Garden Tours and Holidays

Turkey Garden Tour – Gursan Ergil – 23 April – 3 May 2016

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Take a journey along Turkish history and culture through its horticulture, gardens and botany.

This 11-day horticulture tour will take you through:

Historical Parks & Gardens, Lectures, Private Landscapes, Arboretums, Nature walks for wild flowers, Organic Farms, Vineyards , Artist Studios, Botanic Gardens, Nurseries and Authentic Local Life while paying a visit to beautiful towns and cities along our way.

Neither East nor West… This stereotypical assessment of where Turkey stands geographically and geopolitically plays an important role in its ecological composition. As a land of transition between three continents, Turkey is a country that has critical natural and biological reserves at the global level and diverse species and agro-environmental landscapes.

Turkey hosts a large array of fragile natural assets and is witness to a unique merging of diversity on the entire Eurasian continent.

Tour Leader

Gürsan Ergil

Gursan Ergil spent six years living in the United States and studying landscape design, history, and preservation at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum, where he later lectured on Islamic Gardens for two years. After moving United Kingdom from US, he continued studying at Cambridge Universtiy’s advanced garden history program. Today, based in Istanbul, Turkey, he splits his time between lecturing, leading tours and writing books on gardens. Ergil’s eco-friendly furniture and sustainable landscape designs are published on international media and his mobile gardens series was exhibited at Marta Herford Museum in Germany. Ergil currently works as landscape curator at Prince’s Island Museum in Istanbul and he is the author of the book ‘Gardens of Princes Islands’.  

Tour Days

23 April 2016, Saturday - Istanbul Arrival (D)

Welcome to Istanbul. Today is the arrival day.

This evening you will meet Gursan Ergil, your tour leader for an introduction about our tour, over a welcome dinner we will have together.

Overnight in Istanbul.



24 April 2016, Sunday - Istanbul (B,L)

Today Gursan Ergil will lead the group to various important botanical sites of Istanbul.

Ataturk Arboretum: Ataturk Arboretum was founded by Istanbul University and Ministry of Forest with the purpose of scientific research and observation of cultivated trees and other woody plants which are carefully selected and put together. It can also be called a live plant museum which has been built with scientific knowledge, effort and patience.

Belgrad Forest: This is a deciduous forest consisting primarily of oak; the next most common trees are the oriental birch, common hornbeam and Anatolian chestnut. The forest is home to no less than 71 species of bird and 18 mammals. We will visit the waterworks located inside the forest.

Emirgan Park: Emirgan Park is one of the largest urban parks in Istanbul with Europe’s biggest grotto. These dates will coincide with the tulip festival, and the park will be very pretty.

Sakip Sabanci Museum: One of the most interesting private museums of Istanbul also has a beautifully designed garden worth a visit.

ataturk arbo. 7






25 April 2016, Monday - Istanbul - Bursa (B)

Taking a very early departure, our first visit is to a private garden of an artist located outside of Istanbul on the Asian side. We are now heading to Anatolia. Next stop is an important historical town, Iznik, where the Councils of Nicaea (1st and 7th Ecumenical Councils) took place. Iznik is a lovely town located by Iznik Lake and famous with its tiles, ceramics and monumental trees. After visiting Hagia Sophia, Green Mosque and Iznik Museum we will drive along Iznik Lake and through Iznik Plain covered with fruit orchards, walnuts and olive trees. We will then head to first capital city of Ottoman Empire, Bursa.

Overnight in Bursa.


26 April 2016, Tuesday - Iznik, Bursa (B,L)

After breakfast, we will drive to a very well preserved Ottoman Village, Cumalikizik. We will walk amongst the picturesque old houses, reflecting the medieval Ottoman architecture. The village is also home to fruit gardens famous with raspberry and other type of berries.

Today we are climbing up the ancient Mysian Olympus, Mount Uludag. This is the highest mountain of Marmara region and a national park with a rich flora and fauna. On our way to the top, we will visit a monumental plane tree, Inkaya Cinari.
Spend the evening walking around in Bursa town visiting Kozahan and Covered Bazaar. We recommend trying famous Iskender Kebab for dinner.
Overnight in Bursa.


27 April 2016, Wednesday - Kutahya (B,L,D)

Today, we are heading to Kutahya, a small town where the world famous Kutahya Tiles are produced. The history of Kutahya dates back to 3rd Millenium BC. Kutahya has been inhabited by Romans, Selcuk Turks, Germiyan Turks and finally Ottomans. We will visit the atelier of an incredible artist (now departed) Sitki Usta and take a pottery workshop here. The area is also important with Domanic Forest and Kasalic Nature Reserve, which bears the characteristics of a Black Sea forest ecosystem, even though it lies in Anatolia.
If we’re lucky we may spot some bird species, such as vultures.
Overnight in Kutahya.


28 April 2016, Thursday - Gediz, Usak (B,L,D)

On our way to Usak today, we will take several stops along the Gediz Delta. Gediz delta is the largest of Turkey covering 40,000 hectare area. The delta is significant with many bird species residing.
We will then arrive in Usak, a major center of production and export of carpets. Overnight in Usak.


 29 April 2016, Friday - Kula, Birgi (B,L,D)

Leaving Usak behind, we continue to drive through the land of Anatolia towards the Aegean. On our way is Kula, an interesting place with the volcanic rock formations. The houses of Kula are under strict protection now. We will walk along the narrow and labyrinthine streets and witness the examples of Greek and Turkish architecture.
In the afternoon, we are arriving in Birgi. This is a very well preserved Selcuk and Ottoman village, with a lovely river cutting through its streets. Enjoy an afternoon walk in town visiting the Cakiraga Konagi (Old Ottoman Mansion), a Monumental Cypress Tree and a local silk producer (from cocoon) and weaver.
Overnight in Birgi.


30 April 2016, Saturday - Odemis, Ephesus, Selcuk (B,L)

After enjoying a free morning in town, we will head to Odemis to visit one of the biggest nurseries of Turkey. We will be given a detailed lecture about many species that are cultivated here. We will also stop by the Odemis Handcrafts Market, where the women of the region exhibit their art, mostly textile on a street market every Saturday.
This afternoon, we are visiting a breathtakingly beautiful and very well preserved ancient city, Ephesus. We will spend a memorable two hours in this ancient city, visiting the Fountains of Trojan, Polio, the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, Private House, the Library of Celsius, Various and Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion and the Great Theatre with capacity of 24,000 spectators. Prepare to be amazed.
Tonight’s accommodation is in Sirince. A beautiful Old Greek Town on top of a hill close to Ephesus. Overnight in Sirince.



01 May 2016, Sunday - Sirince, Izmir (B,L)

We start our morning with a walk around Sirince town around peach & cherry fields and historic houses. We will continue with a very traditional experience visiting Can Carpet. This is an atelier located in Camlik village. Here we will learn about the art of extracting colors from plants and roots to dye wool.


Overnight in Izmir.


2 May 2016, Monday - Izmir / Istanbul (B,L)


Evening flight to Istanbul.

03 May 2016, Tuesday - Istanbul (B)

Departure day. Today after breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.

Previous Day- Next Day


Per person in DBL Room: €2350

Single Room Supplement: €520

Prices Include:

  • Companion of garden specialist Gursan Ergil throughout trip as a tour leader.
  • Services of a licensed, professional, English speaking tour guide throughout trip
  • Arrival & departure airport transfers
  • All transport with a 27-seater midibus
  • 10 nights accommodation in small butique hotels and farms.
  • All sightseeing tours and garden, farm, vineyard visits as stated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary (except Harem in Topkapi Palace)
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner) - 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Service charges, parking fees, 18% VAT

Prices do not Include:

  • International flights
  • Tips for guide & driver
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with meals
  • Personal expenses


  • Dear Gursan & Nazan Thank you and Nazan for all you did for us well beyond the call of duty. I want you both to know how much your care was appreciated and all of the extras.
    Sara Williams - University of Saskatchewan
    I would like to thank you again Gursan, you truly made this a trip of a life time and opened so many doors. Take care my friend.
    David Tallentire

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