Explore palaces and mosques, wander the Grand Bazaar, indulge in a hammam, and dive deep into one of the greatest cuisines in the world.
6d/5n Istanbul Adventure $1885
Optional 5d/4n Turquoise Coast extension $725
Optional 5d/4n Turquoise Coast extension $725
NOTE: Registration closed
October 7-12, 2023 • Turquoise Coast Extension October 12-16, 2023
$200 deposit holds your spot – or pay in monthly installments
Includes lodging, all activities, guides, ground transportation, admissions to museums and attractions, gratuities, and daily breakfast. Excludes airfare, travel insurance, lunches, dinners, and souvenirs.
With Lauren Zehara Haas & Ami Amore
I got my travel buddy Ami Amore to team up with me for this trip — so you get twice the adventure and ten times the laughter.
~ Lauren Zehara Haas
6d/5n Istanbul, Turkey
Wait, what is a Women’s Adventure? Click here to find out!
What is a Women’s Adventure?
We’re not looking at the world through bus windows — we’re squishing it between our toes.
I created these small-group trips for women (and femme-identifying nonbinary folk) who like to experience life in faraway places, get to know local people, and delve deep into the culture.
Nothing wrong with resorts and four-star hotels — but that’s not this trip. My women-only travel groups are a little rough around the edges.
Our water isn’t always hot, and our towels and pillows might not be fluffy sometimes, but we love being as immersed as possible in the local way of life. And the money we save on fancy lodging lets us dive into more activities and adventures!
Meeting the other cool chicks who love to travel this way is half the fun!
Your 6d/5n Istanbul Adventure
I usually manage to squeeze in a few delightful surprises at the last minute, and sometimes the order of events changes, but these are the activities I definitely plan to include.
Click on each day of the itinerary to see more photos and details.
Day 1: Arrivals
I’ll make sure you’re met at the airport by someone holding a sign with your name on it. You’ll have a chance to settle into your new home and meet your new besties for the week. Then we’ll explore the streets, take in some sights, and we’ll have our first Turkish meal together.
Note: Our lodging for this trip will be a shared room in a hostel. You’ll have your own bunk and a locker for your valuables. Bring a lock!
Day 2: Mosques & Markets, Dance Class
We’ll spend our morning in the Golden Horn area, visiting the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, which has a long history as both a mosque and a cathedral.
After the mosques, we’ll visit Istanbul’s legendary Grand Bazaar. It’s a wonderland of spices, arts, decor, jewelry, and so much more. Try not to get too carried away!
Day 3: Topkapi Palace, Dance Class
Topkapi Palace is the oldest, largest, and most ornate palace in the world. We’ll visit both the main palace and the harem chambers that housed the royal women and eunuchs. Topkapi is also home to two mind-boggling collections: gifts of jewels and other bounties from world leaders to the Sultans and sacred relics from all the word’s major religions. I can’t wait to show you all of this!
After the palace, we’ll have lunch and then make our way to a dance class where you can explore music and movement in the Turkish style. Along the way, we’ll stop to nibble on some of the delicacies that tempt you in every shop window — baklava, Turkish delight, and so much more.
Day 4: Hamam & Show!
Have you ever thought about visiting a Turkish bath? Well, start thinking about it because it is in your future! A traditional scrubbing is included in your tour, and you can add a massage or other services if you like.
After dinner, we’ll head to Hodjapasha for a full show of bellydance and folkloric dance styles in a gorgeous theater setting.
Day 5: Bosphorus boat tour
Today we’ll get out onto the Bosphorus on a boat. We’ll float past palaces and mansions on the waterway that separates the continents, with Europe on one side and Asia on the other.
In the evening, we’ll visit the famous Taksim Square and have dinner on Istiklal Avenue, known as the Champs-Élysées of Istanbul.
Day 6: Departures
We’ll feed you a good breakfast, give you lots of hugs, and make sure you get to the airport safely.
If you’re staying for the extension tour, this is a full day of free time for you to enjoy however you like. Your extra night in Istanbul is included as part of your extension.
5d/4n Turquoise Coast Extension • $725
I’ve been in love with the laid-back beach town of Cirali on the Turquoise coast for many years — it’s one of my favorite places on the planet. In October, the heat of summer will be over and the crowds will be gone. We may need a sweater in the evnings, but the days should still be pleasant and warm.
As if fresh seafood, sand beaches, and friendly people weren’t enough, Cirali is home to some truly magical sights. We’ll be able to walk to the ancient city of Olympos, where you can explore a necropolis and so much more in an incredible natural setting.
We’ll also visit the Eternal Flames of Yanartas, a mythical site with ties to both the Iliad and the Odyssey, where we’ll roast marshmallows over flames that have been burning mysteriously for thousands of years.
Day 1: Free day in Istanbul
This day overlaps with Day 6 of the main adventure. You’ll have the entire day to explore Istanbul — take another dance class, do some shopping, visit another palace, go back to the hammam, or just take some quiet time to yourself. Your lodging in Istanbul is included in the extension tour.
Day 2: Transportation & arrivals
We’ll fly to Antalya and take ground transportation from there to Cirali.
It is my fervent hope that we’ll be able to stay in a bedouin tent in Cirali — I can’t promise that until I’ve checked out the tents in person this May. The sleeping arrangement in the tent may be a puppy pile situation, just so you’re warned. If not the tent, we’ll have some sort of rustic beach accommodations — stay tuned for details after my scouting trip in May!
We’ll have dinner on the beach the first night, settle in, and get relaxed.
Day 3: Ancient City of Olympos
Our time in Cirali is going to be mostly very relaxed and unstructured. You’ll have plenty of time to go for long walks, lie on the beach, or rent a bicycle if you want.
But on this day, we’ll stroll together to the other side of the beach and explore the incredible ruins of the ancient city of Olympos, which are scattered in the forest. The city dates back to the 3rd century, and has ruins from many civilizations.
Day 4: The Eternal Flames of Yanartas
Again, we’ll mostly have a very relaxed day enjoying the beach and town on our own. But in the evening, we’ll hike up together to the Eternal Flames of Yanartas.
Mysterious flames have been shooting from the earth at this location for millennia with bo visible fuel. Scientists babble about gas pockets, but according to the Iliad, the fire-breathing Chimera beast was destroyed at this site. It was once a single giant flame on the mountaintop — a natural lighthouse — but over the years, the blaze has scattered into dozens of campfire-sized flames.
Day 5: Departures
After our last night in Cirali, we’ll be making our way home. You can either arrange to fly home from Antalya or take a late-day flight from one of the Istanbul airports. Either way, I’ll make sure you get where you need to be!
Meet your hosts
Hi, I’m Lauren Haas, the founder of Indie Travel Guru.
In May of 2013 I sold everything I owned and started traveling the world with all my possessions in a backpack. It’s been an incredible journey, and now I’m beginning to share the world with small groups of women who want to see it the way I do.
I love to walk, hike, take local transportation, get involved in local life, and learn about cultures from the inside out, through arts, food, music, dance, and culture. Come join me for an unforgettable adventure!
Ami Amore bio coming soon!
Testimonials from past trips
Lauren, our host, was a charming ambassador for Morocco; I don’t see how anyone could provide a better experience than she did for our group consisting of eight strangers (soon to become friends).
Thank you, Lauren, for planning such a wonderful trip and sharing so many fabulous experiences. Looking forward to your future retreats. Read more “I don’t see how anyone could provide a better experience”
Lauren was a fantastic host —wonderful, full of life, giving, trustworthy and a ton of fun! Even though the stay was only a week long, we got such a beautiful, well-rounded immersion in the culture…
What this is not: your standard trip. We saved money along the way and got a fantastic cultural voyage. I can wholeheartedly recommend this experience and I will most definitely be joining Lauren again in the near future. Read more “A well-rounded immersion in culture”
Lauren made me feel comfortable and safe traveling to a part of the world I had never been to previously. The personal experiences she shares regarding being a smart traveler and her cultural knowledge are valuable.
She is friendly, a good problem solver, respectful of personal space/time, and fun. I would definitely travel with her again. Read more “Safe, comfortable, and fun!”
Payment options if you sign up now: