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Berat Ornek

Having worked in the museum sector for quite some time, I have honed my skills in creating valuable experiences for visitors who want to explore a new collection of artifacts, a cultural site or a yet-to-be-seen urban landscape. At Trail Travel, I am interested in creating stories that make travelers enjoy their visit to Turkey, by integrating different elements of cultural heritage in Turkey, gastronomic explorations, and custom-made routes that respond to the needs of customers.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"At Trail Travel, we specialize in adventure traveling, tailor-made tours on the cultural landscape of Turkey, and creating meaningful experiences for travelers. We are the right company to choose for anyone who'd like to see Turkey with a team that ensures quality, excellence and expertise. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"During my MA studies in Archaeology and History of Art, I had the opportunity of touring around Turkey with knowledgable art historians. During that time I was lucky enough to see excavation sites, out of the ordinary places that made me realize I'd like people all around the world to see and appreciate the beauty of Turkey. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"I will never forget the first time I saw a Hittite monument called Eflatunpınar, near Beyşehir in Turkey, on an off-track road that one wouldn't expect to find something historically amazing. Eflatunpınar dates back to the 13th century BC, and is a rectangular shaped pond fed with the waters from a nearby spring. I remember that the sound of water that was still running from the same source since centuries, the quiet and serenity of the site filled me with a sense of peace and awe at the same time. Turkey is a country filled with these kind of special gems in unassuming places. You just need fresh eyes to appreciate the things you see and let yourself be surprised. "

Berat is part of the following groups: Turkey Travel Agents
Top itineraries and travel advice

Recent trip reviews for Berat

Excellent guides in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus.
Turkey | Dec 26 - Jan 5, 2024

M
Mike G.
Flagami, FL | Reviewed on Jan 06, 2024

Our guides Volcan and Hattice were superb. History, culture, sightseeing, and cuisine were all very well explained and experienced.

Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Jan 09, 2024

Dear Mike,
Thank you for this wonderful review!
We are very happy to hear you had a positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this review.

All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

Great highlights tour of Turkey - Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus
Turkey | Dec 26 - Jan 5, 2024

Elizabeth
Elizabeth C.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Jan 06, 2024
We had a fantastic 10 day trip to Turkey seeing the highlights in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus/Sirince. We loved our guide in Istanbul, Volkan, and the sights were amazing; Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Cistern, and the Bosphorous cruise. The hotel in Old Town was excellent! Cappadocia lived up to the hype with the amazing hot air balloon ride, cave frescoes, and exploring the valleys. Staying in a cave hotel was a unique experience! Our guide Hattice was excellent with our son!... Read more

We had a fantastic 10 day trip to Turkey seeing the highlights in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus/Sirince. We loved our guide in Istanbul, Volkan, and the sights were amazing; Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Cistern, and the Bosphorous cruise. The hotel in Old Town was excellent! Cappadocia lived up to the hype with the amazing hot air balloon ride, cave frescoes, and exploring the valleys. Staying in a cave hotel was a unique experience! Our guide Hattice was excellent with our son! Ephesus was amazing and we enjoyed exploring the town of Sirince. The boutique hotel on the hillside over Sirince was so traditional and the restaurant was amazing. We enjoyed the cooking class we did with the chef!

Hotel Reviews
Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton
Fatih Istanbul

Absolutely beautiful, great location, fantastic breakfast

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Nisanyan Houses
Selçuk

Very unique boutique hotel obviously built with love and run by excellent staff. The terrace house was beautiful, and the tower house 3 room was fine, a little small for 3 people. There was a lot of work being done around the property given that it was the off season. Restaurant was amazing and the cooking class was a lot of fun! The hotel is not meant for people who don't like cobblestones or stairs.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Kale Konak Hotel

Such a unique experience, staff did an excellent job mitigating some cleanliness concerns in one of the rooms, rooms are dark but that is to be expected, hotel facilities are very nice (Turkish bath, terrace). Some minor flaws, nail in the wood on the bed sticking out, dogs were somewhat agressive coming in late at night, dirt from the cave ceiling falling down).

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cleanliness issues caused by the cave environment
Activity Reviews
Eminönü Heritage Tour: Explore the Historical Bazaars and Ottoman Architectural Sites of Istanbul
Eminönü Heritage Tour: Explore the Historical Bazaars and Ottoman Architectural Sites of Istanbul
İstanbul

A must do in Istanbul.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Whirling Dervish Ceremony at Saruhan Caravansarai
Whirling Dervish Ceremony at Saruhan Caravansarai
Turkey

Very authentic

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Hattice was wonderful to keep Connor during the experience.
Transport
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Cappadocia

We enjoyed the Ceramics experience; amazing work and it was fun that Connor got to try it. We did not do the hiking in the Love Valley due to timing and physical constraints.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
İstanbul

Excellent overview of Istanbul and you hit the high points of the Old Town!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Volkan was an excellent guide!
Transport
Istanbul Archaeological Museum Tour
Istanbul Archaeological Museum Tour
İstanbul

Surprisingly good for kids.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Cappadocia

Flawless - must do

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Sightseeing Around Uçhisar and Discovering the Cappadocian Valleys
Sightseeing Around Uçhisar and Discovering the Cappadocian Valleys
Cappadocia

Beautiful

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Explore Sinasos: The Pearl of the East
Explore Sinasos: The Pearl of the East
Cappadocia

I didn't really find this worthwhile. We only visited the church and it didn't seem particularly special.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Kaymaklı Underground City
Kaymaklı Underground City
Cappadocia

Amazing

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Private Boat Tour on the Bosphorus
Private Boat Tour on the Bosphorus
İstanbul

Very interesting experience and the boat was great!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Discovering the Ihlara Valley and Light Hiking Along the Melendiz River
Discovering the Ihlara Valley and Light Hiking Along the Melendiz River
Cappadocia

Beautiful and great speed for my in-laws. The stop for pancakes along the river was fun.

Quality of Experience
O
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Food Tour in Istanbul
Food Tour in Istanbul
İstanbul

Would recommend doing this earlier in the trip.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Explore the Ancient City of Ephesus
Explore the Ancient City of Ephesus
Turkey

Can't miss.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Cappadocia

Amazing - recommend including visiting the Dark Church in the price

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Wine Pairing Dinner at Revithia Cappadocia
Wine Pairing Dinner at Revithia Cappadocia
Cappadocia

Very nice, only snafu was over who was paying for it, but it was worked out.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visit to Ephesus Archaeological Museum + House of Virgin Mary
Visit to Ephesus Archaeological Museum + House of Virgin Mary
Turkey
Quality of Experience
O
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Jan 06, 2024

Dear Elizabeth,
Thank you for this detailed review!
We are very happy to hear you had a positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this review - much appreciated. We'll sure take into account all the valuable feedback you provided.
It was also so nice to meet you and your family in person!
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

Travel planning at its best!!
Turkey | Nov 17 - Nov 27, 2023

Hector
Hector M.
Denver, CO | Reviewed on Dec 13, 2023

Travel planning at its best!!

Very happy with Berat and his group. The guides; Volkan and Hatice were incredible!!!! The drivers very professional, courteous and safe driving.

We are extremely pleased with the itinerary, guides, places we visited, communication. If I was to do it all over again, I would not do it any other way!! Berat and her team did a marvelous job!!

Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Dec 14, 2023

Dear Hector,
Thanks so much for your review - we deeply appreciate it! We are happy to hear you had a great trip in Turkey. We look forward to hosting you again soon.
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

Great trip!
Turkey | Nov 17 - Nov 27, 2023

Gabriela
Gabriela G.
Houston, TX | Reviewed on Dec 13, 2023

Travel planning at its best!!

Very happy with Berat and his group. The guides; Volkan and Hatice were incredible!!!! The drivers very professional, courteous and safe driving.

We are extremely pleased with the itinerary, guides, places we visited, communication. If I was to do it all over again, I would not do it any other way!! Berat and her team did a marvelous job!!

Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Dec 13, 2023

Dear Gabriela,

Thank you for this wonderful review!
We are very happy to hear you had a positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this review - much appreciated.
We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

Cappadocia and ancient sites
Turkey | Oct 21 - Oct 28, 2023

Noela
Noela D.
Australia | Reviewed on Nov 03, 2023
Berat organised our trip at quite short notice and did an excellent job. Cappadocia was amazing and our visits to Ephesus and Pergamon were very interesting. Our guide Volkan was very well informed and driver Aly was good. And cats! Read more

Berat organised our trip at quite short notice and did an excellent job. Cappadocia was amazing and our visits to Ephesus and Pergamon were very interesting. Our guide Volkan was very well informed and driver Aly was good. And cats!

Hotel Reviews
Kale Konak Hotel

Very interesting rooms. The breakfast is amazing. And cats!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Nisanyan Houses
Selçuk

Charming character-filled hotel. Absolutely brilliant breakfast.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Cappadocia

Goreme is an intriguing place. The natural formations are extraordinary.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Sunset Wine + Romance in Cappadocian Valleys
Sunset Wine + Romance in Cappadocian Valleys
Cappadocia

Very pleasant time. A nice way to watch the sunset.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Cappadocia

It’s balloons. It’s Cappadocia!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Nov 06, 2023

Dear Noela,
We are grateful for your review, and so glad to hear you had an overall positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this review. We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

11 days in Istanbul and Cappadocia
Turkey | Oct 12 - Oct 22, 2023

N
Natalya T.
Rockville, MD | Reviewed on Oct 29, 2023
Our trip to Turkey was the first time we used KimKim and we were not disappointed by this experience.
Our contact was Berat and she was very helpful both during planning stage of our trip, as well as during the time we were traveling in Turkey, when she was always on top of communicating details of all our transfers and changes in itinerary. All logistics was taken care of and everything went very smoothly.
In Istanbul our guide Erdem was very friendly and knowledgeable, he was very...
Read more

Our trip to Turkey was the first time we used KimKim and we were not disappointed by this experience.
Our contact was Berat and she was very helpful both during planning stage of our trip, as well as during the time we were traveling in Turkey, when she was always on top of communicating details of all our transfers and changes in itinerary. All logistics was taken care of and everything went very smoothly.
In Istanbul our guide Erdem was very friendly and knowledgeable, he was very attentive to our interests and was able to navigate through crowded places in the most efficient way. Despite the crowds in some most touristy sites he made it possible for us to visit all of them. He gave us many good suggestions for our last "free" day in Istanbul and recommended some wonderful restaurants to eat which we will never found on our own.
Irfan, our guide in Cappadocia, was also knowledgeable and gave us a lot of information. We realized that our planned itinerary included less hikes than we hoped to have in Cappadocia, so we asked to add visit and hike in Ihlara valley to our itinerary. This was done after coordination with Berat and that experience was one of the best in our trip.

Hotel Reviews
Recital Hotel
Istanbul

Recital hotel is conveniently located in the center of the historical part of Istanbul. Room was somewhat dated, but had very nice view from the balcony. There is also a rooftop terrace with nice view but no service there. There were big groups staying in the hotel and it was rather noisy in the evening. Good breakfast. Friendly staff.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Kale Konak Hotel

We really liked this small hotel. It has the best location in Uchishar and a lot of character. Wonderful breakfast and very friendly and helpful staff. Room was rather small, but there are many nice seating areas available in the hotel.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Eminönü Heritage Tour: Explore the Historical Bazaars and Ottoman Architectural Sites of Istanbul
Eminönü Heritage Tour: Explore the Historical Bazaars and Ottoman Architectural Sites of Istanbul
İstanbul

It was interesting to see this busy place.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
İstanbul

It was great to explore these amazing sites with our guide Erdem. He made it possible to see all the major places despite the crowds, he gave us a lot of historical facts and stories.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Explore the historical + modern hub: Taksim, Pera and Beyond
Explore the historical + modern hub: Taksim, Pera and Beyond
İstanbul

Unfortunately several places we were supposed to visit were closed for different reasons. The views from Galata tour were worth standing in line.

Quality of Experience
as several places were closed for some unknown reason it would be nice to have some other activities planed for this day
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
it was interesting to experience tram and funicular rides
Crossing between Continents: Explore Kadıköy and Moda
Crossing between Continents: Explore Kadıköy and Moda
İstanbul

It was beautiful day and crossing on a ferry boat was enjoyable.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Our guide Erdem showed us small neighborhood streets where locals live and told us a lot about every day life in Turkey. He brought us to a nice open air cafe overlooking Bosphorus for turkish coffee.
Transport
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Cappadocia

This is an amazing experience. It was one of the reasons we wanted to go to Cappadoccia and it did not disappointed.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Cappadocia

It is very crowded but our guide Irfun was able to navigate us around crowds, gave us a lot of hiostorical information but also time to explore.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Sightseeing Around Uçhisar and Discovering the Cappadocian Valleys
Sightseeing Around Uçhisar and Discovering the Cappadocian Valleys
Cappadocia
Kaymaklı Underground City
Kaymaklı Underground City
Cappadocia
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Soğanlı Valley
Soğanlı Valley
Turkey
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
we. had wonderful driver for 3 days.
Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Nov 06, 2023

Dear Natalya,
Thanks so much for your review - we deeply appreciate it! We are happy to hear you had a great trip in Turkey. We look forward to hosting you again soon.
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

My Exploration of Turkey
Turkey | Oct 6 - Oct 18, 2023

Michael
Michael E.
Santa Monica, CA | Reviewed on Oct 25, 2023
Berat did an excellent job, listening to my values and crafting an itinerary and experience that was perfectly suited to my tastes-- even taking the time to go through several iterations before we finalized an itinerary. She took the time to meet me for tea while in Istanbul-- a lovely personal touch and memory to cherish. The guide she selected for me, Hatice, was an absolute delight and now, a new friend. I have traveled extensively, and have often said, that if I can get everything... Read more

Berat did an excellent job, listening to my values and crafting an itinerary and experience that was perfectly suited to my tastes-- even taking the time to go through several iterations before we finalized an itinerary. She took the time to meet me for tea while in Istanbul-- a lovely personal touch and memory to cherish.

The guide she selected for me, Hatice, was an absolute delight and now, a new friend. I have traveled extensively, and have often said, that if I can get everything I would get from a guide from a book-- then I don't need the guide. I want a personal viewpoint, personal engagement, and a relationship. Hatice offered that. She too was very intentional of observing me and assessing my values as the trip unfolded, fine tuning, rearranging and adjusting the timing and stops to optimize my experience according to my values. She would often offer-- "given the things you seem to like... I don't think you would enjoy this, but you would like this." I loved that she would often give me an overview of a sight, and then give me time to wander alone and take my photos... making it clear several times, that it is my trip and the timing and choices are mine. I love that she had a sense of humor. We shared many laughs. As a gay man, traveling alone, I also require someone who is open-minded, curious and progressively minded, particularly in a culture not know to be gay-friendly. I had expressed that concern early on in the planning stages, and Berat chose Hatice.

In recent years, as I've traveled alone to more non-Western destinations, including within the developing world, i have found that i don't want to read or know to much about where i'm going beforehand, and I definitely don't want to see photos. I want to be surprised each day-- "Oh! This is what we are doing! Look at that! I had no idea." Giving me a chance for a different kind of amazement every day. Turkey offered me that kind of wonder and amazement in spades.

Berat did an excellent job of creating an itinerary with a diversity of experiences-- there was never too much of the same thing, before we did something wildly different.

Hotel Reviews
Sirkeci Mansion Hotel
Istanbul

The hotel was perfectly located for me... in the center of the old city, within walking distance of everything. The concierge was very helpful. The room was simple and clean. Quiet. Very small but adequate bathroom. No view. Nothing fancy. My only complaint would be that the breakfast buffet offerings, the hot dishes were never kept hot... luke warm at best, even straight out of the kitchen. An easy fix, it would seem.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Antalya
Antalya

The hotel, while very nice, and I was put into an enormous suite, which felt uncomfortably large... just felt odd and not to my taste. It is a large, all-inclusive resort kind of hotel that's seemed tailored to what I perceive as Eastern European and Russian sensibilities. I prefer a more personal boutique hotel. I swim daily when at home-- lap swimming... the hotel did have a spectacular pool that was a godsend at that point of the trip. But weird rules about opening hours... and one had to go down two floors beneath the pool to the health club to get a towel to use the pool-- then go back up two floors. Why no towels at the pool? A rather anemic "nightclub" by the pool where no one was there. A grotesquely large, too brightly lit dining hall really-- not even a buffet. Just seemed to cater to a different kind of traveller. I was only there overnight.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cappari Aqua Princess
Antalya

Perfect location, lovely sea view room... but no elevator. It was a good seven flights from the street to my room on the top floor. When I checked in, the manager asked if i would like to be on the top floor-- "It's the best room." "Well, you're the one who will have to carry my duffle bag up all those stairs!" As it was the top floor, it felt a little like an attic space that had a pitched roof. Some of the groins of the roof are very low, and I hit my head several times going to the toilet in the middle of the night. Very small bath. But kind staff and a sweet kind of charm about the place. The scale of the hotel, much more to my liking, and I loved swimming in the Mediterranean right outside my door.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Doğa Thermal Hotel & Spa
Denizli

Not unlike the Ramada in Anatolia, but with more design sense and style. An all-inclusive resort type of hotel, not to my taste. Hatice explained there were no other options. The buffet dining experience was obnoxious. I felt like I did when traveling in the former Soviet Union-- they were simply not set-up to accommodate individual travellers. I did enjoy the hot mineral pool! But my experience of the place was disappointing.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Novotel Konya
Konya

A stopover hotel. Stylish, smart, not overwhelming, but a business hotel-- no place to walk about for local culture. A commercial district. But absolutely fine for what it was , a stopover. Felt a bit like staying at a nice airport hotel.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Gül Konaklari Sinasos (Rose Mansions Sinasos)
Nevsehir

I will dream of this hotel forever. Perfection, top to bottom-- (well, near perfect-- I would've loved a fridge in the room There was cabinet for one but none there.) Staff was warm, kind, helpful, personable, even playful. The place is beyond charming. I could not get enough of the garden. Sat out there every chance I could. Would have preferred a hot dish for breakfast, but in that garden, I almost didn't care. Yet when i made that comment to Hatice, the next morning the very kind waiter, Recep, brought me a sizzling skillet of Turkish eggs! That's how to do it. HIGHLY recommend it! And a perfect way to close my trip. I hated to leave. The only hotel on the trip that felt like the experience of the hotel was part of the journey.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Esrefoglu: A Unique Wooden Mosque from the 13th Century
Esrefoglu: A Unique Wooden Mosque from the 13th Century
Konya

This was a surprise highlight of my trip. The mosque, although small and off the beaten path, provided a serene and intimate experience that was deeply moving. I relished the opportunity to meditate within its quiet confines.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visit Eflatunpınar: A hidden gem from the 13th century BC
Visit Eflatunpınar: A hidden gem from the 13th century BC
Konya

This was an unexpected joy. The Hittite monument, although remote and without the usual trappings of a tourist spot, offered a unique experience of discovery and intimacy. Engaging in conversation with local families added to the charm of this ancient site.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Göreme-Uçhisar Hike
Göreme-Uçhisar Hike
Cappadocia

This hike was an absolute delight. It was just me and my guide, which allowed for a personal and enriching experience. The conversations we shared were as memorable as the hike itself.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Whirling Dervish Ceremony at Saruhan Caravansarai
Whirling Dervish Ceremony at Saruhan Caravansarai
Turkey

A deeply contemplative and serene experience. The ceremony was a perfect way to wind down after a long day, and I appreciated having the opportunity to be present and reflective during the ceremony.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Nov 01, 2023

Dear Michael,
Thank you for this detailed review!
We are very happy to hear you had a positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this review - much appreciated. We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future. It was also a great joy to meet you in person!
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

It was ALL amazing!
Turkey | Sep 30 - Oct 10, 2023

Patricia
Patricia O.
Forest Hills, MI | Reviewed on Oct 17, 2023
Where do I begin to tell you about our amazing 10 days in Turkey?! My husband and I didn’t want to go on a « one size fits all » vacation. After a great deal of reading, I had pretty much decided where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. Can’t thank Berat enough for making it all happen for us. She listened carefully to what we wanted and then filled in the spaces with her expertise.
All three of our guides, Ibrahim, Hatice and Volkan were excellent . They were knowledgeable,...
Read more

Where do I begin to tell you about our amazing 10 days in Turkey?! My husband and I didn’t want to go on a « one size fits all » vacation. After a great deal of reading, I had pretty much decided where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. Can’t thank Berat enough for making it all happen for us. She listened carefully to what we wanted and then filled in the spaces with her expertise.
All three of our guides, Ibrahim, Hatice and Volkan were excellent . They were knowledgeable, had a good sense of humor and went above and beyond to help us with all of our needs and wants. Safety was never a concern and we enjoyed moments on our own to explore with confidence. Local people were always friendly and eager to help.
Our drivers spoiled us from the moment we were picked up. The spacious vehicles allowed us to stretch out our legs and enjoy the views along the way with fresh water and candies.
What was the best part of our trip?! It was ALL wonderful.
The ambiance and personnel at the Hürrem Sultan Hammam were exceptional. Have never been so wonderfully pampered. Was pleasantly surprised that my husband enjoyed the experience also.
Cappadocia was a fairyland. The predawn hot air balloon ride was magical and so serene. And what fun to stay in a cave hotel!
We were warmly welcomed into the private home
of Udo Hirsch, the owner of a small winery in Gelveri.
After narrating our tour of the cellars where we saw the grapes naturally fermenting in centuries old clay containers, we returned to his family table. We tasted several of his red and white wines accompanied by homemade goat cheese and olives and fresh bread. Unforgettable!
In Safranbolu we stayed two nights in a truly impressive centuries old mansion. Our breakfast was spread out for royalty as we sat beside the indoor pool listening to the water flow softly from the beautiful fountain.
The visit to the Bozdag Film Studio was a special treat after having watched several of the television series that were filmed there. Sets were impressive and it was exciting to meet Günkut, one of the alps that I remember from the Ertugrul series. My husband particularly enjoyed watching the live show that was performed at the end of the afternoon. Horsemanship, costuming and acting were all amazing.
We thoroughly enjoyed the food in Turkey everywhere we went. On our last day Berat joined us for a food tour. Was so nice to meet the lovely young woman who helped us plan our trip of a lifetime. Just when we thought we would explode from eating so much, she asked the waiter for a pumpkin dessert. Oh, my goodness! What a delicious way to end our trip!
My husband and I are retired educators. Worked for 40 yrs and raised 3 wonderful sons. I have traveled abroad and lived in different countries, but my husband has not. I wanted this to be a positive, adventurous and awesome experience for him.
And it was!
Thank you, Berat, all of your well chosen colleagues and KimKim for sharing your beautiful country, culture, history and people with us.
Could not have been a more amazing trip.

Hotel Review
Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion
Safranbolu

So nice to be out of the big city and into a small town. The Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion was beautiful and full of history.

Authenticity & Character
Can’t help but feel the history and want to learn more. The wood stairway, the bed, the design on the wood ceiling, the sofas on two sides of the room, the windows and cupboards - all so inspiring. The pool room was lovely. Perfect place to relax, read and have a royal breakfast.
Location
Short walking distance to a cute outdoor restaurant. Good food and a cute little cat to keep you company!
Staff
Staff staff was helpful and eager to please. Prepared a wonderful breakfast. Make sure you allow time to relax and enjoy it!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Bathroom was on the small size but not a problem as the bedroom was very large and I simply stored my extras in the lovely cupboard just outside the bathroom. It’s impossible to keep old wood spotlessly clean, but beyond that, yes, the room was clean. Nice to open windows during the night.
Activity Reviews
Turkish Bath and Spa at Hürrem Sultan Hammam
Turkish Bath and Spa at Hürrem Sultan Hammam
İstanbul

This was amazingly wonderful! The ambiance was heavenly, high domed ceilings, warm marble slabs, beautiful aromas. The attendant made me feel comfortable immediately with the whole experience. Didn’t take long to get past all shapes and sizes of nakedness. I simply relaxed and enjoyed the pampering. It’s definitely worth splurging to get the whole experience including clay body mask, bubble cleanse, body massage. The fruit drink was a refreshing new taste. And the olives and fruit were perfect. Can’t imagine a better experience than this historical Hammam of Hürrem Sultan.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Cappadocia

Was interesting to see the artisans at work, making and painting the ceramics . Their work was beautiful but well beyond our budget. Gave us an appreciation for the amazing quality of their work though.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Kaymaklı Underground City
Kaymaklı Underground City
Cappadocia

Was a fascinating experience to wander through the caves and to imagine that people actually lived here. If your husband played college football and has broad shoulders and bad knees, you might want to rethink this one though!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visit to Bozdag Film Studios
Visit to Bozdag Film Studios
İstanbul

The Bozdag television series is the whole reason that I became interested in Turkey. Was fascinated by the history of the Ottoman Empire and wanted to visit all of the historical sites. I was elated to find out that the film studio had opened to the public. Was even happier to learn that some of the actors were there on the weekends. I was not disappointed. Got to take photos with Günkut Alp from Ertugrul! So magical ! The live show in the afternoon was great! Do NOT miss it! I’m back home now and watching the final season of OSMAN. So much fun to see some of the scenes that were filmed on the sets that I had just visited.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Discover the town of Gelveri: A walk among the Ottoman-Greek heritage of Cappadocia
Discover the town of Gelveri: A walk among the Ottoman-Greek heritage of Cappadocia
Cappadocia

We felt quite special being invited into the private home of Udo Hirsch. His passion for making wine was evident from the moment we began our tour. Was incredible to visit the cellars where his wine fermented naturally in containers that were centuries old. Then we were warmly welcomed to his table to taste several of his red and white selections. Friends and family were present. We were made to feel like family as we sipped wine and enjoyed homemade goat cheese, olives and fruit and bread.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Discover Safranbolu, a unique Ottoman town on UNESCO World Heritage List
Discover Safranbolu, a unique Ottoman town on UNESCO World Heritage List
Safranbolu

I chose to go to Safranbolu to stay in one of the centuries old houses. The Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion was a lovely place. Our corner room at the top of the beautiful wooden stairway was very spacious. Bathroom was small, but I simply stored extra items in the little cupboard just outside the bathroom door. The cushioned sofas that filled the room were the perfect place to relax in the evening. The bed was large and comfortable. A short walk around the corner took us to a cute little outdoor restaurant. Food was good and we loved the companionship of one of the local kittens. Breakfast in the morning was a feast. It was served in the room containing a dipping pool. Soothing to listen to the softly flowing water from the fountains.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Cappadocia

Another can’t miss experience! Our pilot was amazing and there were only 16 of us in a basket that fit 20. Simply magical and serene to float above the spectacular scenery. Crew made us feel completely safe from take off to landing. Woke up early the following morning to watch more than one hundred balloons floating by our hotel. The Kelebek Special Cave Hotel was a magical place to stay. I won’t even try to describe it . Please see our photos.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Pilot was funny and crew very capable.
Transport
Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Oct 18, 2023

Dear Patricia,
We are so happy to hear you had a great trip with us in Turkey!
Thank you for your kind words and we certainly look forward to welcoming you in Turkey in the near future.
Best regards from the whole Trail Travel team,
Berat

Istanbul to Ephesus in a week
Turkey | Sep 23 - Sep 30, 2023

Linda
Linda W.
Oregon City, OR | Reviewed on Oct 03, 2023
My husband and I are active, independent travelers and really appreciated customized Berat's itinerary planning for our trip to Turkey. We'd never used KimKim -- or gone to Turkey before -- but had an excellent experience! Berat's hotel choices were great -- we stayed three nights at the Bank Hotel in Istanbul which we really enjoyed (we'd just gotten off a small cabin on a sailboat so the quiet room with the big bed and bathroom were appreciated!) We were paired with a fabulous private... Read more

My husband and I are active, independent travelers and really appreciated customized Berat's itinerary planning for our trip to Turkey. We'd never used KimKim -- or gone to Turkey before -- but had an excellent experience! Berat's hotel choices were great -- we stayed three nights at the Bank Hotel in Istanbul which we really enjoyed (we'd just gotten off a small cabin on a sailboat so the quiet room with the big bed and bathroom were appreciated!) We were paired with a fabulous private guide, Volkan, whose passion, knowledge and enthusiasm about the history of the area was really exciting. We walked all over Istanbul for two days with Volkan and had an amazing time. It's a busy, crowded city and our guide's ability to navigate the crowds, neighborhoods and city sites allowed us to cover the city more efficiently and reduce the stress of doing this all on our own. We travelled on foot, by boat (on the Bosphorus) and by local mass transit and cab. From Istanbul we headed to Canakkale to view some WWI sites and memorials then on to Pergamon, Troy and Sirince (near Ephesus). With Volkan we saw SO many interesting ancient ruins and museums. He providing excellent guiding and briefings, but also gave us time on our own to enjoy and soak up the culture and history. We spent one night in Behramkale at a lovely small hotel with a gorgeous sunset view and then two nights in the village of Sirince. Berat was extremely professional and responsive during the entire process and answered all our questions. It was amazing, all the way around.

Hotel Reviews
The Bank Hotel
Istanbul

Great location and very quiet. Nice bar and upscale restaurant upstairs. They'll do laundry -- but it's spendy (we were desperate!) Excellent breakfast, comfy bed -- perfect, all the way around.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Close to Galata Bridge.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
They left us chocolates!
Bengodi Boutique Hotel

Very few people were staying here so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Beautiful area. We had a wine tasting and ate dinner there that night - great food. Also the small adjacent museum is worth a look.

Cleanliness & Comfort
Assos Sunset Boutique Hotel
Çanakkale

Very cute, friendly hotel. I would not recommend for anyone with mobility issues as there were a lot of stone steps! Beautiful terrace with sunset views. We had a simple pasta dinner and a bottle of wine - very enjoyable. Watched the distant lightening as the sky grew dark.

Authenticity & Character
Cleanliness & Comfort
Very good - but there were dead batteries in the TV and the power outlet by the sink did not work. A few minor things. Otherwise very comfortable overall.
Nisanyan Houses
Selçuk

I'm so glad Berat booked us here. It's at the far end of the village on a rather rough road but worth it. Enjoyed dining there two nights -- beautiful terrace and nice breakfast, too. I wouldn't recommend for folks with mobility issues as the road is a bit rough and uphill. Fun to walk through the shops and lanes below the hotel.

Authenticity & Character
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
İstanbul

Our guide gave us an amazing history lesson when he met us at our hotel the first day -- a review of Ottoman and pre-Ottoman Empire history that we really appreciated as it put everything in perspective. We did the mosques and the Topkapi Palace on a Sunday and the city was really busy and crowded. Having a guide made a difference! Istanbul is amazing.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Urban Hiking Tour: Strolling around Old City Walls, Fener + Balat
Urban Hiking Tour: Strolling around Old City Walls, Fener + Balat
İstanbul

We walked all over! Having Volkan (our guide) with just me and Connelly made this a really fun -- and efficient day. We especially enjoyed a local farmer's market. Spices cost less there than at the bigger Spice market. Our trip on the Bosphorus was fun, too. Another way to see the city -- by water.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Private Transfer to Çanakkale: Explore the WWI Sites of Gallipoli -
Private Transfer to Çanakkale: Explore the WWI Sites of Gallipoli -
Turkey

I was really curious about this strategic area of the world -- and the battles fought there during WWI. The memorials and views are great and our guide did a great job of providing background and context.

Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Oct 04, 2023

Dear Linda,
Thank you for this great + detailed review! We are very happy to hear you had a positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this review - much appreciated. We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat

Worry-free travel
Turkey | Sep 11 - Sep 17, 2023

Lenet
Lenet C.
Kansas City, MO | Reviewed on Sep 19, 2023
We used Kim-Kim in the past and will continue to do so because they take care of every detail so we don't have to. The professionalism of the company, organizers and local partners shows through in how they communicate, cleanliness of vehicles, promptness of drivers and tour guides and quality of activities based on our input keeps us coming back. We appreciated the historical knowledge of our guide, Ibrahim, in Istanbul. He made sure we were able to see and do what we requested with... Read more

We used Kim-Kim in the past and will continue to do so because they take care of every detail so we don't have to. The professionalism of the company, organizers and local partners shows through in how they communicate, cleanliness of vehicles, promptness of drivers and tour guides and quality of activities based on our input keeps us coming back. We appreciated the historical knowledge of our guide, Ibrahim, in Istanbul. He made sure we were able to see and do what we requested with flexibility and space to explore. Hatice in Cappadocia was also knowledgeable and she synched well to our level of fun. We whole heartedly recommend Ibrahim and Hatice.

Hotel Reviews
Kale Konak Hotel

The hotel staff was so helpful and friendly. The hotel itself is beautiful and a true Cappadocia experience. Breakfast was yummy!

Authenticity & Character
The hillside setting, cave hallways and furnishings.
Location
I thought we would be able to see the balloons better.
Staff
Available when we needed something, always accommodating and took their job seriously.
Cleanliness & Comfort
It is difficult to keep everything clean in a dusty, open air setting and yet they were all over it. Most impressive.
Recital Hotel
Istanbul

We would stay there again but Istanbul is a city that never sleeps so it was a bit noisy at night.

Authenticity & Character
I wouldn't say it had or didn't have character. It was just nicely put together with everything you needed.
Location
Short walk to Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. Fabulous view of the Bosporus from the rooftop terrace.
Staff
Mike at Reception was very informative and immediately took care of our internet and phone challenge.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Everything throughout the hotel was clean. I would have given 5 stars if the rooftop terrace was an active, working part of the hotel instead of an after thought place to sit. There was a bar but drinks were delivered from the lobby instead of using this space.
Park Inn by Radisson Istanbul Airport
Istanbul

We used this hotel because it is "close" to the airport and we had an early flight the next morning. Everything was clean and the staff was friendly. We really appreciated that there was a full service restaurant on the premise.

Authenticity & Character
Lots of room amenities. This is a great business traveler hotel. You most likely would not stay there to see the sites.
Location
No hotels are really close to the airport however this one is only 15 minutes away.
Staff
Very friendly and helpful. They took care of booking our early morning taxi pickup.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Kaymaklı Underground City
Kaymaklı Underground City
Cappadocia

MUST experience this unique site.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Hot Air Balloon Tour at Sunrise
Cappadocia

We have been up in balloons before yet never experienced the large basket style. It was fun to go up with Americans, Spaniards and a group from Poland.

Quality of Experience
There was never a question of what to expect and where you needed to be.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
The professionalism of Royal Balloon company was without flaw. A well oiled machine at every step. Pilots Kemis and Omar where fun and capable. Loved that they took us low into the valley and landed right on the trailer at the end.
Transport
The coordination from pick up to drop off was representative of a company that has done this a million times.
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
İstanbul

Going with a local guide - especially Ibrahim that has lived in Istanbul all his life - made the site's history come alive. He showed us places a tourist on their own might not know about. And we were able to navigate the crowds with ease.

Quality of Experience
It was interesting to see the European and Asian side differences.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
It was fun to experience a taxi, boat and metro.
Transport
We were walking so it wasn't an issue.
Public Boat Tour on the Bosphorus
Public Boat Tour on the Bosphorus
İstanbul

Istanbul is soo big that the boat ride helps you see things that would otherwise take too much time to see via land. It is a nice respite from all the walking. Grab a bite to eat from one of the many nice restaurants under the bridge. The food is good and you start to get a feel for how busy the waterway actually is.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
It was helpful to have our guide, Ibrahim, tell us what we were seeing as it was difficult to hear information from the loud speaker on the boat.
Transport
I liked that the boat went up one side of the strait then down the other.
Crossing between Continents: Explore Kadıköy and Moda
Crossing between Continents: Explore Kadıköy and Moda
İstanbul

The crossing gave us the opportunity to get away from the tourist attractions and see how locals live.

Quality of Experience
The lunch stop was different - a buffet of sorts where you could make various selections.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Speaking absolutely no Turkish, having our guide, Ibrahim, interpret and advise was indispensable.
Transport
We rode the metro under the Bosphorus!
Çamlıca Tower
Çamlıca Tower
İstanbul

I wanted to go here to ensure seeing the city in its entirety (not possible). It wasn't spellbinding like I thought it would be. The structure itself is more of the attraction.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
I liked that we used public transportation instead of a hired driver. It was much more fun to be with locals.
Transport
If you enjoy aggressive driving, you will love the taxi ride to/from the tower. That experience was actually the most fun as we took many back streets to avoid traffic jams.
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Cappadocia

It has taken abuse over the years from people defacing the structures. Still, the history is worth knowing. I'm glad it is now being preserved.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Hatice was able to maneuver us around the crowds, give the history and knew the best places for us to take photos.
Transport
Our driver, Borak, was with us the entire three days. Prompt, courteous, safe driver and always had water on hand.
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Cappadocia

Their work is extremely nice and, while the designs/shapes are basically the same whatever place you wish to buy, it is very apparent their work is superior. I only gave it 4 stars because I didn't know there would be such an emphasis on making a purchase. Same for the carpet place we visited. When you are young you want to buy items. When you are old like me, you are trying to get rid of your stuff - not add to it.

Quality of Experience
My husband and I enjoyed the complimentary glass of wine.
Cooking Class in Cappadocia
Cooking Class in Cappadocia
Cappadocia

What a hoot! Loved Ina. In true Turkish tradition, we made lots of food and then she had prepared even more food to share. Seriously, we were stuffed!!

Quality of Experience
Always fun to have an in-home experience. This was her kitchen.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Hatice had to interpret everything. It was fun having her join in with the cooking and share some of her childhood eating stories as well.
Transport
We picked up Ina's daughter in town so she could give Borak directions through the neighborhood. Better than a GPS!
Local specialist: Berat Ornek
Berat
Berat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Replied on Sep 19, 2023

Dear Lenet,
Thank you for this wonderful review!
We are very happy to hear you had a positive experience in our beautiful country. Thank you very much for choosing us and for taking the time to write this detailed review - much appreciated.
We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.
All best regards on behalf of Trail Travel team,
Berat