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’.
Take a journey along Turkish history and culture through its horticulture, gardens and botany.
This 12-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.
Sunday - 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.
Monday - Istanbul (B)
Today Gursan Ergil will lead the group to various gardens of Istanbul along Bosphorus..
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 and gardens: One of the most interesting private museums of Istanbul also has a beautifully designed garden worth a visit.
Private garden: We will be visiting gardens of historic house in Bebek facing Bosphorus with spectacular panorama.
Overnight in Istanbul.
Tuesday - Istanbul - Iznik (B,L)
Taking a very early departure, our first visit is to a private garden of an internationally renowned Turkish sculptor. His sculpture garden and workshop is located on the Asian side.
Visiting sculpture park and his workshop, now we are heading to Karaca Arboretum. It is run by a foundation.
We will have a traditional lunch on the way to Iznik, important and historical town where Councils of Nicaea took place. Iznik is a lovely town located by Iznik Lake and famous for its ceramic tiles, plus monumental Cypress trees.
Overnight in Iznik
Wednesday - Iznik, Bursa (B)
After breakfast, We are visiting gardens of Iznık Foundation and learn about procedure of tile making.
We will drive around two hours to reach Bursa. On the way we will drive through Iznik Lake, fruit orchards, walnuts and olive trees.
Before arriving our hotel in Bursa we are visiting Cumalikizik, a well preserved Ottoman Village. 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.
Resting at the hotel we are climbing up to ancient Mysian Olympus, Mount Uludag. This is the highest mountain in the 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 your free evening walking around in Bursa town visiting Kozahan and Covered Bazaar or treatment in the healing hot springs. We recommend trying famous Iskender Kebab for dinner.
Overnight in Bursa.
Thursday – Bursa, Kula (B,L,D)
Today, we are heading to Karacabey to visit an Organik Farm and have lunch before driving to Kula.
After 3 hours drive, we reach Kula. Kula houses constitute a rich example of Ottoman architecture that survived until today. We will walk along the historic district visiting old houses and historic arts and crafts bazaar.
We will stop at one of the famous vineyards of the region and taste their products.
Overnight in Kula
Friday - Kula, Birgi (B)
Leaving Kula behind, we continue to drive through the land of Anatolia towards Sardis. Sardis is located off the track so is away from tourist masses.
We are now starting famous route called ’Royal Road’ , from Sardis to Ephesus
We are driving two hours to reach to Birgi on our route, a very well preserved 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, lovely private gardens and a local silk producer (from cocoon) - weaver.
Overnight in Birgi.
Saturday – Birgi, Şirince (B)
We start our seventh day visiting Ödemiş plain to see some of the biggest nurseries in Turkey. 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.
Before reaching our hotel in Sirince we are visiting Ephesus. Breathtakingly beautiful and very well preserved ancient city, Ephesus. We will spend a memorable two hours visiting the Fountains of Trojan, the Temples of Hadrian, the Library of Celsius and the Great Theatre with capacity of 24,000 spectators. Prepare to be amazed.
Tonight’s accommodation is in Sirince is a beautiful Old Greek Town on top of a hill close to Ephesus.
Overnight in Sirince.
Sunday – Sirince - Isparta (B)
We are having an easy morning in Şirince. Walk around Sirince streets with historic houses or walk through peach & cherry fields.
We will drive a short distance to experience a carpet workshop. 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.
Then, we’re driving another long distance, around 3.5 hours, to reach to City of Isparta.
Overnight in Isparta.
Monday - Isparta, Olympos (B)
We are starting our tour early in the morning to visit rose fields and picking rose petals for rose oil.
We will then drive through poppy fields to reach a rose oil production factory. Swimming inside rose petal sea with happy smiles. Learning about procedure and compost technology.
Our second stop is in Elmali. Three hours ride to reach Elmali than we change our vehicle to climb Taurus mountains.
We are visiting, biggest and oldest cedar forest in the world, Ciglikara Natural Reserve. We will see traditional wood cutters with moles and learn about their customs.
Now we are heading to Olympos taking around 2 hours.
Overnight in Olympos.
Monday – Olympos, Antalya (B,L)
We are having easy start with breakfast and visiting lush greenery, the village is a bohemian sanctuary and the beach is alongside ancient ruins. There are various eco-friendly architecture and tree houses.
Today, we are enjoying a yacht tour of Mediterranean with lunch.
This evening, we are heading to Antalya.
Overnight in Antalya
Tuesday – Antalya, Akseki, Antalya (B,D)
After breakfast, we start our wandering in Akseki region. We will be seeing rare species of orchids, flowers and also the authentic Ottoman “Button Houses” in Ormana Village.
We will enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
Overnight in Antalya
Wednesday – Antalya
After breakfast, our tour ends. You may want to take some time on the Mediterranean Coast or take a flight towards Cappadocia if you still have time before returning home.
- 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 luxury small vehicle
- 11 nights accommodation in small butique hotels
- All sightseeing tours and garden, farm, vineyard visits as stated in the itinerary
- Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary
- Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner) - 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 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