Slow Travel Food & Wine Tour in Western Türkiye

From $2,995 pp

  • Duration

    8 days
  • Bookable From

  • Trip Style

    Privately Guided
  • Country

  • Physical Rating

    Very Easy


Slow travel through the coastal gem of Izmir in western Türkiye on this food and wine tour where you will experiment with, learn about, and taste local cuisine.

Eat your way through the province of ancient Smyrna in western Türkiye, stay in charming hotels, and visit the world’s most impressive ancient sites in between bites!

This trip is designed for foodies who are interested in cultural experiences and love a relaxed and slow approach to travel. You won’t encounter long drives, big tourist attractions, and rushing from one place to another on this leisure adventure. Instead, you will taste organic wines and olive oil, partake in cooking classes, and learn about Turkish cuisine and ancient history. If you enjoy comfortable and charming accommodations, visiting cozy towns, and are also into arts and music, you will love this trip.


  • 1 olive oil tasting at an olive oil museum
  • 2 cooking classes, one with a passionate chef and one with a food researcher
  • 3 wine tastings, including one along the Urla Wine Route
  • Visit Pergamon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • See the world's oldest-known olive press
  • Witness a fish auction and visit a colorful local market
  • Meander the region's largest farmer's market, which includes many artisan stalls
  • Go to Ephesus, one of the biggest cities in ancient times
  • Visit Artemission, once rated as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world

Western Türkiye is famous for fertile river deltas which brought prosperity for centuries to the region and have a great impact on the food culture. Aegean cuisine in this region is best known for wild greens, seafood, vegetables, and wine. Our food and wine adventure deliberately balances rustic, traditional food, and top-of-the-line restaurants. You will experience street food, fine dining, and enjoyable cooking classes. We will visit the wineries of the Urla Wine Route and the Ephesus area, and go to colorful farmers’ markets.

This trip is not only about gastronomy and wine. We’ll also explore some of the world’s top archaeological and historic sites. These will include Smyrna, Asclepion, and the Museum of Ephesus. We’ll travel as little as 40-45 miles per day to spend more time experiencing Türkiye rather than on a bus. This form of slow travel is also better for reducing our environmental impact. We drive less and experience more.

The trip will start in Izmir, Türkiye’s 3rd largest city after Istanbul and Ankara, and sits along the Aegean coast. The Izmir province is not only a cultural and historical hotspot, but also the best area with charming and authentic accommodation choices.

It would be fair to say that this is the best food trip in Türkiye and the best value for your holiday budget!

Seasonal Notes

This culinary adventure is available year-round, and depending on the time of the year, your experience will be slightly different. Guests particularly rave about this trip during the shoulder season, specifically early spring. But no matter the season there will be a diversity of wild greens, vegetables, fish, and fruits.

If your schedule allows, we encourage you to travel in the shoulder season (April-May, September-November) for several reasons. It helps reduce the environmental impact of this area, avoids over-tourism, and rewards you with more tranquil site visits. Spring and fall offer the best balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds.


Day 1 Izmir [Türkiye] (arrival day)

Arrive in Istanbul, find our staff carrying a “YUGEN EARTHSIDE” sign, and transfer to the hotel. After checking in, explore the old markets of Izmir, and try street food. Izmir is famous for street food of pastries, sweets, cold meat, döner kebab, and traditional dishes served at small local restaurants. We will try them all!

This afternoon, we will meander the local shops of the old part of the city and warm up for the rest of the trip. As time permits, we will visit the ancient Agora Zmyrna, the clock tower square, and Asansör (the historic elevator).

At the end of the day, we will enjoy our first dinner at our favorite restaurant by the sea located on the old historic customs building.

Accommodation: Special class waterfront hotel

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 Izmir

After breakfast, we drive 70 miles to Bergama in Izmir province, ancient Pergamon. Pergamon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most spectacular ancient sites in the world. One of the most important medical centers, Asclepion was in Pergamon.

The Acropolis of Pergamon is very picturesque and brings an entire ancient city to life. Bergama as a town is a cultural hotspot with traditional architecture and crafts. While you are in Türkiye, we will not let you leave without having a kebab feast. Tonight, "Kebabs R Us!"

Accommodation: Special class waterfront hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Urla

After breakfast, we drive 45 minutes to Urla İskelesi (Pier) in the province of İzmir. Urla İskelesi has a charming harbor for fishing boats and top-class fish restaurants around it. Urla has a long tradition of a fish auction every day at 10:00, which lures locals and restaurants to the harbor early in the morning to bid for the catch of the day.

We will meet Filiz Özkan in Urla. She was trained as an architect and a passionate chef. After living for 28 years around the globe, she settled in Urla, teaching at the university and giving cooking classes.

We will spend the first half of the day enjoying her company, while we learn and practice the Urla cuisine over a glass of wine. After checking out the fish auction, we will visit the small but colorful marketplace of Urla and buy the provisions for our cooking class.

Before we head to the cooking class, which will be performed in a 130-year-old stone house's garden, we will visit the Ionian site called Klazomenai. Klazomenai was famous for exporting sarcophagus, wine, and olive oil. We will visit the oldest (6th century B.C.) known olive press in the world, which was restored by Turkish archaeologists in 2005.

After we have a fulfilling conversation and a workshop with Aylin, we go back to our van. We will polish this beautiful day off on the Urla Wine Route and make a few stops at Urlice and Urla wineries for wine tastings.

Dinner will be served at Od Urla Restaurant by famous chef Osman Sezener.

Accommodation: Charming boutique hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Urla

Today, we will make a loop around the Izmir Peninsula and make several interesting stops.

Highlights of the day will include:

  • A visit to the Olive Oil Museum to learn everything about olives and olive oil and have a short taste of the olive oils available here.
  • A stroll in the museum-like Alaçatı, where we can check out the artsy shops and coffee shops.
  • Visit Çeşme Castle, try street food à la Izmir, and go to the Erythrea Ancient City. According to Herodotus, Erythrea has the best sunset in the whole world.

Then we return to our hotel in Urla and get ready for dinner at Yengeç Restaurant at Urla harbor. If you think that you have seen everything about seafood, tonight it will change.

Accommodation: Charming boutique hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Şirince Village

Drive 60 miles to Tire, in Izmir province, a mid-size, typical town in the Aegean hinterland. Tire has the largest farmer’s market in the whole Aegean region, as well as several traditional artisanship such as felt makers, quilt makers, hand looms, saddle-makers, embroidery, woodcarvers, harness-makers, horse-shoe makers, wooden shoemakers, rope-makers, silk-weavers, and tinsmiths. If you are game, we can actually make our own felt to be delivered to our hotel for a small fee.

We will enjoy a wild-green festivity for lunch at one of the highly-rated local restaurants in Kaplanköy Village. At the end of the day, we will drive another 30 miles to Şirince Village in the Ephesus area and check in at one of the best boutique hotels in Turkey. Our host will prepare dinner tonight.

For 3 nights we will stay at Nişanyan Hotel, which is a rustic heaven. It spreads around a large estate with lush vegetation, ducks and peacocks, strong scents of lavender and other herbs, a small swimming pool, and many trees and flowers. Most of the provisions for the kitchen come from the gardens of the hotel. Every unit is designed with taste. You will want to come back!

Accommodation: Charming boutique hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Şirince Village

Şirince village is only 6 miles from Ephesus. After a superb breakfast, we go to visit Ephesus and the other iconic highlights of the area. We start at the St. John Basilica Church in order to have an overall view of the area. We also visit the impressive museum of Ephesus, and Artemision (the Temple of Artemis), which was rated as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

We have a break for lunch at Amazon Restaurant, which is run by Nadide Azatoğlu, a Turkish Amazon. She is another entrepreneur, architect, and a passionate cook. The highlight of the day is the great Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the biggest cities in ancient times and the principal city of Asia Minor during the Roman Era. We will walk the marble streets, visit the private homes of Ephesian, which is limited to a smaller audience, and see the library, the temples, and the 25,000-seat Roman Theater.

We call it a day and return to our hotel to enjoy our traditional dinner in Şirince Village.

Accommodation: Charming boutique hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Şirince Village

We saved the best for the last. Our Şirince host, Müjde Tömbekici, is a licensed tour guide, travel writer, and food researcher, and she runs the Nişanyan Hotel and gives cooking classes in her beautiful kitchen. First half of the day, we will be with her, chatting and cooking over a glass of wine. Then we go to 7 Sleepers Winery for wine tasting.

The rest of the day is flexible for last-minute shopping, exploring the village and having a cup of Turkish coffee with the locals, or just sipping our drinks at our residence. We will end our trip with a festive dinner with Müjde Tömbekici. Şerefe!

Accommodation: Charming boutique hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Izmir (departure day)

We transfer (1h) our guests to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport and our services end.

Meals: Breakfast


This trip can be customized to be more or less days. We can also arrange a similar slow travel food and wine tour in the Northern Aegean region if you prefer that instead.

We also recommend combining this trip with a visit to Istanbul and Cappadocia.

Please contact us for more information.

Route Map

A route map is shown for the driving bath through the Izmir Province in Western Turkey for the Slow Travel Food and Wine Tour.

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • 7 nights' accommodation in luxury boutique hotels

  • All meals: 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners

  • Cooking class

  • Bottled water with meals

  • A big container of water on the van for refills (please bring your own reusable water bottle)

  • Private minivan throughout the trip

  • Parking fees

  • Certified professional guide & their expenses

  • Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites

  • Carbon offset

  • International flights to/from Izmir

  • Visa

  • Travel Insurance

  • Personal Expenses


Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.

Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.

  • Deposit per person

    $500 pp

  • Solo Traveler


  • Group of 2 Travelers - price per person


  • Group of 3-4 Travelers - price per person


  • Group of 5-6 Travelers - price per person


  • Group of 7-10 Travelers - price per person



We are the only active member of ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association) from Türkiye and we have signed the Travel’s Climate Action Agreement powered by ATTA. We are a signatory of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency and have published a Climate Emergency Plan.

We worked with ATTA-South Pole to calculate the carbon emissions for each of our itineraries. As a result, we modified some itineraries to reduce our carbon footprint. We're also proud to say that we're a "carbon neutral" company. We reported our 2020 emissions and will offset them at the end of 2021. We will also add 25 USD/person to our bulk carbon offset for this trip to be used in planting trees.

Our new itineraries are being designed with a "Slow Travel" perspective so that we spend at least two nights at each location and our new trips are more local. We stay in small or remote places, plan to stay more than 1 night at each location, travel in the shoulder season, and cover a small region, rather than traveling long distances. This travel format is not only safer but also helps to absorb and enjoy the experience even better.

As we encourage tourism dispersal in terms of season and areas, this trip takes place in less-traveled parts of the Aegean region of Türkiye. We pick up our guests at Izmir Airport and immediately drive out of the heavily touristic region to small villages and towns. Please take this trip during the shoulder season!

Environmental Initiatives
We optimize our driving distances to reduce the total distance we cover. Food & Wine Adventure covers only 400 miles of driving for the entire 8 days. We offer low-carbon impact activities on this trip such as hiking, walking, street food, and wine tasting.

Most or all of our accommodations are small and serve local & organic food. Our trips embrace all diets. Turkish cuisine has great diversity and we understand that our guests have various preferences and restrictions about food. This trip is particularly great for vegetarians and vegans.

We expect our clients to bring their own water bottles and we provide refills from big containers during the day. If you forget to bring your own bottle, please purchase a small bottle of water and keep it.

Sociocultural Initiatives
We believe that the most fulfilling experiences occur spontaneously. We create the time and opportunity for such spontaneous interactions. The nature of our trips allows our guests and hosts and random locals to engage, in farmer's markets, artisan workshops, a cooking class, or at the local cafe over a cup of coffee.

Economic Initiatives
On this trip, we cover most of the Izmir province. In addition to the big city center, we'll also visit the most rural areas where tourism income is crucial - especially during the shoulder season. We understand that we have the responsibility to sustain our activities and support the local population. We choose to use the services of local accommodation providers, family-run restaurants, and women-owned businesses.

Health & Safety

Be sure you have traveler's insurance.


What does the physical rating of "Very Easy" mean?

The physical rating of "Very Easy" means that there is minimal physical activity required on this trip. No physical preparation is required for this trip.

What are the accommodations like?

You will be staying at special-class boutique hotels. In general, accommodations are small and use energy-saving lights. Eco-friendly hotel certification is new in Türkiye and we are monitoring it. That said, 90% of the hotels we choose have a form of Global Sustainable Travel Certification. We promise to support and include them in our itineraries when possible.

Is this trip recommended for women, solo travelers, LGBTQ+ travelers, and POC travelers?

This trip runs in the most laid-back, worldly part of Türkiye. Most of our hosts are women. The Izmir area is known to be very pro-secularism and pro-women and LGBTQ rights.

Do I need a visa?

Please click here to find out the passport, health, and visa conditions for any country.

Why do we write “Türkiye” instead of “Turkey”?

The spelling of “Türkiye” instead of “Turkey” is important for several reasons, including accuracy, and respect for the local language and culture. “Türkiye” is the Turkish name for the country, and it is written in the Turkish alphabet. Using the correct spelling shows respect for the local language and culture. Using the correct spelling of “Türkiye” instead of “Turkey” is a matter of cultural sensitivity, accuracy, and respect for the country and its people.

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