Q: My husband and I want to visit Turkey and are interested in the history and archaeology of ancient Troy and Homer's “Iliad” and “Odyssey.”
Any recommendations regarding a reputable agency to book such travel?
We always thought Iraq was the cradle of civilization, but, Turkey also claims the title – with more Greek ruins than Greece, more ancient Roman sites than Italy.
The right tour guide can make all the difference in exploring them. The Turkish Culture and Tourism Office (202-612-6800; www.tourismturkey.org) has a list of recommended tour operators in the United States. Aegean Tours in Laurel, Md. (www.aegeantours.com), in business for 43 years, offers a 15-day “Private Archeological Tour” of such sites as Ankara, Cappadocia, Ephesus and Homer's legendary Troy.
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The cost is $6,340 per person double for two (less for larger groups) and includes hotels, meals, transportation and entrance fees. Airfare there is extra.
For a shorter stay, Key Tours in Fairfax, Va., (www.keytours.com) has a six-day “Ancient Wonders” tour of western Turkey that includes Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamum, Kusadasi and Ephesus. Cost for the land-only tour is $725 per person/double in mid-September and includes hotels, meals and ground transportation.
For a high-end but tempting tour, take a look at Peter Sommer Travels (www.petersommer.com).
Sommer, a British archaeologist and filmmaker, walked 2,000 miles across Turkey in 1994, following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great. Now he offers tours and “quiet cruises” for small groups, with expert guides leading the way. Many of his tours are full for this year, but “In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great,” offered next May, includes stops in Troy, Ephesus and Termessus.
Cost for the 19-day tour is $6,750 per person/double, not including airfare, and includes accommodations, meals and entrance fees.