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Author: canoecat

Joined: 7/21/2011
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2006

July 21, 2011

We just  signed up for Turkey's Magical Hideaways with OAT next May. It includes four days on a gulet-size yacht on the turquoise coast and lots of hiking in that area. We just got GCT's  Crossroads of Turkey in  the mail.  Similar itinerary but bus ride rather than flying to Izmir , seeing Troy, and ending in Ankara rather than Cappadoicia, where OAT's trip ends. Also doesn't appear that GCT spends as much time in Capaddocia. Have enjoyed travel with both companies so I guess it comes down to itinerary.  Any thoughts out there?  Thanks!

SE in DE

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 559
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

July 23, 2011

It depends on your interests and the activity level you want. And boat vs. bus.

I took the Grand Circle trip and loved it. There are long bus rides but I didn't mind that -- we had stops and the scenery was often beautiful and interesting. There were a couple of people on our tour who took it because it included Troy and OAT doesn't. I chose it over the OAT tour because I don't like small spaces (cabins on the gulet) and I'm a walker, not a hiker -- because of a bad knee, I have problems with hills, especially going down.

I love museums and ruins and we saw many on the the GCT tour. Visiting the Hittite area near Ankara and the museum in Ankara was a highlight for me. We also visited the Ataturk memorial, which was interesting.

Cappadoccia was a favorite, it's fascinating. I loved the hot air balloon ride and the cave churches in Goreme. I don't know what the OAT tour does that GCT doesn't in Capp., except hiking. I haven't compared the itineraries but felt that we had enough time there.

Whatever your choice, you're in for a marvelous tour. Turkey is beautiful and interesting. I long to return to Istanbul even though I spent six extra days there at the end of my tour. I don't how much time OAT allows to Istanbul, but if it isn't at least three full days, I recommed taking breakaway and spending time on your own there.

Happy travels.

 

 

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 162
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 8
Traveler Since: 2005

July 23, 2011

As a counterpoint to Luisa's post, I will tell you that Turkey's Magical Hideaways is our favorite of the many Grand Circle/OAT trips we have taken.  We loved the itinerary, even though it didn't include Ankara.  We felt it spent just the right amount of time in interesting Capadoccia, and everywhere else except Istanbul. My photographer husband loved all the opportunities he had to capture the scenery everywhere.

As Luisa points out, you have to make this decision based on both the itineraries and on your own activity level.  There is a lot of walking, and a lot of hiking, on the Turkey's Magical Hideaways tour.  (Some of the hiking is optional, however.)  You do need hiking boots, preferably with Vibram soles for the slippery hillsides. We enjoyed the several swimming opportunities in the sea, as well. A  certain level of agility is required to climb the ship's ladders and to get in and out of the smaller boats used for ferrying.

One big difference between the two trips is the number of travelers.  We love the smaller size of the OAT groups, and always come home with a dozen new friends. ( On the other hand, my mother, who has been on dozens of Grand Circle trips over decades, points out that if you go on Grand Circle, with its larger number of travelers, there are bound to be lots of people you like, while on the OAT trip, you could be stuck with only a few people whom you might not like.  This has never, ever happened to us, but..........you never know!)  The wait times for restrooms, food service, etc. are always less with OAT.  On the other hand, it is a very active, fast paced itinerary, and some people might prefer a somewhat slower pace.

The museums, ruins, natural attractions, home visit, etc. were all wonderful in Turkey, as was the food.  Our guide, Yesim, was absolutely outstanding in every way.....She is the best OAT guide we have ever had.  And our time on the gulet along the Turquoise Coast was beautiful and refreshing.  The cabins were small but adequate, and the whole experience on the gulet was delightful.

If you take the Turkey's Magical Hideaways trip, I think it is important to take the three days in Istanbul at the end. There is so much to see in this large, beautiful, cosmopolitan city, and we are both so glad that we had extra time there for the archaeological museum, Chora Church, some lovely mosques, strolling in the markets, etc.  Whichever trip you end up with, you will have a wonderful time!

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