Istanbul Turkey Pre-Tour Visit 2012
June 17th - 21st - 2012


17 June. Sunday. Arrival in Istanbul and June 18th, full day of sightseeing  

I was here to check out the possibility of putting a tour together and was so excited to see all the things I saw. I was not disappointed. I will have a recap up soon but in the meantime take a peek at the photos and know that I am putting together an unforgettable tour to this country for April 2014. If you wish to be notified when the tour is ready for booking, please send me an email at  READ ON for just some of the highlights of the April 2014 tour.

The Tulip was originally a wild flower growing in Central Asia and was first cultivated by the Turks as early as 1,000 AD. The flower was introduced in Western Europe and the Netherlands in the 17th century by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist from Vienna. In the 1590’s he became the director of the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, the oldest botanical garden of Europe, founded in 1587. He was hired by the University of Leiden to research medicinal plants and while doing so he got some bulbs from Turkey from his friend Ogier Ghiselain de Busbecq, the ambassador of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). He had seen the beautiful flower, called tulip after the Turkish word for turban, grow in the palace gardens and sent a few to Clusius for his garden in Leiden. He planted them and this was the start of the amazing bulb fields we can see today. In our tour we will have a chance to see the lands of historic Tulip, West Coast of Turkey including Ephesus, an ancient Greek city and later a major Roman city and also Cappadocia, a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion.

My 2014 Tour starts in Istanbul, with visits to the Blue Mosgue, Topkapi Palace and visits to Parks including Emirgan Park showcasing the Tulip Festival (as we are there are the perfect time for the tulips), Nezahat Gokyigit Botanic Garden St. Sophia, on the way to Troy visit Seymen Village and their fields and production, Asoss, Izmir, Pergamum (famous for parchment paper) and Acropolis, the amphitheatre, Spil National Park (famous for the Manisa tulip) visits to tulip fields, wine tasting at a winery (Decanter World Wine Awards, Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary, Sirince Village with its peach, grape and olive gardens, Bayindir (used to be the main garden of the Ottoman Empire to grow and supply flowers). Flight to Cappadocia and Goreme Valley and their ‘fairy chimneys’, local market and then a hands on cooking class, the underground city of Kaymakli, Avanos to see ceramic art techniques dating from the 12th century, and a lot more INCLUDING staying in a Cave Hotel! You will love the food and the hotels. Tour ends in Cappadocia.

While I was on this trip to check out tour possibilities I stayed at the beautiful Pera Palace Hotel. (This is a boutique hotel and not suitable for group tours, however I did check out a lot of hotels for our upcoming tour.)

Work began on Pera Palace Hotel in 1892 and it later served Orient Express clientele on their journey from Europe to Asia. It has since become an enduring symbol of urban culture in Istanbul and a pioneer in modern luxury. Located in the cosmopolitan Tepebasi district of Pera, the hotel overlooks the magnificent Golden Horn.

With its 115 rooms, including 16 suites, retaining the characteristics of the 19th century elegance through historical furniture, the hotel combines refined elegance with state-of the-art technology to fulfill the needs of 21st century travellers.

Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah offers a range of revitalized restaurant and bar choices, including the Agatha Restaurant with its show kitchen and wine cellar. The Kubbeli Saloon / Tea Lounge offer afternoon tea, or visit the French style Patisserie de Pera and the legendary Orient Bar & Terrace. The hotel also has various several meeting rooms, a 380 sqm Pera Spa with traditional hammam, steam bath, Jacuzzi, indoor pool, sauna, three treatment rooms and fully equipped fitness center.

The Hotel has been a significant culture of Istanbul over a hundred years and was also a witness of many historical events such as World War I, Occupation of Istanbul, World War II and many more. After a 23 million euro, 4 years of extensive restoration, hotel reopened in September 2010.
Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah is a “Museum-Hotel” due to its room 101; Atatürk Museum Room that is registered to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It is one of the rare examples in the world to have such a special character.

Celebrated author, Agatha Christie was a guest at Pera Palace Hotel from 1926 to 1932 and was reputed to have written her most famous work “Murder on the Orient Express” whilst staying in Room 411.The mysteries surrounding Christie’s lost diary are reportedly pinned on discovery of a key in the same room. Enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the extensive collection of Agatha Christie novels, written in different languages whilst relaxing in the elegant surroundings.

Along with politicians, artists and writers, kings, queens and heads of state have also strolled along the halls of Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah. King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, Emperor Franz Joseph as well as Sarah Bernhardt, Alfred Hitchcock, Pierre Loti and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis have all been guests.

As testimony to the hotel’s en vogue reputation, the first fashion show in Istanbul was held at the hotel in 1926.


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row