscellaneous

  • Transportation by modern A/C vehicle
  • English-speaking professional tour guide
  • Entrance fees and VAT taxes
  • One domestic flight (between Istanbul & Gaziantep)

Not Included

  • Flights between Athens and Zakynthos and Athens and Istanbul (estimated at around $75-$125 per flight, or $225-$375 total, plus baggage fees)
  • Travel insurance (required in Turkey)
  • Return flight from Cappadocia
  • Gratuities
  • Meals/beverages not indicated
  • Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (please inquire for pricing)

Accommodation Information

Accommodations will be at boutique hotels as well as 4* and 5* properties. Please note that accommodations indicated are examples, and hotels will be confirmed when minimum number of travelers (14) has been reached.

In Athens: 4* Hotel Titania hotel (or similar)

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On Zakynthos: 4* Strada Marina (or similar) in sea-view rooms

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In Istanbul: 5* Hilton Bosphorus Hotel (or similar)

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In Gaziantep: boutique Divan Hotel (or similar)

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In Cappadocia: Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel (or similar)

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


Pricing:
March 20-April 4, 2020

15-night Program
US$6100 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$1450 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm. (Charge will be pre-authorized when booking is submitted but not captured until we have the minimum 14 participants.)

Balance payment due 90 days prior to program start date. 

Please note cost does not include 3 flights: Athens to Zakynthos, Zakynthos to Athens, and Athens to Istanbul (estimated at around $75-$125 per flight, or $225-$375 total, plus baggage fees).

Please note Turkey now requires that travelers show proof of travel insurance. Please see information the travel insurance we offer via Travelex here.

Interested in an upgrade? Please inquire.


Tour Dates

Available March 20-April 4, 2020 for a minimum of 14 people.

Pricing & Dates

Class Pricing

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