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Overview

Olive Harvest Weeks on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast

Harvesting olives during an amazing culinary vacation in Turkey with The International Kitchen.This trip is eligible for our Worry-Free Booking promotion.

Among the staples of Mediterranean cuisine the mighty olive, and the oil it produces, reigns supreme! And on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, growing and harvesting olives is a way of life that you can explore on this authentic Mediterranean culinary vacation. The year is spent looking after the important olive trees, and then finally harvesting them to create “liquid gold.”

A picturesque street in Turkey.One of the traditions you will experience on our Mediterranean cooking vacation is the olive harvest, during which family, friends, and neighbors gather to work together in this classic endeavor.

The olive orchards in this part of Turkey stretch in all directions over the mountains. There are no fences, so only the owners know where one orchard ends and another starts. Everyone works together, with the understanding that one day someone will help you pick your olives, and the next you will help them pick theirs. When you join together for the harvest, it is tradition to serve good food and, of course, the ever-present Turkish tea, a sign of hospitality.

A serving of Turkish tea during a culinary vacation with The International Kitchen.In Turkey life always revolves around food, but during the harvest, it is even more the case. Join us for this amazing Mediterranean cooking vacation and share in the olive harvesting traditions of coastal Turkey that go back over one thousand years! An added bonus of the harvest is that it takes place outdoors and offers plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

Your Mediterranean culinary vacation will help you understand the local customs, foods, and traditions of this part of Turkey in an authentic and intimate experience.

Can’t make the olive harvest? You can still visit Turkey’s Mediterranean coast with our Cooking on Turkey’s Aegean Coast tour.


Trip Details

Enjoy the Mediterranean flavors of Turkish cuisine during your one hands-on cooking class with your hostess, chef Aslihan. Alsi, as she is called,  left her job as an executive in the hospitality industry to open a restaurant in Ortakent, where she also started organizing  cooking classes featuring delicious, authentic Turkish cuisine. She will teach you all about healthy Mediterranean cooking, which includes a lot of vegetables and olive oil, and traditional Turkish dishes. 

Itinerary

The beautiful Mediterranean city of Bodrum, visiting during your cooking vacation in Turkey.Day One

  • Transfer from Bodrum/Milas airport in the afternoon. (Transfers from other locations can be arranged for a small addition fee on request.) Meet your host and settle into your room.
  • Tonight, a welcome dinner overlooking the mythical Aegean Sea.

Relaxing under the olive trees during an olive harvest culinary vacation in Turkey.Day Two

  • Wake in the early morning to head to the orchards, where you will start by placing nets under the trees. This will help you collect 3 full packs (40 kilograms each) of olives before you even have breakfast!
  • While you are picking the olives, friends will prepare tea and coffee over a wood fire, along with a rich breakfast of olives, olive oil, bread, tomatoes, and cheeses.
  • After breakfast, continue your picking with a friendly competition to see who can gather the most olives.
  • In the late afternoon, enjoy a snack by the fire. The snack might be similar to an English high tea, with cakes and cookies, or with sucuk (Turkish sausages) and chicken wings grilled over the wood fire.
  • After the harvesting is finished for the day, help load the packs on the tractor and accompany the olives to the communal press, where you will watch the magic that turns these small fruits into olive oil.
  • Taste the oil fresh from the press with bread and a glass of wine.
  • Back to your accommodations and overnight.

Enjoying borek during your culinary vacation in Turkey.Day Three

  • Enjoy a nice Turkish breakfast with fresh eggs from the neighbors, cheeses, olives, and freshly baked bread. Then visit a small vegetable farm in the village, where you will pick vegetables to prepare with olive oil (of course!) during your hands-on cooking class. Make boreks (Turksh pastries) stuffed with herbs and cheese as well as with beef and potato. Prepare an assortment of fresh vegetables, and even a dessert made with olive oil.
  • During the cooking class you will sample different types of olive oil from different regions of Turkey. You will learn the properties of olive oil, how to taste it, and how to understand the differences between an early and late harvest. You will also experience different grades of olive oil and learn the rules behind their classification.
  • Enjoy a meal based on your efforts paired with wines of the area.
  • Rest of day at leisure, with time to stroll into the village, visit nearby Bargilya on the coast, or enjoy some time around the fireplace.
  • Overnight.

Woven, handmade Turkish rugs.Day Four

  • Leave the house in the morning and head to the local vineyards and villages. Breakfast will be enjoyed at a very typical traditional village of the countryside. You will meet the family that farms, cooks, and makes carpets and kilims (Turkish flat-woven rugs). The matriarch will show you how she weaves carpets and kilims, and you will gain a new understanding of why they are so precious to the locals. The traditional in this area is that every season after the olive harvest, the locals would go to the market to buy wool (if they did not have it from their own sheep) in order for the young girls to start weaving carpets for their dowries.
  • In the afternoon, head for a local vineyard and meet the own, who will teach you about the grapes and wines of the area, which you will of course taste accompanied by local snacks.
  • Free time in the evening for dinner on your own and overnight.

The castle in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Bodrum, visiting during your cooking vacation in Turkey.Day Five

  • After a breakfast at home, head into the city of Bodrum. You will have free time to explore on your own, but we recommend the Castle and monuments as well as some relaxed wandering to enjoy the shops. Lunch on your own in Bodrum.
  • In the afternoon, head back and get freshened up for your dinner, which will be a fine dining tasting dinner at Karnas Vineyards, complete with wine pairings featuring their award-winning wines.
  • Overnight.

Visiting the ruins in Lagina during your culinary tour in Turkey.Day Six

  • Depart early this morning for Stratonikeia, a city of the Ancient World. It was not only a very important city during its time, but it is considered one of the most intriguing cities to visit since it had been continuously inhabited until the 1940’s. Discover the amazing site of ancient ruins right next to 19th-century village homes. Breakfast will be at the site. Explore with the help of a professional guide on this leisurely walking tour.
  • Next, head to Lagina, which back in ancient times was connected to Stratonikeia by a 15 km “sacred” road. The road was considered sacred because it joined Lagina, the ancient religious center, with Stratonikeia, its political counterpart.
  • Finally, visit the city of Milas (Mylasa), with its archeological museum and vibrant farmers’ market.
  • Back home with free time to enjoy dinner or a stroll into town on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day Seven

  • Breakfast, and transfer to Bodrum/Milas airport.

Living room at the hotel during your culinary vacation in TurkeyDay One

  • Transfer from Bodrum/Milas airport in the afternoon. (Transfers from other locations can be arranged for a small addition fee on request.) Meet your host and settle into your room.
  • Tonight, a welcome dinner overlooking the mythical Aegean Sea.

Picking through the olives during the olive harvest in Turkey.Day Two

  • Wake in the early morning to head to the orchards, where you will start by placing nets under the trees. This will help you collect 3 full packs (40 kilograms each) of olives before you even have breakfast!
  • While you are picking the olives, friends will prepare tea and coffee over a wood fire, along with a rich breakfast of olives, olive oil, bread, tomatoes, and cheeses.
  • After breakfast, continue your picking with a friendly competition to see who can gather the most olives.
  • In the late afternoon, enjoy a snack by the fire. The snack might be similar to an English high tea, with cakes and cookies, or with sucuk (Turkish sausages) and chicken wings grilled over the wood fire.
  • After the harvesting is finished for the day, help load the packs on the tractor and accompany the olives to the communal press, where you will watch the magic that turns these small fruits into olive oil.
  • Taste the oil fresh from the press with bread and a glass of wine.
  • Back to your accommodations and overnight.

Enjoying a meal together during the olive harvest in Turkey.Day Three

  • Enjoy a nice Turkish breakfast with fresh eggs from the neighbors, cheeses, olives, and freshly baked bread. Then visit a small vegetable farm in the village, where you will pick vegetables to prepare with olive oil (of course!) during your hands-on cooking class. Make boreks (Turksh pastries) stuffed with herbs and cheese as well as with beef and potato. Prepare an assortment of fresh vegetables, and even a dessert made with olive oil.
  • During the cooking class you will sample different types of olive oil from different regions of Turkey. You will learn the properties of olive oil, how to taste it, and how to understand the differences between an early and late harvest. You will also experience different grades of olive oil and learn the rules behind their classification.
  • Lunch based on your efforts paired with wines of the area.
  • Finish up around 3PM, then bid your new friends farewell, until the next time! Transfer to Bodrum/Milas airport. (Transfers from other locations can be arranged for a small addition fee on request.)

Trip Details

Included in the 6-Night Trip

Accommodations

6 nights accommodations in a double room

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 3 lunches
  • 2 dinners
  • Tastings as per itinerary

Classes & Instructors

Enjoy the Mediterranean flavors of Turkish cuisine during your one hands-on cooking class with your hostess, chef Aslihan. Alsi, as she is called,  left her job as an executive in the hospitality industry to open a restaurant in Ortakent, where she also started organizing  cooking classes featuring delicious, authentic Turkish cuisine. She will teach you all about healthy Mediterranean cooking, which includes a lot of vegetables and olive oil, and traditional Turkish dishes. 

Excursions

  • Full day of olive harvesting with the locals
  • Visit of countryside village and vineyards on day 4
  • Excursion to city of Bodrum
  • Full day visit of Stratonikeia, Lagina, and Mylasa

Transfer Details

Arrival & departure transfers from/to Bodrum/Milas airport (transfers from other locations can be arranged for an addition fee on request).

Not Included

  • Beverages during meals out except where noted
  • Gratuities

Included in the 2-Night Trip

Accommodations

2 nights accommodations in a double room

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 lunches
  • 1 dinner
  • Tastings as per itinerary

Classes & Instructors

Enjoy the Mediterranean flavors of Turkish cuisine during your one hands-on cooking class with your hostess, chef Aslihan. Alsi, as she is called,  left her job as an executive in the hospitality industry to open a restaurant in Ortakent, where she also started organizing  cooking classes featuring delicious, authentic Turkish cuisine. She will teach you all about healthy Mediterranean cooking, which includes a lot of vegetables and olive oil, and traditional Turkish dishes. 

Excursions

  • Full day of olive harvesting with the locals

Transfer Details

Arrival & departure transfers from/to Bodrum/Milas airport (transfers from other locations can be arranged for an addition fee on request).

Not Included

  • Beverages during meals out except where noted
  • Gratuities

Accommodation Information

Your home for the week is at the charming home of your host and chef. The home features 4 bedrooms with double or single beds, private en suite baths (with showers, no tubs), and large balconies. There is a shared living room and dining room, as well as the terrace where your cooking classes are held. 

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


Pricing:

6-night Program

US$1195 per person based on double occupancy

  • Add US$215 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm booking.

This trip is eligible for our “Worry-Free Booking” promotion*, which means your deposit is fully refundable up to 31 days prior to the trip start date. Questions? Please contact us!

*See our terms & conditions for details and exclusions.


Tour Dates

Available each week November and December for a minimum of 1 person.

2021
Sample dates

November 1-7
November 8-14
November 15-21
November 22-28
November 29-December 5
December 6-12
December 13-19

2022
Sample dates

October 31-November 6
November 7-13
November 14-20
November 21-27
November 28-December 4
December 5-11
December 12-18

Looking for tour date information?


Pricing:

2-night Program

US$630 per person based on double occupancy

  • Add US$130 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm booking.

This trip is eligible for our “Worry-Free Booking” promotion*, which means your deposit is fully refundable up to 31 days prior to the trip start date. Questions? Please contact us!

*See our terms & conditions for details and exclusions.


Tour Dates

Available each week November and December for a minimum of 1 person.

2021
Sample dates

November 1-3
November 8-10
November 15-17
November 22-24
November 29-December 1
December 6-8
December 13-15

2022
Sample dates

October 31-November 2
November 7-9
November 14-16
November 21-23
November 28-30
December 5-7
December 12-14

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