Istanbul 2018 | Food, Design, + Shopping Tour | Ace Camps Travel

Explore Istanbul, Turkey for a food, design, and shopping tour with Ace Camps. Join the adventure from September 5 - 11, 2018. Learn more here!



Ace Camps is heading to the glittering Turquoise Coast and spending a week exploring Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world and the city is bustling these days. We will introduce you to some of the coolest things the city has to offer and have selected the best guides, restaurants and locations that make Istanbul amazing.

The historical tour of Istanbul includes a visit to the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom, the Underground Cistern, the 16th Century palace of the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasa, which today houses the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. Its antique carpet exhibit is renowned; the carpets, kilims and prayer rugs form one of the richest and oldest collections in the world. 

We will visit Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and Cukurcuma - known for its antique shops and second-hand bookshops and bohemian residents. The history of handmade carpets will be discussed and we'll learn about the first tribal rugs used by nomadic tribes to the contemporary design pieces of today. 

Your tour guide will include a visit to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar - it is still the best place to buy Turkish delight, dried fruit, exotic spices and herbs - a ferry ride across the Bosphorus to go to Uskadar and the fairy tale neighbourhood of Kuzguncuk, the Asian side of Istanbul. Once in Uskadar we will visit some off-the-beaten path street food locations and continue to sample local delicacies.

You'll also have some hands-on experience while you learn about the traditional art of paper marbling called Erbu locally. always there will be free time for you to explore on your own. We think that's important!

 image:  LylyTreg

image:  LylyTreg

The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and will be there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it, including dinners when no group meal is scheduled.

They also work with the local guides to insure the right combination of pace, information, and duration.

This Ace Camp includes:

  • 7 nights*  (based on shared occupancy)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 4 dinners
  • An Historical Tour (guided)
  • A Shopping Tour (guided)
  • A Culinary Adventure Tour (guided)
  • All admissions to sites during the tours
  • A Paper Marbling Workshop
  • Yacht Cruise
  • A Curated Shopping Guide
  • Tips for guides + drivers
  • Arrival Airport transfer*

*Rooms are shared with one other person.  Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for single rooms.

*Airport transfer is from Istanbul's Atakurk International Airport (IST) + on the first day of the Ace Camp tour (September 5th only)


Fee:  $2189.00 USD - airfare is not included

Deposit: $1189.00 USD - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment: $1000.00 due MAY 15, 2018

Payments are in USD




SuB Karakoy brings an industrial designer's eye to the hotel room. Polished concrete walls, beds wrapped in curvy steel frames and stone-tiled bathrooms create a brittle aesthetic, but the bath towels are supremely soft and the beds are dreamy. Located in the historical Karakoy district it is just a 5-minute walk from the ferry port. The hotel features a terrace, unique interiors and stylish furniture. Its rooms are equipped with modern amenities. Free Wifi.

The day will start with a rich Turkish breakfast including pastries, fresh eggs, olives, cheese and a variety of fruit jams among many other tastes accompanied with a cup of Turkish tea or coffee. 

Tophane Metro Stop is only 493 feet away, offering easy access to the historical Sultanahmet area. Ataturk Airport is within 12.4 miles.

 Dhoku - a housewares store in Istanbul

Dhoku - a housewares store in Istanbul



  • The traditional dancing " whirling Dervishes" perform Sunday evenings at 5pm at the Galata Mevlevi Museum
  • Experience a Turkish Bath and visit a Hammam
  • Shop for antiques or a carpet!
  • Take a street art tour
  • Sail on the Bosphorous
  • Visit the Asian side and head to the Kadikoy Markets
  • Get lost amidst the cobble-stoned streets of Tünel, Galata, and Karaköy, which are local favourites
  • Visit the Museum of Innocence in Cihangir and the antique and second hand stores in the Cukurcuma neighbourhood


istanbul monika luka on flickr 3.jpg


ACE CAMPS administration will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements. This email will always be sent 60 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 60 prior to the camp. 

Istanbul Ataturk Airport is the best airport for airport transfers for this trip.  Make your arrangements to fly into Ataturk for pickup to the hotel.

More information will be sent to you upon registration.

turkey tile.jpg


September is the end of summer and start of autumn in Istanbul. At the start of the month, temperatures are still high, it’s likely to be hot and dry. But by the end, temperatures have fallen rapidly, rainfall averages have risen, and it will feel much cooler.  Temperatures range from 24C during the day to 15C in the evenings. One day can be hot and dry, while the next can be much cooler with short but intense rain showers.  It is best to dress in layers and bring an umbrella.

Most travelers think September is the best month to adventure in Istanbul.



Turkish Alabaster

Carpets + Kilims

Brass + Copper

Spices at the bazaars, dried fruits + nuts, Turkish delight

Turkish tea or coffee

Ceramics + Pottery

Handmade shoes

Maps + Prints


Day One ~             
Airport pick-up and transfer to hotel    
Dinner - Meet and Greet on the rooftop terrace at SuB Karakoy

Day Two ~                   

An introduction and guided tour exploring the great wonders of Sultanahmet (the historical peninsula) including Topkapi Palace, a 15th century palace of the Ottomans, the Blue Mosque, the famous 17th century mosque with beautiful blue Iznik tiles & Hagia Sophia, once the biggest church in the world, Hagia Sophia has been the cathedral of the Byzantines, imperial mosque of the Ottomans and is now open to the public as a museum.

Lunch - TBA
Following lunch we visit the Underground Cistern and head to the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, it has a magnificent collection of artefacts, including exquisite calligraphy and one of the world's most impressive antique carpet collections.  
Dinner - Naif

Day Three ~                
Guided tour of the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar in Istanbul was the first shopping mall in the world, built in the 15th century, it is to this day the largest covered shopping area on earth. This is where the locals buy gold and silver jewellery, rugs, leather goods and more. When here, be sure to peep through doorways to discover hidden gems, veer down narrow lanes to watch artisans at work and wander the main thoroughfares to differentiate treasures from tourist tack. It's obligatory to drink lots of tea, compare price after price and try your hand at the art of bargaining.
Lunch - TBA
Following lunch we will visit the Spice Bazaar and then cross the city to the Cukurcuma Neighbourhood for backstreet antique shopping. 
Dinner - Neolokal

Neolokal is located inside the modern art venue SALT Galata, also a former Ottoman Bank. With sweeping views of the Golden Horn, Neolokal focuses their menu on the Slow Food's Ark of Taste guidelines, therefore bringing all key ingredients from the farm and field straight to the table. If we arrive early enough, we will have the opportunity to have a look round the gallery spaces and the Ottoman Bank museum, housed in the basement on the building

Day Four ~                 
A guided culinary adventure that will explore 3 distinct Waterside Neighborhoods, 1 in Europe and 2 in Asia.
We start in the market of Beşiktaş. A hub of ferry traffic, covered with the flags of its famous soccer team and with its narrow streets filled with rollicking meyhanes and simple restaurants serving breakfast all day long, this neighborhood is a slice of real, contemporary Istanbul like no other.  We’ll visit an Ottoman-era bakery to get some freshly baked goods for the boat ride across the Bosphorus to the market at Üsküdar, where a more traditional food culture is preserved. We’ll sample the best of this market with visits to a honey vendor from Eastern Turkey, an olive shop and a third-generation candymaker, before setting off for the fairy tale neighborhood of Kuzguncuk. Here we will explore the multicultural history of the area, tasting the nostalgia for that bygone era when Jews, Christians and Muslims shared these leafy streets, and the spirit of the Kuzguncuk of today by visiting its small restaurants, artisanal food shops and local food makers.

Ferry back to hotel
Dinner on own

Day Five ~                        
Free Day - Consider exploring other historical sights around the city, go on street art tour, totally relax at a beautiful Turkish bath like Kilic Ali Pasa, just steps from our hotel, or take the day to explore the backstreets on your own.  There are so many things to do, and we can help you organize, if you wish, to find the best activities of the day.   

Day Six ~                      
Tram to Sultanahmet
Explore the traditional art of Erbu Paper Marbling with a hands-on Workshop at Les Arts Turcs            

Lunch -  TBA

Afternoon Visit to the Arasta Bazaar and Jennifer's Hamam- one of the only shops in Istanbul still specializing in authentic hand woven Turkish towels      
Tram back to hotel from Sultanahmet

Dinner - Tonight we have our final group dinner together. In the early evening we will board a private yacht and go for a cruise around the Bosphorus,  taking in all the wonderful waterfront buildings, and historical residences. The yacht will drop us off at the location of our special final group dinner. 

Day Seven ~                
Morning visit to the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, this huge former warehouse on the shores of the Bosphorus is the most prominent of Istanbul's contemporary galleries.

Lunch - on your own

Free afternoon to explore on your own. Do some last minute shopping, enjoy the cafe scene of Karakoy, take the historic tram along istiklal street, tour the alleys of Galata or relax in one of Istanbul's beautiful parks.   
Dinner on own             

Day Eight ~

Check out of hotel.   

There will be no refunds for this trip - please know you can make it before your registration.



Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.