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Turkey: Authentic Istanbul

Cook up a feast of ancient Ottoman recipes, learn the art of water marbling & dine on the Bosphorus aboard a private sunset yacht

What's Included

  • Local transport
  • Max 14 travelers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
  • Stay in hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

About your trip

Step inside one of the world’s most alluring cities with oodles of culture, heritage and culinary appeal – and a skyline that’s out-of-this-world.

Flash Pack’s four-day escape to Istanbul goes big on experience, lining up the best, most classic and unique activities for full-scale immersion in this destination of dreams. Join us as we haggle in the Grand Bazaar and marvel at some of Istanbul’s most iconic buildings. Learn to cook an Ottoman Palace feast, and take a street food tour through Istanbul’s Asian side. Meet the city’s talented community of local artisans, including a rare chance to watch carpet-weavers at work, and a Turkish water marbling masterclass.

This is a holiday of sunset yachting on the Bosphorus and an indulgent hammam session. It tells the story of Roman Empires and Byzantine treasures; but also of rooftop bars, hip hotels and buzzy, design-led boutiques. Istanbul is ready: what about you?

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Dine like a Sultan in rooftop Istanbul
  • Arriving into Istanbul, your private transfer will whisk you from the airport to your stylish boutique hotel
  • Catch a tram to the Old City before your three-course cooking class at a Michelin-recognized restaurant
  • Learn all about Ottoman Palace cuisine as you cook before dining on the rooftop with sunset views across Istanbul
City treasures and a hammam
  • Marvel at the minarets of Hagia Sophia and be wowed by the Blue Mosque’s architectural prowess
  • See traditional carpets being woven inside a private studio – an experience that’s normally off-limits to tourists
  • Haggle at the Grand Bazaar before relaxing with a hammam ritual of marble steam baths
From street food to sunset sailing
  • Take a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul for a street food tour – tucking into meze plates at Çiya Sofrasi (star of Netflix show Chef’s Table)
  • Take part in a private Ebru workshop with a local artist; water marbling is an intricate tradition passed down the generations of Muslim Turks
  • Finish your day with a sunset meal aboard a private yacht as we travel back across the Bosphorus
Until next time, Istanbul
  • After breakfast, make your own way back to the airport – or you may choose to stay on for a few days in this city of promise
  • Four days of exotic city escapism will see you return home feeling energized and reminded of the power of the ‘short break’ to fill your cup. Daily life can wait.

Our Favorite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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The Burdock

This sleek hotel from Marriott’s Autograph Collection is located in a local, arty neighborhood between Istanbul’s Karaköy and Tophane districts – away from the tourists but with plenty of buzz. Expect contemporary rooms with air-con, an indoor pool, sauna, spa and a restaurant. Waterfront Galataport is within walking distance and Dolmabahce Palace is two tram stops away. 

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Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code

Fly into Istanbul Airport (IST), the city’s main international airport, a 45-minute taxi drive from our hotel. From the UK, you can also fly to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW), which is an hour away from the hotel. 

What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

Please try to arrive in Istanbul before 12pm on Day 1. It usually takes around 45-60 minutes to get to your hotel, however in heavy traffic it could take a couple of hours.

The welcome meeting will be at 3 pm starting at the hotel, followed by the cooking class – which you won’t want to miss. If you need to book a pre-night, please get in touch with our sales team who can arrange this for you. 

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

There are no activities planned for the final day of the trip, so you’re free to leave any time that you wish. You’ll need to checkout of the hotel by 12 pm. It usually takes around 45-60 minutes to get from your hotel to the airport, however during rush hours, you should expect delays and allow a couple of hours.

Do you include airport transfers?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

We don’t offer a departure transfer as Flashpackers leave at different times of the day and many stay for extra nights. We will offer you support with finding a local taxi.

Do I need a visa?

Up-to-date visa and entry information can be found using our official partner, Sherpa, who can help you arrange a visa if needed.

You can also find essential travel advice – including security and local laws, as well as passport and visa information – on the government website of your home country:

Please be aware that passport and visa requirements can change before departure, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest information.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalized medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

What should I wear when visiting a mosque?

When visiting mosques on Day 2 of the trip itinerary, women should wear a headscarf that covers their heads and shoulders. As a sign of respect, men are also expected to cover their legs at least down to the knee.

What will the hammam experience be like?

You’ll be divided into same-sex rooms for the hammam. Feel free to bring a swimsuit and slippers, and special underwear is also available if you’d like it. 

A reviving body scrub and massage that opens the pores and gets rid of dead skin is a core part of the hammam experience. You’ll also be bathing and relaxing on heated marble slabs. 

Some products will be provided by the hammam, but you can choose to bring along a bag of your own skincare items or face masks to apply if you fancy it, too. The Day 2 hammam ritual will take place as follows:

  • 20-minute get ready, lie down on hot marbles
  • 30-minute scrub and massage
  • 30-minute wash off, shower
  • Enjoy complimentary teas and Turkish Delight
What level of fitness will I need?

Overall, this adventure is fairly relaxed with no challenging physical activities. However, there will be lots of walking around the city.

We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalized medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

Will this itinerary change?

Please be aware that the itinerary, activities, and hotels are subject to change. These changes are rare but can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting which we will always try and communicate to you.

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